I was pretty sure that the conversation wouldn't dry up in either of tonight's RHLSTPs, with the somewhat loquacious pairing of Dara O Briain and Ross Noble. And it turned out to be a marathon night that threatened never to end. I have always been keen to play a game of chicken with the audience and do a show which goes on until absolutely everyone leaves. I think Ross Noble has the staying power to achieve this, even with the most obsessive and persistent of fans. I wasn't sure I'd be able to draw the show to a close tonight, both because he was enjoying talking so much and because the audience was loving it. But Chris Evans (not that one) had a train to catch and the cameras might have run out of tape (or digital space). The producer told me that we were ten minutes away from filling up the space for the audio version of the podcast. Even once I'd shepherded Ross backstage and we'd done some stuff from behind the curtain and then the producer had cut the mics and turned on the house music, Ross was trying to persuade me to get the mics put back on and the music dipped so we could do some more.
You will only get 100 minutes of Ross when the podcast comes out (and it's almost all him as it was very hard to get a word in edgewise and his freewheeling style means that he doesn't really require new questions to move things on), but I was lucky enough to get another hour of him at the bar after everyone else had gone home. He is a remarkable man and has stayed true to his vision of comedy, doing the odd bits of TV but making his fortune (enough money to buy a tank with a gun on it!) from his live work.
He's a remarkable performer, fearless about jumping feet first into seemingly dangerous territory and then seeing if he can dig himself out. I had done a particularly sludgy bit of audience interraction at the start of the podcast, which certainly helped to highlight how impressive is his ability to weave stuff out of seemingly nothing. It was tremendous fun to be a passenger on his plane, even if it was sometimes heading for the ground!
And Dara was also a pleasure to chat with. He still recalled how I had slagged off the Irish panel show he starred in, "Don't Feed The Gondolas" in an early incarnation of this blog. I wrote a tour diary for the 1998 Lee and Herring tour (you can read it here - link on the right) and I think this is where I wrote about the programme (though I had a quick skim through before the podcast and couldn't find what I'd written). It was strange to have this reminder of that tour and I couldn't have guessed where my desire to document every moment of my life would lead. That first day where we met up to discuss the show and ended up going to drink Kirin lager is so fresh in my mind that I can't believe 15 years have passed. There's a surprising degree of honesty in that little diary, not only about poor quality Irish panel shows (as I said to Dara, I think he had the last laugh on this particular issue), but also about the unpleasant argument that Stew and me had at the end of the tour (so close to having got through the whole thing in a reasonably civil manner). And it seems we sold more tickets than I remember - though were still playing in over ambitiously huge theatres. Well it's an interesting little curio for Lee and Herring fans. Let me know if you find the bit where I slag off Dara!
We also discussed a website that Dara had been tweeting about earlier called Dirty British Comedy Confessions in which people list their sexual fantasies regarding British comedians. I was amused by the person who said they wouldn't mind at all if Dara slapped them repeatedly in the face with his erect penis. I thought that they would probably mind after a while. It would become inconvenient if you were trying to get round the supermarket. The fantasies about me (and there are ones for everyone in comedy, including Stouffer) are mainly about the double acts I have been in enjoying each other in ways that sadly never happened (unless you count the ventriloquist incident). Though someone wants to get high with me and then fuck as they think that would be intense. Sadly I don't think they'd find it as intense as they imagine. Once we were high I'd just fall asleep. I might do that even if we weren't high. Fantasies are invariably better than the cock-slapping reality.
It will be a few weeks before you can enjoy these podcasts, though the Rufus Hound audio should be up on Tuesday. And there's Miranda and Miles Jupp to come over the next couple of weeks. That's not a sex fantasy by the way.