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Wednesday 16th April 2014

4161/17080

Into town this morning to be filmed for a campaign to try and encourage men to examine their testicles. To help them find out if they've got cancer rather than just for fun, but there's no reason why it can't be both. I had to say that it's best to check them after a warm shower or bath because that's when they're at their most relaxed, but I did point out that I had been told that by someone else. It's not like I spend all day ascertaining how relaxed my testicles are and then writing down the results in a notebook. And anyone who says I do do that is lying.

I had my photo taken with me grabbing my (fully clothed) crotch and asked the photographer if he was pleased with where his career was going. I could have asked myself the same thing.

Then an enjoyable afternoon doing some reading and research for "I Killed Rasputin". I don't know if my play can reveal the truth about what happened that night back in 1916, but it's fascinating trying to unravel the lies and bullshit that surrounds the event and try to work out what really happened. Whatever the case Yusupov is a fascinating character. A man happy to admit to and profit from a murder (which he possibly didn't commit, though was surely involved in), though not able to openly admit his true sexuality. What a world where a murder can go unpunished, but loving someone is a crime. Interestingly, like Rasputin, Yusupov had a spiritual side that was compromised or at least at odds with his sexual behaviour.

Yusupov was certainly lying about what happened on the night of Rasputin's death, but it was a lie he kept up right to the end, partly because he gained notoriety, fame and money from the lie. But who was he protecting? And why did he keep up that protection until the 1960s when pretty much everyone else involved was dead? He could perhaps have received a whole new wave of fame and profit if he'd finally cracked, but it would have been hard for him to do this in 1967 when the play is set as he was promoting a film which purported to tell the truth. Based on all his previous subterfuge.

I don't think I can piece together the exact truth, though I have some strong feelings about what might have happened, but that's not really the purpose of the play. At the moment I have a confusing mass of material and themes that I need to try and filter down into an 80 minute piece. But I am excited, if not a little terrified, by the mountain that lies ahead of me. It's probably going to be a bit more serious than you're expecting, but there should be lots of laughs. The whole story is full of madness and excess and ridiculous lies. Just by applying logic to some of the certain facts you can go some way to wiping off some of the bullshit. Did Rasputin really free his hand from his bounds after he'd been shot point blank in the head? Or did that just happen naturally while his body was in the river? Or was he, in fact, bound up before he was shot?

There's some more reading and research to be done before I can get my teeth into this, but I am looking forward to getting this up and running. It has to be good. If this project fails then it can actually break me. Which is a good incentive to make it as brilliant as I can.

The RHLSTP with Josie Long is now up for people with a series pass (or who just want to buy that one episode. See a free clip of the chat here. The free audio will be up in the next few days. And remember if you sign up to give us a pound or more a month then you can see an exclusive clip of Josie (and other recent guests) on your secret channel.

The full version of episode 2 of Meaning of Life, about the paranormal, featuring Richard Wiseman is also now available to those of you with a series pass (or who just want that one episode). It includes the complete (and very entertaining) interview with Richard and loads of stand up that won't be in the shorter free version. That free version will be up on iTunes, the British Comedy Guide and the vimeo channel after Easter.



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My new stand up show, Lord of the Dance Settee will be touring from October 2014 to May 2015 All details here.
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