Feeling a bit blue today. Being away from home is never easy, but I think that the cumulative effect of all the stuff with the new house, the pressure of having to write a new show and the difficulty always inherent in booking RHLSTP has something to do with it too. Plus I was in a Premier Inn in Barnsley most of the day. Touring can sometimes feel a bit like an open prison. And if the open prison is in Barnsley then that’s even more depressing.
I am kidding. I love Yorkshire and the people here are mainly awesome (not so keen on the EDL lot, but they are not representative). I trudged round the town centre in a bit of a daze, paid in my SCOPE money, had some breakfast and then went to buy a potato for the show.
SPOILER ALERT - there is a potato in the show, the reveal of which is quite a moment of magic. Well, I just get it out of my back pocket, but people are surprised by the fact it was there and amused by the realisation that I’ve had a potato in my pocket for 30 minutes. It’s quite a task selecting the right potato. The one I have been using for the last couple of weeks was going a bit green so it was time to replace it. But I had meant to do so earlier anyway because comedically speaking I didn’t think it was the right potato. Every time I got it out of my pocket I’d make a mental note to buy a funnier potato, but I’d always forget until the next night. And working out what would be a funnier potato is harder than you think. It has to look like a potato and not like a face or some genitalia (if your genitalia looks like a potato then maybe see a doctor). But the bigger it is then the funnier the reveal is. It should ideally seem too big to fit into a trouser back pocket. But a rear pocket in a pair of jeans is surprisingly roomy. You can get a lot of potato in there than you’d imagine.
But if the potato is too big then it can weigh my trousers down too much and risk a trouser fall incident, which would be funny, but humiliating. And also a too big potato can be hard to handle during the rest of the routine, especially if you have tiny hands like Hermione from Harry Potter. That’s why there’s no scene in Harry Potter where Hermione has to handle an over-sized potato.
So it takes quite a lot of thought to select the funniest potato and also I have to put the potato in my back pocket in the shop to check it fits, which must look quite suspicious. But all the effort was worth it. The potato was a bit too big, but it did get a big laugh from the Harrogate audience. I explained my selection process to them which they didn’t like so much. Sometimes you have to let the magic speak for itself.
It’s no wonder comedians on tour can go a bit stir crazy, mooching around and trying to find funny potatoes.
My wife told me that her and Phoebe had gone to the park and Phoebe was saying, “I want my daddy”. Which was both wonderful and heartbreaking. It’s nice to know she misses me too (or at least associates the park with having fun with me - and she quickly forgot about me when she got there), but it would have been nicer to have been at the park with her, rather than test driving potatoes. She may be warming to me, after many months of being a mummy’s girl. Though she still says “yuck” when I kiss her. As she does when she passes the cat food dish or some dog shit in the street. I think she knows she’s being funny, but I am not sure.
She was blasé when we skyped, but I know now she’s just playing it cool. I am not playing it cool. On top of late tour blues the news of her thinking about me stung my eyes with tears. I held them in because I am tough and thus can’t display my emotion, even when sitting alone in a room in a Premier Inn in Barnsley. Especially there. No man has shed a tear in this town outside of a football based scenario since Barnsley was built in 1972.
I ate too much chocolate in an attempt to cheer myself up. That never works and just makes me more unhappy of course. I wonder when I will learn that. Or maybe I know and that’s all about wallowing in my mild sadness. But the sugar rush made me skittish and full of energy and I had a lot of fun on stage. There were nearly 200 in at the Harrogate Theatre, which might be the best that I have done here. I used to come here on all the tours and suddenly recalled the drunk man who had invited me to his birthday in 2011
. I have actually been there since then, but think it’s maybe four years since I gigged here. Which is a shame as it’s a good gig. The backstage toilet is still freezing and the wallpaper is now peeling off in there and someone had left an unshiftable floater in it. But all this just helps the juxtaposition between show business and real life.
I joked away the cobwebs of self-pity and stress and got over myself. The floater was still there when I left. I worry that whoever is in there next will blame me. But I am innocent.