Warming up a TV show is definitely the oddest of the jobs that I do. It's really half great, half shit. It's also incredibly lonely.
Luckily, I've yet to do warm-up for a TV show that constantly needs a warm-up. Normally it's a panel show so I go on at the beginning, do 15 minutes then I might go on somewhere in the middle and a very short bit near the end. Pretty much like comparing a gig, albeit with an audience who are constantly looking straight through you in the hope of seeing a TV camera move, a lighting bloke climb a ladder or, even worse, Colin Murray. Last night I warmed up the audience for Would I Lie To You? and I had no idea what to expect. I'd never seen the show before (I'll be very honest, I'd never even heard of it) and my default setting for TV warm-ups is I AM GOING TO DIE ON MY ARSE AND THEY WILL HATE ME.
Before I went into the studio (Pinewood, don't you know?) I bumped into Ray Peacock and, despite his insane views on the moon landing, I was both happy to see him and incredibly jealous of him. He was warming up for The IT Crowd, a comedy series that I actually like. In fact I love The IT Crowd. Here I am, in the home of Star Wars but with no time to look around, about to warm up a show that I will doubtless hate, to an audience who will doubtless hate me and I will be constantly asked to keep going on because of the stupid amount of breaks throughout the show. Each time pissing away my dwindling arsenal of unfunny jokes in front of people that would rather do time for my murder than hear my pathetic opinion on cats and dogs. While Peacock will be swanning around Studio One, having a clever, interested audience in the palm of his hand and watching one of the best sit-coms on TV being made right before his lucky, lucky eyes. He'll be being cheered by the crowd, drinking beer with Chris O'Dowd, Graham Linehan will laugh at his jokes and say "Man, that was great. Can I use that line?" and Katherine Parkinson will put everything she owns in his bum while I will be abused and tortured and spat on and despised.
That's the way of the warm-up.
Turns out the audience for Would I Lie To You? were very nice and I had to do a grand total of 8 minutes. That was it. OVER. 8 really lovely minutes. All that stress for nothing. I just went on at the top, they were lovely and 8 minutes later it was over. All that fuss and all I had to do was 8 minutes. 8 minutes. 8 frigging minutes. Why the fuck would they put me through such mental torture if they're just going to end up being lovely and I'm only going to be on for 8 minutes? The fucking evil cunts. I hate them.
And, hey, Would I Lie To You? is good. I really enjoyed watching it. It's a TV comedy and, somehow, I liked it. I would be great on that show. Come on, Zeppotron, let me be on that show. Don't be sly.
After the show I got to hang out with all the celebrities and by that I mean I got to hang out near the celebrities. I'm afraid I'm just not very good at talking to people I don't know. I realise that that's what you're supposed to do if you want your career to go forward, just march up to a celeb and say "Hi. M'name's Mike. Great show tonight. Hey, I gots m'self a little ol' sit-com script and would love you to cast your eyes on it", but I just can't do that. It's the work of the arsehole. Instead I'll stand in the room completely on my own and look at Twitter but pretend I'm going through loads of really important texts. Yes, even though everyone is ignoring me, I must look really important. Yeah, I bet anyone seeing me would think I must be incredibly big time if it wasn't for the fact that I am completely invisible. I'm just waiting on a cab so I have to be here. It's not like I can leave yet. But God, it's dull. Everyone knows everyone except me. I know Lee Mack but he's talking to David Mitchell and Ben Fogle and I just don't have the confidence to interrupt that conversation with "Hi, all! I have a podcast and I'm in a sketch group called Los Quattros Cvnts".
But I'm on my own. I warmed your fucking audience up for you. I gave 8 minutes of my blood, sweat and tears. Besides the fee I'm being paid, you fuckers owe me.
I marched right over there and barged right into their fucking world!
And it was lovely. Again, pressure over nothing. Why do they insist on doing that to me? What possible pleasure can they get out of forcing me to get stressed out about talking to them and then, when I've pathetically made my move, they just turn out to be really nice. I mean, they're just sick really. David Mitchell was very lovely indeed. Isn't that great to know? He's great on TV and nice in real life. He never once punched me or talked about my Mum's bucket. He was nice. And there I was, hanging with the celebrities. Lee, David (I can call him that now), Ben Fogle (we're still on that basis), Kate Silverton and Rob Brydon. Look at us. A great bunch of mates just having a laugh together. Muckers throwing giggles back and forward and sharing a couple of drinks. HOW THE FUCK DO I GET OUT OF THIS? What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here.
Then I did the coolest thing I've ever done in my life. I left first. I was with the celebs and I was the one who abandoned the party first.
Sure, they could have been over the moon that I had gone or, even though I was talking with them, they didn't even notice I had been there in the first place but I felt good. "Yeah, guys, guys, guys. Caoi for now, yeah? Laters", I may or may not have said as I walked away from them begging or not begging me to stay. God, I'm the coolest.
It was a great night though. Zeppotron people are nice people (go on, Zeppotron, please let me be on Would I Lie To You?) and I found out David Mitchell is nice. That's a good day for me. Plus someone working on The IT Crowd recognised my voice from Precious Little. That was funny and made me happy.