Monday, 3 June 2013

Keep Yourself Alive.

Thank you for reading this blog, I very much appreciate it. Even if you've given up reading it after that first line I just want you to know that I'm very grateful that you gave it a go. There's no need for you to go out of your way and look here so, you know, thanks. By that I mean I'm not famous, I'm not on TV and there's still no word on me being the next Doctor (correct at time of posting blog). Sometimes I wish I was famous. It must be quite fun, being recognised wherever you go. Signing an autograph, having a catchphrase shouted at you, being asked if you'd quite like to have a spot of sex (politely).

I have a few famous friends and being famous seems to suit them. People come over to them and compliment them and ask to get their photo with them. I imagine it's slightly inconvenient at times but what a small price to pay for being told how great you are all the time. But I wonder if fame, as seductive and powerful as it looks, would ever suit me? 

Oh, I've had fame. Shitty fame. Loads of it. And I can't tell you which is worse: being recognised and them getting it right or being recognised because they think I'm someone else. Standing in the cold rain and feeling miserable during last year's Edinburgh Fringe, a complete stranger came up to me with a big smile and asked for my autograph. Well, they wanted Dave Gorman's autograph but it cheered me up for a second. I smiled and I signed their bit of paper and I hated them. I got stuck for an hour in a bar once being overly complimented on a TV series I'd never seen, nevermind the fact that I've never been in it. AN HOUR. I think it was the 20th or maybe 21st time that I told him that it's not me that he started informing me that I shouldn't get so arsey with fans. He put me where I am today, apparently, and he could put me back tomorrow. I've kept that in mind ever since. I got banned from the Guildfest Comedy Tent because of the large amount of paedophile material I perform on stage. I would accept that if I had ANY paedophile material. But all that is the price we ordinary people have to pay if we want to avoid being famous.

Of course, not only am I recognised as being someone else, I'm also often not recognised by people who have actually seen me. During an interval of a show I was doing a few years ago, a punter came up to me and asked "Do you work here?". I said I did tonight and he said "Will you tell that comedian that if he mentions the IRA one more time I'll kick his fucking head in?" I said that I'd let him know but I didn't say a word to him because he was me. Just a few weeks ago in Bristol I got off stage and walked straight to the bar for my comedian's free drink. The woman behind the bar said "You're one of the comedians? Well, I hope you're better than that first guy. He was shit". Seconds had past since I'd left the stage and that woman had completely forgotten what I looked like but, my God, the memory of my fecal turn will stay with her forever. If you think that's embarrassing, I was at a friend's house and he introduced me to his friend. I told her I recognised her. She said it's unlikely as she doesn't get to London much. I said "Leamington Spa. You've been to the comedy club there. You sit in the front row. I've seen you there. Twice". She said "Yeah, I've been a couple of times but I don't think you were on". That's me. I recognise my audience but they haven't a fucking clue who I am.

And then there are people who know me and know what I look like. This is the rarest group of all. Saturday night was one of those nights.

I sat on the last train back to Ladywell, next to a lady who was playing a game on her phone. She looked at me and from the corner of my eye I could feel her staring. I had my earphones in but wasn't playing any music, they were there simply to tell the whole world to fuck off. But this woman just kept staring and staring and staring. I didn't actually look at her but I could feel the stare. I then put music on to somehow drown out the noise of her eyes. Not loud music, of course. I don't do that. But after a while, I turned my music up bit by bit because I could hear her mumbling. Staring and mumbling. "Murgghhuurrrggghh... fucking arsehole... marrghermurrr... you're shit.... murrr... dickhead". 

So it's uncomfortable now and I think I'm justified in turning my music up just a little bit. That's when she turns her music on. No earphones, just loud music. She then puts her phone up to my face and with the loud music directed right at me she starts shouting "This is what you like. Fucking cunt. Look, loud music on a train. What are you going to fucking do about it? You like this. That's your thing. You're not fucking funny. Is loud music funny? You're not fucking funny".

Jesus, I thought. What "loud music on a train" routine has Dave Gorman done that's upset this woman so much? "Give me your fucking shoe", she shouted. OK, fair enough. It's definitely me she hates. She despises me. I mean you wouldn't play a loud song by Cast in the face of someone you liked. I try to explain to her that if she has a complaint about my comedy then she should write to ITV and tell them but all she does is shout and play more loud, horrible music. That's when people start shouting at her. No one likes Cast, it turns out. 

She tries to explain everything by pointing at me and shouting "HE'S NOT FUNNY. HE'S MICHAEL LEGGE AND HE THINKS HE'S FUNNY". My station is so close, hurry up train. "Just turn the music off, OK?", a man reasons. "NO. IT'S FUCKING MICHAEL LEGGE. HE'S NOT FUNNY". Come on train. "Just switch the music off". "HE'S SHIT". Nearly there. "Just turn that fucking music off". "NO! HE'S MICHAEL LEGGE". And I get off the train. "Just switch that off. I don't give a fuck who he is".

And that's the last thing I heard from that train journey. My defender saying "I don't give a fuck who he is".

If you're reading this and you're about to do your first ever stand up comedy gig soon....I'm sorry, but someone had to tell you. This, my friend, is showbusiness. 

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