Treat the people on the way up well, because you’re sure to meet them on the way down. No matter what you do in life, no matter how good you are at anything it’s always the people you meet on the way that help or influence you that have the biggest impact on your life. In fact it was seeing Michael Legge on Saturday night and having a couple of pints with him and Steve Edge after watching The Boy with Tape on his Face at the Frog and Bucket to get back onto doing a blog again. Michael’s blog is very funny and it’s one of the things I’m always looking forward to reading. It was good to see him on Saturday, he’s great company and I’ve decided to always be his friend so he doesn’t write horrible things about me.
Things just seem to happen to him, he is usually in the right, but that isn’t always apparent to the people around him, I already know what will be in his next blog as it happened just before he got to the Frog. That night saw me doing my last proper gig for a while. I’m doing a charity gig with Rich Hall on Tuesday, but Saturday at the Comedy Store was my last weekend circuit gig for some time. Reason being is that this morning (Monday 1st Nov) I’ve started rehearsals for Zack at the Royal Exchange in Manchester. I’m both excited and nervous. Very nervous. For a kick off it’s a big part, I’m playing Zack. It’s a play by Harold Brighouse who wrote Hobson’s Choice and it’s officially a BIG DEAL. As I walked towards the theatre this morning to meet Greg the director, to begin my preliminary week of work on the play – (the other actors come in next week, it’s almost like the theatre feel they need to do extra work with me!) – many thoughts ran through my mind. I never wold have guessed when I met Lee Drinkwater at the Lowry when I did Peter Pan, that just a few short years later he’d be the Company Manager and I’d be doing a big part at the Royal Exchange. The last ten years have been the best of my life both professionally and personally. I couldn’t have predicted the many chances I’ve had.
The people I’ve met, worked with and the friendships I’ve made that I never expected. I’ve been doing stand-up for just over ten years now and in that time I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to do loads of different things. Very early on I was blessed to get the part of Young Kenny in Phoenix Nights. If I hadn’t got that admittedly small part in a very successful television show I’m not sure I’d be doing what I’m doing these days. That little bit of exposure and kudos opened loads of doors for me. I’ll never forget how I felt when I got that phone call from Peter Kay telling me I was ‘in’. I’ll never forget going into the temporary job I had at the time and telling the boss I wouldn’t be working there again as I had a part in a TV show. It was almost like a Hollywood moment except it was in a Portakabin in Ashton-under-Lyne. I’m sure if I hadn’t got that part then I would have been more nervous than I was when I won the City Life Comedian of the Year final in 2000. I kind of approached the night like it was just another gig, got a lovely spot just after the break and really enjoyed myself on stage. That night I met Don Ward and Charlotte from the Comedy Store who not only asked me to consider being represented by them but were happy to book me into to do the Comedy Store in both Manchester and before long, London. Luck had shined upon me again. Though I have to allow myself a little bit of self-praise, I was very new to be playing the store (inside 18 months of ever having done stand-up) but when you get the chance you have to take it. Straight away you are with the big boys and you have to fit in and more importantly you have to deliver on stage every night, every show, anywhere on the bill. Similarly around two years later when I got my first show on Key 103 – a Sunday morning slot, I was made very aware that they weren’t interested in me just messing about, I needed to do what I did but fit in with how they did things. Big thanks to Richard Straffon who produced me then for helping me through those first shows. Quite quickly I got offered the breakfast slot on Key’s sister station Magic and there again a massive lesson in how to do things came form the people I worked for at the time – Andrew Robson and Kirstin Walmesley. Since then amongst other things, I’ve had a show on Key 103 for six years, I’ve done panto four times, been in a Ken Loach film, done stand up in the Far and Middle East (and Yorkshire), had several little bits in TV, done Just a Minute four times, performed at the Edinburgh Festival six times, and now I’m about to make my first tentative foray into serious theatre. I’m scared, I admit, but also really looking forward to meeting and working with a bunch of people who no doubt will be brilliant at their jobs and help me make a success of it. It’d be great to see you there.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.