Comedians at home
Getting Corona Lattes
Originally not aired on 21/03/2020
ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic (and it being difficult for me to get a member of the opposite sex to meet with me at the best of times), I have decided to postpone the current series of my unrecorded podcast “When Eric Met Females” until further notice.
HOWEVER, I am delighted to announce the start of new series of unrecorded podcasts called “Comedians at Home Self-Isolating because of Coronavirus”.
Isolated, bored, eating comfort food excessively and wanking themselves senseless – how comedians spend their afternoons will now extend to their evenings, and I’m here with my webcam and cup of tea to investigate.
This pandemic has hit everyone massively, but apart from those geezers that sell aftershave in nightclub toilets, perhaps the workers it will most affect are performing artists. Not only will incomes drop from almost zero to absolute zero – with the inability for us to perform in front of crowds for the next few months, comedians will go what’s known in medical circles as “batshit mental”.
With no way to get the validation we crave through live performing, we will turn to other forms to get our fix. I have spent the first week of social-distancing trying to launch a rap-career (check out my vids – seriously, please check them out) and I have also been posting erotica fiction online under the pseudonym “George Oral” (check out nineteen-tasty-whores on literotica.com). And while spitting bars and writing a dystopian story about a future where Big Brother turns us into sex-craving lunatics is good, it’s not the same as telling jokes to largely apathetic crowds up and down the country.
To discuss all this and more with me is today’s guest Riordan DJ. Former Chortle Student Comedian of the Year and current heartthrob, Riordan is one of my favourite mammals on the circuit right now. With an offbeat style and funny angles on any topic he tackles, it’s gonna be such a shame not seeing him shake his skinny-butt on stage anymore.
“I don’t see it that way, Eric,” Riordan told me, through his superfast fibre-optic broadband connection. “The way I see it, Eric, this is an opportunity for me to do what I’ve always wanted to do.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Get absolutely shredded.”
“Yeah, let me prove it to you.”
At this point Riordan took me on a virtual skype tour to his conservatory, which contained within it everything you’d need to become an absolute meathead. Dumbells everywhere and a fridge full of protein shakes, I could tell he meant business, and that business was personal training. As he showed me, he kept explaining how he was gonna use this time to get “bum-cheeks of absolute steel”.
“Can I ask you a question, Riordan – why?”
“What do you mean ‘why’?”
“Like why get ripped, what’s it all for?” I asked, before being met with a stony silence.
I looked at his bemused face through the screen, and I suddenly realised how stupid my question was. The suspicion behind it seemed inappropriate, something that belonged to a bygone era. We live in a new reality where “why” questions seem intrusive. What people do to get by, and how they cope with things, is there own business. In the past, I would have looked at that conservatory full of weights and Rocky DVD’s and linked it to masculinity being in crisis. In the abundance of protein-shakes I would’ve seen a lack; a lack of real inner confidence, a lack in society’s definition of what it means to be a strong man.
And maybe those are still things that need to be discussed, but right now, Riordan is just a person trying to live his life and make it through. And if working on his glutes is his way of doing that, then so be it. I hope he gets the firmest and sexiest glutes he can in these next few months.
“Sorry, Riordan,” I said. “That was a stupid question. Anyway, I should probably go now and leave you to workout. When we’re allowed to hug again I hope you’re so strong that you squeeze me into two halves. Love you, man.”
I hung up and rated the phone call 5*s.
Check out Riordan’s upcoming YouTube series on how to get ripped. And remember, whatever you’re doing to stay sane, whether it’s writing erotica or getting shredded – you should know that everyone here at the podcast is fully behind you.
Stay positive and tune in next time! X
Originally not aired on 04/04/2020
So… we’re still inside.
We’re still queueing for bog roll; we’re still watching too much Netflix; and we’re still staring at our neighbours leaving the house for a second time in one day and thinking, “This fucker’s breaking the law. I might grass him up.”
After experiencing a massive change in our lives a couple of weeks ago, we’re now experiencing the same day on a loop. I wish there was a cultural reference for that feeling, but I’m drawing a blank. I’ve gone fully mental – I can’t remember what day it is, let alone what the film Groundhog Day is called.
Well, anyway, one other thing that will never change is my desire to bring you top-quality content.
That’s why I’m back with episode 2 of the unrecorded podcast “” featuring this week’s guest JAMIE HUTCHINSON.
Jamie is from Manchester, and that fact combined with what he looks like, means it almost goes without saying that he’s dodgy. Still, he’s a great comedian, and I’ve been trying for a while to get him on previous incarnations of the show, but unfortunately, he’s always been on tag for various bits of petty thievery.
Now, with me doing the show via video chat, as long as no one mentions it, it’s much easier to disguise Jamie being stuck in his house as an unfortunate by-product of the Lockdown, rather than because he can’t keep his hands-off plug in air-fresheners.
“You steal air-fresheners… why?” I asked him, off the record.
“Firstly, the buzz. Secondly, the profits. If you know the right people, you can make a hell of a lot shifting Ambi Pur and Air Wick plug-ins.”
With the preamble over, I got started.
“Right Jamie, this is all on the record now.”
I looked at Jamie’s ginger face through the screen and smiled, as I remembered his opening joke on stage. “When you look at me, you have the same two thoughts as when you think of EasyJet. Orange and shit airline.”
A fantastic joke that plays on the fact that the Easyjet logo is orange and that people from Manchester pronounce the words hairline and airline the same. Classic. But just like EasyJet planes at the moment, Jamie’s career isn’t really taking off. He’s stuck in duty free right now, and by the looks of things, he’s not holding back on the Toblerone.
“How’ve you been keeping yourself busy, Jamie?” With fewer shops open for him to steal from, I was genuinely concerned for his well-being.
“Oh, right,” I said. “That seems like it could be dangerous?”
“Nah,” He said. “I’ve got a motto. When the fun stops—“
“Nah, lump on. Double your bet. A lot of people fall at the first hurdle. My strategy is to go in deeper.”
Jamie sensed my awkwardness and burst out laughing. “I’m only joking, lad. I’ve actually been playing loads of Scrabble GO.”
“Really?” I asked. Now I didn’t know what to believe. Jamie went on to tell me that he’s in the top 5% on the worldwide Scrabble GO leader board.
“People think it’s all about knowing big words,” he explained. “That’s wrong, it’s all the two-letter and three-letter high scoring combinations that get you the points. If you give me a ‘Z’ and a vowel to play around with, I’m gonna punish you.”
“This isn’t what I expected to be talking about with you, Jamie.”
“Well, I think a lot of people misjudge me to be honest, Eric,” Jamie said, sighing. “People look at me and they make all these negative assumptions. They’re justified in some senses – like I do nick stuff, and I’m not gonna deny it – but that’s not what I’m all about.”
“How would you like to be thought about?”
“Erm… as a good laugh, I guess. And as a good mate. You know it’s funny, you miss your friends a lot more at times like this, and you find yourself thinking about the past. I keep thinking about this time when I was a kid, and me and my mate Lewis went playing out in the woods.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“Well, we were just messing about, climbing trees and stuff, and then Lewis started to feel sick. Turned out he’d been eating some dodgy berries from one of the bushes. Long story short, Lewis shat himself.”
I sat there in silence, not quite sure how to be reacting. “What did you do?” I asked, afraid that if I stayed silent for too long Jamie would think my screen had frozen.
“I shat myself as well,” he replied.
“You shat yourself, too?”
“Yeah, out of solidarity.”
“So you hadn’t eaten any of the berries?”
“No, I just didn’t want him to go through that alone so I shat myself. And we both dug a big hole and buried our underwear in the woods.”
There was another pause, but this time Jamie could be sure my screen wasn’t frozen as tears began to fall slowly down my face until eventually they were coming thick and fast. Maybe it’s my heightened emotional state due to the lockdown, but there was something about that story that got to me. At that moment, I didn’t see Jamie as a petty thief, I saw him as he wanted to be seen: as a loyal friend.
Maybe things seem a bit boring and unchanging at the moment, but I started to think of another thing that doesn’t change: the goodness in people. Jamie’s got himself on the wrong side of the law once or twice, but that boy who shat himself for his friend, he’s still there. I can see it. If this pandemic has done anything positive, it’s reminded me of positive essence inside every human being. In a time when crimes such as looting could’ve spiked, when fights could’ve emerged over dwindling resources, I’ve seen none of that. I’ve seen people being kind, people cooperating, and best of all people staying inside, saving lives.
It’s like we’re all taking a big shit in solidarity for the victims, for the NHS, and, ultimately, for each other.
“Jamie, when all this is done, when the pandemic is over or when you’re not on tag anymore – whichever comes first – I’d like to get a pint with you.”
Tune in next time!
Originally not aired on 12/05/2020
End the lockdown, or extend the lockdown?
That’s the question on everyone’s lips at the moment, including mine. But not only does the question linger on my lips, I also feel it on my hips; I feel it on my glutes, on my abs, on my biceps, on my pecs, on my nips.
That’s right, I’ve been getting hench in lockdown and I feel great. I’ve been exercising so much that my mind and body no longer feel like separate entities: a healthy body really does lead to a healthy mind. Although to be fair, the opposite isn’t true, otherwise The Beast off of The Chase would be an Instagram model. Poor Mark Labbett.
But anyway, my point is I’ve been working out and so has life. The dial on my anxiety has been lowered from 10/10 to a less suffocating 5/10 and my self-esteem has increased dramatically. Before this I was a little nerd who couldn’t grow a beard or lift his own bodyweight. Now I have hair on my chin and I can do four push ups. How can you hate yourself when you look in the mirror and see a bearded Adonis?
And now my worry is this: what if a return to normality means a return to my previous, less-disciplined self? What if it all slips away and I slide back into my previous unhealthy patterns?
It seems like a selfish thought when people’s livelihoods and lives are at stake. This is bigger than me and has serious consequences on people’s lives. I’ve even had to furlough my intern Pablo, which means he will now only get 80% of the packet of Revels I buy him to help me produce this show. Maybe it’s time to open things up and get the lad back up to a full bag again.
To discuss my worries, I decided to pick up the phone and ring the wisest person I know. However, they weren’t available, so I rang my friend Jules O’Brian instead, giving me a perfect opportunity to pump out another episode of my unrecorded podcast, “Comedians at Home Self-Isolating because of Coronavirus”.
Full-time teacher and part-time funny-lady Jules featured on the previous series of my podcast “When Eric Met Females” – a series that ended sexism once and for all – and now the busty blonde is back for more.
“Hi, how’s it going Jules?” I said, as we began our WhatsApp video call.
“Good thanks, how are you?” She replied.
“Yeah, not bad actually.”
A bland opening exchange if I ever saw one.
“Have you managed to get much work done during the lockdown, Jules?”
“Yeah, just been planning lessons really and making sure the kids do their work on Google Classroom.”
A bland secondary exchange if I ever saw one. Something was afoot.
“How are you emotionally? I said.
“Yeah, no complaints. Just been sticking to a routine, trying to eat healthy food, that kind of thing.”
Right what the fuck was going on? I’ve done dozens of interviews with comedians now on my unrecorded podcast, and never before has it taken this long for something to happen. Normally some sort of mental health problem surfaces within the first few seconds, and the rest of the conversation’s momentum is generated from there. Any conversation between two comedians is normally a competitive game of “who’s the most depressed” with each side taking turns to one up the other.
“So you’ve got nothing to complain about, Jules,” I asked. “What about the fear of never becoming successful? Or never being loved?”
“I guess success is about doing things that satisfy yourself, and living on your own terms. And when it comes to love, we all want that, but it’s about being patient.”
“That’s how I feel as well,” I replied.
Ffs. We talked for ten minutes more, but nothing interesting came out. Just two well-adjusted, sensible adults catching up. It was disgusting. If this carries on, no one will ever be funny again, we’ll all just be a bunch of well-organised pricks pumping out wholesome drivel as content, or worse we’ll give up the pursuit of attaching our happiness to the approval of strangers all together.
I ended the call. Looking into my phone, I saw my toned body and happy face staring back at me through the black mirror. A true dystopia.
I need to get out of here.
Tune in next time! X
Originally not aired on 18/05/2020
What’s more important – family or success?
For many of you, the answer’s obvious. That question is more redundant than half of Britain’s workforce right now. Family always comes first; anything else we do is motivated by selfishness.
But then, what if that success is what keeps the family propped up financially? What if “showing love” and “being there” are luxuries for people who can afford them? What if your way of being there is through your absence, through your constant work away from home, the vital work you do to put food and condiments and cutlery and crockery on the table (let alone a tablecloth)?
This is the bind today’s guest on, “Comedians at Home Self-Isolating because of Coronavirus”, Phil Carr, finds himself in. Via zoom with his young daughter just out of shot, Phil was calling me as part of the press tour for his upcoming Netflix series “Dude, Where’s Phil Carr?”, in which he plays the role of an absent father and husband, a story based on his real life as a struggling stand-up comic.
“I guess the show is kind of me exploring why I do comedy,” he said to me. “Is it for me or is it for them?”
“Interesting,” I said. “Now, I’m not trying to fatten you up, Phil, but could you expand for me?”
“Well,” he said. “The money I make from comedy does pay for things, but then sometimes when I’m out in say Burnley or somewhere having the time of my life telling my jokes, I feel guilty. My wife gets annoyed that I’m never at home helping with the cooking and sweeping and setting mousetraps or whatever she does, and my daughter is sad we can’t play Tassimo together.”
“What’s Tassimo?” I asked.
“It’s a game we play with our coffee machine. Basically, I set a timer and say Ready Set GO! And she has to get one of the coffee pods from the box and put it in the machine and press start before the timer ends.”
“So the game is her making you a coffee?”
“If you want to put it in crude terms like that, then yes.”
Phil gave me a demonstration of the game, calling his daughter into shot and starting the timer. A minute later she was back with his coffee.
“I’ve missed a lot of important events in her life doing comedy,” he went on. “I missed her Nativity this year because I had to go do a gig instead.”
“Ah, I’m sorry. Is she a good actor?”
“No, terrible,” He replied. “Not even close to being passable. She has absolutely no future in performing arts of any kind. In fact, they didn’t even give her a speaking role. Her part was ‘a stack of hay’. She just had to dress up as some hay and stand quietly in the background of the stable. But I guess whether she’s talented or not isn’t the point.”
“Yeah I suppose it’s not.”
Despite him missing out on father-daughter time in the past, like all other comedians, Phil is stuck at home now, and I wondered if our current situation is helping him make up for lost time.
“Here’s the thing, Eric. I liked the idea of being in conflict, internally and externally, with myself and with my family, never knowing if I was doing the right thing by being out working all the time. I could tell myself that if I was at home I’d have all this quality time with the family and I’d fantasize about it. But that fantasy, and how good that idea of being with them felt, helped feed the idea that I was making a sacrifice by doing my gigs in Burnley. Does that make sense?”
“Yeah, kind of.”
“But now I’m here with them, it’s it’s… well.. it’s awful Eric. It’s just non-stop. 24/7 spending time with these people who I’ve now realised in some ways were strangers to me before. I’m home-schooling and cooking and cleaning and having to take part in conversations and and and…”
At this point Phil started hyperventilating.
“It’s okay Phil, it’s gonna be okay. Surely the one-on-one home-schooling is kind of fun?”
“It’s tedious. She’s so dumb, Eric. She’s almost worse academically than she is at acting. And I know I shouldn’t say it because I’m her dad but it’s true.”
“At least she’s good at Tassimo,” I said.
“That’s her one redeeming feature,” he said.
Suddenly his daughter came into shot holding her pencil case.
“Daddy, we have to do maths now.”
Phil sighed and said, “Sorry, Eric, I’ve got to go.”
That’s what his voice said, anyway. His eyes simply said: “Kill me.”
Tune in next time! X
Originally not aired on 22/05/2020
Episode 5 of “Comedians At Home Self-Isolating Because Of Coronavirus” and in many ways today’s episode takes the shape of a fable. A fable about the true nature of wealth and happiness.
But, Eric, don’t fables have to contain non-human talking animals? I’m not sure mate, but it doesn’t matter anyway because today’s guest is an absolute non-human talking animal. That’s right, joining me is Horatio Gould, stand-up comedian and host of the podcast Boys Gone Wild.
“Just to clarify, I do class myself as a person,” Horatio said, reading the introduction I was typing right in front of him.
“But in many ways aren’t animals also people?” I replied.
“No,” he said. “Also, why do you keep using the phrase ‘in many ways’? What does that mean?”
“I’m not sure. I think it makes me sound clever, and in many ways that’s half the battle in the written-podcast game. Anyway, let’s talk business.”
With a name like Horatio, you may be forgiven for thinking “Who’s this posh twat?” and although that question is uncalled for, “posh” and “twat” are words that have followed Horatio around all his privileged life. Growing up somewhere near Brighton (I think that’s what he said) and living in a nice house with a fireplace and sofas bought at RRP rather than January-sale price, Horatio has never wanted for much, and this could be whatever the opposite of the phrase “a blessing in disguise” is.
“You see, Eric, people think being rich and owning full-price sofas is all hunky-dory.”
“And it’s not?”
“No. I get sad just like anyone else.”
This seemed strange to me. We’re good friends, but our childhoods were quite different. My background was one of deprivation and constant struggle. Sure, we had some luxuries in my family, but it always came at a huge cost. For example, we had Sky TV but never a full subscription. I remember one time we had to choose between having Sky Movies or Sky Sports and it was a trauma that no child should have to go through. It was like Sophie’s Choice, except sadly I don’t even know if that film-analogy holds up since we opted for Sky Sports.
“What do you get sad about? Did you have Sky Movies and Sky Sports?”
“Yes, both,” he said, “and in HD. Before it was the norm. Like when HD was really something special. But that’s not the point. The point is I get lonely and frustrated and anxious and depressed just like other people, but when you’re rich you’re not allowed to complain.”
“Yeah, I guess people think ‘what’s he complaining about, he’s got it easy’,” I added.
“But the problem with that is that implicitly it’s saying money buys happiness. Most people would say that happiness has nothing to do with money if you ask them, but the same people will then get annoyed when rich people say they’re struggling.”
“Hmm that’s interesting,” I said, “I suppose it is kind of a contradiction.”
“It’s been hard in comedy. Everyone else has got a thing, but when I’m on stage people just think ‘privileged white male’.”
Suddenly I saw the dark irony of Horatio’s situation. In comedy, he’s actually handicapped by his wealth, because people give him a harder time. It’s like a victimhood that’s spawned from his lack of victimhood. People like an underdog in society. Whereas I can use my working-class background to talk about not having Sky Movies, Horatio can’t go down that route. He can’t use the same crutch I use. In many ways Horatio is like Oliver Twist (the film was on BBC once), but instead of wanting more, he wants less.
Then it clicked. The image of Oliver Twist gave me an idea. There’s a way where having less and having more can work in tandem.
“Horatio, I have an idea. What kind of food do you have in your house?”
“Ermm… I dunno, Mum buys like lots of fresh vegetables and high-quality meat I guess.”
“Get rid of it.”
“I want you to get rid of all the food of any nutritional substance in your house and go out and buy the cheapest, nastiest shit you can find. I’m talking chicken wings, I’m talking oven chips, I’m talking chocolate cake. You’re gonna eat your way to becoming a more likeable comedian.”
“Everybody loves a fat guy, Horatio. At the moment everything in your life is perfect, you don’t have an angle. But if you were fat you wouldn’t need an angle, because you’d be so round. Do you understand?”
“I… I think so?”
“Trust me this is going to work; I want you to get yourself to Iceland ASAP.”
“Oh, our house there isn’t accessible at the moment because of the virus.”
“No,” I said. “Iceland is a shop. It sells frozen food.”
“Oh, right,” he said. “Are you sure this is ethical, Eric?”
“What do you mean?”
“Like purposely getting fat just to make myself more relatable on stage. It seems wrong to actively become part of a marginalised group.”
“But you’ll get more laughs, mate.”
“It’s almost appropriation, a further abuse of my privilege.”
His richness had come back to bite him yet again. Only a posh twat would say something like that.
Tune in next time!