Originally not aired on ??/??/????
Tell Tiny Tim to get a big Turkey, tell Bob Geldof to remind Africa, and tell all your friends to get excited, because Christmas is here and we all know that means a brand-new series of the unrecorded podcast, “Comedians Outside Edinburgh Getting Gingerbread Lattes”.
Also, while we’re telling people things, can you tell Josh Harris he’s an absolute bellend for acting like he’s my best mate, but then still going out with Jody Cartwright in year 9 despite the fact he knew I fancied her. The rat.
Anyway, back to the show…
Some would call it a Christmas miracle, some would call it one man’s attempt to overcome his seasonal depression (a seasonal depression that covers all 4 seasons, to be honest), but one thing we can all agree on is that there’s only one written podcast on the planet that people should be tuning into over the next week, and that’s this one. This is the podcast that doesn’t mind if you’ve been naughty OR nice – as long as you have basic literacy skills, you can enjoy it.
And who better to join me for the series premiere than Birmingham’s own Richard Dadd?
A better comic with a bigger profile, you say? Maybe. But what Richard lacks in talent and fame, he more than makes up for in living geographically close to me. From Birmingham’s Yardley area, it took Richard just 20 mins to get to the Costa in Kings Heath where this podcast wasn’t recorded.
“Thanks for coming, Richard. That was impressively quick.”
“Thanks for asking me, Eric. I’m really excited to do it.”
I burst out laughing. For some context, Richard is a character comic, which means instead of nurturing his own personality into something that’s interesting and funny, he takes what some would call a short-cut by putting on a silly outfit and pretending to be someone else. When he said, “I’m really excited to do it,” I already knew I was falling victim to another one of his little character skits.
“Hahaha, great stuff, Richard.”
“What do you mean?”
Trying to resist playing into his hands, I moved swiftly on. I had an interview to do, after all.
Richard has recently shot to midlands fame with his latest character, “The Reverend”, a Vicar that details the ways in which God used his omnipotence to create comedy. Fittingly, it’s a character that kills harder than the Romans who brutally murdered our saviour Jesus Christ all those years ago.
“I’m still gutted about that, you know, Richard.”
Not knowing how to respond, Richard sat there in solemn silence.
“Anyway,” I said. “We’re here to celebrate the birth rather than the death of Jesus. How do you think his 33 years on this planet changed comedy?”
“Well, I mean… what kind of question is that?”
I sighed. I was sick of all these characters Richard was playing. First it was Guy Who Says He’s Really Excited To Be On The Show, then it was Guy Who Says ‘What Do You Mean?’ and now it was Guy Who Questions The Unrecorded Podcast Host’s Interview Technique. When was it gonna end?
“Can you just be yourself for a second, Richard? I’m trying to do an interview here.”
“I am being myself, Eric.”
“Oh, here we go again,” I said, raising my eyebrows.
“I guess what I wanted to talk to you about is how much comedy has been helping me recently.”
“Okay go on then,” I said, tiring of this charade. “How has comedy been helping you?”
“Well,” he said, “last year I was living in London, and to be quite honest, I felt isolated and pretty depressed.”
I sat up. I wasn’t sure what he was doing with this latest character, but he’d got my interest.
“Then I moved back to Birmingham,” he continued, “and I started doing comedy, and well, it’s… it’s been transformative.”
“In what way?”
“The depression went away. When I started gigging, it was like a cloud had lifted. I felt part of something, maybe for the first time in my life… and… and…”
He started to well up.
“Sorry, Eric, I’m getting emotional.”
“It’s okay, Richard. You’ve made me realise something today.”
As he dried his tears with one of Costa’s 100% recyclable napkins, I thought to myself: what a performance. This might be my favourite character Richard’s ever done. Sure, it would’ve been nice to have met the real Richard, but what he said resonated with me. I felt the same as the fictional entity in front of me: before doing comedy, I was pretty lonely, but then all of a sudden I was in a community of like-minded people, and I was creating art that meant something to me.
And when you think about it, if it gets the message across, what’s wrong with Richard playing a character. Do we not all play characters to some extent? Are we not all wearing silly outfits and pretending to be someone else? The answer to these questions is no. But it works for Richard, and his characters have taught me a lot about myself.
I finished my delicious gingerbread latter and stood up.
“Thank you, Richard” I said, shaking his hand. “I’d love to talk to you for real sometime.”
Tune in tomorrow!