Originally not aired on 26/12/22
Right, now that’s out the way, I can get back to writing.
Christmas is the worst. You go back to your hometown, see people you used to know, and they tell you about their boring lives. They corner you on Christmas Eve. They’re a biomedical scientist now. They’ve bought a house. They’ve just discovered the cure for cancer. Blah blah blah.
Then you have Christmas Dinner with your family, and they ask you about your life.
How’s the comedy going? When are you going to start making money from it?
Worst of all, on Christmas Day, there are no comedy gigs. The only gift I wanted yesterday was the gift of getting on a train, rocking up at a sparsely populated comedy venue and telling my jokes to a largely indifferent audience.
That’s what I live for. If you’re not being funny, or not at least trying to be, then what’s the point?
That’s why I’m glad it’s over and I can get on with some comedy content, specifically another episode of my unrecorded podcast, “Comedians Outside Edinburgh Getting Eggnog Lattes.”
One problem with doing an unrecorded podcast that offers no exposure whatsoever is you start to find it difficult to get guests. Especially on Boxing Day, when people are still enjoying the festivities of updating loved ones on their careers.
Luckily, my previous guest, Sarah Roberts, was able to help set me up with someone to interview. She told me her friend Carla Gordon was aware of the show, and still at a low enough rung on the comedy ladder for doing this to be worth her while. Excellent.
I’ve never been set-up with someone for an interview before. I was nervous. It felt a bit like a blind date. Will she like me? Maybe we’ll fall in love.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Carla said, shaking my hand firmly before we sat down to enjoy our delicious eggnog lattes.
“Thanks for agreeing to do this,” I said.
“That’s okay,” she replied. “I analysed the differentials in our respective followings, particularly taking into account demographics, and calculated it would be strategically beneficial for me to be exposed to your audience.”
“Exposed to my audience? This isn’t that kind of show,” I joked, playing with the double meaning of the word exposed.
She stared back at me in silence.
Carla, who just turned 30 and probably has Scottish heritage, started performing comedy in 2019. Shortly afterwards, the pandemic meant stand-up wasn’t an option for a while. Something a lot of us funny bastards found difficult.
“Was it tough for you not being allowed to do it so soon after starting?”
“No,” she said. “I took the time to do an online course in computer programming to further diversify my skillset and consolidate my position as an asset to employers.”
As well as being a comedian, Carla also has what’s known as a “real job”, working for ITV in some role I was too bored to catch the details of.
“I know you have another job,” I said, “but I’m guessing comedy’s the dream?”
“Not really, I just wanted to develop my public speaking, and add something eye catching to the hobbies and interests’ section of my cv.”
Bah humbug, this was Christmas all over again. I wondered if I could make the conversation a bit more light-hearted.
“Anyway,” I said. “I was thinking before that this is a bit like a blind date, because we don’t know each other.”
“I suppose you could say that.”
“Err… well… if you were on a date, what would your ideal man be like?” I asked.
“Hopefully he earns above the national median salary, for a start,” she said. “Then it would be a case of seeing whether our work schedules conflicted.”
“Right, and what about funny? He’d have to be funny, right?”
I was taken aback. Surely, everyone wants to go out with someone who’s funny. Especially people who date men, a gender that brings nothing else to the table. We’re ugly, weird creatures, what else do we have?
“You know, Eric,” Carla said, “there’s more to life than being funny. And there’s more to a relationship. There’s gardening. There’s the pooling together of assets. There’s finding a joint savings account with excellent interest rates.”
Suddenly I was struck with a vision. It was the future. Christmas Day, I was alone, at the dinner table cracking jokes to nobody. So obsessed with funny that everyone had abandoned me. If I didn’t change my ways, that’s how I’d end up.
Carla was like The Ghost of Tenuous Christmas Parodies that had been sent to warn me. There is more to life than being funny. More than writing. More than content.
“Marry me Carla,” I blurted out.
“Marry me. I don’t want this life anymore. I want what you have. I want a pension and a stocks and shares ISA and a financial advisor and a rice cooker. I want to be an adult. I want a perfect nuclear family -- 2.5 kids and a dog that has a keen interest in cryptocurrencies. I want it all. Let’s do it. What do you say?”
Carla slapped me in the face and left.
It didn’t matter, I knew my life had changed for good. I left skipping down the street, asking people if they’ve had any recent bereavements, how much their earnings have increased this year when adjusted for inflation, how they’re protecting their employability from the looming threat of automation.
Anyway, I’ve got to go now. I’m headed to the Cratchit’s to surprise Tiny Tim with the biggest NFT money can buy.
A true Christmas miracle.
See you next time! X
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