The problems of being ‘known’ at a Comedy Club…. never, ever, ever heckle

Last night I went to the Chuckle Club a great comedy venue. It’s based at my old Uni, the LSE, right in the centre of London’s West End, but is primarily a non-student audience. Its big selling point is it has all the normal top acts on, at roughly the same cost to get in, but the bar serves drinks at student prices – a huge rarity for the West End (it’s well worth a visit).

Now before I explain what was said about me, I need to give you some background, so stick with me here. Last night was a special night as Gary Delaney was one of the three main acts. He and I were at University together; in fact when I was General Secretary of the Students Union (equivalent to President elsewhere) he was the Entertainments sabbatical and was in fact responsible for bringing the Chuckle Club to the LSE. We were always mates, so much so that when I decided to try my hand at doing stand-up the next year, Gary wrote for me, as frankly he’s one of the naturally funniest people I’ve met.

At Uni he was always the funny one, yet I was much more comfortable with a microphone, hence why I did the comedy and he wrote. My comedy ‘career’ was great fun, but by no means my calling, though it did teach me a huge amount. Yet in the end real talent will out, and Gary put his nerves behind him and has ended up a superb comic, still a touch more polish needed before he hits a big time TV audience I expect, but with the quality of his gag writing I doubt it will be long.

He’s been a pro for five years, but as he lives in Birmingham this has been my first time seeing him (see his website and he was superb. For comedy aficionados, he’s a cross between Milton Jones and Tim Vine – lots of very clever one liners.

During his act, he admitted he used to write jokes for Basil Brush, and then informed us when he started that official policy was “Basil has no opinion one way or the other on the issue of fox hunting!” and “all of Basil’s jokes must end with Boom Boom!??? At which point his response was “These two suicide bombers walked into a pub….”

Now feeling overly comfortable, when he first announced his work for Mr. Brush, I called out “Boom Boom”. This wasn’t too sensible. I’d already been named during Eugene Cheese, the compere’s, opening song (he runs the Club and thus I know him back from LSE days), and Gary quickly moved into a tale.

He first explained how he’d written a joke for me once that I didn’t think was funny, so I’d said to him “if you think it’s so good, why don’t you do it?” and that was the germ of his comedy career. Yet he then told how he’d been telling his mates about this and that “I wrote the joke for the guy who now does all the Money Saving TV programmes,” to which their reply was “what the black American guy????

You can imagine the reaction of the six friends I was with to this (even the MSG laughed), and Gary ended it with “you see Martin, I always win!” And to be fair, he always did!

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