Return to comedy

After work today I went with an old friend from Hong Kong (and now a co-worker) to a comedy night in Santa Clara. Even getting there was the stuff of hilarity; there are identical Hilton Garden Inns up and down Palo Alto, and instead of being picked up outside the one I stayed in, we had a fifteen minute argument on the phone about whether I was standing in the entrance or not.
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Irresponsible superheroes

On the way home from the track, we fell to reminiscing about TV programmes of the 80s; classics like Air Wolf, Street Hawk and Manimal, that bizarre classic where through the simple power of heavy breathing, a man could transform himself into any animal he chose. Although mostly he chose to be a bird, possibly for budgetary reasons.

My friend has never heard of Automan though. A legitimate oddity, where the eponymous hero could obtain superpowers like turning into a cat or a plane or just having a Tron-like suit by simply …sticking his fingers into an electrical socket. Could anything top that for terrible examples to give children?

Either Prescription Medicine Man, who gets special powers if he can gobble up all the pills he can find around the house. Or his sidekick, Bleach Boy, imbued with prodigious strength whenever he drinks drain cleaner. Bag-of-skag-man and his filthy works. Or the zany duo that is Derek Paedo and Keith Hitler, complete with a theme song with lyrics like “He’s a very funny man, just don’t get in his van”… When you’re formulating a song for a non-existent children’s TV programme about a couple of sex offenders, you have to wonder if your life has taken a wrong turn somewhere.

Otherwise, a normalish day. I went to the dentist who told me I have four cavities. I went to the track and did laps at 1:38 until I almost puked, so perhaps I’m not as slow as I thought I was. I watched another epic motorcycle race. And I had to give La Serpiente a cuddle until she fell asleep, and I sat there in the dark thinking about how lucky I am to have such wonderful kids.

Comedy at the Fullerton

One of my friends was performing in a comedy night at the Fullerton Hotel, and I hadn’t seen him for over a year, and he put me on the guest list, so how could I refuse?

The show was in the Post Box bar, which was almost as far removed from a suitable venue for comedy as you can get. There were seats for about half the audience, so the rest were left standing up. There’s two enormous pillars in the bar, blocking most sight lines to the stage, so if you already not in a relaxed state of mind and ready to enjoy yourself, you’d find it even harder to concentrate on a comedian when you couldn’t see them.
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Fast on the draw

At last night’s Al Murray show, at one point he got out a camera and took a photo of the crowd – I suppose that counts as cultural sensitivity, as that’s what every single person in Singapore does all the time. Well, almost.

As I was in the third row from the front next to my wife, we were both visible, just above the gleaming dome of Al Murray’s head, I was ecstatic to see myself in a Famous Person’s tweet, so I immediately retweeted it. (My Twitter timeline is a dull graveyard of notifications that I’ve updated my blog and precious little else – perhaps I should get round to cleaning it out at some point. But what person ever does a tidy up of their Twitter timeline? Even aside from the alliteration, that seems a demented idea.

This is what separates the professionals from the amateurs. Within five minutes of me retweeting it, Al Murray had responded to me, asking if I was still counting adverts. Not only was he capable of spotting every mention of him on the intenet, he could also remember the particular pointless conversation he’d had with me the night before, in amongst all the financiers and digger truck drivers.

Or perhaps they all have highly trained staff. Or robots. Who’s to say?

Al Murray in Singapore

This evening, the wife and I abandoned the kids to our babysitter and went to the NUS Cultural Centre, to see Al Murray. I can’t think of a more inappropriate place to watch a strange facsimile of an irate Little Englander pub landlord ranting away, than in the terribly-clean and polite surroundings of the Cultural Centre. Surely we should have been in some squalid room with sticky floors and fading flock wallpaper? Never mind…
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Dylan Moran

We went to see Dylan Moran tonight; Singapore was the last leg of a long tour for him. Maybe it showed; things were rambling and unstructured, but that’s what you’d expect anyway.

There were some great gems: an altercation with a hipster barista; the description of people into extreme sports as “a waste of rope” and pet shops as a place to buy things that will surely due just a few of the highlights. There were parts at the start of the second half that shaded into cliche, and there wasn’t as accomplished Singaporean material as Bill Bailey, his Black Books alumnus, managed in a similar set last year.
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Bill Bailey – Limboland

This evening I had my first birthday present of the year, two weeks early: tickets to go see Bill Bailey perform at the NUS Cultural Centre. These were ludicrously expensive; $150 each, although we were in the second-to-front row. It was something we didn’t feel too much guilt over, because I’d been given $250 of vouchers for a cultural event as my leaving present from Expedia, but it still felt like a lot.
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