November 13th 2020
I had a great call yesterday with Kristian Grey, not that one. When I found out that the Grey part of Krisitans’ name was in fact a stage name I felt obliged to point out that a better known, and frankly, better looking Christian Grey was already on peoples radar but he was quick to tell me
“His is spelt differently!”
“Not when you say it out loud.” I pointed out.
The Kristian Grey I know has a roomful of totally different tricks. He is a brilliant young comedy magician who I worked with for the first, and now I think about it, only time back in 2016. We bonded over a love of television shows and his complete lack of respect for me and my pile of films. While loading a TV series onto my laptop via a USB stick he asked if I had anything he could have, sure and I pointed to a pile of DVDs on the table. From then on he has called me “Grandpa” with, I feel, a contemptuous tone. Laughing at my pile of DVDs and then just looking confused at a larger pile of actual books he questions why I carry all this extra weight around. This from a guy who lugs two cases and a trunk filled with everything from a six foot raccoon puppet to a full-sized gumball machine from continent to continent. In fact, as soon as I have finished spell checking this diary entry I am going to write Kristian the best joke ever that involves an actual kitchen sink as a prop so that he can boast that he has everything in his luggage INCLUDING….
I mock Kristian because I like him. As my niece will tell you, being teased is a compliment. It takes time to make fun of someone, being nice is just too damn easy. I came home from a tour years ago, Dad, sensing I was a little down ask how it was going.
“Fine Dad, but the crew do nothing but poke fun at me.”
“Brilliant” exclaimed my Dad “good job son” and the lesson was learned.
Grandpa is perhaps too much but at the same time I am twenty years older than Kristian that is seven thousand, three hundred and fifty days more experience. And Kristian is keen to learn.
I had an email from him once.
‘I died on my arse last night!’ He wrote,
‘Don’t worry about it…’ I wrote in my reply. As is our business we were both in the port of Piraeus, Greece the following weekend on different ships. We met, I showed him where the good coffee was and I bought him lunch. We chatted a lot, we wandered and I believe we even went clothes shopping. A couple of days later he sent me another email.
‘I got a standing ovation last night!’
To which I replied. ‘Don’t worry about it!’
A day later he sent me a message. ‘I get it now!’
That is maybe the best thing about getting older, about reaching a milestone of thirty years trying to make complete strangers laugh out loud, without realising it I am now one of the older heads, yet here I am still talking to those more experienced and with more knowledge than I trying to grab every last ounce for myself. You can never stop learning, and not just in the show biz world I find myself trying to escape.
I was chatting to brilliant comedian Tucker, we have been around perhaps the same amount of time and he has added a successful agent to his resume. We talk two or three times a year and our paths cross often. We always laugh. Even when he called me last year and upon hearing my cheery tone said
“You’ve not heard? Are you sitting down?”
I was at Lakeside Holiday resort that day, I was appearing there for Warners, I love this place as I started my career there in March of 1990 so whenever I am scheduled to do a show here I feel a circle completing.
“Paul James passed away!” Continued Tucker, and I sat on the bumper of my car and there was just silence, neither one of us spoke a word for a couple of minutes. Shocked. Tucker and I loved Paul James, if you ask me my favourite top five comedians of all time they change, often, however, Paul was always among them. As Bluecoats, Tucker and I would watch Paul James tear rooms apart, he was effortless and charming and always had a nugget of gold to pass on to us. It was a sad sad day.
Only recently Tucker and I had been chatting about the newer generation of comedians coming through and how many of them seemed to already have the answers, how many wouldn’t need to listen, wouldn’t want to listen but the handful that did we would happily talk with for hours.
“When did we become the experienced guys?” One of us said to the other. We don’t feel like the older generation and we most certainly don’t look like the experienced guys but here we find ourselves in the category of ‘veteran’.
Oh, and the kicker is, realising how old Paul James was when he passed and knowing the year we spent watching him work was 1991 it turns out we are older now than he was then!
Grandpa, ok, fine, I’ll take that.
Shots of Coffee: 6, yes, I sleep fine thank you.
Reading: Nothing yet this morning but now I have finished todays’ entry I will be picking up Diaries Of A Bookseller by Shaun Bythall
Listened to: Tower Of Power, Live
YouTube Tip: Kristian Grey, not THAT one.
Word Count: 1,644