November 25th 2020
I didn’t feel like writing this today, I’ve not felt one hundred percent, and I have a headache that just won’t go away. But at the back of my mind is something Dad told me years ago. We are professionals and professionals get up and work every day. So here I am. Professionals also get paid so in that sense I am only really a semi pro writer at the moment.
I am a professional comedian though and that is something to be proud of. During the darkest time for me, after Dads passing I still did the gigs that were in the diary. There was no way I wasn’t going to fulfill these engagements.
I wrote a chapter in the book about my Dad that’s called That Day. The day he passed and the calls I had to make that day to some serious legends of British comedy.
I remember calling Tarby, Mr Jimmy Tarbuck, Dad wrote for him on many ‘Live From…’ shows and he was saddened to hear the news. Not long after I rang him he called back. “Young Adams, are you gigging?”
“Yes, sir, I have one tomorrow and another on Wednesday. ”
“Good lad, don’t cancel them. Do you talk about your Dad in the show?”
“Yep. A lot! Two routines. Why?”
“Don’t Paul, not this week, it’ll be too tough.”
Good advice and not the first time that day I had heard it. Jeff Stevenson also said the same thing. Saying “you won’t get through it.”
A day or so later is an altogether different twenty four hours. I was driving down to Sinah Warren to do my first stand up show without Dad. Not for a second do I think about cancelling. Of course, if Mum had asked me to I would have, but she wouldn’t, as she is Mum after all and knows exactly how important this first show is. I have to do this and I have to do it on my own. A couple of friends offer to drive me but nope, gotta do this on my own.
I drive onto Hayling Island. 20 years earlier Dad and Mum took the same drive with me in the back, as I headed to Warners Lakeside resort to begin my job as an entertainer. I drive past slowly and finally reach Sinah. I am sitting backstage with Donna the entertainment manager and we just talk about the usual, the sound guy comes in and checks what I need, the usual. No one knows, if they did they would react differently, I don’t want that, this is just another gig. Right?
With the words of Tarby and Jeff in my head I have already worked out a show without those two ‘Dad’ routines. And on I go and my first gag gets a laugh, I knew it would, I have been doing it for years, it’s a goody and that is why I open with it. The next three lines get the response they’re meant to, then I start joke number five, “you know my Dad gave me some advice once…”
Damn it. I forgot about this one. It’s a ‘Dad’ joke but not in any routine and I had completely neglected to drop it. Worse though, I am now half way through it. I can’t just stop, I have to do the tag. I finish the gag and listen to the big laugh it usually gets and think, ‘mmm, that wasn’t so bad.’ Typically me I guess, but I change the order and immediately bring back ‘Dad’ routine number one. I relish talking about my Dad in the present tense, has to be in the present tense, if it wasn’t it would change the natural response of the crowd. That routine complete I consider ‘Dad’ routine number two but that would not have made any sense right there and then, so I wait until it’s right then I do it. Again, I find myself thinking ‘wow, that went well, that wasn’t hard at all.’ I finish with the last joke you ever wrote for me. It is a gag about death too, in a roundabout way. Another laugh. I had done it, got through all my jokes and bits about you and even finished off with the last joke you’d written me, which by the way I never bought him a CD for.
I am not religious, not one bit, but I do remember looking up ever so briefly. Are you up there? Somewhere, making sure we are all OK?
You want to know the last joke Dad wrote for me, don’t you? Of course you do. It’s weird, I think I am an awful joke teller. I hear jokes all the time as you can probably imagine. If someone is brave enough to tell me a joke I will always listen, I will never tag it, finish the joke before the teller reaches the natural conclusion, I’ll not even admit to knowing the joke if asked. How brave must someone be to tell a professional comedian, of any standing, a joke? Ask me to tell you any joke that’s in my act out loud, out of context, in front of an audience of one and you will instantly be left standing there thinking, ‘he makes money doing this?’ Even in text I’ll get this wrong. This isn’t its natural environment. Written on a page it is never going to be as good as it is when told, live, to an audience in its rightful spot in my show.
Here it is…‘Dad and I drove past a building where a flag was flying at half mast. Dad asked a woman walking across the car park “Who died?” She said “The guy pulling it to the top!” ’
The advice gag was another one of yours, about a father offering a tip to his about-to-be-wed son. “Son, remember this day, cherish this day, one day you’ll look back on this day as the happiest day of your life…”
“But Dad, the wedding isn’t until tomorrow…”
Ha-ha, I just laughed out loud as I typed it. And I have heard it.
Shots of Coffee: 0 (I’ve got a headache)
Reading: Nothing (My eyes hurt)
Listened to: Radio X (On a low volume)
YouTube Tip: Headaches