I'm shattered. Exhausted. Spent. Yet in spite of that, here I am slaving away again, typing my fingers down to the bone in order to entertain you, the selective masses of the Pulitzer Prize winning Huffington Post. As if there isn't anything better I could be doing with my precious and well-earned spare time.
How many of you actually read me, I wonder? One side of my brain imagines thousands of you, but the opposite side of my brain - the side of suffering and perpetual rejection - believes it's roughly about half a dozen people and a perplexed American or two who came here in the hope that this is a piece written by the Mormon preacher who shares the same name as I. Sorry, Mormons. Better get yourself back to Google, sharpish, and type the word 'preacher' in front of my name. Don't bother to read on. You'll find no words of divine revelation round here.
I find myself writing from Cape Town. As you do. For any Americans still reading this accidentally, it's a city in South Africa, which is a country located right at the bottom of this enormous continent. Literally, it's the end of the earth. I once knew a girl who didn't know where anywhere was in the world. Not a clue. I asked her if she knew where Africa was and she answered "is it the orange one on a map?"
I'm here to perform character comedy for the annual comedy festival at the Baxter Concert Hall in the grounds of the University of Cape Town. I'm on with some very well known South African comics, a brilliant Canadian clown and one or two of my comrades from the UK.
What a beautiful little pocket of the planet this place has turned out to be. Miles of beaches, rugged mountains, splendid sunsets, and warm, welcoming, good-humoured people. Thankfully the kitchens of Cape Town's restaurants are full of the sort of people who know how to cook, and cook well. Fresh seafood almost daily. I can't get enough of the stuff. What's not to love about this place?
But there's something about flying to the winter that I find unsettling. Cape Town is only an hour ahead of London but it's the change in hemisphere which disturbs my brain. It's all very well flying across to somewhere, but flying straight down to somewhere, to a winter from a summer no less, is too much to get my head around. To be honest for the first couple of days I genuinely felt as though all the blood had rushed upward to my head. I'm being held upside down by Mother Nature.
On the flight out here we entered a bit of hardcore turbulence. A little voice whispered into my ear at one point that it would be a very good idea to summon a member of the cabin crew to pour me a large shot of whisky, but I decided against it since I hadn't drank anything for several months. What would the effects of a sudden shot of alcohol - downed in one - be like after all this time? Akin to a psychedelic trip, I reckon. Imagine. All sorts of visuals would be going on while Mother Nature continued to throw the aircraft around in the skies like a kitten playing with a ball of string. I would probably begin to scream, setting off a domino effect of terror and panic among my fellow passengers. Or the effects of the alcohol would have me howling with laughter and dribbling at the absurdity of it all. Hours later I would wake up as we were coming into land. Refreshed, but probably handcuffed. Best stay away from that double whisky, eh?
The deeply revered and much loved Archbishop Desmond Tutu came along to see our show last week, to raise cash for his charitable foundation. Now my mother, if she were alive, would have loved that. She'd have been very proud of the fact that I performed in front of Archbishop Tutu. But if she'd have had even a whiff that I was doing it as Wilfredo - my ill-mannered alter-ego whom she detested - she would've been distraught. A mother raises her child to be good mannered and to dress well, yet not only does he grow up and invent a stage character the exact opposite of what she's nurtured, he then performs it in front of a Nobel Prize winner.
Mormons: are you lot still here? Get a load of that. Wilfredo and Desmond Tutu in the very same room. Who said there'd be no words of divine revelation around here?
Me. I did.
Matt Roper appears in the Jive Cape Town Funny Festival at the Baxter Theatre nightly until July 7th.
Support the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation at www.tutu.org.za/.Suggest a correction