In our new play KINGMAKER, also set for Edinburgh this year, our lead character is this time called Max Newman (played by Alan Cox), a bumbling, charismatic former Tory Mayor of London who seizes his opportunity to stand for the leadership of the Conservative party and become prime minister. Sound familiar?
Another month, another comedian goes out to Africa... Thus far I respond to human suffering with my head not heart. I'm a professional and cynical observer of life after all, aren't I? Well I've brought my wife and daughter as human shields - they can shed tears for me. We're escorted by the director of a small charity, and a photographer.
I was not a 'natural beauty' per se. Ahem. I was... gawky. I had pointy teeth at the front. I was whooping cough skinny. I had a big nose for my age. It's a shame it doesn't work for noses the same way it works for IQs. "My daughter has such a big IQ for her age." "Well my daughter has an enormous nose!" *awkward slow nodding.*
I cannot actually remember where this particular bit of advice began and believe it to be deep rooted in my childhood somewhere. It is very simple - 'improvise your way through life'. I remember my late father saying things like 'You hum it and I'll sing it' when I came to him with a challenge. This was his way of reiterating the art of improvisation and no task was ever too large.
Having been one of the lucky ones to snap up a ticket for the opening night of Monty Python's live comeback show yesterday, I still have Always Look on the Bright Side of Life stuck in my head. But just when I thought that penis-shaped swirly canons expelling a stream of frothy bubbles all over the audience was as Pythonish as you could go, it got even better.
It was an arresting image - to see the faces of our comedy elite with the coffin of such an iconic figure. An unintended tableau of England's great and talented comedy pioneers - who have shaped the 80s. And it was weird seeing people you know a bit - only a bit mind - with the coffin of someone who means a lot.