June is here. The sun is shining (in my mind), it's my big 3.0 (stage age 24) and my first panel show airs this month too. I've been gigging for five years and I've loved almost every minute it. Comedy is a weird one. One minute you're performing to 12 people (8 of whom are comedians) in a room above a pub in Leicester Square with no microphone, no stage lights and a potted plant as a set piece and five years and a lot of miles later you can sell out your own show at The Lowry. Then, if you get super lucky, you get to do some TV.
I have had some of the most amazing opportunities in comedy - I've done comedy clubs all over the country, I've travelled abroad to tell my inappropriate stories, I've supported Katherine Ryan on her UK tour and I've slept with some audience members. Last year, I was fortunate enough to be asked to be on Celebrity Big Brother's Bit on the Side and that was an awesome opportunity. Giving hilarious opinions on failing celebrities.
This year, after honing my act and finding my voice, I was booked for ITV2's returning panel show Safeword. This was my first comedy panel show and it's exciting. What tends to happen to get these things is you have to convince the producers to come and see you do stand up, then if they like you, you tend to have a meeting and then if they think you could work on the show you are invited to do a runthrough. Panel show run-throughs are WAY better than auditioning for an acting role - because no one is making you pretend to be a tiger! But it is a reminder of those early gigs performing with 12 people (usually the production team) in a room.
Then, it's the waiting game. Did I get? Who else is up for it? What could I have done better?
Finding out that I'd gotten Safeword was incredible. I will never forget that phone call from my agent. I was in Primark in Manchester at the time and we were both crying on opposite sides of the phone for a really long time. When the security asks are you ok madam? You know it's time to leave - and grow some stubble.
I don't know how to describe the feeling. I imagine it's like finding out you're pregnant and actually happy about it.
I naturally went to buy a new suit and book in a haircut.
In the run up to the show, you are informed of whose team you will be on and who you will be roasting and then comes all the preparation. I just wrote and wrote until I couldn't find anything funny to say.
Then, you get pals to look at your script and say is it funny. You drop little lines in your stand up with no one knowing why all of a sudden you're slagging off a rugby player.
Then it's show day!
I was so excited the night before that I couldn't sleep. When I woke up I watched some shit TV, then went for a swim, sauna and steam then I came back looked at my script, had lunch and a pre-performance poo. There was no way I was going to do that at ITV towers.
They send a MOTHERFUCKING CAR to pick you up. I felt like all of Girls Aloud rolled into one northern, ginger, gay man and off we went. It was very exciting.
When I arrived, you are shown to a dressing room and are there to be briefed and go through your script. Ask any questions you might have like Can I say the C word? Luckily, my pal Dane was doing the same episode as me - so I was able to hang out with him before and relax.
The day goes soooooo quick. A lovely production runner brought me some lunch. It all felt very shi shi. You can take the girl out of Denton but she'll still order jacket potato with cheese and beans.
You are taken to make up and THANK CHRIST for that. My natural skin tone as a ginger is salmon and I really didn't need that. The make up room is where all the gossip happens and I got to catch up with my GBF Katherine Ryan and fellow gay comic and team captain David Morgan.(Shout out to Safeword producers for not being scared of having two gay men on the same show).
Then it's showtime. I don't want to tell you exactly what happens - you'll have to watch. My episode is on Thursday 23rd June at 10pm, ITV2.
After the record, I went backstage where my housemate was and my agents. We had some wine and I went home and CRIED because I'm a pussy and because for the first time since beginning comedy, I've been able to buy my lovely family a nice dinner and mum will get a birthday present this year that I didn't make!
Please watch so they ask me back next year.
What's next? Dick jokes on Live at the Apollo, I hope!