Bread and circuses?

April 28, 2011

Hello Everyone,

I write this on the day after Easter monday, when people here in Australia are still on holiday! Come on people, even Jesus was back at the workshop by now? I think because yesterday coincidentally fell on Anzac Day (another public holiday), the good people of Australia decided it was a rollover. Australians love their holidays and enjoy a healthy 38 days off per year. If you want to know what country has the most amount of time off work? It’s little Lithuania, which has some 41 days of paid holiday per year. In addition, if you are Jewish by faith, you may take an additional 13 days of holiday, making it one of the best religions for the work-shy. So, it seems the best position to be in for overall time off work would be a Jewish person in Lithuania, of course historically that has definitely not been the best position to be in. If you are interested, poor old Canadians have the least amount of paid holiday leave with just 10 days a year. I suppose with that much snow, you might as well be working, right? Am I right Canada?…Is this on?

The shows have been going extremely well, despite a torn ligament in my wrist and a pulled muscle in my shoulder sustained from a tennis match, but certainly not helped by a rather energetic ‘gay viking’ routine I do on stage every night. I could drop the routine, but somehow the pain makes the joke funnier..which may be true of most good comedy? I want to thank everyone who has come to one of the shows so far. There have been some very memorable nights. I particularly enjoyed doing a show in Toowoomba a while back because I have never been to a town that was in more need of a good laugh, and hopefully we had one? And on that note, I am deeply sorry that the show in Christchurch has fallen through. Please understand that I really wanted to do the show. Unfortunately, there simply was nowhere else available on that night and as you can see from the tour, every other night is booked solid.

Many of you wrote to me from Christchurch and suggested alternative venues, the strangest of which was someone’s house! I did once do a gig many years ago around a dinner table in a home while a bemused family ate their Christmas dinner. The father had thought booking a comedian might prevent those awkward silences traditionally associated with family get-togethers. He was wrong. All that happened was they all stared at me for 20 minutes rather than each other. His youngest kid got up and kicked me in the leg, then ran out crying. I got paid £40, and I left…crying. I would love to think that it’s a story they can look back on as family now and laugh at, but I’ve got a feeling it was never mentioned again. Anyway, rest assured, I will return to Christchurch at a later date and we shall all have a bloody good laugh. Until then, I sincerely wish you all the best in rebuilding your city, and your confidence.

After my tour of New Zealand, I will be embarking on a month-long tour of the UK which, to be honest, is selling like a Superbowl party in North Korea, so I can only hope that people are planning to book late? Otherwise I will be at the Birmingham Symphony Hall on June 9th, looking at more folded-up seats than an Ikea warehouse. I will then be heading over to Montreal for a 2-week stint at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. Many of you have asked about other Canadian dates? I can reveal that I will almost certainly be doing a full tour of Canada next spring, I will keep you up-to-date of with further details when I have them. I will try to make sure none of the dates fall on one of your 10 days off, I don’t want anything to get in the way of those.

I haven’t been home since January, so I am assuming my invitation to the upcoming Royal wedding is lying on the floor behind my front door in Edinburgh? Of course, I would have probably gracefully declined the offer anyway. I love the Royal family as much as the next man (if the next man is Oliver Cromwell), but I’m not a big fan of weddings, and my attempts at making small talk with the Queen have, in the past, only ever got me into trouble. I would loved to have thrown in a few lines for the best man speech though, which I am assuming Harry is doing? I hope he doesn’t wear the Nazi uniform? His father will go ballistic.. Not to mention Prince Charles!… Is this definitely on? But, good luck to them. They say that in times of financial strife, the masses will always yearn for ‘bread and circuses’, which I have always thought is a rather unusual phrase? I cannot imagine a guy coming home one night and saying to his family ‘I am afraid there’s been some cutbacks at work, and I have been laid off…..NOW! GET IN THE CAR! WE’RE OFF TO BIG TOP BILLY’S!.. Oh, and grab that loaf of Wonder White. Anyway, at an estimated cost of £80 million, this wedding ought to be one heck of a ‘circus’! I hope even Canada is getting a day off?

All The Best,