The world of Tom Taylor, promoter of Harrogate’s Sitting Room comedy club and finalist in So You Think You’re Funny contest at Edinburgh Fringe 2013
On Sunday I travelled to Didsbury Cricket Club to perform at their monthly comedy night. As the first day of the county cricket season I thought the gig and the venue tied together rather nicely and, to further continue the theme, it rained. Considerably.
For a lengthy stretch my Sat Nav - so keen and enthusiastic to skipper my journeys on clear, sunny days – could no longer discern what was a somewhat soggy M62 and what was an actual expanse of water, sending my navigation arrow cursor bobbing off into Scammonden Reservoir like a vessel captained by a particularly eager, if short sighted, Francesco Schettino.
Thus far, in my comedy ‘career’, I have played five sporting venues and it has rained impressively on every occasion. In brief, they comprise:
Widnes: snooker but with a penchant for wrestling and general brawling
High Green, Sheffield: football, loosely termed, ‘kicking’ would be a more accurate description (the presence of a ball is optional)
Ignoring snooker in Widnes for a minute, where the cues were very much multipurpose (I jest, Widnes was lovely and remains one of the favourite gigs I’ve played), rugby crowds seem the nicest to play, followed by cricket, followed by the insect house at London Zoo, followed by genuinely anywhere, followed by football.
I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about that football gig. I had agreed to do it, for free, as it was advertised as a charity show and I had a few new bits I was keen to try out in a nice supportive environment. On arriving at the clubhouse I had the following conversation with the organiser:
Me: “What charity are we supporting tonight?”
Organiser: “We’re raising money for the football team.”
Me: “Oh, wow, for the football team. Are they blind? I’ve watched some blind cricket and it’s amazing, really-
Organiser: “No. It’s for a minibus so the lads can drink on away fixtures.”
Me: “Terrific. A worthy cause.”
Conversely and/or similarly, on arriving at the rugby club at 8pm, the organiser greeted me with a cheery, “The 1st XV were relegated today. We’re going to hurry through the comedy because the lads will start getting naked at about 10.”
By 9pm I was starting to worry as the comedy hadn’t started and we only had another 60 minutes till pants-down. My worry, however, was misplaced as they were a delight. You can certainly laugh when you’ve got a 30 inch neck.
Cricket wise, my abiding showbiz memories are rain and unusual green rooms (I attach a photo of Sunday’s…)
However, that photo, rain and showbiz do remind me of the story about Tommy Steele when he starred in Singin’ in the Rain. The crew hated Tommy to such an extent that they used to relieve themselves in the rain machine before every performance. A golden finale.
l Sitting Room Comedy Club returns to the St George Hotel, Harrogate on Wednesday, May 14 with three of the comedy circuit’s best and most in demand headliners, Zoe Lyons, Rob Rouse and Gary Delaney plus Katie Mulgrew as compère.
Tom Taylor tweets at @tomtails.