Tom Taylor’s column: A near-disaster in Lake District!


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

Though they can be misleading, and sometimes dubiously acquired, appearances on the old telly box are a comedian’s star on the McDonald’s staff badge that is the comedy circuit.

Chew on that extended metaphor of a first sentence.

In many cases a Have I Got News for You here or a 8 Out of 10 Cats there affirms the quality of a show and helps a promoter shift tickets.

A minute or so of airtime on Mock the Week means we can write ‘star of Mock the Week’ on the Facebook event page.

My favourite is when a poster announces the appearance of ‘Star of Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow’.

Are you Michael McIntyre? No.

Do you know who is the star of Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow? Michael McIntyre.

So much so that he’s even managed to sneak his name into the title. It’s subtle but if you look hard enough it’s there.

From a comedian’s perspective, those couple of minutes between Sir Stephen of Fry’s articulated intellect and Alan’s buffoonery means more gigs which means the continued presence of food on the table and, perhaps, a new space hopper for the little un.

For my own part, I very nearly obtained my first TV credit last bank holiday weekend.

I was minibreaking with my girlfriend (who has requested/acquired by force the pseudonym Nancy) in a cottage near Kirkby Lonsdale.

Rather quaintly, the bedroom of our purpose built barn conversion lookalike was on a balcony over the lounge-kitchen-diner which provided the fridge with a wonderful opportunity to serenade us with his nocturnal murmurs.

Additionally, the lounge windows were curtainless which helped achieve the illusion that we were sleeping in a incredibly well-lit television kitchen.

On the Sunday we decided to climb Catbells in search of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. Wikipedia dismissed Catbells as a modest hill so, as such, I decided to wear my best trousers.

We started the ascent in good spirits and decided to ignore the direct path to the summit in favour of the gently meandering one.

After gently meandering for some time, including some long stretches of downhill, we regretted not taking the direct path.

It was, perhaps, this that led to my eagerness when I came across another path which boasted a direct route to Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’s hilltop residence.

I convinced Nancy it would take ten minutes to reach the top. I was not lying, I was certain it would only take ten minutes.

I started the climb first, on all twos, Nancy following on all fours.

Eight minutes later we breaked on a grassy ledge and I admitted to a slip-up on the ETA.

We then looked down and wondered aloud why the portion of hill we had just climbed now appeared to be a sheer mountain face.

We agreed it would be too dangerous to return, much safer to keep climbing.

Taking the lead again, I was the first to notice the change in terrain; steeper with the grass replaced by loose soil and rocks which, in turn, I kicked into Nancy’s face. Apropos of nothing, I knew I was going to die.

Bum shuffling down the scree and damp grass was a terrifying prospect and, more importantly, would destroy my best/only pair of trousers.


Yes! There’s still phone signal up here. It’s only a modest hill after all. And I can see it now. In lights.

Tom Taylor. Star of Helicopter Heroes.

l Following a star studded line-up in May, Sitting Room Comedy Club returns next Wednesday, June 11 with another quartet of the country’s finest comedians.

TV regular (Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Mock the Week, Dave’s One Night Stand, Have I Got News for You, Never Mind the Buzzcocks) and Frank Skinner’s Absolute Radio co-presenter Alun Cochrane closes the show.

Additionally, the undercard boasts the impressive talents of Tom Wrigglesworth (Russell Howard’s Good News, The Now Show, The News Quiz), Tommy Rowson (So You Think You’re Funny? winner) plus the popular Scott Bennett as compère.

Tickets and more information are available at

l Tom Taylor tweets at @tomtails