Weekly column: Tom Taylor on the perils of a stand-up

Tom Taylor.
Tom Taylor.

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

A couple of columns ago I declared that I had made it as a comedian after receiving my first hate tweet from a particularly angry Scunthorpian.

Consolidating my ‘making of it’, two things happened to me at a recent gig.

I was offered a hotel room by a promoter who books a particularly remote gig in almost-Scotland.

I had accepted the gig having seen the Lancaster postcode. Postcodes can be misleading. Lesson learnt.

I found the prospect of ‘offered accommodation’ very exciting - definitely something I could tick off my comedian’s checklist if I had such a thing - even when the promoter revealed he would knock the cost of my room off my fee.

Oh wait, could I give him £10 and he would use my fee to make up the rest?

Still, I had been offered accommodation so as to facilitate my job (very loosely termed).

Not only that but it was accommodation with a keycard. Analogue keys are sad. The future is plastic.

Obviously, the future does not work. As is the way with, perhaps, 60 per cent of hotel keycards, I was denied access to the bed my performance and £10 of my own money had worked so hard to obtain.

I ran through my repertoire of keycard swipes: quick swipe, slow swipe, reverse swipe, bottom-to-top swipe, double swipe, half-swipe-and-pause swipe and was fast approaching the firm swipe of my right boot when a porter sloped up to me and asked whether there was an issue.

I replied that there was no problem and that I just fancied spending the night in the corridor.

I’m not too restless a sleeper so the motion sensor lights shouldn’t bother me too much. It’s nice to change it up sometimes, no? Beds are so predictable.

Obviously I said all this with my eyes.

My mouth, the wimp that it is, went with: “I can’t get into my room. Sorry.”

Why was I apologising? Why was I so painfully English? The same Englishness that makes me apologise when someone walks into me on the pavement because they’re texting and I haven’t yet learnt to dissipate.

The porter tried the keycard again in case I’d given up after just one attempt. Or just been overwhelmed by the enormity of the task and not managed a single swipe.

However, the porter’s Midas touch deserted him on this occasion and I was told to return to reception which was very much the next thing on my to do list.

On reaching reception I bumped into the headliner who was collecting his rectangle of useless plastic and a scattering of audience members who had drifted out of the function room.

It was one of the scattering who instigated the following conversation:

“It’s Tom isn’t it? I liked your stuff.”

“It is. That’s very kind, thank you.”

“Could you get in on this photo?”

“Sure. Where do you want me to stand?”

“Well, if you stand by the potted plant that should give you enough room to get me and the headliner in.”


Pride definitely comes before taking your colleague’s photo.

l Sitting Room Comedy Club returns to the St George Hotel, Harrogate on Wednesday, May 14 with a triple headline special featuring TV regulars Zoe Lyons, Rob Rouse and Gary Delaney plus Katie Mulgrew as compère.

Tom Taylor tweets at @tomtails.