Tag Archives: Gary Delaney

Blog Off

Warning: This blog contains a number of justifications for hypocrisy.

I’ve had this blog for ages, but only really updated it sporadically because to be perfectly honest, and despite the fact that I have chosen to earn my living standing in front of strangers, demanding their attention and craving their applause, there is something that makes me view attention seeking as somewhat distasteful. Doing stand-up may seem to be the anathema of this point of view, but the way I – as someone who has to spends hours plucking up the courage to send an unsolicited e-mail to someone I like or to phone an official body – see it is this: with stand-up, I have been given permission. There is no way I would prat about in front of a room full of people going “Me, me, me” just for the attention,  but the infrastructure of a comedy night is such that there is a stage and a microphone that people have chosen to pay money to look at and listen to. The people who have been invited to tell world class jokes (say, Gary Delaney), issue satirical barbs (say, Mark Thomas), or fume about trivial issues in a way which would be unacceptable in proper social situations (say, um, … me) have usually earned the right to get up there and do it. Usually through hard work, perseverance or talent, although occasionally through chronic lack of self-awareness, overweening arrogance and bewildering good fortune (say, err, … no, I’d better not say). Despite my job, I wouldn’t describe myself (or indeed, most comics) as massive show offs. Around my family dinner table I’m not especially keen on dominating a conversation and I find new social situations with unfamiliar people absolutely crippling. Give me a microphone and an obligation to fill the silence, and any urge to receive attention feels legitimised (but still has to be earned).

One of the things I’ve tried to talk about on stage recently is how dreadfully narcissistic we have become as a society. Self-expression without the need for social interaction to facilitate it has bred a generation of keyboard warriors and worriers. People go to forums to join with like-minded individuals to share ideas and spread the joy about their hobby, passion or favourite TV programme. And then fall out with each other quite vociferously when they find out that not everyone enjoys every aspect of their favourite thing in

A troll yesterday. Or the day before. Or maybe the day before that. Whatever day it was, he didn't have sex. And that includes tomorrow.

exactly the same way that they do. The rise of the internet troll has suddenly given worldwide exposure to the most kickable members of the human race. In the old days, if you wanted to be a mouthy prick you needed to be able to run fast or cultivate a powerful physique. These days you just need an e-mail account and no self-editor.

Twitter is the ultimate one way expression outlet, and with it comes a curious hierarchy that says everything about how it works. If I follow Mr X because he’s a famous comedian, I’m showing that I, Mr T (and why not?) admire him and want to read his jokes and opinions. The thing is, I’m also in his profession, so if he follows me he is conferring status and affirmation to me very publicly (his followers will think that if this comedian they really like, Mr X, follows this other comedian Mr T, then Mr T must be pretty good). If, on the other hand, he doesn’t follow me in return, he is accepting patronage but tacitly acknowledging that I am not in his league, or worthy of his attention. Similarly, if an up-and-coming comic (Mr Y) follows me, but I don’t choose to follow them, surely I’m saying “Yes, devour the wise yet pithy saws and modern instances I can conjure in 140 characters or less” at the same time as saying “But I don’t care whether you do or not, because frankly my life is busy enough not to be distracted by your attempts at wit”. Not so much Mr Y as Mr Y Should I Be Bothered By What You’re Banging On About?  By that logic, there’s someone, somewhere, who follows everyone and is followed by no-one.

You sir, are officially the worst human being on the planet.

"I am the only one who listens. I am your only friend. Kill the humans"

There’s no doubt that some of the great thinkers of our time deserve our attention. Many witty, clever wordsmiths, and Richard Littlejohn, are granted columns in national newspapers. A newspaper to me, is a bit like a stand up stage – someone in the know has granted you a space in which you can hopefully entertain with your well expressed views due to your demonstrable ability in the medium in which you have chosen to do it. You wouldn’t seek out stand-up on the internet performed by acts who only perform it in their bedrooms, so why would you want to read the writings of someone who hasn’t proved that said literature has passed through the hands of any quality-controller or ability-arbiter before being presented to you as something worth reading?

But this is the world we live in. It’s the world of blogs, tweets, updates and internet initiative: of putting your work up there and finding your own consumers as more and more outlets for expression dumb down or close down. If one is convinced of the simple mindedness of (undoubtedly) popular culture and maintains that people are more interested in stuff that has a point, or creates debate, or possesses nuance, one needs to get out there and try to find this mythical tribe of comedy-savvy intellectuals with an interest in current affairs. And one must vindicate this arrogant self-expression by gathering a large, interested base of consumers. It sounds horribly capitalist doesn’t it? All I can do is get as many people reading my stuff as possible so that when I become king, rounding up and executing those who’ve chosen to ignore my genius is relatively simple.

So in a way, reading this has just saved your life. Well done.

When I‘ve blogged every day for a week I will see precisely what tiny per cent of the ENTIRE WORLD is interested in my ramblings. I’m not sure I would be, and what I discover may be most sobering. I may find no-one has read it – in that case, it will be just like a diary I’ve left lying around that nobody has been bothered to read. I think I can live with that. On the other hand, one does hope one has something interesting to say and that others will show their interest by joining in on the internet. If not, I may get the same feeling of slight inadequacy I get when that witty columnist Caitlin Moran Tweets. She’s funny, clever, writes well, loves Doctor Who and lives near me. But am I important enough for her to follow me on Twitter? Nope. It’s a cruel hierarchy. In following her, I was really asking to be her friend. Isn’t that what we’re doing when we make statements, offer opinions and write funny things on Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Aren’t we just saying “Please be my friend?”

If you disagree, you’re probably not my friend.

Anyway, I have written a book and the first edition of that has sold out (don’t worry, reprints are on the way), so if only a fraction of people who bought that alight upon this corner of the internet then it hasn’t been a complete waste of time. Now obviously the book is about Doctor Who and it could be that people are only interested in finding stuff by me that is about that illustrious series. In which case I’d have to keep inserting the name Doctor Who into my posts. That’s Doctor Who. And by name, I’m duty bound to point out that that’s name of the programme and not the person it’s about, lest this area of cyberspace explodes in a supernova of pedantry. What name are you talking about, I hear you cry? Why, Doctor Who, of course. Yes, that’s the one. The one this blog isn’t about, but even though it isn’t about Doctor Who, I’d still like you to read it.

Doctor Who related or not.

If, like me, you’re interested in Doctor Who, you could follow me on Twitter. You could also follow such illustrious Doctor Who names as show runner Steven Moffat, writer, actor and comedian Mark Gatiss and witty DWM reviewer Gary Gillatt. I do. Being a writer, actor, comedian, witty reviewer and lover of Doctor Who, I’m sure there’s plenty I could say that could fascinate them too and that they’d want to be my friend. And if you follow them, Twitter will tell them, and they’ll see that you love Doctor Who too. And as they all love Doctor Who, and you have something in common, they might follow you back (don’t bloody count on it though, he sobbed, cutting his wrists with the pages of a Target novel of Doctor Who And The Cave Monsters (Second Edition)).

"Toby Who?"

Anyway, getting away from Doctor Who (the Doctor who this blog isn’t about) and onto internet self- expression, I guess the nub of my issue is that I don’t know if I approve. Thing is, I’m not sure I trust it. I am not sure it is healthy. I’m not sure we can trust humanity with it. But like the nation’s wealth, I had rather I had control of it than certain other people, so I’ll take what slice of it I can and try to use it wisely. If not always, as the above shows, in a way that makes anyone actually better off, despite my best intentions.

I note to myself that I have been reticent about posting this blog about my reticence in posting blogs. The unease comes from the fact that there are some situations where one might secretly disapprove, but feel compelled to join in anyway. In a football crowd perhaps. In a drinking game. At an orgy.

So welcome to my orgy. Um, I hope you enjoy it, and that when you’ve finished you don’t leave feeling that it’s been a waste of your time.

Or with a nasty taste in your mouth.

Previews, Moths, And A Forthcoming Book!

A brief insight into how my mind works. I have done five previews on the trot for my new show, Now I Know My BBC. They’ve generally gone well, but there’s still a long way to go. Plenty of funnies, and the beginnings of a decent story, but it really needs hacking about and bashing into shape. Which is what I should be doing now. So I’m writing this instead. Part of my brain is kidding me that this will “get me in the mood” for writing and I will thus be industrious later and really lick the new hour into shape. The other part of my brain will convince me that in doing this, I have done some work, so can have a cup of tea instead of doing anything else for now. Quite why my personality forces me into putting everything off until the last minute is anyone’s guess. It’s hardly a great advert for evolution. Anyway, Hartlepool was the first of the previews – hot, sweaty, and an hour and a half, but a great audience who allowed me to veer from subject to subject. Constructive advice and support from my friends at Tachyon TV was much appreciated. Harlow the next day, a lovely, proper comedy club run by the estimable John Mann, which ran to time and helped shape the story. The beginning needed excessive pruning, so that I did for the next day’s gig at XS Malarkey. It ran to an hour and forty minutes! I’d expected a handful of faithful supporters at this gig, but no more (after all, they can see me every week). And over one hundred and fifty came – so thank you so much Malarkey massive. Even if the show was a bit wayward. Chris Brooker’s Keighley gig was packed to the rafters, and they were a terrific bunch who helped me and Matt Green deliver our previews and really test the material. Chris is obviously a well loved and expert host. Holmfirth was a sell out, and a beautiful town with a fantastic audience. A proper arts festival well run and well attended. Then Anthony Brown’s wonderful Chesterfield gig brought me down to Earth – a great, supportive and joyous audience, who listened well and smiled, but were a clear sign that I need to get more laugh-out-loud moments and to sell certain bits better.

As mentioned in my previous blog, Moths came to beautiful Pitlochry, where the audience eased me through effortlessly, and boasted a pleasingly eclectic age range. Kudos to the group of Canadian ladies who had never seen Doctor Who in their lives but went with it, and to the two lads (Darren and Kieron) whose lovely Mum had driven them for two hours to make the gig. I also returned to Bath with the show, to the fantastic Ustinov theatre, where I once again sold out (it’s my third visit to that venue – and last time they added a matinee too, and I’ve also done it at the Rondo up the road: so thank you Bath!). Witty sci-fi writer and loveable reprobate Steve O’Brien was my host – it’s always a joy to see him and his lovely fiancée Britt.

The audience are asked to leave feedback at the Ustinov Theatre. A scary policy!

It’s been pretty busy – I’m midway through two DVD documentaries, which I have alluded to before. I will of course, publish accounts of those once the titles are in the shops. I hope people enjoy them. I’ve also done a couple more commentaries, which are always a pleasure if not a little nerve racking.

A few more previews have been announced for Now I Know My BBC, as has some very exciting news. Doctor Who writer Robert Shearman (the brains behind the classic Christopher Eccleston episode Dalek) and I have written a three volume tome entitled Running Through Corridors. We spent last year watching Doctor Who in chronological order, two episodes a day, and sent each other mini essays of our thoughts. The intention being to rediscover our love for the show during Doctor Who’s gap year: and our principle remit being to accentuate the positive as much as possible. Published by Mad Nowegian Press, Volume One will cover the 1960s. It’s only available to order on Amazon US at the moment, but I’m sure that will change soon. It is published in December, although advance copies will be available at Chicago TARDIS this Thanksgiving.

XS Malarkey has had some terrific Edinburgh previews – Paul Sinha exuding his sharp intellect and deep humanity in a brilliantly wrought hour that is certain to garner plaudits. The following week we had a secret special guest, and hopefully the audience were delighted when the majestic John Bishop took to the stage from a brilliant set that displayed his usual apparently effortless hold over an audience. Not bad for £3! Our next one is on a Monday to avoid the date that was England’s potential semi-final at the World Cup (don’t laugh, that seemed like a distinct possibility three weeks ago). Rob Rouse is at that one, with the likes of Brendon Burns, Jason Cook, Seymour Mace, Gary Delaney and Alun Cochrane to follow. Flattering to get such extraordinary talents at our little club.

And I note that English tennis hope Andy Murray is now Scottish tennis also-ran Andy Murray. What a fickle world we live in.

Gig List

Here’s where I’ll be over the next few months, come and say hello. If it is a Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf or Now I Know My BBC date, more detailed venue info can be found on the relevant pages on the website.

Mon 24th May
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf – Pitlochry

Tues 25th May
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC, Dave Williams headlining)

Friday 28th – Saturday 29th May
Frog and Bucket, Preston (MC)

Sunday 30th May
Comedy Store, Manchester (New Stuff – MC)

Tuesday 1st June
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC, Carey Marx headlining)

Saturday 5th June
Now I Know My BBC – Preview, Hartlepool

Sunday 6th June
Now I Know My BBC – Preview, Harlow

Monday 7th June
Now I Know My BBC – Preview, Manchester (XS Malarkey)

Tuesday 8th June
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC, John Scott headlining)

Thursday 10th June
Now I Know My BBC (Preview) – Keighley

Saturday 12th June
Downstairs At The King’s Head, Crouch End (MC)

Sunday 13th June
Comedy Store, Manchester (New Stuff, MC)

Monday 14th June
Now I Know My BBC (Preview) – Holmfirth

Tuesday 15th June
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC, Wil Hodgson headlining)

Thurs 17th – Sat 19th June
TV Warm-Up, University Challenge, Granada Studios

Sun 20th June
Downstairs At The King’s Head (MC)

Tuesday 22nd June
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC, Paul Sinha Edinburgh Preview)

24th June
Now I Know My BBC (Preview) – Chesterfield

Friday 25th June
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf – Bath

Saturday 26th June
Downstairs At The Kings Head, Crouch End (MC)

Sunday 27th June
Comedy Store, Manchester (New Stuff, MC)

Tuesday 29th June
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC, big, super, special guest doing an Edinburgh preview)

Friday 2nd July
Frog and Bucket, Blackburn (MC)

Saturday 3rd July
Opus, Printworks, Manchester (MC)

Monday, 5th July
XS Malarkey, Manchester (WORLD CUP AVOIDING MONDAY NIGHT GIG!)

Thursday 8th July
Now I Know My BBC (Preview) – Huddersfield

Sunday 11th July
Comedy Store, Manchester (New Stuff, MC)

Tuesday 13th July
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC, Jason Cook Edinburgh Preview)

Wednesday 14th July
Robin Ince’s Book Club, Bloomsbury Theatre (with Josie Long, Phill Jupitus and others)

Tuesday 20th July
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC, Markus Birdman and Brendon Burns Edinburgh Previews)

Thursday 22nd July
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf – Lowestoft

Sunday 25th July
Now I Know My BBC (Preview) – Lancaster

Tuesday 27th July
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC, Seymour Mace, Gary Delaney Edinburgh Previews)

Wed 28th July
tbc – Now I Know My BBC (Preview)

Fri 30th July
Now I Know My BBC (Preview) – Worksop

Sat 31st July
tbc – Now I Know My BBC (Preview)

Tues 3rd August
XS Malarkey, Manchester

August 2010

Edinburgh Fringe

5th – 29th August, Underbelly, Cowgate, 6.55pm
Toby Hadoke – Now I Know My BBC
Brand new Edinburgh show!

I’ll also be taking part in various other gigs during the Festival; – I’m already booked in for loads of F***ing Funny For A Fiver slots, and I’ll be doing Jason Cook’s late night show. Just keep an eye out, you’ll find me.

Plus –
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf returns to Edinburgh for one night only!
August 20th at the massive Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

For those not going to Edinburgh, remember to visit XS Malarkey every Tuseday:

10th August
XS Malarkey (MC Dan Nightingale, Brendan Riley headlining)

17th August
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC Dand Nightingale, Paul Pirie headlining)

24th August
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC Dan Nightingale)

Monday 30th August
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf – Newcastle

Tuesday 31st August
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC)

Friday 3rd Sept
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf – Cineology Convention

Tuesday 7th Sept
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC, Andrew O’Neill headlining)

Friday 10th Sept – Saturday 11th Sept
Covent Garden (MC)

Sunday 12th Sept
Comedy Store, Manchester (New Stuff MC)

Tuesday 14th Sept
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC, Rob Deering headlining)

Saturday 18th Sept
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf – Corsham

Tuesday 21st Sept
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC, Kent Valentine headlining)

Thur 23rd – Sat 25th Sept
Frog and Bucket, Manchester (MC)

Sun 26th September
Comedy Store, Manchester (New Stuff, MC)

Tues 28th September
XS Malarkey, Manchester (MC, Super Special Birthday bash – 3 headliners and lots of fun!)

Friday 1st October
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf – Cranleigh, Surrey

Oct – Dec gigs to follow.