Funny business…

Posted: March 10, 2013 in kieron hawkes, Publishing

mefunnySo, the film thing is going ahead at a fast pace. Talented people are doing talented things. It is exciting. One such thing was a reading of the script. This is where people read the dialogue and screenplay to assess the flow, listen for rough edges that need sanding off. I didn’t know these would be actors. As in actual actors. As in had been on film and TV. Nobody fucking told me. So when they arrived, so did the insecure paranoid me. I’m just getting used to hanging with folks like Kieron Hawkes. I am a paranoid little shit-head. I freaked out a bit. (a lot).

Let me explain.

I have had some amazing luck in my short life as a writer. This though, has spotlighted what an insecure little fuck I am. I think we all writers are. My publisher put me up in a hotel for it. It was a nice, proper hotel, not a travel lodge. It was like a posh room, in a posh house. I was walking about in it naked. Well not completely naked, because I have the shower cap on. Only because I am amazed they supplied one. Do people actually still use shower caps any more? So I’m naked, with the shower cap on singing “I’m naked, and I’m not at home.” while looking for cool things to do while naked In a hotel, trying to distract from the worry that everyone hates the script. So I sit on the couch, naked, my Junk sprawled over the upholstery. I get a kind of buzz, I’m on a couch, naked, and it’s not mine. ‘I don’t even sit on the couch naked at home… this is so cool!’
Then I think. ‘I bet I am not the first person to do this… my balls are probably touching hundreds of other men’s ball-sweat. This freaks me out, so I shower and put on the rope they supply. It’s not mine, it isn’t even a new robe. How many skanky, fat business men have worn it after being ‘pity-fucked’ by a drunk colleague. I am freaking out. So freaked out I end up having to wipe my ass on the shower curtain, for fear of contaminates. This is how my brain works. It sabotages everything.

My breed own of writing is comedy. I wish it wasn’t. I wish I could write the deep, emotional and heart wrenching piece that remains in peoples heart tor the rest of their life. But no, my brain is like an anus. Just filled with shit that makes me laugh. My eyes are like a mouth that chews up everything it sees, my brain then, rather than convert this data into something profound, or beautiful, it just produces dumb shit. I over think everything, then get paranoid about it. For example, when the Pope resigned his position, it was all over the news. The pope stood, in front of a giant crucifixion, and addressed the world. I didn’t listen to one word he said, I was transfixed by Jesus on the cross behind him. Jesus, I concluded, was really ripped. I mean, perfect abs. If Men’s Health was out around then, Jesus would have made the cover for sure. Jesus, I concluded, worked out. Maybe it was all that carrying around a giant wooden cross. And if so, I concluded, Jesus therefore invented cross training.
I laughed at that thought. That is the bravery of comedy, I find things funny, but it is so subjective. And I am about to sit in a room with actors – what if they don’t laugh?

I find things funny because they don’t make sense to me. My train to London was a ‘Non-stop’ service. How can it be a non-stop? How do you get on? Do you have to run along side it and jump on? How do you get off?
Well it only stops at once, at London Victoria.” the guy in the ticket office said.
So, the non-stop train is actually a one stop train. Doesn’t make sense. My conversation with the guy in the ticket office didn’t get any better. The train was delayed because a car broke down on a crossing.
“There was a near miss.” He said.
“Was anyone hurt?”
“Well no… like I said, it was a near miss.”
“So the train didn’t hit the car?”
He looked at me like a twat. “Like I said, it was a near miss.”
“If it didn’t hit, surely that should be a near-hit? Because it nearly hit? A near miss should mean it nearly missed, but actually hit?” It doesn’t make sense!

I found this funny. He didn’t.

I laugh at the most mundane things. Like how we all order take-away food and all act the same way when we do. Because take-away food combines two of humans favourite things – eating and doing nothing. We all act like Santa has been when it arrives, like we didn’t know if it would. “Oh I hope I’ve been a good boy this year so I me some Indian food.” When there is a knock on the door we go crazy “It’s here, it’s here… YAY it’s here!” Then there is the ceremonial do you have any change dance, totally unprepared as if the food was a surprise. And when it comes to payment, why is it always like a hostage negotiation and you are paying the ransom. You open the door just a crack and peer out. “Show me it. I need to see it before I hand over money?”
He opens the brown bag containing food containers. “You got the money?”
“Just set it down there in the light. You don’t come inside… just put it down, and I hand over the money. You back away slowly to your car.”

Even words. ‘Gender reassignment’ I think it is fucking hilarious that we as a society complicate words to make them sound politically acceptable and make it worse. What was wrong with sex change? Two syllables, Sex and Change. Even I can work out what that means. There is a close friend of my other half, who is a beautiful woman. I didn’t know she was born male. We were all doing a lunch and she told me, “I had a gender reassignment.”
“Oh, that is awful.” I said.
Needless to say she was offended. I wasn’t being homophobic, it’s just the term, gender-reassignment. It’s the reassignment bit. I thought one day she woke up and had a letter from the government, saying she had been reassigned. Reassignment hardly fucking sounds voluntary does it? If she said “Oh, I had a sex change.” I’d have been fine and not seem cunty at all. But I imagined some poor guy opening a letter and going “GOD DAMN it, can this year get any worse? I gotta be a woman now!”

It’s funny now. I had that horrible ‘I am such a twat’ feeling for the rest of the lunch. That is how I feel about my comedy. I live in fear that people won’t find it funny.

So, I’m in a production studio in Camden. I’m with Kieron Hawkes, waiting for actors to arrive. First to arrive is Neil Maskell… as seen on TV and film. FUCK! Then Martin Compston. Another from film and TV. Right then, I started to shit myself. I thought the actors would be students. I’m a fucking nobody. However, Kieron Hawkes isn’t a nobody, if he wants readers – talent arrives. Paul Anderson next. My mouth is dry.
“I recognise him too,” I sad.
“Probably from Sherlock Holmes, the Downey Jnr ones. Or maybe from Dr. Who?” Then Louise Dylan arrived about when I was trying to hide under the desk. 
Writing a funny book is one thing. If people don’t like it, they can put it down. I have a fucked up sense of humour, I know that. But I am in a room of talented people. And I mean talented, just to get an insight to how they work and their craft is a privilege. But what if they don’t laugh? I begged Kieron not to let them now I was the writer, so I could quietly leave when they say, “This is shit.”

But then something magic happened. They laughed. A lot. So much that we had to stop three times. After a lifetime of missing the success bus. Living in the shadows. I was able to be a fly on the wall and actually see the reaction to my writing. Comedy may never get the acclaim that other fiction does. But, who fucking cares. With comedy, the reaction to it cannot be hidden. You either laugh or you don’t. I wish every writer gets to feel as I did. If my run of luck, because that is what it is, ends now. I’m happy to have been given he privilege to see inspirational people, laugh at my shit.

  1. Diane Hall says:

    Hi Jonny; I’ve come to your blog today, ironically via your comment on another blog denouncing the power of social media for cementing author platforms.
    After reading your posts, I can confirm you’re funny – I was in tears of laughter repeating your ‘takeaway/hostage situation’ to my other half.
    Thanks for entertaining me on an otherwise boring Saturday evening!

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