Vivienne Soan currently hosts the always excellent monthly Pull The Other comedy club. She tells me…
It was the match where the referee jumped over the ball.
I had been given free tickets and was sort-of fired-up from having sat with the Scots and cheered the English.
I had been in Europe for the past four years with Action Theatre and the queue to get into the lift at the Comedy Store had proved too tempting for the performance hostess that had been maturing within me. I worked the crowd before they got into the venue and so, when I stood up and took the mike after Tony Allen, I challenged the audience to “do better”… I had no doubts…The audience were on my side and I ‘stormed it’ (as an open spot) with a mixture of real life stories and old playground jokes.
My opening line was good. I had been sitting in front of a persistent heckler and said I had taken the stage to get away from him.
After the show, I was invited back by Don Ward (the Comedy Store’s owner) to do three weeks.
After the second week, it was whispered in my ear by the other comics that this was ‘alternative comedy’ and I could only perform original material.
“I’m a performer not a writer,” I proclaimed and they all turned away.
The third week, there was great excitement as the new-born Channel 4 was coming in to have a look.
There was a buzz …. “They are very interested in you,” I was told.
I bounced onto the stage, hit my head on the gong and told my caterpillar joke which ends in “I bin sick”.
At this point, Ben Elton turned the mike off and closed my set with the words: “I’m sorry, darling, you can’t tell jokes like that. We cannot allow you to perpetuate the myth of the dumb blonde”.
I left the night with my head between my legs.
I didn’t venture back on a comic stage until 1991.