We met at a Pret a Manger in London’s Soho.
“What are you plugging?” I asked. “Harry Hill?”
“Yup,” said Rose.
“Shall we get the plug out of the way?” asked Ellis.
“OK,” I said.
So Harry Hill is appearing in Ellis & Rose’s Brainwash Club evening at the Backyard Comedy Club in London’s Bethnal Green this coming Wednesday. The bill also includes the Birthday Girls, James Hamilton, Lipstick & Wax, Tim Renkow and Mr Susie… And Ellis and Rose.
“He’s been on before, hasn’t he?” I asked. “Harry Hill.”
“Yeah,” said Ellis, “in February.”
“I think I was there,” I said. “I have a shit memory.”
“Yeah,” said Rose, “you drew on your knee.”
“I drew on my knee?” I asked.
“Yeah,” said Rose. “We got you up on stage and everyone drew on their knees during the interval.”
“Were you heavily sedated?” Ellis asked me.
“We threw felt-tip pens into the audience,” Rose reminded me.
“No,” I said. “I don’t remember any of that at all. This Pret a Manger closes in ten minutes. Give me two bizarre anecdotes and that’s the blog done and you can piss off.”
“The other day,” Ellis said, “John Kearns told me that I should rock up for this chat with you in a car made of cake.”
“Rock up?” I asked. “Is that what the kids on the street are saying nowadays?”
“Yes,” said Ellis. “Do you want an anecdote or not?”
“I have to insert myself,” I explained, “otherwise people might think I just slavishly copy down other people’s lines.”
“You didn’t take issue,” Ellis pointed out, “with having a car made of cake. Only with ‘rock up’. What does that say about you?”
“It says,” I replied, “that I am a man who cares about words but not about you.”
“…or content,” suggested Rose.
“…or cake,” said Ellis.
“I have never met John Kearns,” I said. “I seem to have met everyone who ever went to university with him, but never him.”
“So?” Rose asked.
“Nice hair,” I told Ellis.
“I think he looks like a half pint of Guinness,” said Rose.
“Do you want some style advice?” Ellis asked me.
“Get a beret.”
“Are you doing the Edinburgh Fringe next year?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Ellis replied.
“And next year,” Rose added, “we have a producer and director for the first time. Can we talk about our…”
“No,” I said. “This Pret a Manger closes in ten minutes.”
“…about what has changed,” Ellis completed.
“We’ve got new suits,” explained Rose.
“Why?” I asked.
“Most people,” said Ellis, “don’t even get changed when they do their shows. They wear the clothes they have on the street. We dress up. I know how to tie a bow tie. Not a real one, but I know how to put on a clip-on. We have to be careful when we chat to you, because you edit like a bitch.”
“A bitch?” I asked.
“A sly little dog,” said Ellis.
“You take out any nuance so that it’s sensationalist…” said Rose.
“…and make us seem like actual idiots,” said Ellis.
“Actual idiots?” I asked.
“Actual,” said Ellis.
“The new suits,” explained Rose, “were because we thought we needed an overhaul.”
“So,” I said, “given the choice of writing a new script or buying new suits, you chose the suits.”
“We’re working on it,” said Ellis.
“And, to be fair,” said Rose, “the dynamic on stage has changed. It used to be kind of aggressive and shouty. Now it’s a bit more conversational and two people having fun.”
“I think it’s less stressful to watch,” said Ellis.
“When you die,” Rose told me, “we are going to carry on your blog by ghost-writing it.”
“Just stereotypical John Fleming blog posts,” said Ellis. “so one will be Lewis Schaffer repeating his name for a whole blog – or photos of him with grey hair and black hair. It’ll be: Lewis Schaffer, Lewis Schaffer…”
“And then,” said Rose, “we will do one of your diary extracts from 1927 in which you had a dream…”
“…about how it reminded you of your mother,” suggested Ellis. “And then we’ll get someone from Canada to write to us and put that in.”
“And,” enthused Rose, “we’ll get Kate Copstick to say something controversial.”
“Try stopping her,” I said.