In yesterday’s blog, Cassandra Hodges mentioned applying for a visa to work in the US.
But, of course, several people working on the UK comedy circuit are not British.
This is the second consecutive year for Bombs, Booze and Haggis – “We are flyering it as a Scotsman, an Irishman and a Jew,” she told me.
“But not in that order,” I suggested.
“No,” agreed Daphna.
“I have hay fever,” I warned her when we started talking.
“I have a sore back,” she countered.
“From what?” I asked.
“I was just carrying a heavy bag. I’m generally broken.”
Daphna had a heart attack several years ago.
“I think,” she told me, “for the first few years after a heart attack, you are very healthy because you had the scare, you quit smoking, you go to cardio rehab. You want to get back to your glory. A year after the heart attack, I was super-fit: I could run for 45 minutes, I was quite thin, I was on top of things. But then comedy happened. It’s more of a struggle keeping fit when you spend every night in pubs.”
“Have you,” I asked, “explored the option of not spending every night in pubs?”
“I am a comedian?” answered Daphna. “What am I supposed to do?”
“So what’s your solo show about?” I asked, sneezing.
“This is my fifth Fringe year and third solo show. Something To Declare is a show about me immigrating to this country – stories about my efforts to integrate into British society. Partly successfully… No. I think wholly successfully… I think it will be interesting to do it in Scotland. It is a bit of a different premise in Scotland.”
“You now,” I said, blowing my nose, “have an indefinite leave to remain in Britain.”
“Yes,” said Daphna, “finally.”
“Matt Roper,” I said, “just got a visa for America which says he is an alien with extraordinary abilities.”
“I tried to get that here a few years ago,” Daphna told me. They called it a Highly Skilled Migrant at the time. I had been under a year in the country and I had published a book in English, I was writing for national newspapers, I had a Fellowship at Oxford University…They said: Listen, madam, you are not a Highly Skilled Migrant. So I had to register myself with the alien police for a few years.”
“The alien police?” I asked. “What? Slanted-Eyed Greys?”
“No. I was the alien. They were the police. Then they changed the name to something else.”
“Probably couldn’t take the laughter,” I suggested.
Daphna’s show Something To Declare is partly about The Britishness Test which aliens have to take.
I sneezed, then asked: “That’s the one with questions no British person can answer? Like What year did Richard II ascend the throne?”
“They’ve got a particular obsession with Henry VIII,” Daphna told me, “which I ascribe to the fact the Home Office is in Croydon and he was a bit of a lad.”
“Eh?” I asked, startled. “What has Croydon got to do with it? Did he go down the disco there?”
“Yeah,” said Daphna. “He was a player. I can see him do that.”
“I think,” I said, “you have failed the Britishness test here.”
“I passed!” she insisted.
Daphna is one of the orphans of Cowgatehead. After the chaos caused by the Free Fringe take-over of the venue, she is now performing at Just the Tonic at the Caves. The Cowgatehead fiasco lost her £600. She is currently crowdfunding.