Last week, I had a chat with 84-year-old, London-based, American comedian Lynn Ruth Miller – the thinking senior citizen’s crumpet – whose upcoming schedule of gigs includes Prague, Dublin, Berlin, Paris, various cities in the US, Manila, Jakarta, Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Hanoi, Bangkok and, she says, “probably somewhere in Cambodia”.
That’s an interesting itinerary for an 84-year-old American living in London, I thought.
I was going to write a blog about the chat this week but, then, blow me, I got this email from her two days ago…
I am in CANNES, where the sun is shining!
At first, I was alarmed because I did not know why I didn’t have to turn on all the lights to see my hand in front of my face.
Then I realised I WAS NOT IN LONDON.
When you are out of the UK, people actually see the sun.
My hotel here is called The Hotel Bellevue and it is adorable.
My room is the size of a disabled public toilet but somehow it is very complete. I feel like I have just entered Jonathan Swift’s Lilliputian village. It is a good thing I am 4’10” tall and weigh under 100 pounds or I would never fit into the place.
I must say the world does dote on the elderly. At Gatwick Airport, a lovely Englishman from Birmingham stood behind me in line to board Ryanair and carried my case down the stairs without my even asking and the woman in the seat next to mine chatted with me the entire two hours we were on the flight. Not that I WANTED her to chat for so long but she was from Essex. What can you expect?
Vanessa Marcié met me at the airport. Her mother is a wild, adventurous driver. She drove us to Vanessa’s flat. As we darted from one lane to the tree on the side of the road into the highway and across four lanes and a traffic bump, I stifled an impulse to call my friends and say good-bye but we got to the flat intact.
Her mother had made me a homemade pizza which I devoured with champagne as Vanessa and I discussed the profession of comedy and the insensitivity and stupidity of her university students.
Vanessa is a very educated woman with a PHD and two masters degrees and it made me wonder why she is so devoted to talking dirty on stage to crowds.
I know MY reason: it is that it brings back memories of my youth.
I called Uber to get me from Nice where Vanessa lives to Cannes and my driver was Charlotte who took me INTO the hotel and opened the door to my room. The world does dote on the elderly.
She told me driving a cab is her living because it is the only thing she can do besides eat. Looking at her squeezed between the steering wheel and the seat I saw that she was right about the food and, when she got me to the hotel safely, I realised she did indeed know her stuff.
As I said, the whole fucking world just loves the elderly… EXCEPT when they are doing business with them.
I decided to take a walk to find a place for lunch in Cannes. It abounds in many, many eateries with menus in French. I do not speak French.
If it isn’t a crepe or an omelette, I have no idea what it is.
I finally found La Civett Carnot which had a sign saying it was a brasserie. I knew what that was. The food there was all right and the service very fast. However, if you speak only English or you are older or a woman, beware.
I ordered a weak coffee and got charged for a double espresso which looked like one shot to me. Naturally, being Jewish, I complained that I was overcharged. Two very large imposing men insisted that that is what they thought I asked for and what they gave me and I better damn well pay for it. I did.
I feel certain had I been able to speak French or had I not been a single ancient hag they would have adjusted the bill. Life does have its hurdles.
My gig was called THE BRITISH INVASION (Lynn Ruth was born in Ohio, living most of her life in San Francisco) and was in an Irish Bar, just 6 minutes from my hotel.
However, I get confused by the little blue dot on Google Maps and the 6 minutes expanded to 30, as I wandered the streets of Cannes.
The comedy show was interesting and well attended. The comedians were very inexperienced but the audience was very thirsty for a laugh and the show was a success. I headlined for them and the response was gorgeous. I even got a Caesar Salad, two drinks and a bit of cash.
I managed to find my way home with the help of two escorts and it did indeed take me 6 minutes to get to my hotel. Which all goes to show Google does not lie.
The next morning I took a bus to the airport, got a flight to Gatwick, came home to grab my burlesque costume and took my clothes off to a standing ovation in Islington.
As we all know, a girl has to do what she has to do.
I think we may hear more of Lynn Ruth’s travels…