Still working

It’s been a while since I last blogged and the reason being that there is only so many times I can post a blog about being on yet another cruise. Over the last few years most of my work has been on the ships and I am extremely lucky to have kept busy doing the job I always dreamed of doing as a kid. Over the last few months however I have decided that I am going to shake it all up again and try to get more work at home and just cut down a little on the travelling away. So in the last few weeks the phone has been ringing, mainly from bookers and agents calling me back due to my constant emails letting them know I am still alive and working and wanting to do some work on land. Last night I did my first TV warm up gig in quite a few years. The last warm-up I did was for Sky TV a few years ago for a sports awards show where I was asked not to be funny, to a few of my critics they would probably say that I was the right man for the job.
Any comic will tell you that to go on stage or on to a studio floor and perform without doing material can feel very strange. This is why I have the utmost respect for comics who are good comperes. It’s a great skill to be able to go out and just work the crowd without going in to the act. So last night I approached the London Television Centre on London’s Southbank with trepidation. For the first time in a long while I was nervous about a gig. I was booked to do the warm up for Piers Morgans Life Stories. A show that I had warmed up a number of times , most memorably when I was asked to do ten minutes before a Joan Collins interview. For one reason or another I ended up taking to the audience for nearly an hour. This happened again a few weeks later when Russel Brand turned up over an hour late and the audience were already in so once again they pushed me out there. I was praying this wasn’t going to happen again tonight as I didn’t feel that I would be ‘warm up gig fit.’ Fortunately the guest tonight was Boy George and I was relived to know that he was already on site and that everything was running to time. It was even more of a reliefe to find that the floor manager was Nick Keene, one of the best and also someone I had worked with many times before. I walked around and discovered a few more friendly faces, Chas the cameraman, Kieran the photographer.
Being in studio one at The London Television studios, brought back memories for me, some good and some bad. This was the studio where in the 70’s I was booked to do my first warm up that never happened!! I was asked to do the warm up for a Freddie Starr show. I was 17, when I turned up at LWT and walked in to the studio, the look of horror on the producer’s face was a look I will aways remember. When he found out that it was my first warm up and that I was only 17 he went off for a walk. I was then introduced to a gentleman who’s face I knew from the show ‘Who Do You Do’. His name was Mike Goddard and he was the associate producer and he told me that my services were not required but I was welcome to watch him do the warm up. Even though I was a little disappointed I knew this was the right decision. After all it was Freddie Starr and at the time he had a well deserved reputation as a mad man and a nervous inexperienced teenage warm up comic might have been the wrong booking. I watched Mike that night and he was brilliant and so a few years later when I eventually did my first warm up I was well prepared and once again it was in the same studio. On this occasion it was 1979 and I was one of the acts on a new LWT talent show called Search For A Star. I did well on the night getting big laughs but unfortunately the regional jury votes didn’t reflect this and I came fourth. However, the producer, the late David Bell liked my act and asked me if I would do the warm up for the show the next week as the regular warm up Bill Martin was already booked elsewhere. I had watched Bill many times and I learned a lot from his expert approach to the job so I went on well prepared and this led to a thirty year run where warm up’s were my main source of income. This also led to many TV appearances in front of the camera and most of them in this very studio. Back to tonight, I went on and did five minutes at the top, doing the usual chatting to the studio audience, introducing Piers and Boy George. After two and a half hours without a break the interview comes to an end, we just do a few retakes where I sit in as Boy George ….don’t ask!! I am on my way back to Pinner for a curry with my wife. I enjoyed the evening and hope that I will get asked again as variety is the spice of life. Another week, two gigs in the diary and I am off back to the ships on a six week six ship tour of the Pacific and Australia.

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2 comments

  1. Lennywindsor.com · January 29

    Nice Jeff

    Like

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