A Show for Christmas.
By Daniel Kitson.
In the winter of 1998 I was in my early twenties, living alone in London, and just beginning to get paid work as a comedian. I had spent, maybe a year, performing for food, evading train fares and surviving largely on the kindness of my parents
So, to me, for a while the Christmas party season seemed absolutely incredible.
Come December, the bigger comedy clubs in London (block booked by office parties and charging maybe three times the usual admission) would pay comedians double the customary weekend rate and the gigs – drunken, messy, giddyingly lucrative - ran all week for the entire month – sometimes twice a night.
At that time, my then agent booked what was a rowdy, demanding club in Shoreditch and I found myself fast tracked with unwarranted velocity to the role of compere. I could not believe my luck - back then, twenty two years old, desperate to get better, stage time was all I wanted, and this particular type of stage time – high status crowd control, the management of rowdy rooms rammed with volatile, conflicting energy and the intermittent dodging of cracker toys, thrown by an office manager – felt like an utterly exhilarating place to be. I felt like I was being toughened by it, like I was getting harder and faster and better and that somehow, something important was being forged in that cold fire of drunken disinterest.
And maybe it was. I don’t know.
But over time, over years, I found it harder and harder to find glory in the battle. I took less and less pleasure in the collective drunken lunacy, the parade of paper hats, the bulk bought crackers and in wrangling this orgy of cunts to cheer at the right time. I could feel my delight dwindling, overcome with a burgeoning disdain for everyone involved, myself included. I was just starting to build an audience of my own and I didn’t want them to come there and see me like that. I didn’t want to be there, being like that.
So I stopped.
Now, this show isn’t actually about any of that but it serves to explain my surprise when, in late spring of 2014, Shelley from BAC asked if I wanted to make a Christmas Show I found myself thinking: -
Yes, oddly, I really do.
I may wear a costume and there might be snow in it.