I am almost at the end of my briefing, a briefing that largely consists of 'this is what we have been told - this is not what will happen because they are comedians not actors'. Whilst I haven't worked anywhere near as many comedy shows as I have plays I have worked enough to know that the chances of them running to time are about the same as me deciding to purchase a pair of 'best jeans'. I forgive them this on account of the atmosphere; the audience are drunker, the music in the bar is louder, there are rarely complaints. I'm probably go insane if this were the case every night, but as a bit of light relief I rather enjoy it.
"Afterwards Stew wants to come out and sign, so I'll need one of you to sell his merchandise"
The attendants are looking at me slightly oddly.
"Stew now is it?"
I hadn't even realised that my propensity to shorten names had caught me out.
"Well you know, I've met him now, so obviously, best friends". I pause. "I'm actually all embarrassed about that now".
They laugh. I diffuse my embarrassment with fire regulations. At least they come in useful sometimes.
The night continues, the support act runs 15 minutes under his scheduled slot. Stew runs 20 minutes over his. The queue for the bar, at one point, runs to being four deep. An over-excited (and probably drunken) girl stands on my toes. I have to hold in the urge to swear.
"I can't believe they didn't take the set down".
"Maybe he asked them not to".
I resist the urge to point out that it took us two days to get the set in and that there is a performance in less than 24 hours. Anyone would think we are a working theatre.
I marshall the post show signing. It is slightly different to the one I ran for Alan Bennett. There are certainly more camera phones in evidence.
Afterwards Stew thanks me and gives me one of his CDs. I think this is rather lovely. I manage to hold in a joke about this being a step up from what actors tend to give you*. Because there is undoubtedly nothing more terrible in life than being patently unfunny in front of someone who makes his living being funny. My ego wouldn't take it.
Having said goodbye I pass an attendant who notes the CD.
She smiles. "He's married you know".
I laugh. It's a nice feeling.
*Go on, the punchline is so obvious.