Archives For Josh Widdicombe

The 7th of December.

FINALLY I can announce the secret exciting event I’ve been working on for months: I am hosting a comedy show at Union Chapel on 12th February next year to celebrate being alive ten years after my diagnosis with Nish, Suzi, Josh, Sara and hopefully we can rope in a couple more to round off the bill. It’s called Still Standing and you can get tickets here.

This morning, I got a blog post done, then made a call to Chapel to find out when the tickets would go on sale. I had to pay the deposit first, so I got them to send over the invoice so I could get the thing on sale!

Once I had paid, I had to just sit and wait for the link to appear online, so I did Christmas crochet while periodically checking the Union Chapel website/my email. It appeared about half three, so since then I have been generally all over the social media, promoting the shit out of it. I will continue to do so until I have sold all the tickets, and there are a lot!

I am beyond excited. I just really hope it’s a success!

The 8th of December.

I had forgotten it was supposed to snow, so the white blanket covering my garden this morning was a lovely surprise. I would have liked to have put on my knitted Christmas trousers to keep cosy, but I know the kittens would tear them to shreds and I can’t have that, so it was fleecy velvet leggings instead.

My main objective today has been to finish my Christmas shopping. I had only three more items to get, but it’s taken me all day to decide on them. Admittedly I did stop for lunch and to wash my hair, and that took a while because my lip balm rolled under the bed. I spent a good ten minutes swiping a hanger around to try to retrieve it, but to no avail. It’s a good thing I had three spares in my drawer.

I also took a shopping break to work on Mommy’s present because she and Daddy went to get a Christmas tree and logs for the fire, although she did walk in while I was squirrelling it away. Hopefully she didn’t see what it is.

Now I just have to decide on a wrapping theme!

The 29th of April.

Today has been so exhausting and so good.

I slept less well – super cold last night and no lung capacity to get more layers so I froze until I was too tired to care. This morning, I decided not to climb the stairs so as not to waste oxygen, so I just hung out in my bedroom until it was time for us to go out to see Tez Ilyas. He was great, as expected, i mean that’s going to be the case for every act I mention. I had to help him out at one point because the members of the audience he picked were not answering the question he asked correctly. Not paying enough attention!

He ran over slightly, so afterwards I literally just had time to grab a coffee before heading over to The Youth Wing to see Phil Wang. That was problematic, because the way I went meant I got stuck at a flight of stairs, but thankfully some very kind strangers offered to carry my chair down the steps (without me in it) and then I was back on my way. I got in and parked on the end of a row, and ended up with various members of sketch groups Pappy’s and Daphne to my right, with Tom Parry sprawled across the floor, snorting with laughter. For a work in progress, it was pretty slick, and I’ll be keeping a lookout for the finished product on tour.

I had Lolly Adefope straight after in The Canteen, so I left The Youth Wing the way I should have gone in, so I could get myself some more coffee before making my way back round to the other side of the school. On the way, I bumped into one of the women I hung out with last night, and she was going to Lolly too.

Coffee in hand, I drove down to The Canteen to join the queue. Being in the chair, I got moved to the front, which turned out to be a blessing and a curse. She was due to start at 4, but there were technical issues – there were cables that were needed and I watched people running back and forth trying to get hold of the right ones. This went on for just over an hour, and every time somebody came back, the hearts of the queue lifted, only to fall again when the doors didn’t open. I felt really bad for the guy who was checking the tickets – he knew nothing more than we did, and there wasn’t really anything he could do, I could hear people behind me getting (understandably) frustrated because this was going to impact upon their attendance of their next show, so they were having to decide who they wanted to see more. I was okay to wait, because my next show wasn’t until 7.15, and I was glad I did.

Her show is a reply to her reviews from her last show at the Fringe, in which she was criticised for not referring to her race enough and for talking about it too much. It would be like me doing a show and discussing or not discussing my disability. I have to applaud her too for her excellent singing, and for dealing with groups of people leaving towards the end of the show. Super impressed.

It ended just before six, and I was starving, having only had coffee since my crumpet at breakfast time. I got myself a smoky sausage in a bun (relatively easy to eat and no danger of spice) and ate it while watching all the fun dogs around. I even met a famous dog, Rosie, who is regularly heard on Rhod Gilbert’s Saturday morning show. She is a very good dog.

My next show, The Griefcast with Cariad Lloyd, was up stairs, but when checking the venues yesterday I’d been informed that there was a lift I could use. Today there was a worry because they had put an Out of Order sign on the door, but that was just to put able-bodied people off using it. Sneaky.

It was a small room and VERY HOT. Lots of people crammed in. The guests were Phil Wang, Kiri Pr’chard-McLean and Nish. Usually, the show is Cariad interviewing a comedian about a particular death, but today the topic was just death in general. In an amusing fashion. The last topic was “last words”, and Cariad asked them all what theirs would be. Phil missed a trick with his answer, and Cariad asked if there were any questions. I put my hand up and Nish pointed me out. I could have asked something poignant, but I had to say that surely, Phil’s last words should be “Wang out.” I saw the pun and had to say it. I don’t know if it’ll be on the podcast but I hope so. The only time I think my brain has worked that fast.

My next show wasn’t until 11.30 and also included Nish in the line up, so he met me back downstairs and the rest of the evening is a blur of faces and saying “Nice to meet you.” I did mean it each time, I just met a lot of people! We went to the bar in Y Plas where pretty much every comic at the show was.

Honestly I couldn’t tell you what we talked about, I just remember that for once, I wasn’t telling the story of my life ten thousand times, people just treated me like I as part of the gang and that pretty much never happens with people who don’t know me. It was just the most fun.

My oxygen ran out in the middle of Beat This, so I had to text Mommy and get her and Daddy to come and swap it over for a new one. I thought that might be enough to tide me over, but thinking about getting the taxi back on my own, having to deal with the chair, I just knew that it was going to be horrific. I cancelled the car, and sneaked out the side door. Knackered, but elated.

The 30th of April.

Going home early. It’s fine, we just don’t have enough oxygen for me to do another night.

We had to get into Mach earlier today, because there was a massive cycling race that started in the town and was going to close the road that we use to come in on. We got in at about eleven, and I sat in the car while Mommy and Daddy went to get coffee and some sort of breakfast pastries. I ate my co-op cinnamon swirl, then set off to Y Tabernacl for Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown. Matthew and Ben said hi on their way in, and when the queue started to move, I went over to the lift to go up half a floor so I could enter the hall. There was a step down to the pews, so I just parked my chair at the best vantage point. Josh was a guest, and he saw me so he came over. Kiri was meant to be on the show but had yet to arrive, so other comedians were being texted en masse. Who turned up but ol’ Nishy Kumar? Kiri appeared shortly after, so we just got an extra person’s-worth of funny for free. I had a joyous time, particularly enjoying the quickfire round jingle that Tom and Ben recorded with Nish and Josie last night at Y Plas when Josie was full of Pinot Noir. I can’t wait to hear it when it goes out.

They ran over, as one has to expect, so then I had to bomb it down a rather steep hill to The Mach Arena for Josh and Friends. The wheelchair view in there was less good, but enough that I could just about see. We had stand-up from Josh, Matthew Crosby, Nish and James Acaster, then he read out some classic scrapes from his book which are all hysterical.

Upon coming out, I bumped into Amy, and we talked while Mommy and Daddy went to get food. I informed her of the racist attack Nish had just endured (Josh threw a massive ball at him but he was not injured), then they went to get lunch and we went to eat ours. We discussed oxygen levels, and we only had one full bottle left, so came to the conclusion that I only really had one more show left in me. Mommy and Daddy went back to the house to pack up, and I went to get more coffee and see who I could see before it was time for Sara Pascoe.

Happily, a lot of my lovely pals were still around, so there was Nish, Josh, Fin, Tom, a whole host of people. We whiled away the time together until everyone had to beetle off to our respective shows, and I left loving my wonderful gang.

Sara was fantastic as always, and I look forward to seeing the finished piece when she takes it on tour. I didn’t have time to hang around to see her afterwards because Daddy was coming to pick me up. We returned to the house, packed everything into the car, and we set off on the long drive home. I am so happy and I’ve had such an incredible weekend – definitely going again next year. Hopefully without any extra oxygen.

2015 has been pretty fucking fantastic, overall. The beginning and past few days have not been ideal, but other than that, so many great memories! The crazy Valentine’s Day, when Josie, Josh, Joe, Tom, Romesh and Mat all came to visit, coming off steroids, Lyme Regis, the Comedy Gala with Aisling, Katherine, Sara etc, meeting Dawn O’Porter by chance, going to see Heidi, The Hand and Flowers and meeting Tom Kerridge, getting my electric wheelchair, going to The News Quiz and meeting Sandi, hanging out with Elle, Ben and Luna, Hallfield Day with Thor the raccoon, Padstow, Becky and James’ wedding, meeting Yaser Martini at Tom’s Kitchen, getting kittens, visiting Naomi and seeing Curious Incident, Duck and Waffle, my autumn of comedy and hanging out with Suzi, Josh, Joe and Nish, Death Cab, Christmas, now here we are!

I couldn’t be more grateful for such a wonderful twelve months and I am indebted to all those who made it possible. 2016 is going to have to be really incredibly astounding to beat it but let’s give it a go! I hope it’s just as good to all of you. Be kind to one another and yourselves.

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The 1st of November. 

Hate days when I’m just waiting for the evening because I clock-watch which just makes the day seem longer. This morning I was covered in cats, at one point having to almost dump them on the floor to answer the door, just hoping whoever was there wouldn’t give up and walk away. 

Washed my hair before lunch, then afterwards, I just watched stuff on the TiVo box while I waited for it to be time to go and see Josh and Suzi. 

Mommy and Daddy dropped me off and they went to PureCraft while I went to the Town Hall’s stage door. When I explained who I was to the security guard, he looked at me like I was a stalker, but then Josh appeared and it was all fine. We just hung out in the dressing room with Suzi (Ruffell) and his tour manager who I think was called Tom but I might have made that up [EDIT: he’s called Ben, I am terrible at names]. I had a cup of tea and Josh was so jet-lagged, he poured coffee into his. We found a shortcut for me to get up to my seat without going the long way round at about ten to right, and we had a quick photo to cement Suzi’s joining of my cool gang of comedy pals.

The gig itself was such fun – Suzi is so good and I’ve not seen her stand up so I’m really hoping I can see her again, and Josh was excellent, as I expected. There was some material that I recalled from when he came to our house with the others, and I was in absolute hysterics over a bit about naan bread and his FunFax. I remember those well. Such a lovely few hours and worth the wait. 

The 2nd of November.

A day of hospital jollies. I did not want to get up when my alarm went off but I had places to be. The QE car park was insanely busy for half past ten so we ended up far away on the top floor, but thankfully we were early enough for it not to matter. I had thrombosis clinic with Dr. Gill who looked after me at BCH to find out if I can stop doing clexane injections like I have everyday for nearly a year. We’re going to give it a try and keep an eye on my leg to see if it swells up or not. Hopefully it stays the same and I don’t have to worry about bleeding anymore. We also talked about Myles Bradbury because she was at BCH with him and she’s the only doctor we still see from that time. She hadn’t been able to believe it when the news broke, that she’d worked and socialised with a man we now know to be a paedophile. It’s crazy. 

We had an hour until I was supposed to have my blood test and kidney ultrasound, but I went to have blood test early so we could then have lunch before my scan. While I was queuing for the just and eating at Costa, we were questioned by two separate people about my wheelchair because it’s so nifty. CareCo ought to give me some sort of commission. The scan was fairly average, I discovered that my right kidney has migrated round my back to join the left one. Everything looked normal, and we were swiftly on our way. 

We had a quick trip to Birmingham where I got The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker from Foyles, some underwear from John Lewis which they wrapped in tissue paper, and some white hot chocolate from Whittard before coming home to feed the oh-so-hungry kittens. 

The 15th of May.

Tonight has been the most fun. I have come back on a clue.

This morning we packed up everything in the house and drove straight to Axminster. We bought a couple of sandwiches from Tesco for the train journey, then killed 45 minutes in the River Cottage Canteen before Mommy and I needed to get the train to Waterloo. Our assistance man bore a strong resemblance to Nick Hewer and he had to move loads of pushchairs and suitcases to get me on the train, so I stared at a wall of luggage for three hours.

Upon arrival, we went to Alchemy for a quick coffee before getting a cab all the way to our hotel near The O2. It was so far! We asked the driver how much time we should leave to get to The O2 and he said 45 minutes, so we basically checked in, dumped our bags and went out again! We were early, but I’d rather that than be stressing about lateness. I’d just picked up our guestlist tickets and wristbands when Christine and Kim arrived, at which point we went straight to Byron. I essentially inhaled my smoked cheddar cheeseburger and Oreo cookieshake, then we went to our seats.

We had a pretty great view and there isn’t a great deal to say about the show itself apart from that it was ace and you should watch it when it’s on TV. The men in front of us kept leaving and coming back, as did much of the audience it seemed, all throughout the show! It was so bizarre.

Afterwards, I spoke to Aisling, and we had to go practically all round The O2 in search of the green room. By the time we arrived, Christine and Kim had to go to the tube, but I was left in capable hands. I then got to spend the evening hanging out with most of my favourite comedians and their friends! Aisling Bea, Sara Pascoe, Katherine Ryan (plus her daughter who is adorable and enjoyed my and her mum’s names both sounding the same), Rob Beckett, Romesh Ranganathan, Jack Dee, Jason Byrne, Josh Widdicombe, Seann Walsh and Becky Humphries, plus the people whose names I didn’t hear but pretended to. They are all such gorgeous people and I feel like I am their actual friend which I ridiculous but never mind. Writing down what actually happened sounds so mundane (e.g. Josh talking me through signing up to Uber) so just imagine I had a wonderful, magical night which culminated in wangling a free Addison Lee car back to my hotel with an absolute delight of a driver.

Tingling with joy.

The 16th of May.

Officially one of the best weekends ever. Slept in a little, and just had a croissant at the hotel before going to Timberyard for proper breakfast of a crodough! A chocolate crodough and a flat white, and I also got an Oreo cheesecake one which is purely for research purposes, you understand (ETA: the chocolate one was way better). When we came out, we happened upon Dawn O’Porter’s BOB by DOP shop and I absolutely adore her clothes particularly the skirts. We went in and there she was! I tried on the geese one that she was also wearing and we had a photo in our matching skirts and Tatty Devine name necklaces before I tried on the dogs one too. I couldn’t decide so I bought both.

We spent the remainder of our time looking around the forensics exhibition at The Wellcome Collection where we also had lunch (apple, celery and kale juice and a toasted Brie, bacon, onion marmalade, Dijon mayo and rocket sandwich). Grabbed another coffee from TAP then headed to Euston and almost immediately were on the train, and now here I am, home.

Exquisitely happy and so in awe of how simply astonishing and sweet people can be.


The 14th of February. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Well I’ve had a pretty great day. We went round the corner to meet Jodie and co at twelve at Costa and it was a little bit mad. So much stuff! The Costa people gave us free beverages and a card which was very sweet. 

There were many photographs taken which is always super awkward, and my face ached a little bit but then we were able to chat and I opened all the cards. There were about eighty! Our living room is full. Lots of people sent jewellery including a lady’s wedding jewellery which involved a tiara! Fabulous. I also have bundles of chocolate and candy and teddies. 

Yeah I’m just a bit overwhelmed. It took six of us to get it all home, and now after getting it all out and taking photos, I’m a little exhausted. I am looking forward to bedtime and a big sleep. 

I watched Tangled and ended up nearly in tears when they were singing on the lake. As much as today has been about being loved by my family, friends and complete strangers, none of them are my significant other. It’s the loss of that moment when you’re in the early stages of seeing someone and you think “somebody likes me, and I like them, and we’re happy and this could be something really great”. Knowing that I’m not going to have that again… I feel like I’ve come to terms with it, but it still doesn’t stop it hurting sometimes. But it’s only sometimes. 

The 15th of February. 

Best weekend ever? Certainly hard to beat. 

I knew Josie Long and Tom Allen were coming round about half one, so I thought I’d better have my hair washed and be presentable. I finished off yesterday’s Guardian, and got intrigued by a cheese called stichelton which I have never heard of but I want it. 

They were a little but late because of trains, but they arrived and we were just sorting out their coats and beverages when the doorbell rang! Who was it? Olly Joely Lycett and Josh Widdicombe! Josie had secretly invited them. Katherine Ryan was supposed to come but couldn’t, so she sent a note with Joe and will come another time for tea, and Romesh Ranganathan will be coming at some point too!

So I had four of my favourite comedians in my lounge and was just about holding it all together. It was suggested we discuss how this mini gig was going to work, so we all went into the living room because we’d thought it’d work well in that space. Then for a while we were stood around the dining table, drinking tea and just talking about stuff – Joe and Daddy were having a chat about the garden and football, Josh, Tom and I were discussing Bake Off, Mommy and Josie were talking about theatres. It just felt really normal. Then we moved the dining room table into the kitchen and rearranged the chairs, and set up a little gig! Josie compered, and did her own little set before pulling people’s names out of her pocket. Next was Joe,then Tom and Josh. Everyone was so funny and it wasn’t at all awkward like I feared, although that was probably helped by the extra people. I don’t know what else to say about it because it was so special and I want it to be just mine. After the gig, we decamped to the living room and I was showing Josie and Joe some delightful medical photos, then I preached a little bit about giving blood and stem cells which everyone is now very much on board with!

Then they all had to leave. I didn’t want it to be over, there was still so much to say. I don’t think it will be the last I see of them – I hope not, because they are all as lovely as I had imagined. We just had time to have dinner before we went out to Josie and Tom’s gig at The Electric. Alison from the Birmingham Mail was there with her sister so we said hi before finding our seats, which left me massively out of breath. I hope the venoplasty helps with that because breathing is still really stupidly difficult. 

The gig was obviously excellent and we had a wonderful time, and tonight I’m going to have to have a Zopiclone or my brain will not let me sleep. I’m so happy. 

The 10th of February. 

Today has been more of the same of this very bizarre week. I’ve been answering questions from Dan at the Sutton Observer, and BBC WM want me in the studio on Friday morning to talk about Valentine’s Day. People seem to find it really weird that I’ve never had a card, but it never bothered me so much until now. I suppose I thought I had time, but now it isn’t an option, it’s just that little bit worse. From what I’m hearing though, it sounds like I’ll be inundated this year. We’re slightly concerned about the amount of flowers that might arrive. 

Simon the Sheep has gone off in the post, and the body of Grandma’s bear is finished. Becky has been over to see all the hats from Joan and rant a bit about school which makes complete sense when you hear about all the nonsensical paperwork they have to do. It’s just bureaucracy that is helping literally no one. 

We have been on the phone to the hospital again and apparently I’m being booked in for a venoplasty, we’ve just got to wait to hear when!

The 11th of February. 

QE day one of three. Unexciting morning, working on Grandma’s bear and getting really angry at a man on This Morning who thinks that women who get drunk or wear short skirts are asking to be raped and it isn’t men’s fault. I had to stop myself from phoning in. 

Just before we went out to liver clinic, I had a quick phone call from Alison from the Birmingham Mail about setting up a meeting on Saturday with this lady who wants to give me all the cards. 

Clinic itself was fine, once we got parked! Having an appointment in the afternoon is the worst because it coincides with visiting, so the car park is utterly rammed. But we finally got a space! Philippa was there so we had a fun chat and she showed us a video of her daughter playing the drums, and I was showing her pictures of my crochet animals. Then we saw Dr. Ferguson and we mainly talked about my current media attention after he’d ascertained that I’m fine, just waiting for the venoplasty. He also showed us a picture of his (still relatively new) son. We do love babies. 

On the way home, we listened to Josie Long on the Josh Widdicombe podcast in a bit of prep for Sunday when she comes. I’m well excited!