Sunday, 16 September 2007

Broderick's Sunday Special #1

Hello there. Welcome to the first ever edition of Broderick Chow's Sunday Special. Let me explain first of all, the impetus behind this new weekly column. I am in mourning. Yesterday, it seems, the great Jon Ronson has quit his weekly column for the Guardian, on the demand of his young son. Jon Ronson's column was really all I lived for, however, I do respect his decision not to embarrass his family further, and salute him. Mr Ronson, enjoy your freedom. Jon Ronson, despite not really being a comedian, has been an invaluable inspiration to my stand-up - I'll miss reading you on Saturday mornings.

Thus, I presumtuously take up his mantle. Each Sunday on, usually uploaded to the internet on the company computer at the sushi restaurant I am in the employ of, I'll try my hand at the 300 word column. (300? I didn't actually count). Also, I'm a very lazy blogger, and a deadline is good for me. Plus, column sounds far better than blog doesn't it - despite the fact that I have a readership of two (if that) and am unlikely to be recognized on the street as Mr Ronson is, unless it's from people wanting DVDs (I keep telling you, I don't have any!)


I was booked in to do a set at an all-day comedy marathon in Kentish Town yesterday. I set off towards Kentish Town after work on foot, down a charming street that my friend Laura refers to as 'The Hell Mouth,' but most people call Prince of Wales Road. Ten minutes into my journey, I notice myself limping. Well, not limping, exactly, but walking 'street.'

'What is this,' I think to myself. 'Why am I doing this stereotypically black walk? It's borderline racist, basically.'

Now I'm worried... If I'm doing this walk like a kind of forcefield because I'm walking through a bad area, doesn't that make me a poser as well as a borderline racist? By this point,however, Kentish Town Road is in my field of vision, so I keep limping along. A mousy-looking woman with a rucksack gives me a wide berth as she passes me.

I'm in the venue and walking through the crowded bar towards the upstairs room where the comedy is happening, when a woman, you know the type, forties, ten gin and tonics in her, actually bows to me as I pass, and says 'Hai!'

'Well, I never!' I think. 'I can't let that go! That was racist, wasn't it? She just bowed to me, because I'm Asian!' It catches me off guard - I don't suffer much racial abuse, because, well, I'm very good looking and beauty is intimidating. 'Well!' I think, 'I mustn't talk the talk if I can't walk the walk,(or something). I'm going to do it, I'm not going to walk on by, I'm going to say something.'

'Excuse me,' I say to her, 'What was that?'

'What was what?' she replies, eyes rolling loosely, like a sock puppet.

Stammering, and losing my nerve, I say 'You just, you just bowed to me!'

'Why would I bow to you?'

'I don't know... uh... because...' I lose my nerve. 'Oh, nothing.'

'Well, it's obviously something. What?'

'Well, you bowed, and you said "Hai!" It's just... a bit... well, racist!'

'I wasn't bowing to you! Why would I do that? You're obviously not Japanese! I was just bending down and saying 'Hi' to my friend.'

I look around for some kind of dwarf or small child who might be her friend, but find none.

'Awww, are you feeling a bit sensitive tonight?'

'Yes,' I reply. And she hugs me. The fumes burn my eyes.

Later, while waiting to go on stage, I'm talking to a Finnish comedian I know. He's a bit tipsy and doesn't remember my name. Finally he gets it. I'm a bit hurt. 'I remember your name!' I say, 'And your name is really complicated!'

'Well,' he says,'There can be only one legend.' The conversation lulls. 'What would you say to that, if I were a heckler, and you were on stage? Let's try it - "There can only be one legend."'

Not missing a beat, I say, like a bully on Degrassi High, 'Yeah, totally. 'The Legend of The Fat Stupid Finnish Comedian! Ah ha ha ha ha!'

He goes quiet, and looks at his feet for awhile. 'That was, that was a good one,' he says. 'Let's go have a drink.'

'Ok,' I say, following him to the bar.

'By the way,' he says, 'let us get this straight. If you ever call me fat again, I will kill you.' Sliding his finger across his throat like a straight-razor, he says 'Sayonara.'

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