Tuesday, June 12, 2007
A Harry Hill story
One wet and windy afternoon in Clapham, the comedian Harry Hill popped into our staff room to sign copies of his latest book. I was impressed by how swiftly he worked his way through the pile, but he did have the advantage of possessing a short name. 'Well that was quick.' I said, thanking him. 'It's a good job you're not Greek.'
Harry Hill looked completely baffled. 'Why?' he asked.
'Well...if your name was Ariana Stasinopolous...' I started to explain, wishing that I hadn't broken the golden rule, which states that you shouldn't try and be funny when you meet a professional comedian.
'Oh I see.' He replied politely, but unsmilingly. 'Yes, the long names.'
It was tumbleweed time.
Six months later I watched the Harry Hill show. As the opening credits finished, he bounded onto the stage and began his opening monologue. 'Hmmm? Hmmm? Book signings! Imagine what they must be like if you're Greek. Hmmm? I heard that Ariana Stasinopolous did a book signing. She only did 15 books but she was there all day!' The audience roared with laughter at my joke which, now I'm retelling it, isn't very funny.