On the run from Andi Peters following a misunderstanding about cruises, Melissa begrudgingly agrees to follow her friend Joanne (and Joanne’s 17th century throwback ‘life partner’ Fax) to the Edinburgh Fringe. While leafleting for Fax’s dreadful stand up show about faith healing and vegans, Melissa endures the highs and lows of pretentious student plays, ‘street typing’, and the knowledge that her shop has been left in the hands of someone who doesn’t understand tills…

Crap Comedy is the follow up to the 2018 novel Crap Holiday. Read it here.

An hour later I’ve managed to keep the following down:

  • one kale and facon savoury orb (hand rolled)
  • a packet of super noodles, only made strange by the inclusion of a lot of parsley
  • six glasses of Fax’s wine gin

I consider this an achievement, and am feeling more chipper. Joanne has rolled a joint and we’re all playing I Spy. I’m at a considerable disadvantage, since half the stuff they think of is bullshit and doesn’t exist. Oh well.

After I fail to guess ‘Bamileke log drum’, which I’m pretty sure they don’t even own so this has turned into a game of ‘guess what I’m thinking’, I remember that Joanne said she had a surprise for me.

‘Jo, did you say on the phone you had a surprise?’

Please god, don’t let it be ‘We want you to have a weird horrible threesome with us, that’s probably going to include bongos and a rowan tree’.

Joanne claps her hand to her mouth. ‘Oh my god I do, I completely forgot because we were having such a lovely time!’

I say nothing.

‘Do you want to tell her Fax?’

Oh Jesus Christ on a unicycle. They’re having a baby aren’t they. They’re having a baby and they’re going to call it Quetzalcoatl. Although, what’s that got to do with Andrew Lincoln? I fucking knew it. She’s just printed out a picture of him hasn’t she.

Fax smiles at her and adjusts his mood ring. ‘No, I want M’Lady to have the pleasure.’

She grins at him. ‘OK Mel, guess what?’

Oh god, not more fucking I Spy. I down my drink. ‘You’re having a baby?’

They start laughing uncontrollably. ‘No, don’t be silly!’ snorts Joanne. Is it bad that I feel enormously relieved? Not for myself, but on behalf of little Quetzalcoatl.

‘Fax is doing an Edinburgh show!’

Of all the things I’d expected to hear, this ranks quite low. Not as low as ‘Fax is the new governor of the Bank of England’, but still.

‘Edinburgh? What, like the festival?’

‘Yes, isn’t it great? I’ve always said Fax needs to stop hiding his light under a bush.’

I look at Fax, who is smiling modestly and twirling his hair. Did I mention he’s still wearing the naked woman apron? It’s all out of shape because he’s sitting on a bean bag, and the poor woman’s tits are lopsided now. One of them’s next to her knee.

Joanne has a puff of her joint and continues. ‘You know Fax, and you know he has this amazing gift to bring joy and happiness to the world, and I’ve told him he needs to share that with people.’

I’ve never been to the Edinburgh festival. I vaguely know it’s about stand-up comedy and performance art. And bagpipes. Whenever I’ve seen it on TV there’s always a dude playing the bagpipes. I’m sure Fax’s shit poetry about ‘M’Lady’s feet’ will fit right in there.

‘And since so much stand-up comedy is anti-vegan and misogynistic…’

I’m too engrossed in my gin/wine to process what she just said.

‘…Fax owes it to the people of Edinburgh to present them with an alternative. I mean, you know how naturally funny he is Mel, he’s always making you laugh…’

Shit, thought I’d managed to hide that. Hang on…

‘Wait, what sort of show is he doing?’

‘Tolerant vegan comedy!’

Her jazz hands do nothing to temper my incredulity.

‘Stand-up comedy?’

I really try to keep the disbelief out of my voice, but I don’t think it works. Luckily, Joanne is too stoned to notice, and Fax is too busy being modest.

‘… I’ve just remembered I need a wee. Be right back.’

I stagger up to the bathroom, which I notice is full of empty Timotei bottles. As I sit there, letting out several hours of wee, I go over the conversation in my head.

Right, Fax has decided he’s going to do stand-up comedy. Tolerant, vegan stand-up comedy. I’m sure this will go brilliantly.

I’m struck with a memory of Fax singing Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love on the karaoke, and making all the lyrics about how meat is evil. I’m not sure how he’s going to translate that into stand-up comedy.

Also, I was bloody right, the surprise was fuck all to do with me. And it wasn’t even… wait, it wasn’t anything to do with Andrew Lincoln!

I stomp downstairs, more aggressively than I’d meant to.

Joanne and Fax stop getting off with each other and look at me in surprise. I plop back down onto my bean bag.

‘Is there any more gin wine?’

Fax goes to bring another bottle in. Joanne scratches her fanny.

‘Didn’t you say on the phone that it was something to do with Andrew Lincoln? How is this anything to do with Andrew Lincoln?’

She stops scratching. ‘I thought you’d be happy for Fax!’

‘What? Yeah but you definitely said on the phone that your ‘surprise’ was about Andrew Lincoln.’

She looks momentarily confused, then goes back to fanny scratching. ‘Oh yeah it is! OK listen, you’ll never guess what!’

Doesn’t she know by now that I’ll never guess what’s in her stupid, flea bitten mind.

‘What.’

‘You’re coming to Edinburgh with us! And Andrew Lincoln’s going to be there!’

I’m immediately sceptical of this claim. Also, no I’m fucking not.

‘What? No, I can’t come to Edinburgh.’

‘Why not?’

‘Because I have a job. It’s a thing people do to make money, and requires a certain number of…’

‘…No I know all that, but you’re the boss now aren’t you? So you can get a man in to do the Co-op stuff!’

I think about Saif, and his inability to be a human being. ‘No, I don’t think so.’

‘Get Nick to do it!’

‘Nick’s a part-time security guard, he can’t run the entire fucking Co-op Joanne.’

‘Fine, god! Just get a man in then, like I said!’

What fucking world does she live in. Where’s Fax with my gin wine.

‘What’s any of this got to do with Andrew Lincoln?’

She rolls her eyes. ‘God, I just told you! He’s going to be there, and he’s coming to see Fax’s show!’

I put on my serious face. ‘Joanne, that is a fib.’

‘No it isn’t. Andrew Lincoln’s going to be there doing a thing because we read about it, and we’re going to invite him to see Fax’s show, and then you can meet him backstage! You can tell him you’ve got his face on a mug…’

I can just see that leading to marriage and sex and babies with Andrew Lincoln.

‘It’s true,’ says Fax. ‘I saw it in a magazine when I was researching non-offensive Scottish words.’

‘And Fax can do mental arithmetic on him,’ says Joanne. ‘You know, like Derren Brown does. So he’ll fall in love with you!’

Let’s recap. Joanne and Fax’s genius plan for my happiness is for Fax to do stand-up comedy in Edinburgh, and then somehow do sums at Andrew Lincoln until he agrees to go out with me. Are you following this so far?

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