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.

I wonder which poor fucker is going to feel Joanne’s wrath today. I’m hoping Alan isn’t stupid enough to come back, I don’t care how much he needs a poo.

I’m still suffering from temporary diabetes thanks to Che Guevara’s Lying Quality Street Buffet, but I reckon I’ll be OK to get myself another pail of chips. Joanne orders me to buy her another pint of Stella. After yesterday’s performance, I’m starting to see why she wants it. It’s like super fighting bitch fuel.

I can’t help being in a good mood, despite everything, because tomorrow I’m going to see Dave Nonsense, in the flesh, and possibly have him fire a Super Soaker at me. I really hope he’s not senile, and in a wheelchair, that would lessen the effect of him gunging people. With any luck he’s just bald and trying to pay child support to his ex-wife, who I’ve just made up in my head, but is called Michelle and has a pool.

‘Mel will you come and hold Fax’s obsidian?’

Well, that sounds like the last thing I want to do.

‘Mel! We need you to hold Fax’s obsidian so he can cleanse the room!’

Yes. Why else would they need me to do that? It all makes sense now.

I stomp off to the other room. ‘Right, what is it I’m holding and why?’

Joanne has her hands on her hips. ‘Where’s my pint of Stella?’

‘It’s in the pump you fucking idiot, because I haven’t ordered it yet because you shouted at me to come and hold Fax’s agoraphobia pebbles.’

She tuts. ‘Fine whatever. Look, you hold these, and walk deosil around the room.’

‘What’s a deosil?’

‘God. It’s clockwise! Sunwise!’

I don’t know why she’s in such a mood. And anyway, I never agreed to do that, I just agreed to come and hold some obsidian. I point this out to Joanne. In response, she shoves a bag of rocks into my hand and starts shoving me in the general direction of ‘deosil’.

Fax is standing on the stage, playing a tiny pair of finger cymbals. My good mood is rapidly evaporating. At least there’s no sign of shitting Alan today. He probably wants to protect the remaining five hairs on his head, so he’s wisely staying away.

Once Fax has finished twatting about with his imaginary cleaning, I’m free to go back to the bar. ‘Sparkling water’ for Fax (in a glass bottle please), pint of Stella for Joanne, gin and tonic and a bucket of chips for me.

The room’s already starting to fill up a bit when I get back. I wonder how many of them know what happened yesterday, and are just here hoping Joanne will lose her shit again. Maybe I should warn people. I should go round the room with a sandwich board that says ‘WARNING – If anyone fails to laugh the correct amount, or disrupts the show in any way, Joanne will pull your hair’. I’m pretty sure I won’t be doing that though.

Ooh, my chips are here.

Fax does not appear to be any calmer than yesterday; Joanne is spending a lot of time stroking his sleeve and waving herbs at him. Fax’s finger cymbals don’t seem to have done much good. My chips are nice though.

Eventually Fax allows himself to be shoved onto the stage by Joanne, and starts up with his wibbling, ‘namaste’ infested bollocks again.

‘… I was doing my meditation, and I accidentally opened my fire meridians into my Earth chakra. Let me tell you, that’s not good for stress, ha ha…’

I have a quick glance around. People are looking at each other. No one looks like they need a poo urgently though, so that’s good.

‘…when you walk past a rowan tree, but it’s only the second date…’

A really loud siren makes its way up the road. That’s weird, I thought this bit of road had been closed off? It puts Fax off his tedious story about ‘trying not to have sex under a rowan tree’ anyway. Once again, people are beginning to talk among themselves. Someone asks me if my chips were nice. I confirm that they were, keeping one eye on Joanne so she doesn’t see me doing illegal talking.

The siren goes off again. This time it interrupts Fax’s ‘oppressed in Asda’ bit. He’s not having much luck with that bit. Or with any other bit, if I’m honest. Then we all shit ourselves because someone outside the window starts yelling into a megaphone:

‘THIS IS THE POLICE. WE HAVE THE BUILDING SURROUNDED. DO NOT MOVE FROM WHERE YOU ARE. WE ARE HERE TO HELP.’

Fucking hell. Everyone runs to the window, including Joanne and Fax. Turns out it’s not our building that’s surrounded. I mean, I know Fax’s show is shit and Joanne pulled a guy’s hair, but that would be a bit of an overreaction. What we can get from shoving our faces up against the glass is that some guy is on the roof of the souvenir shop opposite us, and that he’s bollock naked.

‘That is completely unacceptable!’ says Joanne, forgetting that last year both her and Fax attempted to go to the supermarket nude. No one listens to her anyway; we’re all too busy talking about why the naked guy might be on the roof.

‘He must be going to jump!’

‘Why would you do that naked? His poor family.’

‘No I don’t think he’s suicidal, he’d have picked a taller building surely?’

‘And he’s dancing about.’

‘Is that the Macarena?’

‘Yeah I think he’s singing as well. I can see his mouth moving.’

‘Is that Peruvian Penis Dancing?’ Evidently Joanne is interested.

The megaphone starts up again. ‘PLEASE STOP DANCING SIR, YOU MAY FALL OR PUT SOMEONE’S EYE OUT.’

He doesn’t stop dancing. In fact, he goes from the Macarena to Saturday Night Fever. A couple of people outside have started cheering.

‘Hang on, I think he might be a protestor or something. He’s got stuff written on him.’

‘How can you tell?’

‘I got new varifocals, they’re good.’

‘Free Frankenstein?’

‘Don’t be stupid, that says Mexico.’

‘Free Mexico?’

‘It might not be Mexico, I’m not sure.’

‘Didn’t they free Mexico already?’

‘Is someone going to open a window or what?’ someone shouts. That is a good idea. We open all the windows, and then we can hear the guy shouting something. It sounds a bit like ‘Terry Waite’, but it can’t possibly be. Someone needs to give the poor bastard a newspaper if that’s what he’s shouting.

‘PLEASE REMAIN CALM SIR, AN OFFICER IS ON HIS WAY UP TO ASSIST YOU.’

Unless the officer is going to tell him Terry Waite’s OK now, I don’t think he’s going to be able to help much. Then we spot another figure on the roof, in a blue uniform, inching his way towards the naked guy. More cheers from the crowd.

‘LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE REFRAIN FROM CHEERING.’

This just makes people cheer even louder. What’s more, a divide has formed; some people are cheering on the naked guy, others are cheering on the rozzer. Everyone’s completely forgotten that Fax is supposed to be doing his stand up now. I look over at Fax, he doesn’t seem too bothered.

We all gasp as the rozzer makes a grab for the naked guy, but the naked guy jumps out of reach. Maybe he’s protesting the overpriced novelty tartan pens in that shop. That’s what Joanne and Fax would do. A couple of people start booing the policeman.

‘LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE REFRAIN FROM BOOING THE POLICE.’

I think the naked guy’s trying to do a highland jig now. This is a clever move, it’s making every part of him difficult for the rozzer to grab hold of.

‘Oh no there’s one sneaking up on him!’

Before anyone can warn the naked guy, a second rozzer approaches him from behind, armed with a blanket. This puts an end to the highland jig. The crowd is now united in booing the police.

We don’t see him again; they must have taken him out of the back door. Slowly the crowd breaks up, and we go back to milling around inside the pub. There’s no point in Fax trying to resume his show; he can’t compete with a naked mad friend of Terry Waite.

Well?

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