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.

‘Come on fucking hurry up, we’ll be late!’

For once this is shouting this at Fax and Joanne, not the other way round. I am skipping down the road. I’m so excited to be seeing Dave Nonsense in the flesh. I’m 10 years old again, eating Honey Nut Loops in front of the TV. I can spend the rest of the day riding my bike and going to buy stickers with my friends, and I don’t have to get ready for school until tomorrow evening, after Bullseye.

Joanne and Fax are mooching along behind me, whingeing. Joanne has my sunglasses on. I don’t give a fuck – they made me go to circus skills with a hangover, so it serves them right.

‘I’ve got no fucking sympathy for you,’ I yell at Joanne. ‘You never even gave me a pen last night like we said! That man’s still out there without “TWAT” written on his forehead.’

She shuffles her (my) sunglasses. ‘I was busy.’

‘Yeah, I heard you being busy with rowan trees and giving your love a cherry. I don’t give a fuck, come on!’

I skip ahead. For once I’m full of beans. Nonsense! Wheel of Seafood! Silly Sausages! I can’t wait.

The theatre is full of middle-aged people. A couple of them have dragged their kids along. The kids are looking round as if to say ‘What the hell is this shit? I want to go home and watch Paw Patrol on my iPad.’ Well fuck them if they can’t appreciate a good show, they can sit there with their fucking eyes shut for all I care.

The stage is decked out to look like a scaled down version of the original show. I can’t see a gunge tank, but there are a couple of buckets off to the side of the stage, so that’s promising. There’s an old man wandering round on the stage, looking for all the world like he has no idea how he got there. Further inspection reveals the old man to be Dave Nonsense, which throws me into a fit of panic and shock. This can’t be right – Dave Nonsense is supposed to be about 40, not 200. If Dave Nonsense is old, that means I must be old. I’m suddenly filled with visions of shitting myself in an old people’s home, and beating the staff with my walking stick. Actually, that’d be quite good.

Joanne plops into the seat next to me. ‘Yo, I got you some flumps.’

‘Oh. Er, thanks?’

Why she’s bought me flumps is never explained. But I take them gratefully. I like flumps. Everyone likes flumps.

‘Where’s Fax?’

‘Guess what?’

That’s not an answer. I don’t like it when Joanne says ‘guess what’, it usually leads to something dodgy happening. And even when it doesn’t, it’s something like she’s been shoving rose quartz up her chuff or some other bullshit I don’t want to know.
Where the hell is Fax? If he turns up late and disrupts the show by making everyone stand up in their seats, I will murder him.

‘Seriously, where’s Fax? He’s gonna miss the start.’

‘Guess what?’

‘For fuck’s sake, what? You’ve decided to move to Singapore? Where’s Fax?’

‘God, no I haven’t! And no he isn’t!’

‘Jo seriously…’

The lights go off. If Fax does not immediately teleport into the seat next to Joanne, I am really going to murder him. I will murder him with one of my flumps if I have to. And that would be a massive waste of a flump.

Ooh, it’s the Nonsense! theme song! I haven’t heard this for years. I mean, it’s not really a proper song, it’s really just a trombone playing random notes, and every now and then a bunch of kids yell ‘NONSENSE!’ This makes it a piece of piss to sing along to.

Dave Nonsense runs onto the stage. He looks a lot better now he’s swapped his cardigan for a Hawaiian shirt. The woman next to me starts screaming when she sees him, but I don’t punch her in the face, because to be fair it is very exciting.

‘HELLO YOU SILLY SAUSAGES!’

That’s his catchphrase. I don’t know if children’s presenters on the BBC still have catchphrases these days. They probably run onto the set and yell ‘Oi cunt!’

‘Welcome to Nonsense – the game show with NO RULES!’

The audience is losing their shit at this point. Still no sign of Fax. I resolve to call him a prick as well as murdering him with a flump.

‘Right then boys and girls – if you’ve never seen the show before, this is how we play Nonsense. I ask a question, and if our silly contestant gets it wrong, they have to spin the “wheel of seafood”!’

This prompts the audience to have another collective fit.

‘If the wheel lands on “prawns”, they win a prize! But if the wheel lands on “lobster”, then watch out, because they’ll have to do one of my Super Stupid Forfeits!’

The original forfeits that seemed super dangerous and awesome to child me, but were really just things like ‘eat this pie without using your hands’.

‘Right, let’s introduce our players. First up, we have Nicole!’

Nicole runs on waving. I don’t like her, she’s too confident and she’s wearing a t-shirt promoting something or other. And she looks far too young to remember the show. Whatever – as long as she has to do something life-threatening in order to win a pencil, I’ll be happy.

‘So, Nicole, you’re currently performing in the De Montford University Improv All Stars aren’t you?’

A group of her student mong friends start cheering behind me.

‘I certainly am! We’re on every evening at…’

I zone out a bit and concentrate on eating my flumps.

‘Okey dokey. Please welcome our second contestant – Fax!’

I freeze mid-flump.

Well?

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