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.

We gave up on Snap not long after that. I suspect they knew I was going to forbid any showing of Joanne’s tits or Fax’s willy. In they end they settled on a 0-0 draw, but they’re still sitting there muttering about how ‘tantric wind energy can totally be a Snap when it’s paired with a lunar goddess card’.

Right. Reasons this has been a shit week:

  1. Everyone in Scotland is a vegan.
  2. I don’t understand these people and their jokes.
  3. I’ve seen too many naked people. The ideal total would have been 0, unless Andrew Lincoln was involved.
  4. I never did get near anything resembling meeting Andrew Lincoln, let alone having Fax do his weird sex maths at him.
  5. I have bagpipes disease.
  6. I possibly have less money now than if I’d stayed at home and waited in for Andi Peters to arrest me.

On the plus side, I did get to upset that barman by talking about Brian Clough.

OK, I can’t go to bed in this shit mood. There’s still an air of resentment hovering over the three of us since the game of Snap was abandoned. Must at least try to remedy it.

‘Guys, shall I make us all a lovely cocktail?’

They look at me like I’m plotting something. If I was in a more proactive mood I might be, but I’m tired and I just want to have a nice hour before I go to bed.

‘I’m going to make us all a…’ Shit, what’s a good name for a cocktail? ‘A… shim-sham.’

Joanne eyeballs me. ‘What’s in a shim-sham?’

‘I’m not quite sure just yet, but it’ll be lovely.’

Before Joanne can ask me any more awkward questions, I heave my carcass off the settee and wander over to the kitchen, scanning the worktops for any discarded bits of booze or sundries. This is what I find:

  • Two discarded half glasses of red wine
  • A third of a bottle of ‘Halesowen dry gin’
  • Teabags
  • An open can of something with Polish writing on it, but it looks like an energy drink
  • A sachet of Heinz red sauce
  • Washing up liquid (probably going too far)

Right, three shim-shams coming up.

Joanne and Fax eyeball the cocktails warily, the ungrateful bastards. Maybe I shouldn’t have left the teabag in each glass, oh well.

‘These look delightful’ insists Fax. Then they both put their glasses down on the coffee table without so much as taking a sip. Well fuck them, I’m going to prove them wrong by downing my yummy shim-sham in one go. Maybe it’ll be amazing, and I’ve accidentally stumbled on the next big thing. Maybe I’ll go on to make millions, and then Joanne and Fax will look stupid as I lounge around on my private island while Andrew Lincoln serves me shim-shams while wearing the employee-mandated bikini I’m paying him to wear.

Hmm. I’m not sure the red sauce adds anything if I’m honest. It makes the whole thing taste of red sauce. And I keep having to move the teabag out of the way so I can have a drink. Nevertheless I am determined to prove the cocktail doubters wrong.

‘Oh my god this is so nice!’

I’m not quite at the stage where I can make my mouth do a smile, so I have another gulp while squinting my eyes, like you do when you’re smiling. Hopefully this will fool them.

Joanne, not to be outdone by me, is the first one to pick up the glass and have a sip.


She could at least pretend to be enthusiastic about it.

Fax does a bit better, even managing a second sip. Meanwhile, I’m trying not to let the shim-sham come back up out of my mouth. Definitely no red sauce next time.

‘Why is there a teabag in it?’

‘Oh, that’s to add flavour. I saw it on a programme.’

‘What programme?’



Fax comes to the rescue again by declaring that he actually likes my bollocks drink. I don’t think he’s doing this for my benefit, I think he’s doing it to appear ‘hard’ in front of Joanne, like Joanne wouldn’t just have sex with him anyway.


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