It’s been an emotional week, among the more significant weeks in my life.  Appearing on Take Me Out, then recording Countdown, then Take Me Out and its reality spin-off The Gossip all in the space of 7 days (and a couple of hours).  We’ll leave Countdown for another time but it will air on/from Mon 22nd Feb and you can view my original appearance from 2004 here.

But after months of secrecy, we can finally discuss the show.  I was invited to audition in September through Facebook, not sure how they found me but guess they were headhunting interesting performers from Edinburgh Fringe forums.  I hadn’t really heard of the show before but these things are always worth auditioning for, worst comes to worst I’ve wasted a couple of hours and a tube fare.  The audition was great fun, the producers sold the show well and made me feel that we fitted each other so I stuck with it.  After hours of talking about me on the phone – what I’ve done, who I am, what people have to say about me and my tastes in women, they invited me to record the videotape (VT) that became the 40 second clip they show of me in the studio.  This 40 second clip was 12 hours of shooting.

They planned out a whole day and sent a crew consisting of director, cameraman, sound dude and runner to meet me in town.  While the VT always shows 3 main points about the single fella’s life (for me – hypnosis, quizmastership and listography) they had a number of back-up options.  We started recording in a record shop that showed me flicking through vinyls to find my 9th favourite song – Scatman (since dropped to 10th, FYI).  Then a bit of chat. Then off to Soho Square to chase some pigeons, take some shots, interview my oldest friend Tim, scare the runner posing as a pedestrian, a few more shots, a bit more interviewing.  Then off to record in a theatre.


We were in the theatre for a couple of hours, filming about Countdown, some nice shots of me popping up in various places around the auditorium to applaud myself on stage, more interviewing, more shots. None of this made the cut.  Then into a pub next door to pretend to type up some lists.  They made me put Peter Kay as my ‘Favourite Comedian’ but we all have to sacrifice our standards sometimes, right?  Then we went outside for the shot I was most disappointed not to see in the final edit.  I stood still for 8 minutes without flinching.  They recorded the world moving around me to show it sped up as time passes around me.  Seriously, I didn’t budge an inch.  People walking past tried to stare me out, took photos, I was just singing my top 3 favourite songs in my head.  The wind was blowing in my face, a bit of grit flew in and my eyes started welling up, but I took it like a man and didn’t wipe. I hope to see that shot one day.

After this we went to record a pub quiz (actually it was a different quizmaster’s venue that let us shoot a bit before the quiz started as if we were in progress).  I wrote some funny and interesting questions ever in case they wanted to show me asking.  They didn’t.  This is what you missed out on:

  1. In the 1995 UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup Final, which ex-Tottenham player lobbed Seaman?
  2. In the 2014 Oscars who introduced Idina Menzel as “The wickedly talented Adele Dazeem?”
  3. Which singalong classic from the 60s tells the story of a man catching his lover cheating then stabs her to death while she laughs in his face?
  4. What is the one-word punchline of the joke Uma Thurman’s character Mia Wallace tells in Pulp Ficiton?
  5. What does a proctologist specialise in?

(answers at end)

Then the hypnosis section was recorded at one of my gigs a few days later


And that brings us to the studio – whole day spent in the green room with Paul, Harry and Dave and the production team who we’d finally met after spending many hours talking on the phone – it’s weird because they know us so intimately and all we have is their name and job, then after that day we detach in an instant.  The whole day was spent preparing, rehearsing and worrying.  There’s an hour long dress rehearsal in the studio with Paddy in which we practise coming down in the lift, block our dance, get told where to stand at various stages, finalise what to wear and practise our performance piece for Round 3 if we have one. This is the only time we speak to Paddy off camera.

Then back with the lads to continue our great time, nice bonding then getting ready – haircut, clothes chosen and made pristine, make up and hair stylings, and as the show drew close the lads started drifting off one by one.  Until finally I was called upon to get into position.  Then after much build up, my music starts.  And yes. I could feel it.

Take Me Out blog continues here 

Part III – Take Ben Out

Answers – 1. Nayim 2. John Travolta 3. Delilah 4. Ketchup 5. Accept any of: Bottom, behind, rump or posterior. Bum. Tush, tushy, hiney. Ass, or fanny if you’re American. Anus, fundament, gluteus maximus, situpon or arse.