In an email to a friend, I referred to Old Rope, a new material comedy night of which I’ve become a regular, as “the meaning of life.” Certainly this could be thought of as hyperbole, but feels strangely true. Because why on earth shouldn’t it be? Why, in the London life I’ve been dreaming of for so very, very long, should the centre not be a weekly event which only costs £5 and supplies me with lots of laughs and joy? Exactly. Old Rope is the meaning of life.
The way I discovered it was all chance, which seems to be the way all the best things happen: when my friend Sam and I went to that improv night two days after I got here and we met Rich Fulcher (and oh, how that does feel like centuries ago now!), he told us about an upcoming night he’d be at called Shambles. When we went to Shambles which was pretty amazing and I ended up as a participant in the show, I met a girl from Victoria, BC named Jaynie who ended up being incredible. She told me about Old Rope and encouraged me to go the following Monday. And that was three Mondays ago, and I’ve vowed to go every single week, told everyone I could about it.
Because it’s the meaning of life.
Within these three weeks of attendance, I’ve ended up chatting to all kinds of comedians, some I’d been admiring for quite a while and some of whom I’ve just recently become aware. That first week, my friends and I ended up hanging out/sharing many hugs and high fives with the brilliant Tony Law (who I had previously met in passing after the quite unbelievably amazing March 20th Noel Fielding/Russell Brand Teenage Cancer Trust show, which blew my mind and which I’ve never actually posted about, silly me!), first in the bar and then outside as he smoked a cigarette (we weren’t following him, promise; he specifically told us to come outside with him!), and I had my first real awareness of the glorious Tiffany Stevenson, whose praises I now cannot sing highly enough. I was also incredibly excited at the presence of John Robins, who I’d become a fan of a while ago on account of his rare appearances on a radio show from years ago. (“Incredibly excited” might be an understatement; I couldn’t quite figure out how to actually say words to him after the show, and have spoken to him twice since and still have trouble acting like a human. Ohhhhh goodness.)
And that was just the first week! Since then we’ve seen Rich Hall, who was ridiculous to see in person (two weeks in a row!) after seeing him so frequently on QI (side note: my friend Jenni and I went to a filming of QI the other day, a bit of information that hasn’t sunk in yet, nor has anything, really); Andrew O’Neill, whose solo show friends and I are going to see tonight; Eugene Mirman, whom I’ve unexpectedly ended up seeing do comedy an excellent four times now, spanning two different continents; & so many more people than I can properly name. I suspect I’m becoming a bigger nerd about comedy than I am about music, and Old Rope is to blame.
When I thought about what it’d be like to live in London (and I’m sure you can imagine that I thought about this rather constantly for several years), I liked to fantasize that maybe I’d end up becoming friends with the people I admire most. Never believed it to be possible, but it was a nice way to think. And while I’m not going to claim I’ve gone that far, I’ve been here for just over a month (five and a bit weeks? I’m starting to lose track!) and some of the comedians I really admire are vaguely aware of who I am.
And so I must repeat myself one last time: Old Rope is the meaning of life. And, as my friend Liv (who just visited for a week and a half) can confirm, if any of you come to visit me, I will make you come with me. But don’t you worry – you’ll have a great time!