With an election looming, there is fevered debate about the state of our nation.
The haves and the have nots. Good immigration and bad immigration. Downward pressure on wages and zero hour contracts – which is usually an argument used to demonstrate how workers are being shafted. Which brings me neatly on to professional funny people – (comedians) which incidentally is a profession never mentioned when workers being ripped off is discussed.
But a comedian has the ultimate zero hours contract and its never been any different. Nevermind the youffs in Sports Direct, what about the comics? No over time. No sick pay. No guarantee of any future work. And over the last twenty years – pretty much the same income per gig and in too many instances much much less.
Who’d be a comic?
Well loads of people it seems – and this oversupply of comedians is the central problem – plus the blind belief of young comics that they are about to become rich and famous. Indeed, when comedian’s incomes are discussed – it is Jimmy Carr’s and not some jobbing comic being offered a gig at a London club for £30.
And this is not a moan on my part. I’ve been lucky enough (or funny enough) to accumulate a decent amount of fat before the arse fell out of club comedy – but recently driving to a gig in the west country – for the same fee as it was 20 years ago – and factoring in petrol and agents 15% and tax, it was a difficult circle to complete – but the gig went well. I did some new stuff. The audience laughed. My car hadn’t been ticketed or clamped, so all was well. Until this morning when I opened an ominous looking envelope.
M4, westbound. 12.30pm. 60mph in a 50mph zone on the M4…
I didn’t read the rest of it – just scanned down to… A £100 fine!
Obviously, this is gutting, particularly as this gig is now a practical loss…
Russell Brand is a comedian who will never have to fret about fees per gig nor motoring fines (assuming he still drives himself) – Russell advises us not to vote – which I disagree with – but that said, whoever we plump for this May, it will always be the same.
Death and taxes.
These are the only constants – which is no laughing matter – and why we bloody well need our comedians and why we might want to look after them a bit kindlier as well.