So for the first time since I’ve pursued standup in the U.S. I have had a choice. A big one. I was fortunate for the third year running to be selected for a World Series of Comedy sattelite. I love this organization, all roads eventually lead to Vegas through a series of rounds where comics out funny each other. This year, I was selected to perform in San Antonio, Texas. Never been before, but fancied a trip to the state where I know they’d have loved my left leaning humour. Yes, jokes about healthcare, immigration and republicans in general would have gone down a treat there. I know they love immigrants, because they’re campaigning for a fence to keep them in, so again, perfect. In truth, I was looking forward to the challenge and then….our movie, THE UNDERSTUDY is screening in Cannes the same weekend. Ah, that’s quite a commute and actually as it turns out, impossible.
So, here I am , after a 24 hour journey at God knows what time of day/morning/night, jet lagged to hell, sitting in a beautiful villa on the Cap D’Antibes on the French Riviera. Texas will have to wait for this liberal to tell his jokes another day.
It seems, my career has hit another level, one step closer to the unreachable dream and another closer to bankruptcy. It is that odd dichotomy, that professionally I am pretty close to where I want to be and yet my bank account couldn’t be further from where I’d ever want it to plummet. I’ve been very lucky, a friend has provided a friend with a villa, family a flight, another friend a car and another friend some cash for teaching Improv to comics. I’ve got enough for breakfast every day and then will be relying on the opulent parties for sustanence, so in other words, the morning baguette should get me through to evening canapes and lobster. It really is that ridiculous. I don’t think I’m alone, it’s my fifth time at the festival and it’s always amazed me that the car parks which have classical music and are carpeted also double for dressing rooms as people swap their day clothes for evening attire. I’m not sure if there is a kitchen, but there are certainly nearby beach showers – you could live in these car parks and for price of parking there, you probably should!
In 2004, Hannah and me arrived with a splash for MOTHERS & DAUGHTERS, we flew the whole cast in on SleazyJet five pound tickets and stayed in a trailer park. The British press loved this and followed us around, comparing us to Brad Pitt and his spouse at the time, Jennifer Aniston (ah, poor Jen, whatever happened to her?). Their hotel bill it turned out, was bigger than the budget for our entire movie. When it came to the premier, I was trying to make my way down the red carpet but was held back by Jesus – well Jim Caviezel, with his arms outstretched and a phalanx of papparazi, the news crew following me loved it, as I panicked and couldn’t work out how to get into the cinema and why help, when it makes good TV. Cut to me sitting on the steps of the cinema, having not got into the world premier of a movie I had co-directed and written…and starred in. Apparently, it made a funny story on the news as my friends and family informed me from home. As Charlie Sheen would say: “winning”.
So, here I am again, Cannes 2012, perhaps the most glamorous place on the planet for the next 10 days, where dreams can be made and broken with a French twist. Last time I was here in 2009, I walked around the Palais with Reiko Aylesworth, who is in our movie – and we realized, all the hard work, the sweat, the tears, the long hours hoping to get that perfect shot, the talent, the hundreds of experts working for for a single goal, memories of mixing sound into the early hours – was that a double breath, or have we just got tired ears now? Is that footstep too quiet? Too loud, and this….is what it all comes down to: booths full of posters and Sales Agents hoping to entice buyers, not dissimilar to a Morrocan souk, “here buy my film, what do you want, I got horror, I got comedy, I’ve got nuns with guns, look at poster I give you good price, what country you buy for?” George Clooney likened AFM to selling shoes. Well, at least we’re in the shop again. Come on then Cannes 2012, please buy my flip flops.