An Impromptu Blog …

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As I write, an eventful week in Dubai comes to a close with one final gig this evening. I say eventful but for all the wrong reasons.

Uneventful might be a better description given that our events in Abu Dhabi were cancelled as the world goes in to Corona shut down and an odd atmosphere descends on us all. As though we are all protagonists in an Armageddon movie with countries closed, flights suspended and normality suspended. So we hunker down, hope and keep an eye on what our media serves up for us.

I am being factitiously by saying trusty – because of course this crisis is manna from heaven for journalists -  in a media world now where clicks are the currency and where’s it at.

So this virus then - which is less virulent than the common flu is referred to as a ‘killer’ virus. Accurate in so far as people have succumb and this is sad of course but in fewer numbers than the people who are overwhelmed by the common flu.

But this fact is not salacious – almost boring in fact and so is largely unreported. Instead, we scoop up what is served to us; images of empty airports, shopping centres and various over-run hospitals.

The damage of the corona virus is all too real. It is genuinely a catastrophe - for the economy and the social damage it is wreaking.

Many people will contract and overcome the virus – but few people will be immune to its costs.

Restaurants will close. Jobs will be lost. People without savings will be exposed. Anxiety will be high.

Media outlets meanwhile are basking in the limelight and no doubt, enjoying their bonanza. Never underestimate the ego of the broadcast journalist – they like to depict their role as noble and intrepid but too often, they are as seduced by fame and spotlight as the most craven contestants on the modern reality shows. And medics too are not so different – clamouring to get on our screens too.

Comedians are hopelessly exposed. Sole traders and with no security whatsoever – many will be even more fretful and nervous than normal – as gigs cancel across the world.

Online, I notice that Brian Regan – one of the world’s best stand-ups – has cancelled a string of shows in Florida. Certainly, a loss for the people booked to see him, because the kind of laughter that Brian can create is better than most medicines. in your bunkers, I advise you get off the news websites and google Brian Regan – you can thank me later.

Talk of major sporting events being played without fans – hard to consider such ramifications… café owners within the vicinity of stadia, programme printers, sellers, pubs, coach drivers, stewards or even cancelled altogether…

And as I write – news that The English Premiere League is cancelled until 4th April - hitting the pockets too of our elite football players - who I suspect won’t be able to count on much sympathy from us mere mortals.

And news also just in (it’s hard to keep up) news that the Melbourne Comedy Festival has cancelled and suddenly I see a chink of light. A possible upside – although schadenfreude is never very edifying.

I have friends who will be devastated at this news, having laid out for the costs of performing at this vaunted festival and now without any prospects of ticket revenue they had been expecting not to mention having diaries that are now threadbare.

I feel very sad for these acts – and especially so because I wonder if we will look back on this whole experience and consider what an overreaction it attracted.

But what of this upside that I mentioned…

In Edinburgh in 2017 – when I was performing my show, Eclipsed – the people from the Melbourne Comedy Festival came to my show. An opportunity for me perhaps, having never been to Australia and who knows, maybe my stuff will go over well there…

Not that I hung on their decision for days afterwards. I’m not prone to comedic arrogance but the least I expected was their interest and even a straight invitation would not have surprised me.

But their response did surprise me, though and indeed, shook me to my core.

“Too old,”

Really. Too old, to be funny?

Last night on stage in Dubai – only for half an hour – but a great time for me and for the audience – I had ten years on one act and twenty years on the other act before me – and while I might be a little heavier and less hairy than them, I am sure than no one in the audience was thinking, ‘this guy on stage is funny. He’s making me laugh but its laughs that are ruined by his age.’

An upside then that the bookers of The Melbourne Comedy Festival are now in a complete tiz – albeit not an upside I am terribly proud of.

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24 Comments

  1. Audrey March 13, 2020
    Reply

    Dom,
    I bet you are way funnier today than at age 27! Funny knows no age. One of my favorites was George Burns who seemed ancient to me from the time I understood humor.
    Please be careful. Please write extra blogs as we are pretty much shut down here in the US, although skating is still happening!
    Maybe a reread of Eclipsed in order
    Audrey

  2. Carolina March 13, 2020
    Reply

    Hello, Dom.
    I hope you’re safe and without Coronavirus
    I’m very excited because I bought Eclipsed last week, but I guess that with all this Coronavirus thing I’ll have to wait for my book.
    As I said before I’m not a native English speaker (I don’t even know if I am one now, lol) and this will be my first book in English, I can’t wait to read it. Please don’t send it without you sign.
    Take care!! ✌

  3. mashaal March 13, 2020
    Reply

    your blogs never disappoint. thank you for always giving your honest opinion and for Open Links signed copy. i fully agree and hopefully everything relating to corona will be figured out soon. much love to you and your family!

  4. Márcia Malaquias March 13, 2020
    Reply

    Hi, Mr. Dom !
    Funny that some people took into account only now that they need to wash their hands, this has always been part of my routine, I always carry liquid soap + alcohol gel in the bag so it’s so normal for me Mr. Dom one day those who called him old will get there, which will be good, although today’s youth are leaving too soon … It is never too late to achieve dreams and do what you really like, we can never lose faith ❤️

    São Paulo , Brasil

  5. Megs March 13, 2020
    Reply

    Maybe I’m ageing myself with the younger crowd but this whole covid19 thing has me back at the end of High school just weeks before the dreaded Y2K.

  6. Faaiz March 13, 2020
    Reply

    My dad was saying the same thing the other day, common flu hits so many people in South Asia and still wasn’t reported as much as this new virus. It took twice as many people but no one made any big deal out of it. Experts say these guys are panicking more than they really need to, so does my dad. I mean even my Taekwondo and Martial Arts Academy is close for three weeks. I can’t believe this. Their supposed to follow the public school’s policy or something.

  7. Vaishu March 13, 2020
    Reply

    U r not too old to be funny …I thank you r too good.

  8. Karen March 13, 2020
    Reply

    Thank you for your insight and humor. I enjoy your blogs and look forward to reading them. Praying for wellness and safe travels for you and your family.
    Aloha from Hawaii!

  9. Louise March 13, 2020
    Reply

    Sorry to say it Dom but I suggest you read a bit more about it from those medics and epidemiologists who you suggest are being alarmist for reasons of notoriety. We’re about to be overwhelmed, and the choice to lockdown should already have been made because we are in the privileged position of being able to see what effect different approaches have had elsewhere. In short we all know the damage to the economy and the difficulties it will bring, but it’s a choice between 0.5% mortality and 4-5% mortality. Medical professionals are watching their colleagues die and are having to make decisions between which 40 year old to ventilate and save, and which 40 year old with high blood pressure will die. It’s that stark. I hope you are going to take this seriously and I hope you are going to pass that message on to your family. https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1237142891077697538.html?fbclid=IwAR2-laZY_Al6WM9hyTUm4WHvQ4HZM4G9p8O4praJXle2Ik8Px_NK1elEJBg
    https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca
    Best wishes

  10. Peter March 13, 2020
    Reply

    A difficult position for governments. Do they follow expert advice, shut down everything and hope the fatality rate is not as bad as forecast , with the inevitable cries of “ see it wasn’t as bad as you said “ After all, averting a crisis if no one is convinced it was going to be as bad as predicted doesn’t gain you many votes. And we all know what politicians are most concerned about. Perhaps Melbourne will have second thoughts about you next year Dom , I would have gone down to see your show. Not much chance of me getting to London any time soon

  11. Pamela March 13, 2020
    Reply

    Great blog as usual! I write this after just being informed our school will be closed next week! Thankfully we only had a 3 day week anyway with Thursday-Friday vacation days! Sending home a folder with “just in case we don’t have school” work for my first graders to work on while they are home!! Middle school and high schoolers coming home with their chrome books to do homework online! Our superintendent stating we will re-evaluate if we need to stay out longer next week! You are never old to bring laughter to an audience!! Safe travels and best wishes to you and your family!!

  12. Alexandra March 14, 2020
    Reply

    Greetings Mr. Holland, I have bought the book Eclipsed (with the help of my mother because I am 16 years old) with shipment to Peru on February 8 and has not arrived yet,
    Please, could you tell me how long it will take to get the book?
    Because we had received the email from gmail notifying us that the order had already been shipped, but we have not received another email about the shipping process.

    On the other hand, I really hope you are safe from the coronavirus, we must take the necessary hygiene measures and precautions to avoid any inconvenience.

    Reguards.
    Alexandra

  13. Suzanne March 14, 2020
    Reply

    Hi Mr. Holland,
    Unfortunately,the Coronavirus is something to take seriously as it is getting exponentially worse and there are not enough beds in the hospitals and not enough needed life-saving equipment to go around (at least here in the US).
    Those Melbourne people are wrong. They must not know comedy at all if they think you’re too old.
    I can think of like at least 20 people off the top of my head that are older or have been older and I can tell you that age has nothing to do with whether you can be funny or not and I’m pretty sure that you do know that fact.
    May you and your family stay healthy and safe!
    Hugs and kisses to Tessa!
    Sincerely,
    Suzanne

  14. Muriel March 14, 2020
    Reply

    Dear Dom,
    I usually enjoy your blog and recently your podcast. However, this time you really miss the mark.
    As healthcare provider my duty is to dispell myth and to spread evidence-based facts.
    This virus has higher mortality that the common flu. Covid 19 hit hard the most vulnerable of the population, people with long-term complex physical health, and people over 70 yrs old.
    Please make sure you verify your information. You do not need to believe me.
    You can follow NHS England and the World Health Organisation on Facebook. Or check their website nhs.uk/Coronavirus. http://www.who.int
    BBC news has been accurate in their information too. And the NewScientist has a whole issue on the pandemic.
    Yes you are right if you are healthy with no breathing condition, you will be fine, the virus only last 5 days.
    But It is our duty of care to protect the older adults and the most vulnerable of our society.
    Although we are young, you are only 3 years older than me,
    All the best … and wash your hands!

  15. Michelle March 14, 2020
    Reply

    As an ICU nurse I find myself disagreeing with your blog this time. I am also a person who wound up intubated and in ICU myself 3 years ago from the flu. We are just recovering from cold and flu season here in Canada, and the ICUs are filled to capacity already. What we are trying to avoid is a surge of patients requiring ventilators. It’s not just about having enough ventilators for those who are sick, but having the staff to care for them. We have daily briefings and these patients are requiring intense medical care..and we are preparing for long hours and overtime should we be hit hard (as has happened in Europe). We are trying to prevent a surge by limiting social interaction. I live in a fairly small town that relies heavily on tourism $ to survive, so I understand the hardship that this will cause. I know it will be difficult and many small businesses will suffer tremendously, as we saw with SARS. But because I will be one of those people who will have to be away from my family and put myself at risk to treat the sickest patients, I will support this request to distance myself socially. When all is over, I will also do my part by supporting local businesses. For once I truly hope that we have overreacted! Wishing nothing but good health to you and your family

    • Dom March 14, 2020
      Reply

      A clarification:

      Thank you. I defer to yours and other commentators much better qualified than me to comment on medical issues – albeit my charge against hysteria remains which has consequences of its own – and as the son of a wonderful nurse, I don’t trivialise the medical profession per se nor take it for granted – and on the issue of people becoming ill, of course they have full attention and concern. I don’t think anyone saw this catastrophe coming – because for many people, this is what it already is – whether it clears up by tomorrow, its ramifications already loom large.

      • Michelle March 14, 2020
        Reply

        I do hope that my post did not come across as condescending! I love your words and enjoy your honesty and humour. I totally agree with you about the media and the ridiculous hysteria that I am seeing. I guess that the majority of my info is from our ICU director and Infectious disease team, so I can continue to ignore anything that the media puts out there!
        I will continue to look to your blog for a good chuckle, and thank you as always for sharing your thoughts. Safe travels home.

        • Dom March 14, 2020
          Reply

          not at all – please don’t fret – I’m old enough (obviously) and ugly enough for detractors and I was conscious of commentators making their points and used yours as a platform for my generic response. I have written tomorrows blog today (on the plane) and its less controversial!

  16. Beth March 15, 2020
    Reply

    I do hope you have a safe and healthy trip home, will be thinking of you, and if you don’t mind could you please keep my Dad in your prayers as he too flies home from South America in a few weeks . Thank you so much.
    Also I do hope you come to Aus one day, it usually has a really united spirit 🙂

  17. M. March 15, 2020
    Reply

    Dear Dom, I enjoyed your post and all of the comments. I am normally a big worrier but for some reason, I feel unusually calm about Covid 19. Maybe it’s because we are prepared as much as possible. I’m not a hard core prepper, but I have followed the counsel of my church leaders to be prepared in all things. We are a family of six and we have a year supply of Food, Supplies, and Savings. And even though I don’t feel the panic, I am cautious. We were told not to be in groups of more than a hundred people, so I’m not. But since so many people are not in restaurants or malls, I feel the need to keep the economy going. So I’ve been out spending money on non-essential things, still avoiding crowds. Glad we have savings to do it!

  18. Elena March 15, 2020
    Reply

    Dear Dom,
    sorry for my terrible english … my name is Elena and I am writing to you from Italy, from a small town near Venice … I admire your work and I respect you, but unfortunately I have to deny you and ask you to reconsider your position on the virus: here we are really exhausted, we are terrified to leave our house … Not only old people die, but also men a little older than your Tom. At the beginning we thought like you, but now we can no longer hug, touch each other, see our loved ones, go out for a walk. I will have to go to work tomorrow morning and I’m terrified …
    I hope you understand my warning.
    With love.
    Elena

    • Dom March 16, 2020
      Reply

      Noted, Elena, thank you. Draconian measures here in the UK now also.

  19. Paula C. March 16, 2020
    Reply

    Hello Mr. Holland, I hope this is OK, as always an excellent blog, the media has commercially taken this virus, instead of honoring their profession and reporting truthful data, it is a little disappointing that only a few can take this responsibility seriously.
    take care of yourself and your family.
    Greetings from Colombia

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