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Who knew?

There is an expression in comedy…

Nothing empties a dressing room quicker than a comedian dying on stage.

The thinking being that comedians wallow in a colleagues defeat which is not very edifying. Schadenfreude might be the official term; enjoying others failings and avoiding their successes.

Certainly, show-business is awash with jealousy. It might be a red carpet and a golden gong but really the colour of Hollywood is green. Money is green and so is envy.

Occasionally I’m asked if I’m jealous of Tom but thankfully not by people who know me.

People are said to suffer from jealousy and suffer they must because there are always others with things to covet. It must be exhausting and the pain unending.

Most stand-up comedians are destined not to make it.

From my comedy workshop days in the early 90’s – of all wannabes in my class, I have no colleagues still treading the boards with me – a paltry rate of success.

Even fewer will become world comedians – the likes of Seinfeld, Chappelle, Burr, Izzard, Jeffries, Carr… or even national comedians filling the arenas.

And this is why so many comedians try their hand at writing, me included. All comics will write at least one sit-com. Some try movies, novels, plays, TV dramas… with only a tiny fraction ever hearing the seductive word, ACTION.

And this ‘fraction’ is why show-business is so intoxicating – because why not me?

You may know by now that although I am unfashionably punctual for everything, I am late to every trends. I lag behind every curve and including must-watch TV shows.

The number of shows I have yet to even embark on include: Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Sopranos, The Wire, West Wing…

And until recently, Succession

Which I finally got to after so many eulogies and I quickly became engrossed in the ugliest people on television – until I watched Dope Sick and encountered the real-life Sackler family.

Watching Succession (through my fingers), I spied that it is written by amongst others, a certain Tony Roche and I wondered…

I suppose that ‘Tony Roche’ is not such an unusual name, although there are not too many Tony’s nowadays. More Antony’s I mused. My dad was a Tony to his friends but Anthony on his passport or if he ever wrote a worldwide TV smash hit drama – which he didn’t.

A quick google and my happy suspicions are confirmed. This Tony Roche who wrote Succession is the same guy who sat in various writing rooms with me many moons ago. We started doing stand-up together and I was quickly funnier and more successful than him.

But who’s laughing now?

Er, that will be the writer of Succession, I believe.

Who knew? And what an extraordinary success story. Tony and I lost touch years ago but if we met tomorrow, we would instantly reconnect – an altogether more wholesome feature of show business.

And then the very same thing happened again last week.

Watching Paddy play football (soccer), a dad on the touchline gave me a TV recommendation and having wasted an evening on the English version of Call My Agent – I decided to give it a go.

Slow Horses stars Oscar winner Gary Oldman no less and I noticed was written by amongst others, a certain Will Smith and I wondered…

Will Smith is a common name.

A Will Smith has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons; eclipsing what should have been the greatest night of his distinguished career. Not that Will Smith, surely?

No, but sure enough, it turns out to be the same Will Smith who I shared many writers rooms with all those years ago.

Blimey, Go Will.

What huge success for them both and good for them. A better example of staying in the game and not giving up, I can’t think of.

I look back on these writers rooms with great affection and some sadness also. What exciting things that lay ahead for some of us, although not all. The best comedy writer amongst was Debbie Barham. A quiet girl who typed more than she spoke. Debbie had an eating disorder that none of us felt confident to broach. The last time I saw her was on the front page of the Arts section of a national newspaper. An obituary for her untimely death from anorexia. I recall that day so vividly and I felt a stark contrast to the joy of learning of Tony and Will’s success – the complete and utter bastards.

The moral here – whatever outcomes are ahead – keep on keeping on. It’s the only way forward.



Only in America remains FREE today on Amazon, ahead of Made in England being published on July 3rd which can be pre-ordered here.

Eclipsed Audio – read by Dom and in conversation with Tom is being published on June 19th on flickrocket and can be pre-ordered here.









4 thoughts on “Who knew?”

  1. A thoughtfuyl blog today Dom. Success can be a tough thing to achieve and maintain, but success may not be everything in life.
    Some may see success in the monetary sense, others may see it as still working and maintaining a balace between work and home life. I hope we find success in whatever path we take and if we pass on our moral, ethics and good manners to our offspring I think that it may be a success of some kind too,
    Wishing everyone here a good week ahead.

  2. Mudita instead of Schadenfreude?

    you must watch The West Wing… a great show created by Aaron Sorkin

    Do you ever advertise your future shows? Now that ‘things’ have finally quieted down and society is returning to normal, I’m heading back to London this June (after a 2 1/2 years absence). Would love to catch a show… though I don’t want to catch Monkeypox! another virus spreading across the globe…

  3. Great blog, Dom!
    Speaking of watchlists, make sure you add Sick Note to it if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s an unpretentious dark comedy series that takes place in London. Easy binge, there’s only 2 seasons which is a shame but I guess the best comedy shows don’t usually become very popular. I suppose people considered to have unpopular opinions have a better taste
    ?? Hehehe For instance, I never enjoyed Seinfiled and that guy Larry David is just a.n.n.o.y.i.n.g so I’m assuming the best comedians out there are never gonna make it big simply because they’re not understood by the masses 😉
    Kudos to your friend on Succession. Out of the shows you’ve mentioned I’ve only seen Breaking Bad and considering all the hype towards it (which usually puts me off) I found it surprisingly good.

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