Tuesday, 15 November 2011

I Bloomed In Orlando

Those of you who could be arsed to get your heads out of those bloody comics of yours to read my blog yesterday will remember I left you with a cliff hanger. Someone paid for me and my girlfriend to fly first class last week but where were we going and why? The answer is we were going to Orlando, Florida (USA) and we were going because my suspiciously unnamed girlfriend (Robert) was being inducted into her old University's Hall of Fame. This is remarkable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, my girlfriend's success in her own career so outweighs mine that I'm proud of my ego for surviving our relationship. Secondly, educational institutions in the States can be so rich that they can afford to fly one of their former students' boyfriends to Orlando in first class. Not only that but they paid for us to stay in a lovely hotel for a week too. The very same hotel that Warwick Davis and his family were staying in no less.

The Hall of Fame ceremony was both incredible and to cynical British eyes a little ridiculous. As I describe the events I want you to imagine how a similar ceremony would be played out at your old college/school. The image in my head consists of a sports hall and two bowls of crisps.

First, a series of celebrities were introduced in a very American presenter voice as they walked down a fully fledged red carpet. The celebrities included two members of the band 'Disturbed' and Stedman, Oprah's boyfriend. Robert (Robert's real name is Laurie) had foolishly given me the task of being her 'presenter' which meant that I had to introduce her once the ceremony was under way. Each of the 'presenters' were individually announced as they walked down the red carpet. I have been on a few of red carpets in my life. Most of them at badly decorated B and B's, one of them at the BAFTAs. No one has ever taken the slightest bit of interest in me on one. But here I was in a foreign country where NO ONE beyond my girlfriend's family had a fucking clue who I was and literally 20 photographers were frantically taking my photo as I gingerly walked down it.

I should give you some context here. The ceremony was being held at 9am on a Monday morning and the night before a jet lagged me had been treated to a free drinks do. After a couple of beers I decided to have a glass of whiskey. In Britain a glass of whiskey is actually a thimble of whiskey which has been poured into a glass. In the States a glass of whiskey is... A GLASS OF WHISKEY. Brits tend to be sneering about Americans capacity for heavy drinking. Brits tend to be wrong.

So there I was sat in my chair on the stage, sweating alcohol and waiting for the ceremony to begin. We watched on a big screen as the inductees (including Robert) walked down the carpet. A camera cut to shots of the inductees proud families in the audience. Another camera, on a crane, took swooping shots of the room as a whole. This show had a bigger budget than most of the TV series I have appeared in. In true American style, the ceremony's pre-amble was topped off with us all standing for the national anthem sung by the group 4Sure who nearly made it to the finals of American X Factor. None of this is a lie.

Then the head of the university made a speech. He was a certain kind of American. The kind that truly has no British equivalent. He appeared to be utterly devoid of cynicism and spoke with what looked to be the upmost sincerity about that university's 'family'. As a Brit I smelt a whiff of bullshit. Looking back though, I think I may have been wrong. It must say more about me than him that I found it creepy for a man to speak so positively about his work.

And then came my introduction for my girlfriend. I couldn't help but see this as my first overseas gig and littered my little speech with gags. To my delight the Americans lapped it up. I mean they properly chowed down on my humour. And so I left the room truly in love with Americans for their apparent openness and positivity. Would a British audience, on a Monday morning, have been so ready to laugh? I fear not. In fact, in my experience a British audience on a Friday night is rarely so ready to laugh.

It is decided. I am moving to America. Based on last week it is a land of nothing but free booze, free hotels, unending positivity, easy laughter and theme parks. Tomorrow I will tell you about the rest of my trip for there is much to tell.

Note: for the purpose of a theme I have characterised Americans as exclusively positive, fun loving hippies. I did and have, in fact, met many negative American energy sieves. Robert, for example.

1 comment:

  1. Fergus.. no where in your blog is there any mention of the role of the "personal handler" that made sure your every moment was taken care of from the time your plane landed to the time you and your prestigious friend left back to the UK. I would think that would truly impress your followers.