“So who is your favourite comedian?” It was nice that he clearly thought I was so hilarious that I would have a favourite comedian.
The fact is, I don’t have a favourite comedian. And another fact is I don’t tend to try to hide it, just like that time I was sat in the chair during a junior fashion PR job interview and was asked “So who is your favourite fashion designer?” (Actually, I think it may have been plural.) And it was nice that they clearly thought I was so interested in the fashion industry that I would have at least one favourite fashion designer.
I don’t have one.
“You don’t have a favourite comedian? Well that is quite absurd, Leanne, what with your hilaaaaarious grasp of the English language I thought you’d have quite the flowing list of comedy heroes.” That would have been the ideal moment to highlight the fact that to be your own hero you don’t need to look up to another hero, because where would we stop? There has to be a limit to greatness. Just ask God.
But I stared at the chopsticks on the table instead.
So here I was, sat opposite Petrov. Or ‘Trovz’ as he likes to be known. Obviously he couldn’t have shortened his birth-certificated name to the obvious ‘Pete’, or even ‘Trevor’, because that’d be too ordinary for someone so very extraordinary.
Anyway, Trevor – a boarding school-educated Russian native, who barely sees his LA-residing mother or army-ranking father. His relationship with his only relative in the UK, his brother, is so strong that he was planning to spend the next Christmas with a Muslim friend and her family. Trovz – so extraordinary that he had recently ‘chucked in’ the old lawyer profession in a quest to improve his Chinese, so he was fully prepared for his big move to a small Chinese village in the big new year.
Which didn’t make sense given we were sat in a Korean restaurant. I chose to not point this out since my request for a knife and fork, and exclamation that my bowl of meat resembled dog food, had caused enough offence already.
No bad Asian/dog/cuisine joke – it did actually resemble dog food.
“You can’t say that.” Yes I can, it looks like dog food. It probably doesn’t taste like dog food, luckily for you I’ve never felt inclined to eat dog food, but it has the aesthetic qualities of tinned meat in the pet food aisle. In my haste/confusion/disgust at TROVZ, I had chosen the meat bowl with no vegetables, so you can imagine how a bowl of chopped meat could be likened to Pedigree Chum. Yes you can.
So there I was, utterly culturally inept, poking at a bowl of Korean dog food with a fork, downing my glass of white wine as civilised as socially awkwardly possible, in possession of not a single comedy hero. And there he was, obviously totally culturally superior, chopsticks dancing between his fingers as he sipped Korean tea.
“So then, what are your extra curricular activities?” Oh I hate you Trovz. I hate you so much. Not only do you clearly ‘PLAY’ after work, but you also indulge in ‘Extra Curricular Activities’.
Dog food dutifully consumed, next came 58 minutes in the top room of a dingy, dusty pub, where I encountered three men in ill-fitting shirts and a lady who clearly didn’t adhere to the anti-feminist dictatorship of bra wearing. And endure, yes, painfully endure, their improvised comedy. Improv Com, one of Trovz’s Extra Curricular Activities, obvs.
And 58 minutes of good old Trovz slapping/smacking/attacking his thigh in appreciation of the good old Improv Com. I was able to block out most of it with disgust, dust, white wine and temporary loss of consciousness from a misplaced thigh slap.
This meeting reached a Thank God-ful ending with my leap from the tube carriage, one stop early, during his discussion of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography and the fact that “you’d never expect a man like him to be a man quite like that.”
No, Petrov, but I think we can all expect a man like you to be a man quite like you.