Look. Jack! Jack!
Jack, can you sign this for me, please?
Jack– – Oh! What? Whoa, whoa, whoa! Stand back. Whoa!
Ladies and gentlemen, please go wild and crazy, and welcome to the stage Mr. Jack Whitehall!
Hello, Wembley! Wow, it doesn’t get any more prestigious than this. I’m quite nervous. I’m quite nervous. I’ve got to be frank with you, I have a history of cocking up prestigious gigs. The most I have ever bombed on stage was when I was booked to do Prince Charles’ Christmas party. It was exactly as weird as it sounds. The first thing that was weird about this gig is that I walked out, Charles and Camilla were sat in the front row, in high-backed chairs. I was thinking: “You are aware this is real life, not Game of Thrones?” Also, don’t sit in the front row. The front row as a comedian is the get-out-of-jail-free card. If the jokes aren’t working, you talk to the front row. You ask them what they do for a living. I can’t ask Prince Charles what he does for a living. He is the most famous unemployed man on the planet. “What do you do for a living?” “Just sort of sit around, wait for my parent to die.” “Me too.”
So I can’t do the “what’s your job?” crowd work, ’cause my front row is a couple on benefits. I’m glad you laughed. I’m not gonna lie, on the night, it did not go down well. Meghan was the only one laughing which, if anything, made it worse. The other weird thing about this gig is that they didn’t give me a microphone, which is literally the only thing I need as a comedian. ‘Cause this is the only thing that gives me status over you. Without this, I am just… the crazy guy shouting on the high street! With this: “Hi, I’m here to talk to you about politics.” Without it: “I’m here to talk to you about Jesus!”
No microphone, right? They’re in the front row. Forty-five minutes, I had to do. Forty-five minutes of dancing around in front of the royal family like I was the court-fucking-jester. My final indignity occurred, though, after the gig. Now, as a comedian, you know when you have had a bad show. You do not need to be told it. You especially do not need to be bantered by the future King of England. I was introduced to Prince Charles. Do you know what the first thing was that he said to me? “I think next year we’ll try a magician.” Cheeky fucker!
It’s fine, it’s fine. I hooked him up with my friends at Magic Mike. Camilla bloody loved them.
Know your crowd. The lesson that I learned that night. It’s important as a comedian. It’s hard when you’re traveling. I’ve been living in America. Do we have any Americans? Whoa, okay. Yes, they’re certainly American. Okay, please don’t shoot. No… Applaud all you want. Sir… Sir, they can applaud. I’m still trying to break America. There is absolutely no way that comment is ending up in the special. Over my dead body. Figure of speech.
I come in peace. I love America. It’s an amazing place. And do you know what I’ve come to realize? Americans, you basically do everything that we do, but you do it bigger, and you do it better. Like, we have stupid people here… but your stupid people are world class. And that is not me saying: “All Americans are stupid.” No, America also has the smartest people on the planet. What I’m saying is that when America does stupid, you do stupid. Like, our village idiot is in a park, shouting at clouds. Yours is president.
The world is becoming a dumber place. You know how you know this? You know this from signs. I’ll give you an example of one that I saw. I was in Tucson, Arizona. And I went down for breakfast in my hotel, and there was a sign on the toaster in this hotel that said: “Please butter bread…” “…after use.” If you do not know that you are meant to butter your toast after it has been toasted, you should not be allowed anywhere near a toaster, unless you are taking it with you into a bath.
To be fair, right? This sign was affixed to the worst invention that mankind has ever created. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the hotel… conveyor belt toaster. No one in this entire 10,000-strong arena has ever made a decent piece of toast on the hotel conveyor belt toaster. Unfathomably shit. And handily fitted with a small window, so you can witness your misery play out in slow motion. First time through. Whoosh! Still bread. Second time through. Whoosh! Barely warm. Third time through. Burnt to a crisp! There is literally no setting to get it right. It’s like putting a ginger on a sunbed, it’s impossible. And there’s always a queue out into the lobby ’cause you got stuck behind some old man that thought it was a good idea to put in a bagel. A bagel? Are you out of your fucking mind, Granddad? If you wanted a bagel toasted in that machine in time for breakfast, it needed to go in a week ago. By the time that’s toast, you might be as well.
Then it’s like they went: “Oh, how can we make this machine even shitter? I know, let’s have your piece of crappy toast be delivered onto a little tray underneath it that we set at a slight angle, so your piece of shitty toast is sent flying straight onto the bloody floor.” You see people waiting for it to pop out, like fielders in the slip cordon. “Oh, this is going to be a slippery catch to take.” “Why’s that?” “Well, I’m one of those psychopaths that likes to butter the bread before.”
It wasn’t even the worst sign that I saw. The worst sign that I saw was in the same hotel, but it was by the pool. I went down to the hotel swimming pool to have a lovely, refreshing dip in the hotel swimming pool, when I read a sign, ladies and gentlemen, that stopped me in my tracks, and it chilled me to the core. It read like this: “Would you please refrain from entering the hotel swimming pool if you have active… diarrhea.” Well, thank you very much for putting me off this, or indeed, any swimming pool ever again. Because that sign can only exist… because someone did. How is that something that we need a sign to remind us of? Don’t get me wrong, I like swimming as much as the next man. But I accept that if I am in the clutches of an attack… of active diarrhea, there are certain activities that I will not be participating in for a short while. Swimming, trampolining, horseback riding, skydiving, probably tandem skydiving as well.
I personally am the kind of person that lives his life governed by the fear that I might, one day, shit myself in public. Case in point, every time I’m in a car and I do not realize that the heated seat is on, I’m like: “Fuck, today’s the day.” Also, more importantly, what on earth does this phrase even mean? Active diarrhea. As opposed to what? Inactive diarrhea? “Yes, we’ve had diarrhea in the family for generations. My great-grandfather traveled to India, picked up a bit of the old Delhi belly, but fortunately, as he got the dormant kind, none of us have ever soiled ourselves.” I can only assume that active diarrhea means it is literally coming out of your ass. If that is the case, and for some baffling reason you have decided that your best chance of salvation is the crowded hotel swimming pool, I don’t think you’re the kind of fucker that stops to read a sign. “What’s this? ‘No running, no diving…’ But ah, yes, nothing about shitting. Well, bombs away.”
This is the world that we live in, though. We have to care about everyone’s feelings, everyone’s tolerances, everyone’s intolerances, everyone’s… dietary… requirements. I’ll tell you where it’s gone too far, and I have to be the person to say this. For the love of God… we have got enough… milks now. Would everyone stop milking shit?
I went to buy coffee recently. Near to where I live, in London, a very rough part of London called Notting Hill. I went in there. I have very straightforward coffee tastes. It should have been a very straightforward transaction. It was anything but. I went in there. I was like: “Hello, I’d like a white coffee, please.” “Okay, sir, what kind of milk would you like with your coffee? We’ve got a coconut milk, we’ve got an almond nut milk, we’ve got hazelnut milk, we’ve got cashew milk, we’ve got a macadamia nut milk, we’ve got oat, rice, hemp, soy milk. You can have it from a bean, pulse, nut, grain, oat, lax, from a leaf, seed, tree.” “I’d like it from a nipple, please.” “I don’t care what type of nipple. Preferably a cow’s, but I’m not fussy. I’ll take it from whatever nipple I can get.” She looked at me like I had requested it from hers. Like I was the weirdo. I’m not the weirdo. You’re the one in the back of the shop with your little friends, milking fucking cashew nuts. You’re the freaks, not me. I do not, for one moment, doubt that lactose intolerance is a very grave and pressing issue for humanity. But lest I remind you, we currently don’t have a cure for cancer, and there are 12 readily available milk substitutes on the market which, I would argue, is 11 more than we need!
And look, we’re all having fun. I don’t want to turn my special into a TED Talk. But I’m about to hit you up with some pretty sophisticated science here. Milk must come… from a tit. Last time I checked, the almond? Pretty flat-chested. You are drinking… nut juice.
Oh, dear. I worry this may be a little bit of a London problem. On this tour that I’ve been doing… I bring this up ’cause I was in the northeast of England and we were doing a show there, and we were staying in this tiny, little hotel in the middle of nowhere. It was amazing. There was a slightly older gentleman that was serving us breakfast at this hotel. And my tour manager, Johnny, asked him about the milk situation. He got the best response I have ever heard. He was like: “Excuse me, what are the milk options?” The guy went: “Hot… or cold.”
Where are the dairy drinkers in? Who’s a dairy drinker here this evening? You do realize we are the smokers of 2020? Seriously. Watch as we get slowly ostracized from society. They’ll give us our own designated areas to go and drink our dirty titty milk in. They’ll have warnings soon, like with the cigarettes. You’ll go into the supermarket, pick up a carton of milk, there’ll be a sticker on the side of it: “Warning, may cause healthy bones and teeth.” And don’t you dare, don’t you dare, in 2020, drink your disgusting titty milk… through a plastic straw. Oh, no, no, you may as well be sucking it directly from the devil’s dick.
I got that lecture recently from a friend, a friend who’s the classic environmental hypocrite. I don’t know if you’ve come across this woman. She gives it all the: “Yeah, I’ve got my reusable coffee cup and my reusable water bottle, all in my eco-friendly grocery bag.” You drove here in a fucking Hummer. She comes at me about the straw: “Jack, you can’t use a plastic straw anymore. What about the environment? What about the wildlife? You need a reusable straw.” I was like: “Okay, fine, understood.” I went, I got myself a reusable straw. It’s made of ivory. It works a fucking treat. Doing my bit, doing my bit. Don’t use a coffee cup anymore, I take my turtle shell into Starbucks. I’m like: “Fill that bad boy up.” And I’ve started recycling condoms, so… Yeah, the big man knows what I’m talking about. Quick rinse, get rid of any nut juice, stick it on the washing line. It’s a bag for life. We’ve got to do our bit.
Do our bit now. I had the vegan Impossible Burger the other day. Oh, my God, amazing. Here’s the twist. Tastes just like a regular hamburger, but… it’s the price of two hamburgers. And guilt-free. Plus, you can get any topping you like. I went for bacon and foie gras. Mmm! ‘Cause that, of course, is the answer. We should all be going vegan.
My uh… flatmate, Hugo, recently… Of course, Hugo. I’m just a normal guy. No. The Hugester, he’s great. Um… he lives in the east wing and… Anyway, he’s a vegan, but here’s the thing. He didn’t want to call himself a vegan ’cause he was worried that some of his friends might give him shit. Moi. So… instead of calling himself a vegan, Hugo decided that he was going to identify as… Get ready for it because it is a humdinger. …plant-positive. Ah, nice work, Hugo. Successfully sidestepped the wanker bullet there, didn’t we? And it’s now literally every other word out of his mouth. He’s like: “Jack, you can make as many jokes as you like about me being plant-positive. I’m going to live ten years longer than you.” “Yeah, not if you keep calling yourself plant-positive around me. I will smother you in your sleep. Actually, I won’t even need to smother you now. You’re a vegan. I’ll just place the cushion on your face, you’ll be too weak to lift it off.” “You’re suffocating me.” “No, just making you oxygen-negative.” … It’s no good crying over spilt nut juice.
Where are the vegans at? We got vegans in? Okay, an army of them. Oh, dear. I’m going to get booed off stage in a hail of tofu. I– I’m sorry. Honestly, I am. I come in peace, okay? I don’t want any beef, and, quite frankly, neither do you. Vegan-bashing, that’s what that was. And it is, excuse the pun, low-hanging fruit. Because there is no denying, your life choice, Hundred percent better for you, better for the world. I also know why… human beings have a pop at vegans. It’s a very simple human instinct. As human beings, we basically just can’t bear anyone else that has exercised any degree of self-control. And you all fucking do it. Doesn’t matter what that self-control is. Someone that’s become a vegan, someone that’s given up drinking, someone that’s running a marathon, someone that has started cycling to work. Your mouth goes: “Oh, good for you.” And your head goes: “Cunt.” Because we don’t want people #LivingTheirBestLife. We want them #LivingASlightlyShittierLifeThanUs, so we can feel better about our pathetic existence.
That’s why all those dickheads get wound up by Greta Thunberg. I mean, talk about living your best life. She has put the entire world to shame. That girl is a boss. She is a child. Yes. She is a child and she has raised a global climate change revolution. When I was a child, I couldn’t raise a Tamagotchi. She’s at the UN, telling them: “We need to save the planet through radical action.” I was like: “Mommy, it’s making a funny noise and asking me to feed it, what do I do?” “Just send it to boarding school.”
We also have no excuse now. It’s never been easier to be a better citizen of the world. I was in the supermarket recently. Not Waitrose, or Whole Foods, before you start judging me. Sorry to disappoint, Not doing Waitrose jokes. Been told to cut them out. For real. After my last tour, my manager took me aside and said: “Jack, your reference points are a little unrelatable. If you ever want to be a comedian you know, a man of the people, cut out the Waitrose stuff.” So, understood. ‘Cause I’m a normal guy. So the other day, I was in the supermarket, my favorite, the “Lie-dl.” Or when I’m in the States, “Walmar.” I saw a sign in the supermarket, though, for Veganuary. That is a great idea, giving up meat for a month. All onboard with that. But why January? On behalf of everyone, can I please say, people need to back the fuck off January. We already have Dry January. Now we have Veganuary. Newsflash: January already the shittest month of the year. That is not the month you should be giving up vices. If anything, that is the month you should be finding new ones for. “Jack, are you giving up booze and meat for January?” “Nope, but I will be taking up heroin.” Yeah, the month flies by, and that Christmas weight just drops off. Who’s with me? 2021, Smackuary.
Got to be more ethical ’cause the meat eaters can be more ethical as well. Can ask the right questions. Got to pick your moments. I’m a normal guy, so I took a girl on a date to the Nan-doss. She started asking questions about the chicken. There is a time and a place for asking questions about the chicken. Nan-doss is not it. The poor guy there didn’t have a fucking clue. She asked him where the chicken was from. He said: “The fridge.”
That’s the thing. You’ve gotta be aware of the food eaten by the food that we’re eating. I saw an article the other day saying you are no longer allowed to feed ducks in the park bread. Do you know why? Because it makes them… bloated. They’re ducks. Their job… is to float. What does it matter if they’re bloated? That’s a fucking advantage. Started listing alternatives. Instead of feeding them bread, you could feed them corn kernels, you could feed them peas, you could feed them grapes. Grapes? Am I visiting this duck in hospital now? Can you imagine how much of an asshole I would look like if I turned up to my local park, everyone else is chucking in moldy bits of bread, I turn up with a basket of grapes? “Oh, you may be ducks, but today you will feast like swans. Don’t fill up too much, you won’t leave room for the cheese board. Here we are. Lie-dl’s finest Latvian Camembert. Come, enjoy, enjoy.”
Gluten-free ducks. Whatever next? They’ll be going keto. That’s what’ll happen. I can’t keep up with the fad diets. There appears to be a new one every week. You’ve got juicers, your fasters. The fasters, that’s the weirdest one. It’s like a cult. Fast the 5:2 diet. “Yeah, I’m doing the 5:2 diet. For five days, I eat what I like. For two days, I fast. And for seven days, I tell everyone about it.” And they’re always so desperate to tell you how good fasting is for you. It’s like: “I have eyes in my head, I can see what’s in front of me.” These people look emaciated, physically weak. Like prisoners of war. “Oh, I’m so sorry, I can’t have that biscuit. I’m actually doing a fast at the moment. It’s absolutely amazing, you’ve got to try it sometime. I haven’t made saliva for three days.” “What have you lost?” “Two stone and my vision.” “It’s honestly the best I’ve ever felt.”
Oh, God. I feel like a lot of this will come back and haunt me. I mean, in six months’ time, I will 100% be a vegan. And… drinking falafel milk. I’m just jealous of people for living the life that I want to live. I do it with everything. Like love-life. Now that my love-life is a car crash, I literally cannot be around happy couples. Aww. Give me a cheer if you’re in a happy relationship. Mate, it doesn’t work if you drag your girlfriend’s hand up when I ask that question. Frigging caveman over here. “She happy.” Give me a cheer if you’re in an unhappy relationship. Right, we can hang out.
I love spotting these unhappy couples. I saw one the other day. I was on a plane. This husband and wife walked on. I don’t know whether they were husband and wife, but they were over 60. So if you’re over 60, whether you’re married or not, you’re a husband and wife. ‘Cause there is nothing cringier than anyone over 60 referring to themselves as: “boyfriend and girlfriend.” You’re not in primary school. And I know that’s ageist to say, but unfortunately it’s just true. I met this guy the other day. He was old. Like, old-old. Like, you could have got into his iPhone by showing it one of your testicles, like that. He had to be pushing 80. And he introduced me to the woman that he was with: “This is my girlfriend.” That is your next of kin. So the couple come on. The husband sits down, instantly falls asleep, starts snoring out loud. And the wife is looking over at him, and loathing him with every fiber of her being. At one point he did that thing like he was choking in his sleep. Like… I accidentally caught her eye. She gave me a look as if to say: “Shh! If he goes, he goes.” He’s got his tray table down. She’s written, “Do not resuscitate.”
Whole flight, he snores out loud. By the time it gets to the landing, even the screaming baby was like: “This guy’s an asshole.” But because his seat was ever so slightly inclined, the air hostess had to come over and put it into the upright position for landing, or as we know, the plane would’ve burst into a ball of flames. In doing so, she accidentally wakes him up, and he was not best pleased. He snapped at her. He was like: “Oh, my God, is… is it really worth leaning over and waking me up for the sake of two inches?” And his wife went: “Not in my experience.” There were high-fives. The pilot had to do an announcement. “To the lady in row 33, you go, girl, you go!” Everyone was loving it. Other than me. I was sat there thinking: “This is the last time I ever sit behind my fucking parents on a plane.”
I’m glad you enjoyed that bit. Do you know who did not enjoy that bit the first time he heard it? Michael Whitehall. Oh, my God. The first time he heard that bit, he had the most Michael Whitehall response you have ever heard. I came offstage afterwards. He was waiting for me, looming at the end of the bar, like a pissed vampire. He was like: “I didn’t like that new plane bit of yours.” I was like: “Daddy, obviously it wasn’t actually you guys, it was just a joke.” He went: “Row 33, I do not want people thinking that we fly economy.”
He’s got even worse now, as well, that he is a minor celebrity. I’m not saying fame has gone to his head, but the other day, my dad was doing a medical questionnaire and under “Occupation,” he put: “National treasure.” We all know he’s on borrowed time. Eventually he’s going to say or tweet something that’s gonna get him canceled. We did this ancestry show on the BBC, Who Do You Think You Are? The answer, it turns out, is: “an asshole.” Yep, my father comes from a long line of assholes, it turns out. On one side of the family, we were taken to Birmingham. I was like: “Great, I’m going to be related to a Peaky Blinder.” Nope, sex pest. One of my ancestors was a philandering con artist that got syphilis, gave it to his wife, and they both died in a mental asylum. Well, it turns out, he was the good one. Oh, yeah, my other ancestor made old Cheaty McSyphilis look like Mother Teresa. Other side of the family, we visited Wales and discovered that I’m related to a prominent Welsh Tory M.P. that introduced blood sports to the nation, then put down a revolt of Welsh workers that were fighting for the right to vote, and had the William Wallace of Wales arrested, and hung, drawn and quartered for treason. So I’m finding all of this stuff out. I was… I was upset, I was moved, I was disturbed. I turned to look at my dad. Fucking nothing. I was like: “Daddy, you need to look more upset. There are cameras on us. Can you at least pretend to be sad?” He went: “I am sad. It is all deeply depressing. I had absolutely no idea that we were Welsh.”
I get it, right? I get it. Your perception of your parents changes over time. As a child, you look at your mom and dad and you’re like: “You two are the most embarrassing people that I have ever seen in my entire life.” Then you get a little bit older, a bit wiser, you become an adult, and eventually you go: “You know what? Actually, I think these two might be all right.” Then they retire and you spend more time with them and you’re like: “Oh, no, I had it right the first time. You’re fucking mental.”
And in my family, my sister definitely gets it worse. Last year, my sister got engaged. That should have been a lovely moment for our family. And it was, for nought-point-five seconds. Until she then announced she didn’t want to get married in a church. Oh, dear. Anyone would’ve thought she told him she’d voted Green. Did not go down well. He went: “What do you mean you don’t want to get married in a church, Molly? If I’m paying for this wedding, you’re not having it in a fucking barn. If I’m paying for this wedding, it will happen in a house of worship.” The look on his face when he finds out we’ve booked a mosque.
Now the pressure’s on me, of course. To get married. To have a child. They keep asking: “When are you going to give us a grandchild?” I’m like: “I’m trying to put an end to this bloodline of syphilitic mass murderers.” But it’s because I had my first proper breakup recently. I had an amicable breakup, which people tell you is a good thing. I’m here to tell you, it fucking ain’t. Much better to hate the person. I say that as a person. I also say that as an artiste. Because the one advantage of having tragedy in your life as an artiste is it can inspire great work. No one has ever written a brilliant album about a lovely breakup, where everyone behaved impeccably. I wanted her crushing my heart into the floor, throwing my clothes out of the window. I wanted to get Adele’d, right? Instead, my ex-girlfriend took my mom for tea to help my mom transition through the split. Yeah, fuck you with your kindness and generosity. I want to be rolling in the deep. Instead, I’m in the shallow end, making jokes about diarrhea.
Then we had this weird situation where me and my ex were just friends and we were living in the same flat together for a couple of months. That was very weird. Trying to help each other acclimatize to our new life as just friends. Shall I tell you the most tragic moment? We were in the kitchen together, and for the first time in six years, she farted in front of me. And no words were exchanged. I just walked out of the room, went upstairs, locked myself in the bathroom, and had a little cry because I knew it was over. In one gust, she had broken wind and my heart.
Some of this new material’s quite bleak. Seriously, though. She was farting in front of me. She was trying to make herself less attractive to me. She was literally trying to fart herself off the pedestal. But it didn’t work. I am a man. It only made me love her more. Then I tried to play ball as well. I was like: “Is there anything I could do to make myself less attractive to you?” She went: “No, I think I’m pretty much there.”
Now I’ve got to put in an effort again. Got to put a shift in in the bedroom again, I don’t like having to do that. Oh, no, I’m very conservative in the bedroom. No thrills with me between the sheets. I always say, sex with me is like arriving late at the theater and trying to find your seat. Lot of shuffling, bit of shushing, a pause, and from somewhere in the darkness, a whispered: “I’m sorry.”
Unfortunately, never that noise.
I– I’m just not equipped for any of this. I’m not equipped for a breakup emotionally, ’cause I am a product of the British public school system. If a relationship broke down at boarding school, you weren’t encouraged to talk about it. Mainly ’cause a lot of those teachers could’ve lost their jobs. The closest I’ve come to a relationship since, though, has been with Alexa. Ah, lovely Alexa. Stores and records everything you say, so that she can use it in the future. Just like a real girlfriend.
And I lead the bachelor lifestyle now. Woohoo, bachelor lifestyle! Breakfast for dinner. Fuck, yeah. Same underpants for a week. Did someone order a legend? Ooh, is this just the kitchen sink, or is it also now the downstairs toilet? Too far? I love saying that onstage every night, and then looking out into the crowd, without fail, always seeing at least four or five guys laugh, and then turn to their missus and be like: “I have no idea what he’s talking about.” Was that rock bottom, or was rock bottom going to the kitchen and realizing that the only food I had left in the house was the emergency Pot Noodle, only to then discover, she’d taken the kettle? “Well, I guess you’re getting filled up directly from the hot tap.” I’m not proud of myself. Sat on the sofa in a Slanket, crunching through an al dente Bombay Bad Boy, hoping it will give me the sustenance I need to return to the job at hand, namely seeing whether it is possible to wank yourself into a coma. “Say my name, Alexa.” “Jack Whitehall.” “Yeah! Who’s the daddy?” “Searching Michael Whitehall.” “No! Don’t do that.”
I think it’s fair to say, I went off the rails a little bit. It all came to a head when I went to… to Germany for a weekend. Uh… quite sad, actually. Last year, we went to Berlin to say goodbye to a friend of mine, who we lost in June… June, July? It was a summer wedding, I can’t remember when. That’s right. After the self-pity stage of breakup grief comes the “getting annihilated” stage, and where better to do that than surrounded by all of your happily married friends? #LivingAShittierLife. So I’ve been up for three days on this stag-do, and I’m in Berlin Airport, on the way home. I’m stood in the queue for airport security, and I put my hand into my pocket to take out my passport, and instead, I withdraw a single edible weed gummy. Oh, dear. I look around for somewhere to dispose of this thing, there is nowhere in immediate sight. For a brief moment, it crossed my mind for a second, I looked in front and there was a child with an open backpack. I didn’t, ’cause I’m not a monster. And I couldn’t distract his mom. S– So I was like, reluctantly: “This is going to have to go down the hatch.” So I swallow this thing. Now, I am a little bit of a novice when it comes to the old edible marijuana. These things are incredibly strong. It hit me like a fucking freight train. By the time I was at the front of this queue, I was so high, I could’ve flown home without the aid of an airplane.
I knew I was in serious trouble when I was stood in the body-scanning machine, legs akimbo, arms aloft. I was like: “Why is it not scanning you? It’s not scanning you ’cause it knows that you’ve got drugs in your belly, you naughty boy.” I then realized the actual reason it wasn’t scanning me was ’cause I was stood, legs akimbo, arms aloft, in a regular metal detector. It was at that point that I heard a German voice shouting at me from behind: “Das ist verboten.” I’m no linguist, but I was certain it wasn’t the German for: “Have a nice day. The lounge is over there.” I turn around, the security official is pointing very aggressively at my midriff region and shouting something in German. I realize, with hindsight, he was pointing at my belt. He wanted me to take my belt off. Unfortunately, I was so high, I didn’t even realize I was wearing a belt. For some reason, in that moment, I thought that he was pointing… at my trousers, and I thought that he wanted them off. I was like: “Wow, these German security officials are awfully thorough.” But I went to a Catholic boarding school. If a figure of authority tells you to drop ’em, you fucking drop ’em. So, in the middle of Berlin Airport, I began to slowly start pulling down my trousers. He did not like that one bit. If anything, it made him even angrier. He started shouting more. He was like: “Oben!” Oben, I’ve Googled it. It’s the German word for “up,” as in: “Pull your trousers up.” I don’t speak German. I thought he’d shouted: “Open.” I was like: “This has escalated.”
The most worrying element of this story is quite how compliant I was. I thought, in that moment, that a security official wanted to anally cavity search me in front of everyone in the airport, and I put up no protest whatsoever. He literally just had to shout “open” once, and I was assuming the position, preparing for entry. “Well, if that’s the way it’s got to go, Fritz, that’s the way it’s got to go. Stick a pinkie in there first, if you would. Call me old-fashioned but I need to be wooed.”
This is why I need a girlfriend. To keep me in line. I’m not good at being single. I should have one-night stands, that’s what you’re to do. I’m scared of one-night stands. Know why? I’m scared of getting something. My friend, he had a one-night stand. He got the one that you can’t get rid of. Kids. Did you just look at your daughter, on the punchline of that joke? That was brutal. “That’s you, that is. My little STD.” -She’s what? It’s your wife? Oh, my God. Oh, my God, I’m so sorry. It’s fine. It’s not like we’re filming this. It’s not going anywhere, it’s fine. Fucking punching. I, uh… Michael Whitehall would be proud. The rest of the show is to this side. I can’t even look over there. This guy’s going to come up– Stop waving at me. No, that doesn’t make it any better. I already feel absolutely mortified. Thank you, comedy gods. But we must move on.
My point is, I’m not ready to have a child. I’d be a terrible parent. Oh, my God. This was a sign I saw recently. I was driving along the road. There was a sign at the side of it: “Drive like your children live here.” I was doing 130 when I hit that tree. I did this recently. Oh, my God. Has anyone ever done it? I accidentally hit a kid skiing. Someone’s laughing over there, like they’ve done it. Not good. It probably wasn’t your fault either. It was so unfair. To be fair to me, this little fucker cut straight in front of me, in the line for the buffet, and I just lashed out. The reality is, I reckon, some parents don’t help their kids. I met a woman the other day whose child’s name… was Isis. I know. I know. She was like: “It’s Greek for ‘goddess of nature.'” I was like: “It’s rest of the world for ‘shooty-shooty, bomb-bomb.'” So you need to think of another name, love, ’cause that one’s been hijacked. Wrong word, wrong word.
Also, this wasn’t information she shared with the group. This was information she casually dropped into the conversation, like it was a normal thing. I’d never met this woman before in my life. You can imagine how concerned I was. We’re all sat there in the pub, having a lovely drink, when all of a sudden, this complete stranger pipes up and goes: “Well, I need to go home to be up early tomorrow morning to help Isis with a project.” “Sorry, I beg your fucking pardon?” “Yes, typical Isis, announces it at five o’clock and it’s me that’s got to go to the shop and buy all the bloody materials. Then I’ve to pack the backpack, drive to the bus stop. I might as well take it to school myself.” “Take this bitch down right fucking now.” Eventually I realize she’s talking about her child. I was like: “You can’t call your child Isis.” She was like: “I called her Isis before the terrorist organization. I was like: “I should fucking hope so.” But unfortunately, there are certain names that get taken out of circulation. That’s why you don’t swipe right with many Adolfs on Tinder.
To be fair to Hitler… which is a terrible sentence… to start any routine with. To be fair to Hitler– Stop saying it, stop saying it. I… I’ve always wanted a catchphrase, I don’t think that’s the one to plumb for. In Hitler’s defense… No, worse! Worse, worse, worse. Worse. Swastikas, that’s what I want to talk about. Okay? Swastikas, okay? Perfect example of appropriation. Have you met this dickhead that says to you: “Oh, I don’t know whether you know this, but the swastika is actually a Buddhist symbol”? “Yeah… not anymore.” “No, it symbolizes the footprints of the Buddha.” “You know what? Next time you walk into a bar and you see a guy with a shaved head and a swastika tattooed on his neck, you walk up to him and give him your friendliest… namaste. Let’s hope you get reincarnated as someone that’s not a twat.”
Anyway, I’m being harsh. I’m being harsh. Obviously, this mother didn’t call her daughter Isis provocatively. And apparently, Isis was a lovely little girl. And a wonderful sister, as well. To her brothers, Hamas and Hezbollah. Ah, that’s a routine that feels like it’s on borrowed time. The best thing about doing that bit is I’ve been doing that for months, and now that I’ve done it on tour, you get other people coming up to you that want to tell you that their child is also called Isis. And I tell you, it attracts a certain type of person. I was in a crowded hotel lobby the other day. This guy in a tweed jacket comes striding towards me. “Jack, my daughter’s Isis as well.” “We are in public, mate.” “Come over here. Will you do a video for her on the phone? Come on. Do a video for her. He’s doing a video for Isis.” “Shut up!”
I’ll tell you another one. An awkward social situation that I mess up on a daily basis now. Not realizing that my AirPods have not synced up to my mobile phone, and my music is playing to fucking everyone. Had the worst one the other day. Happened in the gym. Now, when I go to the gym, I’m like The Rock. No pain, no gain. I leave nothing there. I find an exercise bike in the corner, and pop myself on it. Put on my hoodie, stick in my AirPods, and I’ll put on something mellow. We’re talking audio book, we’re talking classical music, we’re talking film score. I set the incline to nought-point-five, and then I have a quiet little pootle, like I am one of Call The Fucking Midwife. Only on this occasion, everyone in the gym is looking at me. Now, for some reason, my first thought was: “Hmm, they must all be looking over here ’cause Quadzilla is burning some serious rubber.” I then had an awful moment, where it dawned upon me that the actual reason everyone in the gym was looking at me is that I was in the corner, on an exercise bike, hoodie on, AirPods in, playing to the entire gym, the theme tune from E.T. Do I look normal and nice again? Yes, one woman, thank you very much. That wolf whistle was a little late. But thank you.
I’m going to tell you one more story. It’s about my dad. Look, I know that I’ve made jokes about him, and uh… the reality is, I love him dearly, and I never take for granted how lucky I am to spend that time traveling around the world with him. And I’m so proud of him, for how much he puts himself out of his comfort zone to do the stuff that we do. I get to see whole new sides to my dad that I never thought that I would see. And that’s not to say that, on occasion, I haven’t pushed him too far. And so I want to leave you with this story about the occasion when I did just that. And it was actually very traumatic at the time. It was something that we didn’t feel like we could put in the show, because it wound up with him collapsing and being rushed to hospital. But… tragedy plus time equals comedy.
So, here goes. It happened when we went to the Ukraine, and we visited Chernobyl. Has anyone ever been to Chernobyl, by the way? Just that woman over there. Holding up her third hand. It’s a terrifying place, terrifying place, the site of the worst ever nuclear disaster in human history. Uninhabited now, other than by packs of feral, stray dogs, but, weirdly, also now a tourist destination. Fun for all the family. They’ve got a gift shop in Chernobyl. They’ve got a canteen in Chernobyl. A canteen in Chernobyl, which no one in their right mind would eat in. Unfortunately, my father, not in his right mind. We went in there. It was full of Japanese tourists. Eventually, I get to the front of the queue. I was like: “So, what’s on the menu today?” “Meat… in bun.” “Thank you, madam. What’s the vegetarian option?” “You take the meat… out of the bun.” A hundred times I told Daddy: “Do not eat the meat in a bun.” Did he listen? Did he– Fuck. He was like: “I’ve eaten lunch every day at 1:00 p.m. my entire life, today will be no exception. Go find me a wine list.” “Wine list? Daddy, we’re in a canteen in Chernobyl, there is no wine list. Even if there was, I don’t think you’d want to go anywhere near.” “Would sir like the red, white, or glow-in-the-dark?” “Uh… red, please. Could you suggest a good year?” “Anything before 1986.” I was like: “Daddy, you’re not having any wine. Just… have a glass of water.” He went: “I don’t drink water.” “Why?” “Because fish fuck in it.”
So he doesn’t drink any water. He eats the mystery “meat” in a bun. Cut to 45 minutes later. We’re in a van with our camera crew. We are driving past the exclusion zone towards Pripyat, into the deserted woodlands, the most toxic and radioactive place on earth, when all of a sudden, my father turns to me and whispers in my ear: “Jack, I need the toilet.” I turn to look at him, and he does not look in a good way. Seriously, I have not seen him this red in the face since I told him there was a Women’s World Cup. I’m like: “Daddy, you can’t go to the toilet, you missed your chance, we are now in the middle of butt-fuck nowhere.” He grabbed my arm, and in a voice that sounded like he had been possessed by a demon, he goes: “Stop this van!” I’ve never seen my dad partake in physical exercise in his entire life. He literally ripped open the door to this van, and he ran into the woods like he was Usain fucking Bolt. I turned to the camera crew, I’m like: “Hide behind the van. I will go and deal with this.” I follow my father into the woods, past these signs. “Danger, do not trespass.” “Radiation.” You’re constantly told in Chernobyl that you cannot touch or lean on any surface, for fear of radiation poisoning. Therefore, as I enter the woods, it becomes very clear very quickly that the only way that my 79-year-old father is going to be able to relieve himself in the woods… is with my assistance. Oh, you may grimace. I had to live through this experience. My father pulls down the trousers of his three-piece suit. I take him in both hands… I tread on the tops of his feet, and at the same time, we both start to slowly lean back… like we’re doing some horrible tantric yoga pose. I can’t look at him, I have to go to a happy place. I start humming a tune. I’m broken from my happy place by the sound of barking. I open my eyes. One of these feral, radioactive dogs is advancing towards my father’s arse, thinking: “Mmm, lunchtime!” I’m trying to scare this thing away. I’m like: “Shoo, shoo, please just leave us alone.” My dad’s shouting as well: “This is so fucking undignified.” I think it’s when the coachload of Japanese tourists drove past… that I must have gone into a fugue state. That is not a side of my father that I want to see.
The next thing that I remember is coming to, walking towards this van, thinking: “I’m never going to be able to look Daddy in the eye ever again.” I call the camera crew out from their hiding place. First comes our director, then our cameraman. The third person to emerge was Marc, our sound engineer. He also had a haunted look on his face. It’s at that point that I realize that throughout the entire ordeal in the woods, we had been wearing microphones.
Then, as if it couldn’t get any worse, the crunch of tires on gravel, an armored vehicle pulls up. And from that armored vehicle emerged three armed members of the Ukrainian military police. They assess the scene, they see my father’s ashen face, they see the signs that we have completely ignored, and they see the site of Chernobyl’s second worst ever nuclear fallout. They do not look best pleased. It’s at that point that I think quickly and I intervene. I’m like: “Gentlemen, before you say anything, can I just point out that I have read all of the signs here, and nowhere can I see one that says, ‘Would you please refrain from entering the woods with active diarrhea.'”
Wembley, you’ve been absolutely amazing. Thank you very much. I’ve been Jack Whitehall, good night.
30 minutes after fallout
[Michael Whitehall] I don’t know why you’re fucking smirking.
We’ve ended up in hospital in Chernobyl.
[Michael Whitehall] I look like I’m being basted for Christmas.
Why’re they lined up? You’re not Prince Charles.
[Michael Whitehall] I would like to thank you all very much for looking after me so well. And I will always have very fond memories of this hospital, and of you three for looking after me.