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Jack Whitehall: Settle Down (2024) | Transcript

Jack Whitehall: Settle Down (2024) - Explore humor, life insights, and cultural observations in British comedian Jack Whitehall's latest comedy special
Jack Whitehall: Settle Down (2024)

Jack Whitehall: Settle Down (2024)

In “Jack Whitehall: Settle Down (2024),” the British comedian Jack Whitehall delivers a performance brimming with his hallmark self-deprecating humor and keen observations on a myriad of topics, from the trivialities of daily life to more personal tales of his relationships, drinking escapades, and cultural contrasts he’s encountered between the UK and the US. His routine effortlessly transitions between lighthearted jests and incisive social commentary, covering everything from British weather idiosyncrasies to the peculiarities of global fame. Whether addressing health fads, the hurdles of long-distance romance, or the anticipation of fatherhood, Whitehall’s charm and wit shine through. His knack for blending personal anecdotes with broader societal insights makes for a relatable and thoroughly enjoyable show that appeals to a broad audience.

* * *

[audience cheering]

[announcer] Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, Mr. Jack Whitehall!

[audience cheering and applauding]

We having a drink this evening, London?

[audience cheering]

Yeah! On the bevvies! I’m, uh… I’m actually on the waters this evening. Um, I don’t wanna start… No, I don’t wanna start proceedings off on a bum note, but I had a situation recently. I don’t wanna say intervention. That’s a strong word. But no, basically, some of my friends took me aside and said they were worried I drink too much. I was like, “Shit, I’m gonna have to do something about that.” And I am proud to say, that as of last week, I have just celebrated six months of not seeing them.

[audience laughing]

Twelve steps away from those losers!

[audience cheering] [audience laughing] I read an article recently… [laughs] Why do I say that I read an article? I saw a TikTok. [audience laughing] And the TikTok said that red wine actually has quite a lot of health benefits.

So, yeah.

[man cheers] [Jack laughs] That was definitely an alcoholic, not a doctor, cheering in the back there! [audience laughs] To be fair, that is when you know that you drink too much, is when you’ve got a health benefit for your alcoholic beverage of choice. I think, over the years, I may have collected one for every drink. [chuckles] Let’s put it to the test tonight, right? Shout out some of your favorite alcoholic beverages. I’ll try to give you health benefits for them. [audience shouting] Okay, vodka in low amounts can lower your cholesterol. Okay, white wine has ellagic acid in it, which is good for your circulation.

[man] Jägerbomb!

Uh, Jägerbombs, uh, keep you alert if you’re driving late at night. [audience laughing] I’ll take one more. Stella? “Fucking Stella!” [laughs] In his string vest, aye. Uh, um, I’ll take you through the beers. I heard Guinness over there as well. Stella is a lager which has riboflavin, which is good for the production of red blood cells. You said Guinness, which is a stout, which has iron in it, which helps with your immune system. And craft IPAs help you tell which one of your friends is a bell end.

[audience laughing]

That’s the big trend these days, isn’t it? All of this non-alcoholic booze you see everywhere. I’ll tell you what. It’s gone too far. The other day, I saw for sale a bottle of non-alcoholic sambuca. [audience laughs] Who the fuck is buying non-alcoholic sambuca? Newsflash, no one in the history of the world has ever ordered a sambuca when they haven’t been completely shit-faced. [audience laughs] No one is drinking ‘buca for its wonderful flavor profile. It’s not a beverage. It’s a forfeit. It’s the most minging drink in existence. It tastes like Bertie Bassett’s ball sack.

[audience laughing]

It’s so gross, it’s only serving suggestion is “on fire.” There is no other drink on the market that they do that with. “Oh, sommelier, can I get a bottle of the 1986 Cabernet Sauvignon, please?” “Oh, no, don’t decant it. Just rack it up, chuck in a couple of coffee beans, and torch the fucker.” Sambuca is so gross that you could go on a night out, you could get so annihilated that you end up picking a fight with a revolving door, getting chucked out of a nightclub for defecating into a lady’s handbag, and then wanking off a tramp behind a wheelie bin. You would still wake up the following morning and the thing you most regret from the night before is that you drank sambuca.

[audience laughing]

It’s crazy. We’ve got non-alcoholic booze now. We’ve got Beyond Meat. Vaping. They are taking away our vices. I called my drug dealer the other day. He offered me something called I Can’t Believe It’s Not Cocaine!

[audience laughing]

I do try, as I get a little bit older, I try to interrogate my relationship with alcohol a bit more. I genuinely think I drink as a crutch, ’cause I think I get quite bad social anxiety. Which people are surprised to hear, ’cause I do this for a living. But that’s why I love a whiskey. Whiskey is my drink. It’s my go-to because what whiskey does is it just tweaks my internal monologue. That little voice in your head. ‘Cause if I walk into a room sober, the voice in my head is like a cross between my dad and Severus Snape. [audience laughs] I walk into a room sober, it’s like… [sternly] “Nobody in this room likes you.” [audience laughs] “Look how disappointed they are that you didn’t bring your daddy with you.” [audience laughs] “Most of these cheapskates probably don’t even know who you are now that Netflix have clamped down on password sharing.”

[audience laughs]

“They’re all looking over at your ridiculous new haircut.” “You thought by growing it out, you’d look like Kit Harington from Game of Thrones.” “And instead you’ve wound up looking like a Tesco Value Richard Hammond.” [audience laughing] That got far too much laughter this evening. [audience laughing] I have a whiskey, right, one scotch inside me, it’s like that voice miraculously transforms into a sort of Scottish hype man. One whiskey down, it’s like, “Oy, oy, Jacky boy!” “Of course you can fucking breakdance!” “I don’t give a shite if it’s your grandmother’s funeral!”

[audience laughing]

I mean, to be fair, that’s what I’m like after the Scottish whiskeys. If I’ve had a Japanese whiskey, it sounds like this. Actually, I’m not gonna do that one tonight. I… [audience laughing] [Jack giggles] I also, of course, blame my social inadequacies on my upbringing. As many of you know, I was sent to a boarding school age ten, because my parents were financially well-off but emotionally bankrupt.

[audience laughing]

I know, obviously. Check my privilege. I know going to a school like that is a ridiculously unfair leg up in life. If you needed any more proof that the arts are far too polluted with toff actors, look no further than my school. Bloody everyone went there, all right? Emma Watson went there. Robert Pattinson went there. Yeah, it was Hogwarts. I went to Hogwarts. I, uh… Tom Hiddleston went there as well. And what this means is that whenever they write about this school in newspapers and magazines and articles and alike, they always get name-checked, and I am nowhere near it. It’s like I am the school’s dirty little secret. Just swept underneath the rug.

[audience laughing]

Now, obviously, I have a very fragile ego, and I had to go check the school’s website to see if I’m on the list of famous former pupils. I’m there, but you’ve got to scroll down for about half an hour. I’m right down the bottom. What the fuck do you call this? [audience laughing] I’m underneath a rower! A fucking rower! And yes, he won a gold medal, but he was in a boat where there was eight of them. An eighth of a gold medal? I’ve played the O2 Arena, bitch! [audience cheering and applauding] [Jack chuckles] What’s funny is that bit is so much easier to get on board with when I leave out the detail that he was a Paralympian. [chuckles]

[audience laughs]

No. No, too late. Too late. You’ve laughed at it now. Not nice. Shame on you, London. Laughing at the one-armed rower. Not nice. [audience laughing] I made that last bit… He’s not a one-armed rower. That is not factually accurate. [laughs] A one-armed rower, that wouldn’t work, would it? The boat would just go in a circle. Stop it. No. [audience laughing] The point that I wanted to make is this. This is something that I’ve talked about, this slight to my wafer-thin ego. I have complained about the fact that my school have no pride in me on podcasts, radio interviews, television. I’ve really put it out there into the world. Now, the moral of the story is this. Be very careful what you wish for. Six months ago, there was a story about my school. It was about a teacher that had been arrested because they had found indecent images on his laptop. Newspaper headline, “Pervert teacher arrested at Jack Whitehall’s former school.”

[audience laughing]

Where is Emma Watson now? [audience laughing] This guy wasn’t even a teacher when I was there. They had a picture of me in the article. Scroll down and there’s Professor Noncey-Bollocks, and me grinning next to him like I was his muse. [giggles] What the fuck is that? [audience laughing] Don’t use that picture as well. That is the worst photo that’s ever been taken of me. That photo is so unattractive, if they had found that on the teacher’s laptop, he probably would’ve got away with it. [audience laughing] And they really felt the need as well to do me dirty in the caption. Yeah. Really. They felt it was necessary to point out that of these two images, the depraved pervert was the one on the left.

[audience laughing]

Outrageous. [audience laughing] The weirdest reaction to this story, hands down, was my mother’s. Okay? I saw my mum about a week after this article had been printed. Went to her house, she’s in the kitchen, big shit-eating grin on her face. She was like, “I saw you in the newspaper.” I was like, “Did you read the article?” “All publicity is good publicity.” [audience laughs] “I don’t think that holds up in this context.” “And, just to be clear, you know, he did not… touch me up.” Do you know what she said? “Oh, darling, I wouldn’t take it to heart.” “You probably just weren’t his type.” What?!

[audience laughing]

This was the final kick in the bollocks. The final kick in the bollocks came when I read the main body of the article, which I’ve brought to share with you. I’m over it. I just thought I would share this detail. I took it down off my mum’s fridge, and I’m gonna read you this short extract. Now bearing in mind I’ve already got issues with my billing when they write about this school, have a little listen to this and see why it may have irked me. ‘Cause I wasn’t the only famous former pupil that they decided to debut in this article. Listen now, ’cause it’s subtle, mind. Ready? “Criminal proceedings have been brought against David Chambers, a teacher at one of Britain’s most exclusive private schools, attended by famous former pupils such as Jack Whitehall and Ghislaine Maxwell.” [surprised laughter] We do not come as a pair! What on earth was this journalist thinking? “I’m gonna write an article about a pedophile teacher today.” “I wonder who to name-check. How about a convicted human trafficker and the star of Clifford the Big Red Dog?”

[audience roaring with laughter]

Don’t put those pictures next to each other in an article as well. For God’s sake, it makes it look like I’m leading Clifford out of the courtroom after he’s given evidence.

[audience laughing]

Naughty dog. I feel like we’ve bonded now. We’ve formed a connection. I think now you’re ready for some of the hard-hitting material. This is a serious point that I wanna make. Is it just me… [audience laughs] Is it just me, or have those I-am-not-a-robot tests started getting harder? [audience laughing] This isn’t the serious bit yet. This is just one last thing I have to get off my chest. What the fuck are they playing at? I have found bicycles tucked away on roof racks, cars parked behind walls. The other day, I shit you not, I was looking for the boats. One of them was up a fucking tree! [audience laughing] Has anyone else had that moment recently where you’re doing the I-am-not-a-robot test, you’re on your own in your bedroom in front of your laptop, and you have failed the I-am-not-a-robot test so many times that you have that moment where you stop and you go, “Fuck.”

“Maybe I am a robot”?

[audience laughing] “Maybe this is how robots realize that they’re robots.” “‘Cause they just can’t work out whether a traffic light consists of the box of lights or the post that it’s on as well.” [audience laughing] “I’m having an existential crisis here!” “I haven’t been able to spot ten traffic lights in a row.” “I’m either a robot or a cyclist.” [audience laughing] [applause] I just get so bored with, like, cybersecurity. Oh my God. I fuck around now with the bank when they take me through security. “Hello, sir. Gonna take you through security today.” “First up, what is your mother’s maiden name?” “Also Whitehall. We like to keep the bloodline pure.”

[audience laughing]

[Jack laughing] Or my favorite one, “Where did you meet your spouse?” And my bank legally has to accept the answer. “Just now, sweet cheeks.” [audience laughing] My girlfriend got annoyed at me recently because she saw in my phone that I have her number saved as her full name. She was like, “That’s weird. We’ve been going out for three years, and I’m saved as my full name?” “I am your girlfriend, not a business associate.” “I should be saved as some cute little nickname.” So I was like, “Okay, fine.” I’ve changed it. She is now saved as a cute little nickname. [audience laughs] Shall I tell you what it is? It is a bit cheesy. Now don’t judge, okay? She’s now saved as “One-night stand that never left.”

[audience laughing]

It’s all right. I’m allowed to make that joke. Know why? Because what she had me saved as in her phone, hundred times worse, okay? We’d been going out for six months, six months into our relationship, and I saw on my girlfriend’s phone that my number was saved as “Jack,” and then in brackets, “London.” What the fuck? [audience laughing] “I know a lot of Jacks.” “How many bloody Jacks?” She’s the tech-savvy one in our relationship. She’s got an app for everything. She’s got the Flo app, ladies. Know about the Flo app? [women and Jack cheering] Sisters! I… [chuckles] Dunno what that was. No, the point is, the Flo app is a really clever bit of kit. But there is one oversight with it, and that is that there is not a feature on it where you can sync it up to your partner’s phone. She’s ahead of me here. That would be an absolute bloody game-changer. I’m not saying that I need all of the nitty-gritty details, but how incredible would it be if the Flo app could just ping a little alert to my phone to warn me of the three days each month when I should shut the fuck up? [audience laughing] [Jack chuckles]

[audience cheering and applauding]

[Jack chuckles] [Jack laughs] She warned me in advance. When we first started going out, she went, “I need to let you know in advance, I get really bad PMS.” “Like, really bad. Like, five or six times a month.” I was like, “I’m not a doctor, but I think that might be something else. I…” [chuckles] Anyway, it turned out it actually was something else, because all this time she had undiagnosed diabetes, and that was the cause of this. Do we have any diabetics in this evening?

[scattered cheering]

Whoo! Yeah, whoo! Yay! Wave your insulin pens in the air like you just don’t care! Don’t do that! That’s a very important bit of kit. [chuckles] Yeah, so she is a member of the diabetic community, and, actually, weirdly, bizarrely, it was the night that I was hosting the BRIT Awards at the O2 Arena, and this is where she got it. Not got it. [laughs] [audience laughing] She didn’t “get it” ’cause it’s not contagious. Bitten by another diabetic that mistook her for a life-size Jelly Baby. No.

I… [laughs]

[audience laughing] No, the night of the BRITs, we found out, um, that she had diabetes because she had something called a diabetic hyper, and she passed out. She fainted, uh, halfway through Harry Styles’s performance. [scattered cheering] Yes, I am aware. That is quite coincidental timing. Don’t worry, there were a few raised eyebrows, not least from me. This paramedic backstage trying to resuscitate her. “Oh my God, her blood sugar levels are spiking dangerously.” I was like, “Are we sure this isn’t just a ‘Watermelon Sugar’ high? Because…” [audience laughing] To be honest, I was experiencing quite a lot of the symptoms of a diabetic hyper when I was watching Harry Styles perform as well. Dizziness, shortness of breath. Erect… Not erection, that’s not one.

[audience laughing]

No, but anyway, yeah. So she ended up being put into an ambulance and, uh, we got taken off to A&E, which certainly made for a different vibe of after-party to what I was used to. Year before, I’d been hobnobbing with Stormzy and Rag’n’Bone Man. Nice to see you again, by the way. I, uh…

[Jack and audience laughing]

You blanked me earlier. I couldn’t… It was… great. Anyway, no, I… [laughs] So, yes, I was having an after-party the year before with them. This time round, I was in a hospital, my girlfriend stricken to a bed with tubes coming out of her arms, and me in the waiting room, genuinely worrying that I might never see the love of my life again.

[audience] Aw.

Thank you. No, at that point, we had no idea when Harry would be back in the UK. [audience laughing] [Jack chuckling] I gotta say, this diabetes diagnosis, it was a real shock. My girlfriend wouldn’t strike you as a diabetic. So you can picture her in your mind’s eye, I will begrudgingly give you this piece information about her. Um, before she dated me, she was linked to the actor, quite old, you would’ve seen him in some stuff. Uh, bit of a tree hugger. Leonardo DiCaprio.

Uh…

[audience laughs] Yeah. Leonardo Di-fucking-Caprio. That is a great act to have to follow. Do you know how depressing that is? Mainly depressing knowing that the only reason your girlfriend is with you is because she turned 26. [audience laughing] “Ticktock, off you pop.” “Ooh, come here. This Jack will never let go.”

I, uh… [chuckles]

[audience laughing]

I mean, also depressing ’cause I’ll never be able to watch his films ever again. I used to love his movies. I can’t watch them now. All I can think about is them. Yeah. The Departed, Gangs of New York. Who am I kidding? Titanic. I can’t watch Titanic anymore. It gets to the end, and I’m cheering on the iceberg. I’m like, “Go on, Rose! Dunk him! Dunk him!” [audience laughing] And obviously, I know it’s worse for her, you know? She’s had to trade in the Wolf of Wall Street for the Labradoodle of London.

[audience laughing]

She has been amazing though with her diabetes diagnosis. Honestly. She’s really tried to own it, my girlfriend. She tries to talk about it a lot, educate people, raise awareness. She does these tutorials on her Instagram, which are great. She only fucked up once, right, and it was big fuck-up. She was doing a tutorial about insulin injections, on Instagram, in the public domain, that ended with my girlfriend using the phrase, “At the end of the day, it’s just a tiny prick.” [audience laughs] “And I’m so used to it now, I can barely feel it go in.”

[audience laughing]

I know those are the exact words that she used, ’cause that ten-second clip ended up in every single one of my group chats, including the family WhatsApp group. It’s how I discovered my dad knows how to use both the magnifying glass and the aubergine emoji.

[audience laughing]

[scattered applause]

Ha-fucking-ha.

[audience laughing]

That is the main department in which it affects your relationship, diabetes. It means your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, so you have to very carefully monitor your blood sugar levels. And if you do any strenuous exercise, they can dip very dangerously low. Now what that translates to in real life is that I can now tell exactly how good of a performance I’ve put in in the bedroom by what my girlfriend is having to snack on afterwards.

[audience laughs]

[Jack chuckles] If I roll over after sex and she’s tucking in to an entire novelty Toblerone, I’m like, “Well played. Bravo, Jack. Nice work.” [audience laughs] If I roll over and she’s popping in a single Skittle, I’m like, “Okay, could try harder next time.” [audience laughing] She puts up with so much, bless her. I asked her, “We’ve been going out for three years.” “You can tell me honestly, like, when we first started dating, were there any red flags?” She went, “Honestly, there weren’t any red flags.” I was like, “Oh my God, that’s so cute.” [chuckles] She went, “There were quite a lot of rainbow flags.”

[audience laughing]

I was like, “Oh my God.” I nearly spilled my mimosa. I couldn’t believe it. “You have just ruined this bottomless brunch.” [audience laughing] To be fair, I do get that quite a lot. Maybe in America… When I was living in America last year, the amount of times Americans would say, [American accent] “Jack, we couldn’t work out whether you were British or gay.” [audience laughing] I know. I was like, just ’cause I hold out a little pinky finger whilst I’m sucking a cock? I… [audience laughing] Another thing I’ve realized is we have completely different tastes. Which I don’t think is unhealthy in a relationship. Some people think that’s true love, when you love all the same things and finish off each other’s sentences. Is it? Fuck. [audience laughs] True love is when you love them in spite of detesting everything they’re passionate about. [audience laughing] We can’t agree on anything. A comedian, television shows. Oh my God. My girlfriend loves that show where they follow the dating lives of people with learning difficulties. Love Island. Love Island.

[audience laughing]

[audience cheering and applauding]

[Jack laughs] The other shows my missus loves. Other ladies will be into these as well. She mainly likes watching them very late at night. Normally, if we’re in bed, having a little cuddle, a little spoon. “Ooh, what shall we put on Netflix as we doze off in each other’s arms?” “Ooh, what about this? The Connecticut Cannibal.” What is it with you ladies watching true crime right before you go to bed? And then having the temerity to wake up the following morning and be like, “Oh my God, I had such bad nightmares last night.” I wonder why! You literally fell asleep to a documentary about a serial killer that targets specifically diabetic women. [audience laughing] I can’t watch anything with my missus because of the questions. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my entire life. There are 110-year-old women in severe cognitive decline that would ask less questions than my girlfriend when watching a television show. She needs a “previously on…” at the beginning of every scene. She’s like, “Who’s he? Wait, sorry, what’s his name again?” “Is he a goodie or a baddie? Why has he just said that to him?” [yells] “Why don’t we listen and maybe we’ll find out?” “That’s how a scene works!” “At the beginning of it, there will be some things that we don’t know.” “And by the end of it, we will have learned some more things.” “These are the basic principles of storytelling.” “But we won’t learn anything if we’re talking over all of the dialogue.” “So how about from now on we ask all of our questions with our inside voices?” [audience laughing] “Oh my God, you are so passive-aggressive.” “I was just trying to understand.” “If you don’t want me to, I’ll sit here in silence.” “I’ll just sit here confused if that’s what you want.” Then ten seconds of respite. Ten seconds of silence will befall the room. I’ll be like, “Oh my God, I think we finally made the breakthrough.” Then the next scene starts, and boom, on cue, it’s up again. “Who’s she? What’s her name again? Is she a goodie or a baddie?” “She is the protagonist, and her name is Peppa Pig!”

[audience laughing]

I know, I shouldn’t be throwing her under the bus. I should be standing up for her. That is my duty as her man. To be honest, that is the only time I struggle in our relationship, is when I’m required to be the alpha. Fuck you. What was that? [audience laughs] Just one woman involuntary guffawing at the mere notion of me being an alpha male. I can pull off alpha. Admittedly, this pose is not helping me right now. [laughs]

[audience laughing]

I look like a wounded pigeon. [audience laughing] [Jack chuckles] No. But I’m held to this ridiculously high standard, that’s the problem, because the guy that she was seeing just before me was like a proper man’s man, right? He was from the north of England. He drank beer. He played rugby league. He used to get into fights. Yeah. Often on her behalf. If someone disrespected her, he would knock them out. I said to her, “Now you’re going out with me, love.” “If someone disrespects you, you’re gonna have to learn to take it on the chin.” [audience laughing] I’m cut from a very different cloth. But now, anyone that so much as looks at her funny, I’m expected to start a brouhaha, which, yes, is not my style, as you may have guessed from the fact that I use words like “brouhaha.”

[audience laughing]

But also, ultimately, I’m a coward, okay? And as a coward, I can metabolize disrespect very efficiently. She really struggles. We had one situation. I was doing shows in Austin, Texas, in the States, and, uh, we went out after the show to a sort of nightclub bar. And we’re in line for this nightclub. At the front of the line, there is a bouncer. And he was an absolute unit. He looked like an Aberdeen Angus in a suit. [audience laughs] He was a bit rude to my girlfriend, but what do you expect? He’s a bouncer. He has not been employed for his bonhomie. Anyway, she is instantly on at me. “Oh my God. Did you hear that? He just disrespected me.” “He has just disrespected your girl, Jack.” “You gonna let that happen? Gonna let him disrespect your girl like that?” “Are you just gonna stand there, Jack, and do nothing about it?” “Yep.”

[audience laughing]

“Have you seen the head on the fucker?” “I couldn’t inflict any pain upon this man.” “At a push, I could maybe hurt his feelings.” “But that is all I have in my locker.” “I am but a humble wordsmith, Roxy.” “And whilst I am a firm believer of the idiom ‘The pen is mightier than the sword, ‘ we’re in America right now, and these cunts have guns.” [audience laughing] [Jack chuckles]

[audience applauding]

It’s true. [audience cheering and applauding] She was having none of it. All night, she kept going, “Can’t believe you let him dishonor me.” That was the word she kept using, “dishonor.” “Yes, I let him dishonor you because we were in line for a nightclub, not medieval France.” [audience laughing] Maybe that’s what I need to do next time it happens. Next time that a bouncer “dishonors” her, I just need to go full costume drama on his arse. Right. Next time a bouncer is rude to her, okay, I am gonna stride up to the front of the line at Wetherspoon’s. Huh? [audience laughing] I’ll whip off one of my socks, slap him across the face, “I demand satisfaction!” “You have besmirched the honor of this fine young maiden.” “Well, today is the day you will be forced to masticate upon your rancorous slurs, you protein-guzzling, sausage-fingered chode!” “I summon you to the car park immediately for fisticuffs!” “It’s time to meet your dancing partners for this evening, Lord Left-Hook and Lady Lights-Out.” “I float like a butterfly, I sting like a bee.” “And I’ve got hips like Shakira, ’cause I regularly ski.”

[audience laughing]

[audience cheering and applauding]

[Jack chuckles] You see, this is my problem. I’m not a violent guy, but put a couple of drinks in me, I just love me a little bit of mischief. Like, the other one I did, I’m not proud of this. This was a couple of years ago in my misspent youth. I was in Ibiza, the party island, having a rave in one of the clubs, and… Yeah, let’s just say some drink had been taken. [chuckles] And possibly some additionals. [chuckles] [audience laughs] I was in Ibiza, my jaw was on the mainland. Like… [Jack and audience laughing] Anyway, in this state, one of my friends dared me to undo a stranger’s man bun. [surprised laughter] I was like, “Oh my God, that is a marvelous idea!”

[audience laughs]

“I shall be like a vigilante, making the world a better place, ridding it of bell ends, one man bun at a time.” [audience laughing] I found my prey, right? He was, like, a proper lad. He had the sleeve tattoos. Spray-on jeans. That little fanny-pack across his chest. Top knot flapping around like nobody’s business. He looked like a ‘roided-up My Little Pony. “Fuckin’ ‘ell.” [audience laughing] I stalked my prey for a bit. I was like, “Right. I reckon I can get this man bun off without him realizing.” Spoiler alert, you can’t. [audience laughing] I creep up behind him. And then I’m sort of drunkenly hovering above his head, like one of those claws in the fairground. At which point, I’m not gonna lie, I sobered up very quickly. I managed to get hold of the man bun without him realizing. Then as I popped it off, he clocked what was going on. He turns around, furious, hair tumbling down his face. He was like, “Why the fuck did you do that?” I said, “Because you’re worth it.”

[audience laughing]

I definitely delivered that last line just like that. [chuckles] There was a lot of music in the club, so he may have heard it come out of my mouth as, [high-pitched] “I’m really sorry. Here’s your scrunchie.” [audience laughing] [Jack chuckles] I feel like I may have fucked my hair for the rest of this recording now. Oh God, no. Is that better? [audience laughs] Where was I? Oh, yes. So, being silly. Foolish behavior. Honestly, what the fuck am I doing showing off about that? That is not behavior becoming of a man teetering on the precipice of middle age. Honestly, this feels like the last show I’ll be able to get away with that. Showing off about lame drunken hijinks. Because also, as many of you are aware, I am about to reach the boss level of adulting, because my girlfriend is now pregnant. [audience cheering and applauding] It’s not mine. [audience laughing] Now, this… this is a lovely picture. Yeah, thank you. It’s cute. It’s just a little candid snap we took at home, you know? Just, uh, for our family and friends at Hello! magazine. And we… No. [audience laughs] That’s the picture she wanted to use. Uh… I thought this was a more accurate reflection of my state of mind at the time.

[audience laughing]

[Jack chuckles] Oh, come on. You’d look like that if you’d just seen what I saw. Can you not see the likeness? Seriously? [audience laughing] No, it is my kid. That’s the reality. And it’s, it’s, it’s… You know, it’s happening. And it’s crazy because, you know, it’s not like there’s any trial period. There’s no returns policy. You accidentally drop it in the bath, you can’t just put it in a jar of rice and cross your fingers. [audience laughing] And obviously, I tried to seek out advice before making this monumental life decision. But so it’s hard. You can’t ask other parents. You ask other parents about having a kid, there is no middle ground. One end of the spectrum, you have those parents that talk about it with demented enthusiasm. The miracle of childbirth, like they’re the only people to have ever done it. “Oh my God, you’ve got to get one. It is gonna change your life.” Like those fuckers with air fryers. It’s just a bit, “Okay.” [audience laughing] The other end of the spectrum you’ve got those parents that are like Vietnam War veterans. Thousand-yard stare. Covered in baby sick. “Don’t do it, man. You weren’t there!”

[audience laughing]

I had one of this lot, the ‘Nam vets, drunk at a wedding, just launch into me with a load of uninvited life advice. She was like, “Let me tell you what you need to do, Jack, while you can.” “You need to make the most of your life, ’cause I tell you what is gonna happen, right, is you’re gonna get married, and then you’re gonna have a baby, and your life is gonna be over.” [audience laughing] “Okay, Mum. Thanks for the pep talk.” [audience laughing] “You are aware this Sambuca you’re drinking is non-alcoholic?”

[audience laughing]

I managed to do what a lot of men do, uh, in this situation. Delaying it, all right. I-I-I got a dog first. That’s what a lot of, uh, chaps do. We had actually, quite sadly, been through some personal tragedy at the time, and it felt like the only option at that point was either to go to therapy or get a dog. I was like, “Tell me about therapy.” “Talking to a stranger for an hour about my feelings?” “What breed shall we get?” [audience laughs] So she wanted a dog for emotional support. I wanted a guard dog. I wanted a proper hound. You know, the kind of dog you might see tattooed onto the arm of a Millwall fan. Kinda dog that gets you a little bit of distance and respect when you’re walking down the street with it on the way to the fuckin’ boozer to have a couple of lagers with the boys. Yeah. We compromised and got a toy poodle.

[audience laughing]

I wanted a hound. This thing looks like it came out of a Kinder Surprise. It’s the opposite of a guard dog. I’ve been abused because of my dog. I was in a pub in Walthamstow with my mates. Old geezer at the bar looks over at me and my dog. He’s like, “‘Ere, mate, does your dog come in a men’s?” Ooh, fucking shots fired! I was like, “I wouldn’t judge a book by its cover, buddy.” “You look at her the wrong way, she will rip your throat out.” “You’d better pray she doesn’t get out of this handbag.” [audience laughing] [chuckles] We got the lamest breed. “It’s fine. We’ll make up for it with the name.” Know what she wanted to call the toy poodle? My girlfriend wanted to call our toy poodle Beyoncé.

[audience roaring with laughter]

Absolutely not. No way. That’s when the foot came down. We’re not having a dog called Beyoncé. I am not shouting that out in public. Can you imagine me in a park, a little toy poodle yapping around, me being like, “Beyoncé! Hey, Beyoncé!” “You come back to your daddy!” No, I’m sorry. I’d sooner let the dog just run away. I don’t care what my girlfriend has to say. “Oh my God, Jack, what happened to the dog?” “If you liked it, you should’ve put a lead on it.” [audience laughing] [audience applauding] [audience cheering and applauding] She keeps calling me its daddy as well. I’m like, I’m not its daddy, I’m its master. We will have standards in this house. She’s like, “No, you should treat the dog just like you’d treat our actual child.” Straight on Google, “Are there boarding schools for dogs?” [audience laughing] I caught her calling it a rescue dog. I was like, “It’s not a rescue dog. I paid a woman on the Internet for it.” She’s like, “No, but the dog rescued me.” That’s not what rescue dog means.

[audience laughs]

This woman, the breeder. Oh my God, she saw us coming a mile off. It was a lockdown dog. Do you know what she wanted for the toy poodle? Five thousand pounds. I was like, “Nice to meet a fellow comedian.” [audience laughs] Absolutely no way am I forking that out for a dog. You are getting negotiated down, don’t you worry about that. We had to meet the dog first. I’d been warned, don’t do it in person, ’cause you hold the dog, feel the dog, smell the dog, you fall in love, you’re fucked. You hand the money over on the spot. I said, “We’ll do a Zoom.” Yes. Keep a little bit of distance. So we arranged a Zoom so that Roxy could see the dog, and the woman that wanted five grand could see that I don’t have the word “twat” there.

[audience laughing]

And I prepped Roxy for this Zoom. I said, “It’s vitally important when we get onto Zoom with this charlatan, you don’t act too keen.” “Because if you act too keen, you will compromise my negotiating position.” “So we must wear our poker faces. Cool, calm, collected.” “Those are our bywords.” The Zoom starts, the breeder holds this little puppy up to the camera. The puppy, achoo, sneezes. My girlfriend instantly starts crying. “Oh my God!” “It’s the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen!” “I’m in love!” “Oh my God, Jack, I’ll kill myself if I can’t have her!” [audience laughing] “Well done. Just as we’d rehearsed.” “Thanks very much, Roxy, for pulling down my trousers, lubing me up, and bending me over the barrel for this woman.”

[audience laughs]

Six thousand pounds. I paid six grand for a barking toilet brush. [audience laughing] And a faulty one as well. Yeah. I got sold a faulty dog. It’s a beautiful creature, don’t get me wrong, but it is faulty. The breeder dropped it round a week later. She’s outside my house in her new Porsche. “Hi!” “Fuck you.”

[audience laughing]

Hands me this dog, and it’s faulty. It’s got an underbite. It’s got breathing issues. Hasn’t got enough nipples. [chuckles] Admittedly, “Hasn’t got enough nipples” makes it sound like there was a number I was hoping for. I don’t care how many nipples a dog has, I just know there shouldn’t be seven of them. There should not be a prime number. There should be a divisible amount of nipples on a dog. I was like, “Roxy, take a photograph of this animal’s undercarriage, send it to the breeder.” “I want some money back.” She was like, “Why would we get money back for a missing nipple?” “I don’t care. Make up a reason.” “Say it’s why we bought the dog in the first place, for milking purposes.” “We’re trying to wean ourselves off oat milk and we weren’t getting enough of a yield from the hamster. I don’t care!” [audience laughing] ‘Cause I can’t do anything either. It’s completely feral. For six grand, I was expecting it to be able to do cartwheels and make me breakfast in bed. It can’t sit or fetch or stay. Got its own Instagram account, though. She thought that was a priority, to set it up as a dog influencer. Now my girlfriend runs this preposterous account as the dog. She posts pictures as the dog. She sends me messages as the dog. Yeah. Sometimes that’s quite sweet, sometimes less so. Especially when the tone of the messages you are receiving from your own dog are a little bit spicy.

[audience laughs]

As was the case the other night. I was in the pub with my friends watching football. All of a sudden, my DMs are getting lit up by an angry poodle. “Do you think it’s acceptable to go out drinking and not tell me what time you’re coming home?” “Ooh, I don’t know, Beyoncé.” “No less acceptable than shitting on the carpet.” [audience laughing] I had to turn to my mates and be like, “I’m really sorry. I think I have to go home because I’m getting grief from Beyoncé.” I feel like Jay-Z, except I’ve got 99 problems and my bitch very much is one of them. [audience laughing and applauding] [audience cheering and applauding] I got a kinky message from the dog the other day as well by the way. By accident, I should hasten to add. What happened is I posted a picture on my Instagram of me with my shirt off. My girlfriend went to put a sexy comment. Unfortunately, she had forgotten to switch accounts. Yeah. Open up my Instagram, and underneath this picture of me with my kit off, my dog had just put, “I wanna sit on your face.” [audience laughing] [chuckles] Don’t get me wrong. Part of me was like, “Thank fuck someone’s taught you to sit.”

[audience laughing]

It does work, though, this step of getting the dog first. Honestly. I was not a dog person at all, and now I love this thing. And I’m like, “Bloody hell. If I’m capable of loving and caring for this yapping, crapping, nipple-deficient ball of fluff, maybe I am ready for the next stage.” So, yeah, then we decided we were gonna try and have a baby. That was not the easiest of journeys. We had a few bumps along the way. I, uh… I don’t want to give you the Instagram-filtered version of my life. We actually lost a baby first. We suffered a miscarriage, which is a horrible thing for anyone to go through. I mention it because it’s this weird grief that is sort of shrouded in secrecy. I didn’t talk about it for ages. As soon as I was comfortable sharing it with friends and family and realizing that other people had had similar experiences, it was a huge comfort to me. And my girlfriend was so strong throughout all of it. I’m completely in awe of her. See, she was so resilient. She was amazing, and it completely recalibrated my mindset. I went from being scared, bewildered, ambivalent about the idea of having a kid, to suddenly wanting to be a dad more than anything else in the world.

[audience cheering and applauding]

Thank you. I felt guilty as well. I felt guilty that it had taken me this long to arrive at a place where I genuinely feel excited to be settling down. I dragged my heels. The latter part of my twenties was a period of sort of feckless misadventure. I was chasing pleasure. And in my thirties, it was like happiness crept up on me. I was also really keen to get on with it now, especially with my dad. I really wanted to get on with it so that I could still give him a grandchild out of wedlock, just to fuck him off. [audience laughing and applauding] I know that’s not the only reason to have a kid, but it’s got to be a bonus to wind up the old man. Also, even better, Roxy is from the East End of London. How incredible is that? Michael Whitehall is gonna be the grandfather to a literal Cockney bastard. [audience laughing] Got the due date the other day. That was weird. We went in and had the first scan, and I saw baby for the first time. Eyes and nose, its heartbeat, the little silver spoon in its mouth.

[audience laughing]

I asked about the due date, and the nurse got all shifty. She was like, “Yes, so baby’s due date is gonna be sometime between the 10th of September and the 12th of September.” I went, “It feels like there’s a date slap bang in the middle there that for some reason you don’t want to say.” That is because my baby’s due date is 9/11. [audience laughing] Roxy was very upset about that. I was a little bit more pragmatic. I was like, “I don’t think it’s going to affect our lives in any serious way.” I mean, it probably rules out the name Osama, but…

[audience laughing]

…it wasn’t high on the list. “This is little Osama bin Whitehall. It’s a family name.” [audience laughing] If you’re pulling back from me on that comment, you do not want to hear what my dad said when I told him. I came out of the scan. Roxy was still quite distressed. I called my dad up, I said, “Right, there’s good news and bad news.” “Uh, good news, the baby’s healthy.” “Bad news, it does look like the due date is 9/11.” And he went, “Well, I guess it could be worse.” “You could be having twins.”

[audience] Oh!

No. No. [surprised laughter] [audience applauding] “No, Michael, please.” “I will not be telling Roxy that.” “Though I may write it down to tell people on a Netflix special at some point in the future.” [audience laughs] At the moment, most of my life is spent killing inappropriate name suggestions of hers. The other day, she came into the bedroom. “I was thinking, if it’s a girl, Phoenix.” I was thinking, “No fucking way.”

[audience laughs]

She’s like, “Why? Phoenix is a cute name.” I was like, “Phoenix is a stripper name.” She went, “How would you know?” “Dunno. Never been to a strip club in my life, but I imagine that’s the kind of name a stripper might be called.” “Maybe we should do some due diligence. Google it.” She was like, “Google what?” “Type in, ‘Top ten stripper names.'” So we had this weird moment. We’re there with the baby books, and I’m on Google typing in the top ten stripper names. Know what? There is a website with the top ten stripper names, and to be fair to her, Phoenix is not on it. But do you know what number one is? Roxy.

[audience roaring with laughter]

[Jack laughing] We could keep with the family tradition. [chuckles] [audience laughing] We had six months before we started trying for a baby to get everything out of our system. I wanna do all the fun, impromptu, sort of reckless things that we’re not gonna be able to do once we’ve got a kid. She was like, “Yes! Like drive Route 66 or go on a safari.” I was thinking more like smoke crystal meth just once, just to see what all the fuss is about. Heard it’s very moreish. I, uh… [audience laughs] I gave in on the safari. She’s been dreaming of doing one for yonks. I could think of nothing worse, ’cause as we’ve already established, I am a massive pussy.

And…

[audience laughs] I said, “We’ll do it, but on my terms, all right?” I’m having to fork out for the top-of-the-range safari. There are certain things in life I will penny-pinch on. That is not one. If I’m on their turf, I’m gonna need the state-of-the-art armored 4×4. I’m gonna need the park ranger that looks like The Rock. ‘Cause you can do it on the cheap. “Oh look, that guy over there is offering it for half price.” “You mean that man with the rickshaw and the left leg that somewhat peters out at the knee?” “Yeah, he’s offering it for half-price ’cause he only has to take you into the Serengeti.” “That is not a safari. That is Deliveroo for lions.” [audience laughing] You’re not given anything to defend yourself. That was a shock. Thought I’d get a knife or gun. The only thing they gave me to defend myself from lions, on morning one, they handed me an air horn. A little pump-up air horn. I was like, “What the fuck is this gonna do?”

[audience laughing]

“I’m getting mauled to death by a lion, I’m meant to whip out my air horn, give that a little toot-toot, then what?” “Presumably alert other lions in the area?” “Dinner’s about to be served!” All of the advice they give you, complete bollocks. ‘Cause I wanted to know about every single eventuality. I said, “Right, what do I do if an elephant charges me?” Do you know what they said? “If an elephant charges you, you should run up a tree.” [audience laughs] “I’m not a fucking squirrel.” [audience laughs] “I could maybe climb a tree if you gave me 20 minutes, a leg-up, and an elephant charging me with a limp.” “But I’m not climbing these trees any time soon, because I don’t know if you’ve noticed, none of them have got any branches because the elephants have fucking eaten them all!” [audience laughing] You don’t pick who you’re in the car with. They leave that out of the brochure. Yeah. That is a big issue. Two of us on our safari. The vehicle had six seats. You do the math. That meant, for the duration of our safari, as it turned out, we were to be sharing our car with a family of four from Florida. [hesitant laughter] My reaction exactly.

[audience laughs]

Now these Floridians…? What’s the word they have for people from Florida? Bigots. These bigots. They, uh… [audience laughing] I need to describe their appearance. It’s important that I do. I’m not saying this to be crass, but they did have rather an abundance of junk in the proverbial trunk. I’m not saying that to have a pop. You do you. Big is beautiful. Body positivity. I do not have prejudice against anyone for their size. Unless I am stuck in a car with you surrounded by hungry lions. [audience laughs] At that point, yep, I become a little bit judgy. It turned what should’ve been a pleasant holiday into a white-knuckle ride. Every day, trundling around the Serengeti sat next to a man that was essentially a doner kebab in a MAGA cap. [audience laughs] Every time I went past a lion, I’d see its head crane round, licking its lips. Eye-banging the all-you-can-eat buffet on wheels. I felt like sushi on a conveyor belt. Roxy kept trying to put me at ease. “Jack, don’t worry.” “If the lions did attack us, they would probably fill up on the Floridians first.” “They wouldn’t have room for us.” I was like, “What if we’re the amuse-bouche?” “You’ve made the assumption that we’re pudding.” “You of all people should know you do not contain enough sugar to be a dessert!”

[audience laughing]

Morning two, I shit you not, the Floridians’ wife came down for breakfast, of a safari, she was wearing a zebra-print shirt. “Hi!” I was like, “Absolutely not. No way.” “Try again. Shoo.” I had to air-horn her back into her tent to change into something more appropriate. We were on a safari. She came dressed as prey.

[audience laughing]

I was so worried about attracting the animals, I didn’t even spray myself with Lynx Africa that morning. [audience laughing] That was the other thing I kept thinking on safari. This is a bit of a distraction, but every day, I was like, “How on earth is the zebra not extinct?” What the fuck was God smoking when he came up with them? I know he did the world in seven days. The zebra must’ve been done at about 5:55 on the Friday afternoon. “Right, we’re down to Z.” “Let’s crack through this one quickly, and we can all fuck off down the pub.” “Zebra, you are gonna be like a fat, slightly slower version of a horse, and we’ll put you over there in Africa with all of the deadliest predators on the planet.” “Any questions?” “Uh, yeah, just a few.” [chuckles] “If I’m gonna be out there with all of those mean motherfuckers, then I’m probably going to need to blend in.” “So could I have some camouflage?” “Well, we were thinking black and white stripes.” “Very slimming.” [audience laughs] “Black and white stripes? Have you seen the landscape here, mate?” “Everything’s beige.” “I’m not working in a Foot Locker.”

[audience laughs]

“All the other animals, if they wanna hide, they go into a bush or up a tree.” “My only chance of subterfuge is getting tickets to Newcastle-Juventus.” [audience laughs] “Fine. If I’m gonna be out there dressed like a twat, I need something to defend myself.” “A lot of the other prey, all of them in fact, have got big tusks or vicious-looking horns, antlers coming out of their heads.” “What were you thinking for me?” “Mohican?”

[audience laughing]

“So no weapon, just a really loud haircut? Thank you very much.” “That’s me, is it? Stuck in the middle of a primordial feeding frenzy, looking like a lesbian barcode?”

[audience laughing]

[audience applauding]

Sorry, that was a bit of an aside. I… [chuckles] I’m not done with the Floridians yet. The other issue was the levels of chat. Every day, she’d be waiting for me in the car. She was like, “So, what does everyone wanna see most on this safari?” Her husband was like, “I’d like to see a tiger.” Good luck, mate. You’re on the wrong fucking continent. [audience laughing] Honestly, in the end, the only way I could get through the week was by winding the Floridians up that the lions were gay. [laughs] [audience laughing] He did not like that chat at all. [laughs] He was like, “What in the world are you talking about, son?” “I don’t know what they’re teaching you in schools in ‘Engerland, ‘ buddy, but that does not happen in nature.” “You do not get gay lions.” “Why do you think they call them prides?” “Okay. Okay. Okay.”

[audience laughing]

[Jack chuckles] “It’s not natural.” That’s what they say, right-wing fundamentalist Christians. Remember when they announced the live-action Beauty and the Beast, and they said there was gonna be a gay character? Ooh, the right-wing fundamentalist Christians weren’t happy. “You can’t have that in a Disney movie, a man loving another man.” “It’s not natural.” Not natural? That film is about a woman fucking a wildebeest. [audience laughing] [Jack chuckles] To be fair, I don’t think I’ve taken that directly from the Disney Plus description.

[audience laughs]

That’s got to stop, hasn’t it? Grown adults getting wound up about cartoons. It just happened with the live-action Little Mermaid. They announced the actress playing Ariel is mixed-race. Oh, racist Twitter wasn’t happy. “You can’t have that. You can’t have a mixed-race Ariel.” She’s a mermaid. She is the most mixed-race character that has ever been conceived. From the waist down, she’s mixed grill. [audience laughing] That wasn’t the worst. The worst was a tweet, it had thousands of retweets, some racist troll that was trying to play the science card. How desperately sad are you that you’re trying to bring science into this discussion? He was like, “It’s not even scientifically possible, right, ’cause how… how would enough sunlight get down to the bottom of the ocean for the Little Mermaid’s skin to produce the melanin?” “Ooh, I don’t know. Why don’t we ask the talking crab?” [audience laughing] “Do you wanna have a word with him?” “Although I don’t think you two will get along, ’cause he appears to be a Rastafarian.”

[audience laughing]

It’s make-believe! Who fucking cares? I guess the only thing they should’ve updated is the ending, right? If Ariel is mixed-race, it probably can’t be happily ever after. If Ariel is mixed-race, she’s got to marry the prince, get harangued by the British press, and run away to do a Netflix documentary. [surprised laughter]

[audience cheering and applauding]

[Jack chuckling] Well, I wasn’t gonna go there, but since we have, I… Just my personal interest. Give me a cheer if you’re Team Meghan and Harry. [audience cheers] Give me a cheer if you’re Team Royal Family? [audience cheers louder] Give me a cheer if you’re Team Couldn’t Give A Fuck? [audience cheering loudest] I’m very much in your camp. [audience laughs] I feel a bit sorry for them, but, then again, at the end of the day, to take Netflix’s money to do a show where you just humiliate your family… [audience laughing] [Jack chuckling] I like seeing more representation in all walks of life. I do. Honestly, I saw a lovely article recently, groundbreaking news, Marvel had announced their first-ever trans superhero. I thought, that’s lovely. The only person I felt a little sorry for when I read that article was the guy that came up with Transformers. [audience laughs] Come on. A superhero that’s a woman that used to be a man? Great. But groundbreaking? Optimus Prime used to be a truck. [audience laughing] Just saying, wait till those transformers start getting involved in women’s sport.

You think Piers Morgan’s annoyed now…

[audience laughs] …that in the women’s swimming, the athlete in lane three has an unfair advantage ’cause she was biologically born a man? Wait till he finds out the athlete in lane six was biologically born a submarine. [audience laughing] But that is indicative of this wider problem where everyone has to have an opinion about everything these days. I always used to like what my grandmother said. My grandmother always used to say, “Opinions are like farts.” “It’s best to hold them in, because no one’s gonna appreciate them as much as you.” [audience laughing] I think there’s wisdom to that. I think we’ve been conditioned to be like this ’cause we’re asked for our opinion all the time, far too much if you ask me. We’ve got Yelp, TripAdvisor, Uber, and Amazon. Every time you go into a shop, “Fill in this questionnaire. Give us your feedback.” You walk out of the toilet now in the airport, you’re met with a panel of faces so you can tell them how much that shit made you smile.

[audience laughs]

And Twitter, the fucking world’s cubicle wall that allows every half-baked opinion to be suddenly broadcast to the world. I think about this so much more now that I’m about to bring a child into this toxic hellscape. And I think, “What piece of advice would I give them?” And ultimately, the very simple advice I’d give my kid, and to anyone, is this. What we need to learn is that sometimes it is okay to let the people who know what they’re talking about talk about what they know about. I accept there’s quite a lot of things I’m ill-informed of, and therefore, there will be a fair few discussions that it is probably best that I just sit out of. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have opinions. It’s vitally important to have opinions. I’m just saying, you don’t have to have an opinion about everything. Every now and again, very rarely, there may come a time when you can genuinely add something of interest to the discourse. But in the meantime, wait your turn, pick your moment, and in the nicest way possible, shut the fuck up. [audience cheering and applauding] That was a very long-winded way of saying I don’t wanna read any negative feedback about this show on Twitter.

[audience laughing]

Ultimately, I think I maybe spent a little too much time over in the States. I was surprised by how homesick I got. And I want to tell you about one of the bleakest moments. I’d been living there for about a year, trying to do long-distance with Rox. It had been a struggle, and I was on the phone to her. Put it down, and I was feeling very sad and very alone. I was like, “I know what I need to do. I need to take myself for a nice meal.” “I’m gonna wine and dine myself.” So I go to a restaurant, and I don’t mind eating on my own in a restaurant, but I do like there to be a degree of discretion when I do so. I always approach eating on my own in a restaurant like I approach sex. In and out as quickly as possible, minimal eye contact, and then scurry for the exit, leaving a woman very disappointed about the size of my tip. [audience laughing] I whisper my name, whisper my name to this hostess, and she walks back out five minutes later, and at the top of her voice, she uses my name in the most depressing sentence that I have ever heard it used. She walks out, she goes, “Jack Whitehall!” “Party for one!” [audience laughing] Party for one?! That is the most depressing description of my lunch that I have ever fucking heard! And now everyone in the restaurant is looking over to see who the pity party for one is. I have to do the walk of shame through the restaurant.

[audience laughing]

She sits me down at the pity party for one. She then does that thing. Why do waitresses feel the need to do this if you’re eating on your own? She comes over to my table and makes a big song and dance of removing the place setting opposite me. Why do they do that? As if to say, “We wouldn’t want anyone looking over here and accidentally thinking that you’re waiting for someone.” “No, I need everyone in this establishment to know that you’re probably gonna die alone.” “Why don’t I just get my chair and stick it up against the wall, so I don’t accidentally make eye contact with any of the happy customers?” “Or you can bring a to-go bag out. I’ll put it on my head.” “Or better still, there’s some space down here underneath the table.” “Why don’t I just have my dinner down here, like a dog?” “Is now a good time to mention it’s my birthday?”

[audience laughing]

“Does sir have any allergies today, or should I just put ‘people’?” [audience laughing] She then asked my second least-favorite question in a restaurant. “Would you like bottled water or tap?” “Oh, well, when you put it like that.” Why do they always have to frame it in that way? All water has technically come through a tap at some point, even the posh shit in the bottles. How do you think it got there in the first place? This waitress wasn’t out in a field this morning, skipping through it, dunking them into a babbling brook. No, but they say “tap” because words have power, and “tap” conjures up an image in your head, doesn’t it, of some rusty tap out back, in an alleyway. The waitress walking out there with a mangy pail of water to fill it up as some sweaty sous-chef douses down his nether regions after a hot service. [audience laughing] Maybe I have quite a vivid imagination, but you get the point. She’s back with the menus. By this point, I thought she was taking the piss. She’s like, “Right, well, we serve things in this menu family-style.” [giggles] “Well, joke’s on you, love.” “This is my family style. I went to a boarding school.”

[audience laughs]

“You’re not gonna be interested in this first page of our menu, because these are all of our sharing plates.” “Oh my God. I get it. I haven’t got any friends.” She’s like, “Here we are, sir. This is more your area here.” “Wines by the glass.” [high-pitched] “Wines by the glass.” I was so smug. I was like, “Oh, madam.” “You have really misread this situation.” “You see, I am British.” “I may eat for a party of one, but I drink for a party of five!” [audience roaring with laughter] [audience cheering and applauding] I love that we live in a country where you can get away with that. Ordering a bottle of wine at lunch and not getting judged for it. Oh my God. That picture… [chuckles] She’s had a couple. I… [chuckles] That picture, the jolly day-drinker, polishing off a bottle of pinot before 1:00 p.m. Stick that shit on the ten-pound note.

[audience laughing]

That… That is the kind of reason I could never move to America permanently. And I nearly did. At the end of last year, I nearly made the move permanently, and at the last minute, I pulled out. Ironically, I’d failed to pull out in another situation, but that’s already been touched on. Ultimately, I realized that I wanna raise my kid here. I wanna settle down here. Whisper it quietly, I like it here. And I don’t mean that in like a sort of jingoistic way. I think there’s enough people in this country that tell you that you should love it in a very specific manner. Ultimately, there’s a host of different reasons that we can love where we live and who we are. And I realized the longer I spent away, it was the mundane, weird, random shit that I began to miss. LA is 365 days a year of sunshine. I began to miss drizzle.

[audience laughs]

I love nothing more than being sat in a beer garden huddled underneath an umbrella, getting battered by horizontal rain in the middle of July. Being the designated person to lean over and switch on the heater every 50 seconds. [audience laughs] I miss a proper music festival that you come back from with food poisoning and trench foot. I cannot wait to be in my first mosh pit with little baby Phoenix strapped onto my chest. I went to a parody of a music festival in America called Coachella. I heard a woman there complaining because they had ran out of hand sanitizer in the VIP area. I was like, “Love, I was at Glastonbury once and saw a woman in the gents squatting in front of a urinal using a Croc as a Shewee.”

[audience laughing]

It’s wonderful to see you again, madam. I didn’t recognize you until that moment. I miss living in a country that doesn’t give a toss about designer labels or who’s wearing who. Where the biggest fashion story of 2023 was that Primark were doing a collaboration with Greggs, the baker. [audience cheering and applauding] They did a sportswear range! Have you got any idea how much of a middle finger that is to the wellness industry? Turning up to the gym in the same packaging as a sausage roll?

[audience laughs]

I miss our shit food. Steak bakes. Scotch eggs. A breakfast of champions, washed down with a gallon of milky tea and gravy on fucking everything. We love gravy so much in this country, we’re not gonna pour it out of a poncy little jug. We are a maritime nation, and our gravy should arrive at the table in a fucking boat! [audience cheering] And it shall be served to us without the hint of a smile. God bless the complete absence of customer service in this country! In America, being asked how my meal was in between every single mouthful. The joy of coming back home and being served this afternoon in a café in Bermondsey by a woman that wouldn’t give a fuck if I dropped down dead in front of her at the table. Thank you very much, O2! I’ve been Jack Whitehall! You’ve been amazing! Good night!

[audience cheering and applauding]

[“Enigma Variations” playing]

Thank you!

[audience whistling]

[“Enigma Variations” continues playing]

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