There’s No Business Like Show Business — Till There’s No Business
Now, because of that which cannot be named, the show is also being retired just short of its 30-year anniversary!
OK, what has this got to do with multiple sclerosis?
Well, my reaction turned out to be far more emotional than it was for my own retirement. I don’t know if it’s the effect of MS on my brain or all my years of being a luvvie. Indubitably, it’s a bit of both.
A performer who’s been in the show for 28 years just phoned me. He’s famed for his lack of emotion. When he started thanking me and talking effusively about the show, I burst into tears. He got off the phone immediately. True to himself to the very end. I believed him, though, when he said he’d do anything for me. Except talk to me while I was blubbering!
I also wonder if my determination to do the show somehow held back my MS. When I realized it would be years before there was a vaccine (or indeed, never), I relaxed. The drive and adrenaline that coursed through me long before the affliction of MS just fell away.
As a science nerd, I doubt this is true. But as a hapless romantic …
Hey, that part of my life was over.
I left journalism nearly 30 years ago, and now I find myself tip-tapping away, admittedly with just my left hand! I throw in the right for the occasional ampersand (&). There, I did it! My occupational therapist will be proud. It’s a good exercise for my neuropathic right arm. I can’t always do it! Of course, I now have saved versions of the majority of things I need on a separate Word document.
Coming off my disease-modifying therapy, Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), last December was undoubtedly the cause of my recent relapses. (I’ve had two since then.) As I’ve pontificated many times, the therapy was holding back the relapses, though with its destruction of leukocytes, it was also threatening me with brain cancer.
Luckily, my neurologist made the correct clinical choice. I probably wouldn’t have.
So, I had to write a goodbye missive. Well, I didn’t, but because I created the show for artistic reasons rather than for the lucre, it behooved me to do it. It was fitting that I said goodbye, as I’d been the one to say hello!
The comedians didn’t just do the show for pay, either.
Stand-up regular Jarred Christmas, who’s been part of my show for 10 years, said: “Some of the best shows I was involved in were to smaller audiences, which showed that we all loved the show. It wasn’t just about the money. … The backstage banter and camaraderie will never be forgotten. There really is no show quite like ‘The Edge.'”
Plaudits flooded in. Another thing that has pushed me fittingly over the edge.
Let me leave you with one of the funniest things that happened at the show. It became a backstage legend.
Comic Ian Stone, who did 20-something years in the show, explained. John Fothergill, a comic with about 10 years in the show, was the judge in Bus Stop, a knockout game in which one comic judges the gags of other comics who are lined up behind the microphone and have to connect to the joke of the previous performer. “He takes a life from Kitty Flanagan and says, ‘Kitty loses a life because I don’t think she gave our relationship enough of a chance.’ And we are all cracking up because they’d recently split.”
One of the show’s funniest moments, at least for us. Shows my influence. I was on holiday!
Addendum: Our very last podcast is online. You can listen here. I’m at the end, throwing in a variety of references that an awful lot of U.K. listeners won’t even understand, so don’t feel left out! I was shocked at what MS has done to my speaking voice! Maybe it improves when I’m drunk?
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