'Yeah, sure. We have a space at 11.15pm we reserve for people whose mums think they're hilarious.'
'Will it be a big audience?'
'Sure, we get all kinds. Insomniacs who really don't care what's on as long as someone's talking to them. Women breastfeeding and using our show to bore the child back to sleep. Drunk people: they're easy to please. Shift workers so knackered we could play them Paradise Lost backwards and they wouldn't realise. Old people who napped for longer than they meant to at 4pm and now won't sleep until 3am. Women still breastfeeding. Ex-comedians who want to feel smug that they weren't that bad at your stage. Oh, and usually a wannabe comedian's mum.'
'Do any talent scouts listen then?'
'Pff. If they do, it's because they're insomniacs, breastfeeders or drunk people. Or their radio isn't tuned properly.'
'So am I not likely to hit the big-time if I have a late show on Radio 4?'
'You're more likely to hit the bottle. As are your listeners from what we've heard on your demo tape: those who aren't already half-blood-half-vodka.'
If I turn the radio on now, at 23.45 it'll be Today in Parliament. The problem with that is, I've already watched BBC Parliament for half an hour today on BBC iplayer to see what the result of the launch-Brexit vote was (not that it was a surprise). That was half an hour of my life I'll never get back: MPs shuffling about in the House or gossiping thigh-to-thigh with other MPs on narrow not-enough-room benches; (mostly) men in suits squeezing their paunches past each other on their way into and out of the lobbies like a fat man's version of Inuit-rubbing-of-noses ; and over it all the Speaker calling for 'HORS-D'OEUVRES' all the time and not a canape in sight, poor chap.
|Here's the list. I want dim-sum, a couple of mini sausage rolls, and a cracker with a touch of liver pate.|
I'm lucky with my sleep, especially since hitting fifty. As long as I sleep for five hours solid, I'm up the next morning ready to roll, although in the winter that first peel-back of the duvet is a challenge, then there's the insult of cold air, the search for the slippers and the blind shuffle to a chilly bathroom. All that achieved, though, I'm soon perky-perky and as bright as a new coin.
That means that if I go to sleep too early - say, at ten - I'm awake at four and only get back to sleep with the help of a hot drink and - here's a trick you can borrow - reciting my times tables in my head. It's so efficient, this method, that I rarely get to 1 x 4 = 4 before I'm snoring like a troll. Ask me anything about multiples of three. Past that, don't bother. Ask a real insomniac.
We're into the midnight news now so it's time to get horizontal and curl up. I don't think I've missed much, not listening to the late-night sessions of what passes for humour, and anyway the news itself at the moment contains a generous helping of bizarre could-that-really-happen comedy.