Shazia Mirza’s View from The Mic Stand

I had a phone call last week.

“Shazia would you like to come to Birmingham and do a gig for 200 women?

We’ll pay for you to travel first class on Virgin trains and provide cake when you get here”

I immediately said yes.

“Where about is it?”

“In a plant shop.

But don’t worry it’s not actually amongst the plants, although you do have to trample through them to get inside. Is that ok?”

It sounded a bit Alan Titmarch gone wrong but I agreed.

I said, “Where will the audience be seated?”

“On the staircase and in the café”

I arrived at the venue to be greeted by two garden gnomes and a selection of hanging baskets. I walked amongst thousands of plants and garden furniture; strangely it gave it an exotic atmosphere, and reminded me of the Biology lab at school.

The gig took a stranger turn, when I found the audience was made up of a group of women on an annual outing with their rambling club- still in their rambling gear- boots, socks, anoraks, and scarves.

They were very ‘lively’ -as an estate agent would describe a dangerous area, and during my act one shouted, “Have you got any rambling jokes?”

They hadn’t been to live stand up before and didn’t seem to understand that stand up comedy was not like Heart FM, where you could just shout in with requests.

I wouldn’t have minded if the request was love, marriage, or Primark. But rambling?

No one has material like that stuffed up their sleeve.

These ladies turned out to be a lot of fun, even inviting me to join their Birmingham rambling club. But the gig ended in bizarre fashion when the organiser came to pay me.

She said, “Shazia I’m afraid we don’t have the correct amount of cash.

Can I pay you in plants?

How about I give you £150 cash and £75 worth of plants?

I drove home looking like I’d just robbed B&Q.