Is there a doctor in the house?

Russell Kane
Russell Kane
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Blogger Trish Burgess writes for the Free Press

“Please don’t say anything this time, dad.”

“What do you mean?”

“You always say something. You just can’t help yourself.”

This little exchange took place a few minutes before we were due to see the comedian Russell Kane at the South Holland Centre.

Rory had good reason to warn his father, knowing how often we have slid down our chairs in embarrassment as dad shouts out from the audience in response to throwaway lines from the entertainer on stage.

It began many years ago when we saw comedian Lee Hurst at the same venue. He asked: “Is there a doctor in the house?” and Dougie shouted “yes!” It then became rather awkward when Hurst, struggling with Dougie’s accent, thought he was a doctor in Malta rather than Moulton.

You would think he would have learned his lesson but no, he also responded to Hardeep Singh’s request for anyone Scottish to make themselves known and when Chris Ramsey threw a big furry dice into the audience we knew it would land in Dougie’s lap.

He’s such a quiet chap normally, not one for small talk, so it used to puzzle me why he should want to bring attention to himself.

Eventually he diagnosed himself with that little known condition of Comedy Tourettes:

the inability to keep quiet during a stand-up gig.

It’s not just in Spalding that my husband suffers from this affliction. At the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange we were being entertained by Ross Noble, unaware that my mum, who is friends with the comedian’s mother in Newcastle, had told Ross her grandson was in the theatre that night.

“Is there a Rory Burgess in the audience?”

“Yes, here!” my husband bellowed from the depths of the stalls.

“Blimey, you’ve got a deep voice for a 13-year-old!”

Cue more embarrassed looks from our teenager.

However, the most memorable episode occurred at The Cresset in Peterborough whilst watching Rhod Gilbert. The Welshman was explaining how injuries to the brain can cause personality changes. He told the story of an American working on the railways in the 19th century who was affected following an accident where a large iron rod had been driven through his head.

“Does anyone know the name of this man?” Gilbert asked the audience.

Silence descended and just as the comedian was about to continue the tale, my husband shouted out: “Phineas Gage!”

Phineas Gage? Where on earth did that come from? Rory and I, the rest of the audience and, I suspect, Rhod Gilbert himself, were very impressed. Dougie drove home that night feeling very chipper.

You’ll be pleased to know there were no sudden outbursts from the seat beside me during the Russell Kane gig which was just as well considering the risqué material that evening.

We enjoyed a great night of comedy in the South Holland Centre which, as Russell Kane said himself, is an excellent room for stand­-up. Hope to see you there at the next gig. But don’t sit next to us just in case it’s contagious.