Americans insist that one must “fake it to make it”. As a professional comedian, this is quite likely good advice. Some of the worst entertainers I know have made it to television, magazines and glory simply through putting up big signs with their faces on, buying a hundred thousand Twitter followers and telling anyone who will listen that they are talented, but I am not built that way. I was brought up to learn that boasting was uncouth and as such would far rather be at home watching Netflix than strutting a red carpet dressed in meat.
As a result, I probably should have been surprised a few years back when I was invited to participate in my first celebrity charity golf day. A total of 24 “celebs” – ranging from sports stars to former news readers, and musicians – had been chosen to participate. Each of us was to be teamed with three players, presumably to fill their days with magic and give them someone to beat. I was casually swinging my driver at the tee when the first couple of my group’s players walked up and introduced themselves. We chatted for a few minutes, I threw in some jokes about golf and things seemed to be going off well, when suddenly one of them said, “I think I saw Victor Mattfield up there. I wonder who our celebrity will be.” I took it in my stride, nodded, and said, “here he comes now” pointing to the straggler in our fourball who was just arriving. I spent the rest of the day digging my ball out of the rough and helping the guys guess just who this new stranger might be. “Wasn’t he on Agter Elke Man?” I said at one point. The other two shrugged, and I knew I had probably gotten away with it.
If I were to obey that dictum in the opening line of this article, this would be the paragraph in which I tell you how, since those first humble beginnings, my fame is now shooting into the stratosphere, and brands are clamouring to get a little piece of me at home in my meat suit. I would describe the lavish red carpet movie premiers (I didn’t make the cut for Black Panther, but did find myself sitting next to someone I think I recognised from a TV advert on the opening night of The Emoji Movie), the free gifts (I was once accidentally sent a pair of large brand running shoes, that fell apart long before they saw the inside of a gym) and the lavish book launches (I didn’t go and Chris Forrest still owes me my copy of Jen Su‘s “From Z to A Lister: How To Get on the Social Scene”).
Perhaps if I had collected, and read, my Jen Su book I would now be paid to market product to the various collection of middle-aged male computer game enthusiasts, engineers, train set hobbyists, rock collectors, card game nerds, sci-fi fanatics and neck-beards (collectively known as MAMCGEETSHRCCGNSCFNBs) that, judging by the people who recognise me in public, seem to exclusively make up my viewing public. In a way, I am glad I haven’t been though. If there is one group that can easily see through a cheap influencer Twitter campaign it’s MAMCGEETSHRCCGNSCFNBs and the last thing I want to do is disappoint my MAMCGEETSHRCCGNSCFNBs.
Note the subtle shift in the last paragraph to “my MAMCGEETSHRCCGNSCFNBs”. This was intentional. Lady Gaga has her “litte monsters”, Beyonce has “The BeyHive” and now I have “The MAMCGEETSHRCCGNSCFNBs”. With this one small shift, fame is inevitable. Until it happens though, I will be at home watching Netflix.