Good evening. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Yes. No. Ah. Ladies and gentlemen. Ladies and gentlemen? Well, I mean. That's stretching it, isn't it. Be honest. Ladies and gentlemen? Don't make me laugh. Don't make you laugh either, by the sound of it. Ladies. Gentlemen. No. Yes. Ah. Shut yer faces.
I've had a terrible week, you know. Terrible week. Awful week. My agent called round on Tuesday. My agent called round. I've always thought, "what a strange name for an agent". Ah. No. They're coming thick and fast now. Oh, please yourselves. You please yourself, Missus, I can tell that from up here. No. Ah.
What a week I've had. My agent. He's a funny man, my agent. Strange man. His eyes follow you round the room, like those ducks going up the wall. There's no escape. It makes you feel so uncomfortable. I was very uncomfortable with it, I can tell you. Especially as I was on the toilet at the time.
Anyway, he says, my agent, he says "I want you to give a bit of a talk", he says, "a bit of a talk"; a bit of a lecture, he called it. "A seminar", he said. Well, apparently, he told me, this is all very a la mode, this lecturing. A la mode and apropos. A la commode and on the po, more like, I thought. Ah, I'm on fire tonight. Not that you'd know from your miserable faces.
But I didn't say anything to him. No. I need the work, you see. Oh yes. No. Ah.
"Very de rigeur, it is", he said. How did you know I was constipated, I thought. I didn't say anything. I need the work, as I said. To you, not to him.
Do try to concentrate, Missus. I know it's difficult in those seats. You should have splashed out on the plusher seats. Mind you, you'd have been thrown out if you did. Oh please yourselves.
In those seats. That's right dear, wriggle. Don't suffer in silence. Not like me with this audience. No. Yes. Wriggle, dear.
Now where was I? Ah yes, my agent. I want you to lecture them on the coronavirus, he said. Give them a bit of light relief. That's what they need at this time.
So here I am. And there you are. My virtual audience. Hard to tell the difference with you lot.
Do you need some light relief, Missus? No. Don't. Don't mock. Poor soul. Don't titter.
Anyway, the coronavirus. Strange thing this coronavirus. Odd thing. You can't see it. Silent but deadly. Like this audience.
So I'm sat here on my chaise longue. Well, it's a camping stool actually, but you can't see that, can you? You see, that's the advantage of these virtual electronic shows. It's a bit like the days of radio, without the studio audience. I can paint pictures on the canvas of your imagination.
I can wax lyrical. On my chaise longue. I can lie back on my chaise longue and wax myself silly. No. Don't. Shut yer faces.
It's all social distancing now, isn't it? Keep two metres apart. Only go out for essentials. How are your essentials, Missus? Oh do shut up.
Only go out for essentials, like food and medicines. Keep two metres apart. Keep yourself to yourself. Well, I read the guidelines. Studied the guidelines, I did, and I thought: "I've been observing these guidelines for years".
"That sounds like a normal weekend for me", I thought, "only going out for essentials and keeping your distance."
"Self-isolating", I mused. Mused, I did. There I was, in my dressing gown. It doesn't matter, you see, I can be in my dressing gown all day. Who's to notice? In my dressing gown. Lying on my chaise longue, with my cheroot in my hand, musing and waxing. Oh shut yer faces. What a rabble. "Seminar", my agent said. It's more like Billingsgate fish market. Without the fish, of course. These wet markets are very much a thing of the past these days. Ah yes.
It was the Chinese, they say, with their wet markets, that started all this. Well, the Chinese are a funny lot. Strange people. Very advanced, but strangely primitive at the same time. Like my agent.
The Chinese, a funny lot. Yes. No. Very contradictory. They can build a hospital in 24 hours - and then go home to a dog casserole.
Can you imagine eating a pangolin? You could if you saw what my landlady served up last night for supper. I call it Old Testament cooking. Burnt offerings. No. Don't laugh.
Very inscrutable, the Chinese. Opaque. Hard to read. Like my agent's contract.
On the subject of which, I believe I've reached my allotted span as far as this lecture goes. Which isn't, if we are being honest, all that far. But on this money, what do you expect? I'm not David Frost.
I've reached my limit. Have you reached your limit, Missus? No, I should think it would take you a long time to reach your limit, dear. If there is one. Yes. No. Ah. Don't mock. Titter ye not.