Rob Gilroy

Stag dos and don’ts

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If there’s one thing most comedians hate, it’s stag dos. Large groups of semi-inebriated men attempting to shout down the rest of the human race, while wearing matching t-shirts bulk bought from Vistaprint.

On a list of heroes of our species, they come just above people who don’t indicate at roundabouts.

The bane of any comedy night is a stag do. Thankfully dejected from the more progressive clubs, there’s still a vein of thought that suggests mixing the communal experience of live comedy, with the selfish demands of a drunken stag do, is a match made in heaven. It’s not. It’s the Sonny and Cher of a Saturday night.

So imagine my surprise that, having experienced life behind the mic, I now have a taste of the other side. And let me tell you, it tastes like Fosters. I may or may not have mentioned, but this year I will be marrying my childhood sweetheart, despite her better judgment. But this weekend, I have a stag do to attend.

To be honest, were I organising the weekend myself, I wouldn’t know where to start. A trip to Magaluff seems doubtful, as my idea of fun does not include navigating Easy Jet’s website nor buying an array of swimwear. Likewise, it could be a day at the Races, but the last time I put money on a horse, I was queuing to ride the carousel at my local fair. I won’t go into detail but it involved a scuffle with an 8 year old and reconstructive surgery.

If I can’t plan my own stag do, then Lord help anyone who takes on such a monumental task. I’m not what you would call a ‘lad’ therefore my demeanour doesn’t lend itself to the obvious suggestions. Despite it’s density, my skin is too delicate to undergo paintballing, I have an aversion to ceramics which rules out clay pigeon shooting, and the dry ice used at laser quest is likely to flair up my asthma.

So, I’ve left the preparation to my best men. I’ve chosen two because they can act as a useful ying and yang, or Cannon and Ball; straddling the line of boisterous and cripplingly cautious. Between them they should find an appropriate middle ground; one that might see me tied to a lamppost, but that would also leave a cardigan should the temperature drop.

My two Best Men – Rob and Adam – have been my good friends for a long time. The three of us used to perform as a sketch group, called Three Men and a Table. It was like the hit-film, Three Men and a Baby, only if the baby had had four legs and was made of plastic-coated plywood. If anyone asks, I was Tom Selleck.

You probably won’t recognise the name, as it was eons ago, while we were still fresh-faced school chums and sketch shows were still respected by broadcasters.

In a blaze of sheer egotism, we’d grown bored of reciting Monty Python sketches and started performing our own material, and oh how we would laugh. Frequenting local arts festivals and school talent shows, we were the talk of an admittedly small, lifeless town. You ask the residents of Shipley about us and they’ll respond with any one of our numerous catchphrases – ‘Sorry love, I’m shagging the milkman’, ‘you could live in the pies’ or the immortal ‘Kidney!’

Alas, it wasn’t to be. Higher education called and we parted ways, never to don our suits and mattress-protector capes again. I miss it. Comedy was never really their calling, they had other goals to achieve, yet they were the first people I’d met that really made me laugh. The three of us had a unique way of seeing things that made for some of the happiest moments of my life. That’s why I asked them to be my best men, because they are.

As for what they’ve decided for my stag weekend; who knows? Will we end up on ITV2’s Stags, Sex and Scrotal Tattoos or will we become the poster boys for sobriety? It remains to be seen. But knowing them, and the fun we have; maybe comedy and stag dos aren’t such a bad mix after all.