So after all this time, what the kid said to the yuppie is still the funniest thing I've ever heard.
And let me tell you this. I'm a man who has heard some very funny things. I've shared stages with pretty much everyone who's anyone in the comedy game. From Jo Brand and Jack Dee at the Comedy Store, to Bob Monkhouse and The Krankies on the box. I've hosted a week of American comedy in the West End with Dennis Leary and the great Bill Hicks. I've stood backstage and listened to the unique comedy stylings of Steve Martin and Robin Williams.
Of course, this doesn't mean that the kid ranks in this company. These guys have made a career out of being funny. Consistently funny. Night after night. On stage, on television, all over the world. These guys have embraced and mastered the full range of comedic skills. Slapstick, satire, irony, pathos, the lot.
As far as I know, the kid was only ever funny once. Just once. And I was there. Maybe I was the only one who got it. The kid never mentioned it again, and I don't think the yuppie even got it.
I'd like to give you some background on the kid, but the details are a bit sketchy. He was about 15. He never seemed to go to school. When he wasn't working his shift at the carwash, he just seemed to be hanging around. Smoking, drinking, swearing.
On the day he said the funniest thing I ever heard, he wasn't doing any smoking or drinking, although we were all doing a hell of a lot of swearing. It was the hottest day of a very hot summer, and the carwash was at its peak. One hundred and twenty cars an hour. Two cars a minute. Non-stop work. No meal breaks, no goofing off.
At 5.30pm there was a slight lull, so slight it was hardly a lull at all. But it was just enough to send the guys on five-minute breaks. Just enough to knock back a gallon of water and 10 fags each.
The kid and I had just done that. We were outside leaning on the wall. Under the sign that said American Car Wash Co. When the Yuppie pulled up in front of us. He got out. He looked at the sign. He looked at us. We were both wearing overalls emblazoned with the company logo. We were both wearing Wellington boots. We both had soap suds in our hair, and a large wet chamois glove on our working hand.
He looked at us and said, "I need my car washed. Do you boys work here?"
I stared at him. The kid never raised his eyes. He took a last drag on his cigarette, and said:
"No, we work on the delicatessen counter at Cullens."
Then he went back to work.
Bob Mills is on a national tour until 29 Apr. Civic Hall, Guildford (01483 444555) tomorrow; Central Hall, Chatham (01634 403868) 2 Apr; Beck Theatre, Hayes (0181-561 8371) 4 AprReuse content