I don't give great Santa - but just watch me in that Easter Bunny costume

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The Independent Online

One of the downsides of being a comedian is that it is often felt that you are always available for "fun" events.

One of the downsides of being a comedian is that it is often felt that you are always available for "fun" events. I dread Christmas when people start thinking about who will "play" Santa at the local school, fair, charity event etc. I don't "give" great Santa. For some reason I don't really feel comfortable dressing up as an old bearded man and luring children into my grotto in return for gifts. I just don't feel that it's giving out the right signals to my daughter Parker. How can you teach your kids about stranger danger and dirty old men and the dangers of caves (OK, this is not that big an issue) if their dad is spending his time doing exactly that?

Easter, however, is another kettle of fish. Because I wore so many fluffy costumes in Trigger Happy TV I am seen as something of an expert in the field of Easter Bunny. I've never understood the concept of Easter Bunny. The whole thing is about eggs. Shouldn't it be Easter Chicken? Anyway every Easter I am inundated with requests to be Easter Bunny. Because the average decent bunny costume entirely covers your face and body I have been tempted to cheat. I could accept every offer and send out an army of underpaid students to perform the bunny role while pretending to be me. Meanwhile I could simply put my fluffy feet up at home and rake in the profits. Actually, that's not a bad idea.

The one gig that I can't avoid is my very own family Easter. My wife Stacey insisted that I be Easter Bunny in our egg hunt this year and you don't argue with an eight-months pregnant hormonal Canadian. So I've sourced the finest bunny suit available. Well, actually it was the only one left, as hundreds of other dads had clearly been press ganged into the same role.

At least my mangy costume does look like a rabbit. I once hired a costume from a shop in north London. I was after a pig costume as I think we were doing some joke on the National Lottery - I can't remember exactly. When the costume arrived it caused much consternation as it looked nothing like a pig. In fact it looked more like a prawn. We rang the shop to tell them that they had sent us the wrong costume but, like most costume shops they weren't that hot on customer services and rejected our accusations quite violently. Not to be thwarted we drove up there and asked the manager whether he really thought this thing looked like a pig? He said that it did and so we stopped 10 passers-by and asked them what they thought the costume was. Eight said that they thought it was some sort of prawn; one said that it was a lobster and one didn't speak English and seemed quite nervous when we approached him so we let it go. The manager still refused to accept our case and didn't give us a refund. Whenever we are now bored or drunk we ring the shop up and ask about hiring a prawn costume. When they say that they don't have one we ask them whether they have a pig costume because apparently it looks very much like a prawn. Four years on, they're getting a little tired of me.

Anyway, I am Easter Bunny today and Stacey wants me to roar down the hill leading to our house on a bicycle, turning into our gates whilst holding a large basket of chocolate eggs before screeching to a halt in front of a crowd of enchanted kids. That's the plan anyway. If there is a blank space where this column is supposed to be next week then you can rest assured that I am lying in some intensive care unit somewhere looking like the victim of an appalling case of bunny bashing.

Of course I'm exaggerating. I'm actually quite happy to do Easter Bunny for my daughter and her friends. I just hope it doesn't scare them. I remember inadvertently stumbling into my parents' bedroom when I was a kid to see my dad in full lederhosen and my mum dressed up as some form of latex nurse. They tried to explain that they were in some play and were rehearsing but it had a terrible effect on me that has left me unable to communicate with women socially unless I am wearing tight leather underpants. But I digress.