Thursday, September 27th, 2001:

Yesterday was an unremarkable travel day to Singapore, ending with our check-in to remarkable lodgings… Remarkably bad! The Robertson Quay Hotel was strategically located across the street from the site for our gig, the DBS (I called it “devious”) Arts Centre, but didn’t have much else going for it. The bathroom in my room, like all the others, had a shower without a shower curtain, and a big drain in the middle of the floor. Our musical accompanist remarked that it reminded him of the cruise ships he’s worked on. Now I’ve never been to prison, but I was thinking more along those lines. And of course, each and every room had been wired for fast Internet access, but the service wouldn’t be up and running until the following week 🙁

I started my first day in the Singapore city state with a radio interview on Gold FM. Hubert and Margaret, the morning show hosts, were nice enough to the two of us who were there, but to each other not so much. Their banter consisted entirely of Hubert calling Margaret fat, then Margaret threatening to poke his eyes out.

Afterwards our producer had a hankering for Denny’s; thankfully all the ones in town had closed down. Everyone says that the best food in Singapore can be found on the street, and they ain’t kiddin’; we ended up in the basement food court of a run-down mall, where I found myself behind a plate covered in what looked like naan bread with egg in it. Whatever it was, it worked!

Hubert and I had shared a Palm Pilot moment at the radio station, where he told me about the Funan Centre IT Mall. I checked it out in the afternoon, and except for the convenience of five floors of computer stores, wasn’t that impressed. A loonie buys about 1.1 Singapore dollars, and the government has its own GST, but the same rigamarole of getting a refund only when you leave the country. When you do the math, the prices don’t compute…

In the scales of justice, all the minuses of our hotel were balanced by a beautiful venue and audience for our opening night. After slogging away in a bar for two nights a proper theatre made all the difference, and we got quite the favourable reaction from what we were warned would be a subdued Singaporian crowd.

After the show we checked out the only full-time comedy room in town, The Boom-Boom Room. It was more of a drag show, really, but I did hear my first joke about the World Trade Center. I’m transcribing it here only as an example of what we in the biz call “too soon”…

“United Airlines is working hard to regain customers… Now when you fly United, they’ll drop you off right at the office!”

See what I mean?

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