This Sunday, my friend Steph and I ventured to London to attend The Santiago Sent us Tour 2017! The excitement had been building for months and months as we were eagerly waiting to see our favourite TV funny men in person for the first time, and they certainly did not disappoint!
I travelled up to London by train and met Steph at London’s busy Paddington Station, and we slowly made our way to our rather lovely hotel (after stopping for nachos and cheesy chips … and onion rings. Oh and bellini’s, at a cool sports bar in Canary Wharf).
We stayed in the hotel right next to The 02, where the show was taking place. It was called The Intercontinental and had a direct passageway that links to The O2’s entrance which was super handy for us. The hotel lobby was complete with impressive marble, floor to ceiling, and was definitely ‘rather posh’. We had a lovely hotel room, complete with fancy lights (trust me, they were cool), an opulent bathroom and an ideal sound system in the room too. We decided to head to the arena early as we needed to collect our VIP packages before the show, and then we had a walk around the venue. There were so many places to eat, everywhere from TGI Fridays, to The Slug and Lettuce to Five Guys…but we left it a little late and wouldn’t have been able to eat before the start of the show. My advice to anyone attending a show at The O2 would be to make sure you get to the venue a few hours before the show’s kick off if you are planning to eat! Once you enter the restaurant area there are security barriers to pass through, so you can hang around in the food court for as long as you want. I’d never been to The O2 before, so i was very impressed by how huge and impressive it was!
Image taken from Murr’s Instagram
So anyway… we collect our VIP wristbands and were then told to check in at a desk by the Merch stand. We ‘checked in’ and they gave us a ‘Keep Calm and watch the Impractical Jokers’ tote bag, a pack of Impractical Jokers playing cards, a touring lanyard, a signed poster of the guys and our meet and greet wristband.
Owen Benjamin was the support act for the evening, and he was utterly hilarious. I had heard of him, but couldn’t pout a face to the name, and I would definitely pay to see him do a stand-up gig sometime. He’s doing a few gig’s in London this week but as I was travelling back Monday afternoon I would have missed him. Owen had me howling with laughter the entire time as he mixed comedy with music and totally took the mick out of Coldplay (but in a nice way): he was just brilliant! Sort of like a Tim Minchin, but not as weird and more like the Jokers.. his song about Millenials was just hilarious. I’ve found a Youtube link to his song so I’ll post it at the end of this blog. Anyway – High fives and 5* reviews to Owen from me that’s for sure!
I won’t give away any details about the show, but for those of you who are keen for the details, it was set up like a stand-up gig. The guys came on stage and basically told us stories and laughed and joked on stage just like a stand up gig, they interacted with the audience a lot – (Q jumped off stage at one point and was given a boost to get back up on stage by James Buckley from The Inbetweeners) and showed a few exclusive clips not shown on TV before. I have to say, we paid rather a lot for our tickets (as we bought the VIP meet and greet package) but it was 100% worth it! We were front row and had the best seats in the house, the view of the arena from where we were sat was just astonishing and I felt so lucky to be in the moment. Now my issue here is that I took hardly any pictures at all! Typically I love to document things and post it all over Instagram, but I genuinely was having such a great night – I totally forgot!
Me and Steph didn’t take any selfies, I took hardly any pictures of the guys on stage, but I don’t regret that because I can cherish the memories so many other people wouldn’t have seen. What I will say is that the guys were on stage for just over an hour and we were provided with incredible, belly-aching laughter content the entire time. It may not look like I had ‘the best seats’ from the pictures below, but our seats were amazing, we had a fantastic view of all the guys the entire time … plus we were front row duhhh! I’ve been to see comedians that I’ve adored before and have only laughed here and there, which can sometimes end up a little disappointing – but that didn’t happen on Sunday night! If you’re a fan of The Tenderloins/Impractical Jokers/these guys/funny people, and you get the opportunity to purchase tickets to a show – do it, it’s worth every single penny and more.
Meet and Greet Time
This was my first experience of a meet and greet at a show before, so I was a little nervous about what to say, but very VERY excited. We were told to head to the far right exit of te arena straight after the show, and we were then told to line up. Everyone who bought VIP packages had been seated in the very front row, so there were only about 40 of us, which in a way I thought was pretty good from my point of view because it felt like we were just two people in a small, lucky bunch. We were then lead into a room in groups of 20 to finally meet the guys!
I was the third person to walk into the room, and I kept thinking to myself; be cool, say something, don’t be too shy, don’t be an idiot, enjoy the moment. As I walked around the door I just held both hands out and yelled ‘Hey you guys!!!!!!!!’
I was greeted with a ‘HEYYYYYY’ from Murr, and we just ran and hugged each other – it was surreal. I screamed ‘Hey Murr! Ahhhhhhh’ at him and he was screaming ‘Heyyyyyyyyyyy’ right back and then I proceeded to greet all the other guys with a HEYYYY followed by their name. I have to admit, if I hadn’t had a few cider’s before hand I may have been slightly more shy, but I definitely wasn’t drunk, it was just the smallest amount of liquid confidence…
I had a little chat with Q, (I think I was a bit excited with all the ahhhhhh-ing and potentially became a bit scary) a really long chat with Joe, who asked my name, screamed with me, hugged me and we talked about Cardiff and Tom Jones cardboard cut-outs, and then Steph and I joint hugged Sal which I wish I could have documented, because we just love him.
Steph and I were chatting with Murr for ages, and we were told we couldn’t ask the guys for selfies, simply because everyone would want to take a few and that would just equate to a lot of time. But Steph asked Murr for a cheeky selfie and he responded with:
Ohhhhh a cheeky selfie! Cheeky Nando’s?! Let’s take a cheeky selife!!
I also talked to Murr about his eyebrows, and he got his famous hair-free drivers licence out .. first the original, complete with hair and eyebrows, but then his new licence, with no hair and no brows which they feature a lot on the show. There were a few cameramen lurking around too who were filming me talk with Murr, so I suspect (or I’m hoping) that we’ll be on their TV show too.
The British Firecracker
After about 10-15 minutes of hanging out and chatting with the guys we were asked to line up for our group pictures and I was maybe 4th in line, when I was my turn I confidently walked forward and high 5’ed, high 10-ned and fist bumped all the guys in the row and then took my picture … Q said I was a British Firecracker, and I don’t really know if that’s good, but I’ll pretend that it was! Obviously, I told them I loved them and I was so grateful for the pic…. and then we left. I think my picture came out pretty well, I definitely look VERY happy in the photo, but I’m 100% okay with that because I really was THAT keen. It was a simply amazing – I had a brilliant night and they guys were all so friendly, so funny and just really nice people. It was obvious that they all embraced their fans, and were grateful for the respect and appreciation we showed them, and of course how eager we were to meet them. (I was extremely eager… ummmm – obviously).
I have to admit, after watching their show a lot, I’d come to the conclusion that Sal was my favourite Joker, but after seeing them live and meeting them all, I really do love them all equally. I think I probably bonded with Joe and Murr the most (we hugged a lot) but they were all so keen and happy so I loved it. It was the final night of their tour and they were all eager to get home and greet their friends, family (and Q’s cats of course – I wish I’d talked to him about them because I love cats too .. sadface) but that didn’t show, and they were humble and super smiley from start to finish, on stage and off.
I have to admit, I discovered the tv show Impractical Jokers probably just over two years ago, but these guys have been making the show for way longer than that. I used to come home from work sometimes at about 4 or 5pm and sit down to watch The Jokers, and know I’d be in for a treat every day. If I ever have a bad day, or I’m feeling a little down, I watch a few episodes of Impractical Jokers and I have a great big smile on my face throughout. These guys give me belly ache from laughing so hard… every single episode. Joe, Sal, Murr and Q are all equally so hilarious and so lovely in person, I just had the best experience at their show on Sunday night – I’m definitely going to try and land my hands on some VIP tickets again when they bring a brand new show to the UK in October 2017.
It’s Tuesday now and I still can’t get the smile off of my face, I’ll remember this forever, and I mean that in a non-cheesy way but also in a very cheesy way.
See Owen Benjamin’s advice for Millenials here