People ask me all the time- “Are you the guy that warms up the audience?”
No, no I’m not, which brings us to the second question:
“What is a TV show stand-in?”
To answer that question let’s look at a case in point – Good News Week (since that’s the only show I stand-in for).
The teams don’t have scripts of any sort but Paul still needs to rehearse, as do the studio’s technical staff. So how to rehearse the show without letting all the players know what the answers are?
Enter, and get mic’d up, the stand-in.
Quite possibly the noblest of TV’s volunteer workers, the Stand-In comes to this, what some would call arduous**, dilemma and says-
“Be worried not television producers, for I can PRETEND to be one of your beloved guests for rehearsal purposes! And I will do so for the merest of fees! Free sandwiches!”***
And so it is revealed, what a television show stand-in is.****
I always pretend to be Mikey Robbins. Some people say it’s because I’m chubby, but I think they’re wrong. I try on all the costumes he wears, and apparently we have the same sized head. It also makes it easier for the sound guys to remember my name, as I’m the one who gets the “Mikey” lapel mic and my name is also Mikey.
In some way, it is almost as if I’m the guy that the Mikey Robbins character on the show is based on.*****
Hanging out on set, being part of the show. As a comedian it’s good exposure and if when you think of something on the spot that’s funny and makes everyone laugh, it’s quite rewarding.
What’s the worst?
Strange but true clues. I never know what to say when the camera pans onto me. There’s a bit of pressure (that I put on myself) to say something funny, but usually it’s crap.
Which one of Mikey’s various hats was your favourite?
Last week I had to wear a prop that was a Bed. I was on 3 hours sleep and it was quite comfortable. Lying back in my chair with a pillow and a blanket was good.
What was the least successful Strange but True prop?
There was a piece of meat that was kinda just a big pink foam thing they wrapped around me. They basically clamped it up but the clamps kept popping off cause it was too small.
Why are the sandwiches so excellent?
They’re free! And there’s a few different ones. Also, it’s cool to be hanging out backstage, and eating stuff with comics I like and admire, some who I’ve worked with. Wil Anderson’s always cool to chat with in the green room, and Fiona O’laughlin calls me her tech support guy because I figured out how to put her phone on silent. She’s great!
Have you ever been injured during the course of your duties?
I have, slightly, and quite regularly. But it’s out of my own stupidity really. Whenever I get up from the desk to go around to practice the hot spot, I always scrape my arm on the panel thing and that hurts.
What’s your favourite anecdote from your time as a stand-in?
Axis of Awesome were on (we know each other from gigs and stuff). One of the guys, Lee, when he saw me there, thought that the dressing room that said “Mikey” belonged to me. He was like “Jeez, Mikey’s doing well for himself here.”
*I’m also a stand up comedian, and a human, and a pet owner.
**I probably used the term arduous incorrectly.
***We get to eat sandwiches.
****It’s a pretend guest on a rehearsal of a game show.
******It’s not like that at all.
*******I probably should have used numbers instead of asterii
 I don’t think asterii is the plural to asterisk.