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…Is that the joke?
Sorry about that.
However, hello, my name is indeed Clementine and I am, amongst other things and contrary to the above evidence, a comedian. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with Litro readers the trials and tribulations of producing, writing, directing and starring in a scarily mammoth Edinburgh comedy show. Before unleashing my diatribe of angst though, the folks at Litro thought it would be wise for me to introduce myself.
I was born to Sir Alan (Lord Sugar just doesn’t have the same ring) on 24 March 1983 (not like him) at an artfully chosen Hampstead hospital – a decision that, despite adding an extra 20 miles to a fraught journey, ensured Mrs Wade’s progeny a classy passport.
I wasn’t early and I wasn’t late. Much to my annoyance there was no drama in my birth, and indeed, as the years have proven, I wasn’t adopted either. Most of my childhood could be categorised as magnificently uneventful, something which I have been trying to rectify ever since.
At primary school, as a bucked Anthea Turner doppelganger, I wasn’t academic in the slightest. Reading was an enigma, writing proved treacherous, and being almost totally deaf, I spent my days cutting up clothes, talking to myself and creating my own stories. Unlike my sister, I couldn’t show off my perfectly executed novella – god, I couldn’t even spell my own name – and as my baby looks slowly faded (you are reading the words of the cutest North London baby 1986) and my tendency towards tie-dyed cycling shorts pervaded, I realised I had only one thing to fall back on: making people laugh.
I went big (aka local) in 1989, cast as the Ugly Bug, the lead, in Class 4’s summer blockbuster. I swaggered my way to success, covered in leaves I’d forced my poor mother to sew onto a lilo.
Disaster loomed, however, when I was rejected from the Royal Ballet School (my father mistook a penchant for flannel wielding for talent), and I was packed off to a convent. Undaunted, I remained true to the belief that I was descended from Charlie Chaplin, and continued to hone my craft as the class clown.
The year 1997 was another cornerstone in the life and times of C. Wade. The St Martha Sixth Form Production usually took the form of a Bible story, but that year, mutiny was in the air – Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was chosen, the lead actress was expelled, and my sister came to the rescue, proffering a quick re-cast: her 14-year-old sibling, who wielded a head brace, would take up arms as the inimitable Mr Collins.
Despite a heavy degree of articulated spitting, I was, by popular agreement, the only choice, and thus in one fell swoop, I successfully turned Jane Austen’s greatest love story into a farce. As far as big breaks go, this was a rather nonchalant affair, with only a small mention in the The Barnet Reporter. But it determined my fate: I was to be a comedian, come hell or high water.
Over the next few years, my “talent” was placed on hold, while I dabbled with being a born again Christian, giving out party rings and exclaiming, “God will fill your hole!” It was only when I got to Cambridge that I really started performing comedy and realised how serious a business it was. I watched and learnt from my peers, artfully snatching up agents. Despite appalling first efforts, my terrible writing got better.
Since graduating, I’ve become aware that the entertainment industry is not one you can go into; it’s one you have to create. So, I have been producing my own work. Sure, I’ve worked in TV, radio and film and will soon appear in the Objective Productions pilot comedy Private Eye with Stephen Fry for Channel 4. And sure, as a presenter, I’m in demand to host and emcee the best in live events throughout the capital. But ultimately, the stuff that has got me anywhere, the stuff I am most proud of, is and has been that of my own making – which is why I’m creating two comedy shows – Back to School and Back to School Disco – for this year’s Edinburgh Festival, but more on that later. In the meantime, here’s a video of me getting dressed on the Tube:
They say it takes 10,000 hours of concerted effort to make an overnight success. I’m hoping I’ve clocked up 99,998.
Back to School Disco is on 3-25 August, every Fri & Sat from 10pm-1am. Book here.