Resurfaced Richard Gadd standup routine offers an intriguing peek behind the ‘Baby Reindeer’ curtain

Resurfaced Richard Gadd standup routine offers an intriguing peek behind the ‘Baby Reindeer’ curtain

Richard Gadd might have just recently become recognizable worldwide, but he’s been hard at work on building his career for over a decade now.

The comic first made a name for himself with the show Monkey See Monkey Do, which he performed in 2016 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Much like Netflix’s Baby Reindeer, the show explored Gadd’s complicated relationship with masculinity after he was raped by the real-life version of the 2024 series’ Darrien O’Connor (played by Tom Goodman-Hill).

However, an even earlier stand-up routine that dates back to 2011, and has now resurfaced on TikTok, proves Gadd has always brought a vulnerable approach to his comedy.

Richard Gadd’s 12-year-old performance about the painful truth of being a stand-up comedian

Everywhere online, internet sleuths have been trying to find the real-life counterparts of the fascinating characters Richard Gadd included in Baby Reindeer. Martha, of course, was their primary target, but many have also been snooping around for a recording of the real-life version of the hard-hitting moment when Gadd’s fictional mirror Donny breaks down in the middle of a stand-up routine.

While this reemerged TikTok video is not that, it does show Gadd opening up about the vulnerability that comes with being a comedian. Described as a monologue and titled “Diary Of An Open Spot,” the routine was part of the 2011 edition of the National Theatre of Scotland’s Five Minute Theatre, and can also be watched on the project’s official YouTube page.

In the nearly 7-minute-long performance, Gadd begins by telling a raunchy joke filled with your usual adult comedy sexual puns and inappropriate scenarios. This draws polite laughs from the crowd but it’s the following section that really highlights how Gadd has been using his comedy to start bigger conversations since the very beginning of his career.

He jokes about how he had to edit that same joke to fit the standards of the BBC comedy event Funny Turns after they threatened to take him off the line-up. The new version, of course, failed to make anyone from the thousand people audience laugh, which was made worse by the fact that it was broadcast on BBC Radio 1. According to the comedian, no one even clapped when he walked off stage, and when the host tried to change that by announcing that he was a Scottish comedy breakthrough, someone shouted “Hardly f-cking breakthrough.”

Image via Netflix

The whole driving force of Baby Reindeer is Gadd’s desire for validation through his comedy routines, and his frustrations with career setbacks are evident throughout, so the story he recalls in this 2011 video will undoubtedly feel familiar for those who have tuned into the Netflix series (and I mean, who hasn’t at this point?).

“It was a disappointment like nothing else. A disappointment like only comedians feel. You’ve set yourself up for your own failure, you’ve put yourself in the firing line. You see, when you do comedy it’s kind of like a rock and a hard place, but instead, you’re stuck between confidence and vulnerability. When people laugh they’re laughing at the hard work you’ve put in, but when they don’t laugh, it feels personal.”

Gadd goes on to explain how, because comedy is seen as something light-hearted and frivolous, the emotion behind it tends to be overlooked. What’s worse, according to the comedian, most people in his line of work are perfectionists but, since something as subjective as comedy can never be perfect, that means comics are often unhappy.

The unpredictability of comedy, Gadd says, is what makes it “one of most challenging yet amazing art forms.” Considering the success he has achieved in the present, though, his final remarks have gained a chilling new meaning.

Richard Gadd’s poignant vision of his future

Image via Netflix

Despite all the failures and disappointments, Gadd is unwavering in his passion for his craft. “I love comedy. I love making people laugh, I love nothing more than putting a smile on people’s faces and that’s why I do it. Hopefully, comedy will be a part of my life for the rest of my life. Maybe one day you’ll turn on Radio 1 and it’ll be like Funny Turns 2026 and you’ll hear my voice,” he mused.

His predictions were remarkably accurate. No, it didn’t take until 2026 for him to become a household name. He was two years off. And no, it wasn’t BBC Radio 1. It was Netflix, the most popular streaming platform on the planet. But, Richard Gadd has now most likely secured a lifetime supply of eager audiences for whatever piece he creates next, with plenty of laughs and cheers to go around. Baby Reindeer is the show of 2024 so far, and its insightful and groundbreaking writing deserves every bit of the praise it has received.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *