Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

Nigel Roberts

“If you haven’t grown up by age 50, you don’t have to” (Recent Facebook meme)

Last Monday evening I was performing my stand up routine at a club called The Hideaway, just down the Northern Line from me in Archway.

I was there on my own as Ingrid had to tend to Murphy, our dog, who’d had an operation that day. I requested a spot in the first half of the show as I wanted to travel home earlier, rather than later, given my vision difficulties.

As I passed through the bar during the break, I heard a voice to my left:

“Chris, how are you, can I buy you a drink?”

It was Nigel Roberts, a fellow act, whom I’d seen perform no more than three times previously.

I declined, explaining I wanted to go home before it got too late.

Yesterday, I had word that Nigel died on Thursday of a heart attack.

He was one of a posse of stand up comedians I’ve come across on the London open mike circuit who, despite heading towards the later years of life, decide to get out there and try and make people laugh. When I finally decided to take up stand up earlier this year, I was incredibly self conscious, believing that such japes were reserved for the younger folk, rather than those of my generation.

Nigel, among others (including Brendan O’Donoghue, Johnny Glasgow, Dan Andrews, Mary Fielding, Andy Zapp ), has inadvertently helped me along the way, showing that age simply doesn’t come into it.

Had you seen Nigel on a tube or walking down the street you would never in a million years have imagined he spent his evenings doing stand up. An unassuming figure, who got a kick out of playing the fool in front of a bunch of people. What could be more precious than bringing some laughter into others’ lives, whatever your age.

I barely knew the man and it would be precocious of me to call him a friend. Yet, Nigel‘s “tiny” gesture of friendship on Monday stood out for me, a bloke with a visual impairment: he came forward to engage, to connect where it would have been so easy to just let me walk past him. When I got home that evening, I immediately told Ingrid how touched I was by the gesture.

So glad I made his acquaintance. So sorry I didn’t get to know him better.

Nigel Roberts RIP

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