Written by Dotty Winters


Short notice

It’s hard being the world’s least observant observational comic, says Dotty Winters. Sorry, have we met?

magnifying glass
“What kind of comedy do you do?” asked the man, or possibly the woman, who probably had a face. They may also have had some hair.

“Dunno, stories, I guess, things that have happened,” I responded, suave and eloquent, like.

“So… observational then?” said the presumed humanoid.

“Me? Not really.”

When Vicky Pattison forgot she had met her partner Mario Falcone’s sister on Loose Women a couple of weeks ago, I had every sympathy.

Being described as observational is a problem for me. I may be the least observational person you’ve ever met (Have we met?). I can’t remember. When people refer to me as observational, (which I assume they do all the time, but I can’t be sure because I haven’t noticed), I often think that they should follow me around in real life for a while. Then I wonder if they have. Now that I come to think of it, they do look strangely familiar.

“Hey, I’m Malcolm,” said my friend Sophie in a strangely deep voice, cocking her head dramatically to one side, and throwing one arm wildly into the air. “I like to cook,” she continued. She did the head and arm thing again.

I asked her what she was doing. She carefully explained her impression of Malcolm, my work friend of several years, someone who I saw every work day, for seven to 10 hours a day. This is how I found out that Malcolm had a pronounced twitch.

Of course, now that I’d been told about it, there it was. It was very pronounced. Malcolm, who was aware, but not especially self-conscious about the twitch, thought it was odd that it had never come up in conversation.

“One of my friends’ spouses thinks I am a vegetarian, because her last spouse was, and I didn’t notice the switcharoo so I still always rustle up a halloumi salad when they visit.”

I’ve had to change the way I greet people, especially at gigs. I used to shake people by the hand, and say, “Hi, I’m Dotty, I don’t think we’ve met.” This seemed to fairly regularly backfire when people responded with a “Hi Dotty, yes we have,” or the less common, “Hi Dotty, yes, yes we have, several times, and we shared a car for a six-hour round trip that time…”

Now my greeting of choice is a more tentative, “Hi, I’m Dotty. Have we met?” (even though in the case of that last guy, I think that if I’ve met you several times and shared a car with you for several hours and still can’t remember you, that might be your fault not mine).

When I park in a carpark, I have to take a photo of my car, which includes a sign that tells me which floor I am on. This was no help that one time when I had parked in a nearby, but terrifyingly similar, carpark. It was however terrifically helpful not long after I changed cars because I couldn’t quite remember what colour car I’d decided on.

When friends of mine get divorced and remarried, I have to swot up, so I remember to remember this. One of my friends’ spouses thinks I am a vegetarian, because her last spouse was, and I didn’t notice the switcharoo so I still always rustle up a halloumi salad when they visit.

I am fairly sure that other people have not had a lengthy conversation at their wedding with the wedding photographer about exactly what they wanted in the photos, only to later realise they had been chatting to their own brother-in-law, who had slightly trimmed his hair and happened to be carrying a camera.

Do you remember the uproar when Renée Zellweger completely changed her appearance? Didn’t spot it, mate.

Have you heard that joke people like to make about how many different lineups The Sugababes had? Never got it.

You know that thing where they replace a soap character with a new actor and everyone pretends not to notice? I don’t. That has never happened.

In short, I think I may be the world’s least observant observational comedian. I should be ashamed to tell you this, but it’s not like we’ve met or anything.

Who are you again?

“Hi, I’m Dotty, I don’t think we’ve met.”


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Written by Dotty Winters

Nascent stand-up, fan of fancy words, purveyor of occasional wrongness, haphazard but enthusiastic parent, science-fan, apprentice-feminist.