The jet-lagged creator of Flowers, Will Sharpe, goes walkabout in New York - and gets mistaken for an Uber driver
This is not a normal week for me. In fact, it’s a positively weird one. Three and a half years of work are culminating in a one-week TX of my sitcom Flowers and the premiere of the feature film The Darkest Universe, a second venture with my friend Tom Kingsley.
SeesoTV has offered to fly me out to New York for a press screening of Flowers. So I am on a plane. Some cashews arrive but the packet is quite hard to open. That’s fine. I can handle it. Then I tear the packet with unexpected violence and there are cashews and nut powder all over myself, the aisle and the floor.
Either nobody has noticed or everyone is pretending not to have noticed. At the hotel, the staff think I am an Uber driver collecting a client.
The first two episodes air in the UK. I get a beer and sit on my own, texting with friends. Later, I walk around New York for about three hours. I know the Comedy Cellar will be sold out. I go there anyway. What am I doing in New York all of a sudden? What the fuck is going on?
I guest on a podcast and leave feeling that I’ve talked utter jet-lagged nonsense. Why did I talk about an irrational belief that there could be sharks in the pool when I’m swimming?
I do a phone interview. The Seeso rep asks why I didn’t mention the positive reviews in the UK. I say that I thought it would be weird for me to talk about it. She says: “Next time, just talk about it.”
I go to Schnippers and order a chicken sandwich and fries. A neighbouring table likes the look of it: “Avocado, bacon, all the shit – next time!” I remember that the American for “crisps” is “chips” and that the showbiz for “nervous, confused and terrified” is “super-pumped and excited!”.
The press screening seems to go well. A lady from Variety stays behind and asks how the reception was in the UK. I say, “Really good.” The Seeso rep nods covertly with approval. I feel like Anne Hathaway at the end of The Devil Wears Prada.
Over dinner, a conservative Democrat and moderate Republican have a civilised debate about the difficult, elusive middle ground of US politics.
Back on a plane. I am convinced that it will crash. I make a plan of survival in the event of it crashing (swim around gathering the clothes and mobile phones of dead people).
I wonder whether hiding in an overhead locker increases the chances of survival. Maybe if I wrapped myself in the blanket?
I go to the Picturehouse to check The Darkest Universe DCP with Tom Kingsley and our DOP, Will Hanke.
We catch up. We all have black coffee. It makes me nostalgic for the shoot.
On the Flowers side, a social-media plan is discussed and I go to meet Sarah Bates and Selina MacArthur, the Assistant Editor and Editor of Flowers. I perch in the corner of a room looking for potential out-takes to publicise the show.
More Seeso action, this time in London. They take Channel 4, Kudos and a bunch of us out. Phil Clarke, Head of Comedy at Channel 4, is not very good at chopsticks and starts jokily using his glasses and a straw instead.
Tonight, the cast and crew of Flowers will gather in a pub to watch the final episode together. Next week, I will stop smoking, eat healthily and go swimming. And there won’t be any sharks. I go outside and feel guilty about still smoking.
It’s spring. There’s a nice light. What am I doing? What the fuck is going on?
Will Sharpe is a writer, actor and director.