I'm currently ankle-deep in emails, facebook events and various other e-mithers that are all of my own volition. The reason is simple - I'm organising The Lastminutecomedy New Act Of the Year Competition, 2011. It takes place throughout March and April in the various rooms I book for and involves sixty (SIXTY!) new-ish comedians with varying levels of ability and varying attitudes (If the emails are to be believed) towards competitions of this nature. Perhaps what has impressed me most (And made me all the more determined to do something about it myself) is the way that seemingly ALL new acts have excellent Youtube clips and it's thus made whittling down all the applications a challenge.
What has impressed me the least was the casual and careless nature of some of the entries that simply mind-boggled at times. I think it is a basic courtesy when emailing someone to know a. their name and b. the company they own/work for/represent. My favourite entry so far (I did relent and let him in the competition after initially wanting to bash his head in with a half brick for being daft) was a guy who shall remain nameless who sent me a message that began
"Dear Rod, I would like to enter the Central London Comedian Of The Year Competition and am available for the heats in Herts, Essex or Luton".
We'll let go that I'm not called Rod and it's not the Central London Comedian Of The Year Competition but I draw the line at people not knowing where Herts, Essex (And Luton) actually are. For those of you reading this from overseas, they are not in Central London. I let the guy in the comp anyway because his Youtube clip was really funny. I'm not an ogre. I also have his introduction on the night he performs written above, so should really thank him for it. One act also left a "Y" off the end of his email and gave me the slightly worrying sign off "Man Thanks". I shudder to think what "Man Thanks" could actually be but I'm pretty sure they involve a sigh, an expulsion and less than the requisite amount of gratitude than I think I could reasonably expect.
This has all coincided with the delivery of the recording of the gig I did in Southampton before Christmas (When I made my entrance via a back-lit cupboard full of smoke). It's great. It's also 25 minutes long and in Hi Def, making it a whopping 1.5GB in zipped form. This obviously makes me incapable of doing anything other than watching the thing. I need an expert to cut it up into morsel-sized Youtube clips so I can catch up with the millions of New Acts and get an internet presence of more substance haste post haste. I don't expect the comedy bits to go viral but the introduction is brilliant and (I am convinced) could make me a cyberspace sensation. My problem is the expert - my local techie Tim is exceptionally hard to pin down (He drinks more than I do) and I am floundering to nail down a night with him when we can put a few things together. I also have a pilot quiz show, a recording of a gig live in Dublin and a special show called "Is Star Trek Voyager Good For You" to turn into a showreel. I'm going to have to buy him a bottle of something nice as a result, I guarantee it.
The real reason old men shouldn't be allowed on Facebook is best summed up with a transcript of a messaged conversation I had with Steve (Landlord of my current favourite pub in the World, travelling companion and close friend) concerning the Facebook event for his next comedy show on Thursday February 3rd:
Steve: Oi! How come you haven't invited me to the next comedy show event in the pub?
Paul: I don't think I've even done an event for it yet.
Steve: Yes you have, you idiot - it's here (gives link)
Paul: (Checks link) Ah yes so I have - I also notice that I have invited you. It says you are "Awaiting reply".
I'm not sure who should be banned from the web first? It's a definite toss up. Balls - I might do a poll.
My shows at the weekend all went OK and I have to say that Paul Sinha was terrific at all of them and would have stolen the show most other weekends except that he was on with the gloriously ridiculous Rayguns Look Real Enough. They had major technical problems in Hitchin (Someone had left the Induction Loop on for the Deaf and it led to horrendous feedback from Luke Real's guitar pick up - not that The Deaf minded). They had what verged on an elderly audience in Letchworth who didn't know half their songs but then were different class in Biggleswade. I'll let Paul Sinha tell you about that though as it's in his own excellent blog. He stuck around that night and by the end was singing along with them along with the rest of us.
Oh! On the Saturday night I went over to Steve's after the Letchworth show, got a little drunk on Old Rosie cider and then watched "Death Proof". Well, he watched "Death Proof", I fell asleep during the opening credits. I woke up at 5.35am with a message on the screen saying "Would you like to watch the movie again?". Obviously I said yes! I still had a full glass of wine and the cat on my legs wasn't moving so I couldn't go anywhere anyway. I pressed "play" and got the message "Please enter your pin". How on Earth could I possibly know Steve's pin? I was momentarily shattered that I wouldn't get to see it after all and then I had a "Eureka!" moment. Steve - I thought to myself - is as stupid as I am (See above) - I bet he's just got the default pin! I pressed 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 into the remote and the film started. I realise I have given his password out to the entire world but I don't think that in the unlikely event anyone would break into the pub they would forego removing every item of value within in favour of reclining in his leather armchair and watching old movies all afternoon. They would however probably do that at my place. I've got bugger all worth nicking.