The Future of Comedy, ladies and gentlemen.
Okay firstly, in the last post when I said "east" I meant "west" and vice versa. It was to confuse my enemies. Secondly, I read today on Adam Buxton's blog that Meebox won't be getting a commission - yes that's the word "won't" - which made me head off (ie stay exactly where I was: procrastinating at my laptop) in search of some form of webby channel through which to communicate to him both my fan's anger and my thanks for looking after the light at the end of the new media tunnel for all this time. There was no such channel however, so I did what his site asks and posted it to him on a Japanese postcard instead and that, I realized, was the first fan letter I have ever written. I don't have it now, but I did go and then vent my spleen all over Graham Linehan's blog which was having a bit of a BBC3 chat. Oh do I have that? Yes:
"I don't so much mind there being stuff on BBC3 I don't like, or stuff not working (The Wall is kind of despicable not because it doesn't "work", but because what it wants to do is so wretched)… But the news on Adam Buxton's blog that MeeBox won't be commissioned, and the reasons given, makes me almost ill and [blah blah what I wrote above...] Adam's work is so honest and original and smart and carefully created and just FUN that his lack of a commission seems almost like an act of spite on behalf of [blah blah...] I'm lucky enough now to be getting into writing comedy [blah blah plug for myself...] but it's frightening to step in and see so little rein given to a talent like him, at least on a channel that should surely be widening the brief [blah blah unkind stuff about Marek Larwood pretending to be handicapped...] I'm 33. When I was 23 working in television comedy seemed a creative dream [blah really no idea now where I'm going with this now...] Your work certainly encouraged that idea. First episode of Father Ted [blah blah fawn...] man, even the trailer had about five belly laughs, I remember [blah blah Black Books...] But it doesn't seem like that now. Now it seems like [blah blah moan...] And I'm unmotivated enough as it is. No wonder the perfectionist genius freaks are turning to music videos [blah fawn bye...]"
We CAN BUT HOPE someone sits up and takes notice.
All of which is, ah, a very unfortunate prelude to the totally unrelated news that David M and Rob W are trying out some material this Sunday at the Drill Hall, for which I have just received my very first television commission, so I should really be writing for that, which would be BRILLIANT if I were feeling sharper. But also I should be studying the tape Bishop, Peter and I made in the former's kitchen two weeks ago, and trying to knock together some share of a script for this half-hour "Hamlet" that we've been asked to present at the Camden Fringe for the end of the month. That's us up there at the top you see. The most cursorayrrarryohsoddit glance on youtube will show you what we're up against: There's 15-minute Hamlets. 2-minute Hamlets. 15-second Hamlets. 90-second, Bill-Cosby-voiced Hamlets. Fff... And I should sleep. Some passage in my abdomen appears to be logged with sweetbread and tonic.
Here's my favourite though: the 21-second Hamlet. I love it because it doesn't necessarily seem to be playing the idea for laughs, surprisingly, or else it's playing the idea for more than laughs, like the way the figures sort of unblossom as they die - a lovely fluke. Or else it's playing the idea for laughs but getting it wrong and ending up slightly beautiful, which is sometimes my favourite kind of comedy, which is why commissioning me to write any might not such a good idea right now. We'll see.
Hamlet in 21 seconds: