Comedians hit back

August 30, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Posted in Comedy | Leave a comment
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When Fosters took over sponsorship of the former Perrier awards in Edinburgh I am sure they thought it was quite straight forward. Coming from an advertising background, I can just imagine the meetings required to ‘brainstorm’ this sponsorship.

Random Fosters Marketing person: “Guys, how can we make this bigger and better? How can we make sure we make our mark and stop people from continuing to bloody call it the Perrier awards!”

Agency creative: “Why not we celebrate 30 years of the awards and get the public to vote and crown the comedy god of the last 30 years of the Edinburgh fringe.”

Cue, lots of applause.

Not a bad idea, pretty straight forward, doing something different and fresh for a long time, job done. Who would have thought that a public voted competition, that for a brand does not look in anyway risky, would cause a bit of controversy.

It all started with Stewart Lee, who expressed his disgust at the competition particularly as it doesn’t recognise the acts that aren’t the superstars, who don’t get the recognition or the publicity that the big acts do. Read the letter to the awards producer here.

This began the twitter and facebook campaign to get the Japanese musical group Frank Chickens (as mentioned in Lee’s email) to the top of the tree, and crowned Comedy God.

Well, it seems to have worked. Frank Chickens, after more than 30,000 people have voted, are to be immortalised in Fosters beer cans. Albeit in a specially commissioned artwork. They ended up making pieces of the top four voted acts, so Fosters at least got to make works of the superstars namely, Michael McIntyre, Tim Minchin and Russell Howard rather than just Frank Chickens. Interestingly though that the other comedians in the top 4 are all of this generation. Really? Top 4 comedians that have ever been nominated for the awards in the last 30 years have been from the last few years? Hmmm, find that hard to believe.

But I suppose, this is a strange story in brand sponsorships and treading the line of credibility. If Perrier had held this competition, when they were sponsors, would they have witnessed the same backlash? Maybe not. The winners I suppose out of all of this has been Frank Chickens. I was one of the people who hadn’t heard of them until this controversy had come along.

So sad, damn nothing to listen to on radio

February 28, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Posted in Comedy | Leave a comment
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Found out today Jon Richardson is no longer going to host his BBC 6music radio show with Fordie. It might not mean much to most people, but it’s been a Sunday ritual for me to listen to their show. It began with Russell Howard, they took over the Russell Brand show. It was brilliant. Russell left to work on his stand up and TV. Jon took over the main role. Now he’s leaving, mind you after he goes to the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

Sad 😦

Soupy Norman

January 18, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Comedy | Leave a comment
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Never heard of it? Soupy Norman was a nine part series shown in Ireland. It is a re-dubbing of a Polish soap opera called Pierwsza miłość (First Love). It’s hilarious because it’s a classic game that I am sure most people have played themselves when the sound on the TV isn’t working, can’t understand the language or just bored. Putting on voices and just saying anything.

Top 5 Children’s authors

March 25, 2009 at 12:53 am | Posted in books, Comedy | Leave a comment
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I sometimes find it difficult to sleep. So at night I listen to my iPod to kind of clear my mind. Not music, but podcasts. The most recent one I have been listening to is the Radio 4 show Banter. Essentially, it’s four comedians discussing their top 3’s to a variety of topics. I thought I’d list one of mine but extend it a little to top 5.

I still love kids books. I have tried to keep as many of my kids books as possible, but there are some that I can’t find anymore. I therefore find myself browsing the kids book section to see if I can find them again.

There are many authors that could have fit this list. Ann M. Martin (The Baby Sitters Club), J.R.R Tolkien (Lord of the Rings, duh), John Marsden (Dear Miffy), David McRobbie (Mandragora), Beatrix Potter (The Adventures of Peter Rabbit), Jacqueline Wilson (Double Act), Gary Crew (The Watertower), Margaret Clark (Care Factor Zero), Morris Gleitzman (Blabbermouth) and , ahh so many, but I can only include top 5. So here we go…

1. Roald Dahl:
A pretty obvious choice. Anyone who can write stories about giants, witches, gifted children, elevators made out of glass and enormous fruit gets a vote from me.

2. Judy Blume:
I was introduced to Judy Blume when I was in year 4 and my teacher got into the habit of reading books to us. She started reading ‘Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing’ and I absolutely loved hearing stories about Fudge. I then discovered her other books and I am sure many women can agree they were great when you were growing up.

3. Paul Jennings:
Probably my favourite Australian author. They even made my favourite Australian TV series ever (Round The Twist) based from his short stories. I got sent a graphic novel of the Round the Twist series from Paul Jennings that was signed … a highlight.

4. J.K. Rowling:
Alright, controversial because she has only written the one series unlike the other authors on my list, but what a series.

5. Diane Bates:
Probably not as well known as the ones above, but when everyone in the school library had borrowed all of the cool books, and I was too slow I had to find something else. I stumbled upon the Grandma Cadbury series, essentially about a Grandma who is still out and about and active, taking her grandson on adventures.

As my mood changes, or different things happen in my life this list will change. That’s what I find fantastic about books, they evoke different memories or feelings at the point in time that you read them. I suppose that is why I have two Australian authors in my list, because they were entwined with my childhood. As Children’s books should…

Edinburgh – ow my sides hurt

September 23, 2008 at 9:03 am | Posted in Comedy | Leave a comment
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The main reason I wanted to visit Edinburgh was for the fringe festival, mainly the comedy shows. So the night time was devoted to stand up, and the day was sight seeing. My lovely colleagues gave me a farewell present of a Falconry experience at Dalhousie Castle so I had that to look forward to. Let’s start with that…

Falconry: What an incredible experience. It was raining in the morning. Raining half and hour before the session, but then managed to clear up. Unfortunately we couldn’t actually take the Falcon’s out because they won’t fly in the rain. So just had to make do with the Owls and the Eagles! The words to sum up Falconry? Graceful, elegant, intelligent, beautiful and heavy!

Bill Bailey: Weaving music with stand up observational witty wordsmith. I felt that he has now moved more towards music than stand up. Not that I am complaining, as I believe that he is an incredible musician. If you’ve seen Black Books you’d know be aware of his musical skill. This was the first show I went to at the festival and felt it was a nice way to break in.

Russell Howard: One of the last shows I went to, and if you’ve read my blog you’re well aware of how much  I love his radio show with Jon Richardson. He has recently left the show with Jon Richardson now taking over. Back to his stand up. He delivers all stories with this school boy energy and charm that makes you like him despite the content (not that it wasn’t funny). My sister didn’t actually find him as funny, I think his humour perhaps wasn’t to his liking. But he was incredibly entertaining, and attracted a huge crowd.

Mark Watson: One of the only comedians that I had seen previously… on a number of occasions. I believe that he is one of the most intelligent comedians I have seen. Just the way he structures and presents his stories are interesting. One of the images he presented was a pigeon flying into the forehead of a man. Just conjuring up that image in my mind makes me laugh.

Michael McIntyre: The funniest comedian with the floppiest hair. If you ever watch him you’ll be mesmerised by his hair movement when he shakes his head about. But besides that, he is incredibly hilarious, lots of observational humour and delivered by a consummate professional.

Ed Byrne: One of my biggest fears about going to watch Ed Byrne was not being able to understand him. In actual fact he was perfectly understandable and just as funny as I expected. This was the first time I had seen Ed Byrne live after seeing him on TV back in the early 90s when he did a lot of comedy galas, one of his most famous pieces of material is about Alanis Morrisette and her lack of irony in he song Ironic.

Jason Byrne & Adam Hills: A midnight show, that was a huge surprise. I have seen Jason Byrne on many festival galas on TV and thought he was quite ordinary (probably because he only has a couple of minutes). He was an absolute laugh in this show. I felt that he upstaged Adam Hills. Far more natural and believable. It was pretty funny hearing Adam constantly asking “Excuse Me?” to Jason because he couldn’t quite understand him with his thick Irish accent.

Jon Richardson: After listening to his and Russell duel it out on a week to week basis it is great to put a face to a name. He is still quite new to the scene and it does show in comparison to the seasoned professionals, but he is getting better and does have some unique qualities, mainly his OCD.

Jimmy Carr: The king of the one liner. It isn’t for everyone, and my sister proved that. She didn’t really like a lot of his stuff, I think because a lot of it is quite in your face and as they are one liners, it’s hit after hit after hit. His show was quite long as well, so my cheeks were hurting quite a bit throughout the show.

Danny Bhoy: I’m afraid I am not sure whether I can see Danny Bhoy for a long time. He tours quite a bit, particularly in Australasia, but he recycles material. I have seen him I believe twice before, and left quite a big gap between last time and the festival and he is still throwing up some old material. I think it’s great to throw in some safe ones, but after a few years I would have thought that they wouldn’t be used. Ah well.

Henry Rollins: Also probably one of the biggest surprises of the festival for me. I had never seen him do ‘stand-up’ before … there’s debate over whether it’s stand-up or spoken word, so I had no expectations. I was a fan of Black Flag, he’s got tattooes, he’s rock and roll so he’s bound to be cool yeah? But he’s also quite funny, very passionate and delivers everything with conviction. He went overtime and was given the red light many many times and didn’t go off-stage. He was doing a limited run at the festival with the hope that next year he could perhaps do a full run. Given the popularity (there were people outside asking people to sell their tickets to them), I wouldn’t be surprised if he got it.

There’s far more to Edinburgh than the shows that I went to, but unfortunately I didn’t get to see as much as I liked, nor did I get to climb Arthur’s seat. Ah well, I am only a few hours away and will probably head back to the festival next year…

Care for a game of Chair Jousting?

November 22, 2007 at 8:20 am | Posted in Comedy, games | Leave a comment
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I listen to the Russell Howard and Jon Richardson show quite a lot to take my mind off things, and one of their segments is called Bored Games. Which is pretty self-explanatory. They are games that you either invent or play when you are bored. One such game came up that I found hilarious, as they attempted to do it on radio, and being such a visual game you had to rely on the sounds instead (and your imagination).

So what is it? Well, you need office chairs, the ones with wheels. You need to find either two walls, or two corners opposite each other. One opponent to go in one corner, the other opponent in the other, backs facing each other. Then the adjudicator will blow the whistle, and both players are to push off their corners and zoom towards each other and hit the backs of their chairs in the middle. The winner is the one who does not spiral out of control.

I would like to get this up and running at our work, as I believe we have the perfect chairs, but since it is an open plan office it might be slightly difficult (not many walls/corners opposite each other). I think Health & Safety might also have something to say about it.

I do know there is a more hardcore version, which is when you actually get brooms and use them as Joust sticks but not sure if I really want to do this one … a bit too much in the flavour of Jackass.

I am officially Crap at the Environment

September 23, 2007 at 11:16 pm | Posted in Comedy | 4 Comments
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 I am looking to release my inner hippie. It’s quite funny, up until now I haven’t really been interested, or looking to actively do anything about the environment. It’s not like I don’t care. I do. I recycle my paper, I turn off the lights, I even dig trees (not literally) but for some reason nothing has really gotten me to actually actively take an interest. Until Now! One of my favourite comedians has begun a movement for people like me. Mark Watson (of Mock the Week fame, of Rove Live fame, of the Melbourne Comedy Festival fame), has set up a group called “Crap at the Environment” or CATE for short. It’s for people who are concerned about the environment, and climate change, but until now have been “completely or fairly shit at doing anything about it”.

What I love about this movement, is that he is taking a different approach to driving forward a serious matter. It has struck a chord with me, through keeping it light hearted, fun, interesting and NOT BORING! Trying to heal the world through laughter…of sorts.

Like a social movement on ADD, they are trying to keep momentum going by doing a number of different things in order to maintain interest. Blogs, events, stunts, personal experiments and so forth. Myspace page, Facebook, Livejournal and website. All with the aim to keep it FUN! He is also participating in a 3 day seminar while he is in Australia with Al Gore, on climate change to gain a better understanding of climate change and why it is so important. He has also offset his flight by buying carbon credits. He has highlighted his concerns about this barter system, and I tend to agree. I am not 100% convinced that buying carbon credits is a way to save the world. It seems like paying for your excess, and not changing your behaviour, just paying to make your conscience feel better. Additionally, with any of these schemes, you don’t actually know what you are paying for. When you buy carbon credits, what does that mean? Mark mentions that it goes towards research on global warming, but that money won’t be spent now. And how do you know it is actually been put to use? I think it would be better to plant a whole lot of trees, or actively donating money to charities.

Currently CATE are undertaking or have undertaken the following projects:

The Trash Bash (using recycled instruments to create a production)
– Pimp my Patch (you get to adopt a plant!)
Green Feet (29th June 2007, a disco full of comedy and burlesque to raise money for CATE, including the wearing of recycled clothes)
– Mark Watson’s 24 hour jamboree to Save the Planet (Edinburgh, 14th August 2007 a day-long show with an environmental theme)
– they’ve also set up weekly challenges that they are encouraging people to take up

Mark will be going around Sydney on the 25th September filming a pilot for a TV show (believed to be on the subject), and is encouraging any Sydney siders to come along and join in. He is releasing details soon, and I am going to try to be part of the festivities. So I will report back once back I find out more info (if he puts it up on his myspace) and tag along.

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