2010-08-12 :: Kevin Murphy
They all die at the end.
:: Read on
Got myself another broadcast credit.
Fifty-eight seconds of sublime topical satire in this week’s Newsjack flowed from the very same fingers currently being used to brag about it.
If I’d only made it a few seconds longer I could have doubled my fee.
Get the podcast here.
Mine’s about dowsing rods doubling as bomb detectors, starting at about 15 minutes in. Or here’s an MP3 of the relevant bit.
The Iraqi government are already reeling; it will take them a long time to recover from this.
:: Read on
But I can’t help it, I’m gay for pop. I have deliberately installed a Miley Cyrus song on my Spotify playlist, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
So I really like listening to Radio 1, but the powers that be are making it increasingly difficult for me to do so.
BBC bosses recently identified any DJ with an ounce of character, carted them off wholesale to the weekend, and promoted a collection of identikit London hospital radio rejects to prime daytime slots.
Edith Bowman was nice. Sexy chocolate-and-whiskey accent, clear passion for music and for reasonably priced electrical appliances.
So the BBC kicked her into a weekend breakfast slot, doomed with an audience of hungover teenagers who listen to her for four seconds before hurling their radio alarm clocks across the bedroom, and replaced her with something called Greg James.
What is a Greg James?
It’s a cookie-cutter local radio DJ with the wavering cadence of a bullied kid trying to joke his way out of a thoroughly deserved beating before a turd slides out the bottom of his trouser leg.
If it’s possible to audibly smirk pain, I think he’s managed it.
It’s been months since he ousted Bowman, and the man has yet to develop any clearly discernible personality traits.
I’m not asking him to be John Peel. But he could at least earn himself an adjective. Even Pat Sharp was “mulleted”.
Sorry Greg, but being a whelpish 24 is no excuse for being such an empty vessel. I was already a fully-formed wanker when I was 24. Similarly, Lily Allen is 24.
Hell, the Spice Girls in their heyday were mere teenagers, and even they could muster up at least one identifying characteristic each, even if one of those was “ginger”.
What the hell would Greg James’ Spice Girl name be? What would he be called if he was a dwarf?
The guy needs to build character.
Greg, start taking heroin. Truckloads of the stuff. Indecently assault a 15-year-old or something. Accidentally kill somebody. Become the DJ with the faraway voice of the genuinely haunted.
Anything but this vacuous mannequin who seems to have been created in a lab solely for the purpose of introducing Chico at a village fete before dissolving into a viscous, unpleasant puddle.
NB – There’s every chance that I’m actually talking about Scott Mills here. It’s only recently I realised he and Greg James are two separate people and I’m still not entirely certain I can tell one from the other.
:: Read on
Topical comedy sketch show Newsjack starts again in a few hours on Radio 7.
I’m not in it.
This is one of the sidesplitting works of staggering genius that they rejected.
FX: AIRPORT ATMOS
Step through now, sir.
FX: METAL DETECTOR BEEPING
Step to one side, sir. Could you empty your pockets please?
FX: POCKETS CONTENTS IN BOWL
If you wouldn’t mind removing your shoes.
(SIGHS, MUTTERS TO HIMSELF)
FX: SHOES ON TABLE
And if you could just loosen your belt buckle.
FX: BELT BUCKLE. TROUSER FUMBLING.
Now turn your head and cough.
Great. Thank you very much.
:: Read on
“Oh my god, was that Peter Duncan?” lots of people said at the same time.
The Blue Peter and Flash Gordon legend himself.
Chief Scout Peter Duncan.
He was wandering around, promoting his own show, “Daft and Dangerous”, which was due on shortly, nearby.
“That’s a shame,” I pondered. “You’d think he’d be able to pay some students to do that for him or something.”
“Nah,” said a BBC producer. “It’s admirable. It shows persistence.”
“He was in porn, you know,” said somebody else.
It’s been a couple of decades since I was last in Edinburgh. I’d never been there as an adult, or during the festival.
I was expecting to spot a comedy celebrity or two, but I didn’t expect to see so many, in such a short space of time, in the same place.
The Pleasance, a nice big beer garden with about a hundred venues around the perimeter, just as nice as it sounds.
“Oh, look, there’s Marcus Brigstocke, and he’s wearing a bicycle helmet! Hilarious!”
“Is that Reece Shearsmith?”
“Fuck me, Simon Bird’s a little feller, isn’t he?”
“I saw Peter Duncan earlier!”
“He was in porn, you know.”
This kind of thing impresses me.
I’m not as bad as some, when it comes to starfucking, I reckon.
One of the actors in the comedy event I was involved with has an ongoing, memorable part in Ideal.
Apparently, walking around Edinburgh the previous night, a random local had approached him, confirmed that he was indeed that guy out of off of Ideal, then headbutted him to the ground.
“Good job he’s not in Two Pints,” somebody said. “He’d probably have got stabbed.”
I met an agent at the bar. First time I’ve met an agent before.
I was thinking getting an agent might be a good thing for me to do, eventually, so I thought I’d sound her out.
I eat up PR girls for breakfast, I thought. I can handle this. Play it smooth, Murphy, play it smooth.
“So who do you represent?”
“What?! OMFG! He’s like my total favourite standup of all time! Really! I’ve been following him since his Deadpan columns! He emailed me once! What’s he like? Can you get me tickets!?!”
I turned groupie. A groupie for his agent.
An hour or two later I was chatting, a little more drunkenly than I’d like, to one of the The Royle Family writers, when Charlie Brooker brushed past me on the way to the bar, and my pants filled with a full-on comedy nerdgasm.
Stewart Lee’s agent!
What an afternoon.
And Peter Duncan!
He was in porn, you know.
:: Read on
Just found out that my sitcom pilot will not be getting a reading in front of an audience of BBC producers in Edinburgh this month.
Another chap with a better script (I’ve read it, it’s good) won the coveted spot.
On the upside, Graham Linehan just retweeted me.
That’s possibly the most exciting thing that happened all week.
Pass the breadknife.
:: Read on
What was I doing when I found out Michael Jackson died?
Why, I was listening to this sketch on the radio, my first broadcast credit.
:: Read on
Last night, somewhere in London, some actors stood in front of an audience, on a BBC radio sound stage, and said some words what I wrote. Out loud.
Hopefully, the audience laughed.
Hopefully, the words will be broadcast on topical news comedy Newsjack tonight at 11pm on BBC Radio 7.
Apparently, it’s normal for them to record more material than they can fit in the 30-minute slot, so there’s still a chance it may get cut.
Frankly, I’m happy that somebody saw fit to record something I wrote. That’s never happened before.
The show is podcast, if you fancy checking it out at a reasonable hour.
I’m not sure whether they recorded the sketch I submitted (about a very special maths teacher) or one of the one-liners. I hope it’s the sketch.
Well, that’s a lie, obviously. I’m writing this blog at the moment.
(I’m learning that prolonged periods of agonising procrastination are virtually a prerequisite for people who write things with deadlines later than a few hours from present.)
But I am writing a sitcom pilot. And the BBC are paying me to do it.
Don’t laugh, those are true facts.
Admittedly, the cheque will be of a value more suitable for framing than cashing.
It would barely pay the porn bill. I could make more money in an afternoon’s freelance.
But it will be a real cheque. From the BBC. To write something.
There’s a vanishingly small probability that what I’m writing will ever get on the telly.
I assume that’s true, anyway. I’ll have a better idea when I’m actually more than halfway finished writing the fucking thing.
A few months ago, I sent 12 pages of a sitcom pilot to the Beeb.
Mainly arse jokes, truth be told. I count seven anal insertions in those pages.
Somehow, those 12 pages allowed me to join eight other wannabe sitcom and sketch show writers, many of whom seem to have been hacking away at this kind of thing for far longer than I, onto a thing called “Northern Laughs”.
I say “thing” because I’m not entirely certain what the word for whatever it is is
But what it means is that for the next few months I get notes on my draft scripts from some BBC comedy producer types and comedy writer Ian La Frenais.
(You may never have heard of him unless you’re seriously into British comedy, so make sure you check out his IMDB page, just to get an idea of how impressive this is and how much praise you should be lauding upon me.
Seriously, him and his mate wrote The Commitments, for real.)
I met him in London last week, where he generously tried not to gloat too badly that Newcastle beat Middlesbrough in a crucial relegation derby the night before, before tearing my script a new arsehole. In the nicest possible way.
It only lasted thirty minutes, but as is the case for so many things that only last thirty minutes, it was a beautiful experience.
I’m obviously no stranger to the blue pen, but having one of the guys who wrote Porridge giving me pointers on a comedy script what I wrote… I felt like I should be paying them.
At the very least, following our first encounter my script has a new arsehole into which I can insert things. With hilarious consequences.