Growing up in public

If anyone’s been paying attention (I wasn’t) you’d know I’ve been writing sketches in the mornings and a horror film in the afternoons – well, I’ve stopped that now.

Or at least the sketch part of it.

I’ve sent in what I’ve done and instantly regretted it.

Glancing through them in the cold light of the minute after submission, two things occur to me:

  1. They’re not funny.
  2. Someone will probably film the buggers anyway – not necessarily the people I’ve sent them to, but they’re bound to turn up somewhere, sometime.

I’ve had a bit of an odd relationship with sketch writing, one I’ve fallen into almost accidentally and then made a shitload of mistakes in public. It seems to me, most people start writing sketches because they have a passion for sketch comedy and want to make a living at it. They write loads of rubbish as they slowly improve until they reach the point where they’re confident their work is good enough to send to someone.

They send, someone reads and they find out they’re not good enough; so they go back to the drawing board (or computer, more probably) and keep trying until eventually they reach a degree of competence and start selling some.

I, on the other hand, had no interest in writing sketches and manifestly didn’t. A friend nagged me to have a go for about a year until I gave in and wrote a few … which were filmed and broadcast on ITV1.

Okay, so it was on Shoot the Writers!which was pretty rubbish and went out at half-past too fucking early because the rest of the night was taken up with some has-beens eating kangaroo’s testicles in a jungle; but still, the first sketch I ever wrote went out on national TV for all to point at and go:

“That’s fucking shit, I can do better than that.”

This is the sketch, by the way:

Oates’ Supreme Sacrifice

After that, the same friend badgered me into sending some sketches to The Treason Show, which I did and again, they used them – not all of them, but a lot of them. The ones they didn’t use were used by NewsRevue, which I didn’t find out about for about six months.

Again, EMI, Every Mistake Imaginable, was shown to people for all to wonder why they’d paid to watch it.

Just think about that for a minute: everything you write whilst you’re trying to work out how to write, gets broadcast or performed. Some people might think that’s a good thing … and it is. Sort of.

Damn it, I’ve forgotten my point.

No, really. I’ve no idea why I started this post.


Um … sorry.

I inhaled a lot of paint fumes today. And I broke a coffee table.

Categories: Random Witterings, Sad Bastard | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Growing up in public

  1. It’s probably made you funnier, faster. Because you’ve had the feedback about just how good or bad everything was straight away.

    So far today I’ve broken nothing, and inhaled nothing but sweet, sweet air. But I’m only 25 minutes into the day, so that could yet change.

  2. Darren

    I bet the effin’ coffee table deserved it anyway…

  3. Darren

    I’ve never seen that ‘Oates’ sketch before now (probably because of the ‘half-past too fucking early’ factor) but it’s really very funny… some seriously laugh out loud moments (‘frostbite of the lips’, ‘well fuck you all’, ‘you and me angel pie’). It’s a tiny (and I mean tiny) bit long-winded when Scott is pretending to read his diary entry but this is immediately recovered by ‘If only I’d written it in pencil’.

    Don’t beat yourself up over it…

  4. I got into sketch writing because it was advised to be the best route into the comedy writing world. I had no intentions in doing sketches before that as I wanted to do sitcom.

  5. Piers: mostly bad.

    Darren: I wouldn’t say the coffee table deserved it, but let’s just say she was no angel, alright?

    And the diary bit was long-winded because, for some reason, I was striving for historical accuracy. I should have just paraphrased the lot.

    CNUTS: Best route … I’m not convinced about that.

  6. rickallden

    No fawning here Phill, but pppppllllllleeeaaaassssssseeeeee, whenever such thoughts enter your head, whack them on the blog.

    I’m doing my damndest to crack sketch writing (the one on my blog is a joke – I promise) and have followed a similar route to yourself.

    From memory, it was from one of your posts that I found out about The Treason Show.

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