I was never particularly interested in writing sketches, even less so in writing topical sketches since reading newspapers is depressing and living life news-free means living a life of blissful ignorance. The news is all murder/death/kill, murder/death/kill … my life is mostly lounging around with lovely people. I often wonder if reading the news is a form of violent pornography, designed to allow the reader to mentally experience things they wouldn’t normally come across.
Anyway, bad stuff happens, politicians are stupid/vain/useless and a lot of celebs occasionally fuck other celebs – all of which people like to laugh at … hence satire.
I would perhaps actually argue that satire is more important than news, since satire is a tool which can be used to institute a change of mental state. People read the news, go “ooh, that’s terrible” … and then carry on with their lives, slightly more depressed than they were. Satire, done well (and I’m not saying I can), prods people into looking at the world in a different way and perhaps causes them to alter their behaviour … plus, it should make you giggle, which is never a bad thing.
So how did I end up writing sketches for these two shows? Well, I worked on webseries The WOW Life with the lovely Julie Bower and she told me I should do it.
So I did.
For a couple of years I was writing roughly 25% of both shows. Each show has a large number of writers on their books, each competing for roughly 40 sketches/songs on each show … so, you know, I did okay.
I never did get round to seeing any of my sketches performed at NewsRevue; but at The Treason Show, for the most part people laughed in the right places and seemed to enjoy them.
If you’re interested in writing sketches, and can get along to see them performed, writing for these shows is a great place to start – you get instant feedback (people laughing or not) and you can even make a tiny pittance on the side.
The downside of writing topical sketches is once they’re performed, they’re dead – you can’t really reuse them weeks later. Here’s an example. I can assure you, people laughed at the time:
The other downside to topical sketches is it takes up quite a lot of time and after the show, at the end of the month, your career isn’t really any further forward than it was.
Great fun though, go on, have a go.
The Melting Pot
The Melting Pot is, or possibly was, a monthly sketch competition at The Stand in Edinburgh. I had one sketch performed which was also performed at the best of year show. Luckily, I didn’t win the monthly show because the winner has to turn the winning sketch into a longer (15 minute?) piece … and I didn’t actually know my sketch was being performed.
“How does that work?” You may well ask. Well, it turns out friend and fellow scribe, Gordon Robertson, submitted the sketch on a whim. For the life of me, I can’t remember which sketch or how he got hold of it; but submit he did and … hey, it’s another credit – even if an unintentional one.