Friday, 21 September 2012

KISS (keep it silly stupid!)

Pret A Manger, The Strand, where I sometimes write this blog
(It's not usually blurry or upside down,  Honest!)
Following on from yesterday's theme I've just got down to writing this after indulging in another pet distraction of mine. Writing silly things on my facebook page. My idea to develop a boylesque act called Shriveled Walnut went down particularily well. I got lots of feedback and I think that collectively my Facebook buddies and I have nailed it.  The new act that, I confess I posted as a joke, may actually happen and will consist largely of sparkles, feathers, sequins, the proverbial referee's whistle (MATRON!), a velcro fig leaf and, of course, copious amounts of bumfluff (sorry, I can't avoid that one). I am actually the middle of trying to write a new ten minute cabaret act and I'm thinking that perhaps I should make these outrageous suggestions more often. Maybe it would make the whole devising material thing a lot easier.

This is not the first time I've made joke artistic proposals on Facebook only for people to take them seriously. A few years back I commented that I was delighted as I had just secured the rights to produce Prisoner of Cell Block H on Ice. I got a flood of comments asking when the opening night was. I'm thinking now that I should just concentrate on stupid ideas and forget about the so called 'brilliantly funny' ideas that I fret so much about. Because that's about it really. It's true when they say comedy is a serious business, in fact from my fantasy Academy of Comedy the graduates would be sent out into the world with a copy of The Writers and Artistes Yearbook, a form to join The Writers Guild and the details of at least three therapists. Let's face facts writing (especially comedy) not easy. I actually started this blog as a sort of easy way to flex my creative muscle and warm myself up for a morning's writing. It was an exercise in actually finishing something and hitting the publish button come what may. I never really thought anyone would read it but now I'm getting a few comments that people are actually reading it and liking it. Now I feel the pressure. There is a real danger that it will take over and I have a play and a cabaret show to write. If I'm honest I'd say that the whole writing silly things on facebook thing started because all the facebook posts I was reading seemed... well... samey really. My reaction was to solemnly vow never to post mundane status updates about how I was picking the kids up from school, or doing the washing up. I preferring to post things like, "Mike is amazed, he's just found a hole in the space/time continueum at the back of his airing cupboard." To my amazement my Facebook friends couldn't get enough of this stuff, I was on a roll and it was at this point that I felt the pressure and stopped. It was all a bit arrogant really, I mean, lets face it at this very moment I'm writing, and believe me that can be as mundane as doing the washing up.

There is a serious point here I suppose. Writing something that is supposed to be funny can sometimes be hell. There is a real trick in preserving the fun of it. Of course there will always be a serious head scratching side to it as well. After the writer has created the monster he/she must make it likable.

Oh by the way you may be wondering about the picture. Grisel thought it would be a great idea to include photos in my blog. This is my first attempt at uploading a photo taken on my smartphone via the blogger app. Room for improvement I think.

Mike Raffone is the co founder of the production company howhow along with his fianc√© Grisel Tarifa. They hope to open a new performance club The Royal National Theatre of Fools in Peckham in the winter.  It will be dedicated to the clown, the absurd and the eccentric. Mike is also busy writing his one man show, Clowns, Coulrophobia and Me for the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe. Go to for more info.

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