Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sanderson Jones' Comedy Sale, Melbourne 2012, Revenge Review


Draft copy of my... what the fuck has blogger done? They've changed shit and I don't know how to right justify. Crapping crap. Anyway... draft copy of new Grumpy column. Have to shorten it a bit for the mag. But it's late and deadline is sometime in the morning. And I am Grumpy.

There's a comedian called Sanderson Jones who could be coming to a comedy festival near you. He's been doing the world comedy festival circuit and has been getting pretty good reviews, so I thought I'd check him out.

Thing is, he doesn't always appear on the comedy festival program and you can't book tickets to his shows through the usual outlets. Contact has to be made. You need to follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook to find out where and when he'll be to sell you tickets in person. At the transaction he takes your photo, and then between the time of the ticket sale and the show, he does a bit of internet snooping on many of his audience members. Intriguing stuff. There is the potential for mass public humiliation, of course; who can remember every little comment or picture they have posted on Facebook or their blog? I have seen some inane shit posted in my time, but I didn't think I'd have anything to worry about because most of my inane shit is like this column; intentionally inane shit.

On the night of the gig, as the audience of around 400 filled the theatre, Sanderson Jones made his way through the crowd to the stage as we took our seats. Bit of banter with the punters, and suddenly I wondered if I should be worried after all, because he paused, looked down to me and said, “Hello, Lee.” Could have been my imagination, but he was sounding a bit like Christopher Lee in one of those old Dracula movies.

The show started and indeed many in the audience were singled out and amusing posts and status updates were projected onto a large screen. Including a couple of my intentionally inane ones. All good. All sweet, if a little weird to see your name and your words meant for friends splashed onto the big screen in front of guffawing strangers.

All was going hilariously well until the comedian let some laughter die down before asking, “Do we have any critics in the audience?”

I quickly checked out the various exit signs and picked my best options.

Critics like Lee Bemrose,” he said as he squinted into the lights in my direction. “Are you here, Lee Bemrose?”


No!” I shouted back. “He is not here.”

Because I'd like you to come up on stage and compete in The Critics' Obstacle Course!”

Oh the Colosseum was into this. I gripped the arms of my chair and made it clear that everyone could just fuck off because no way was I competing in any kind of obstacle course designed by this vampire for the amusement of 400 utter utter bastards whose joy clearly came from the fact that they were safe whilst I was about to be made a spectacle of.

Ringleader was, of course, The Dreaded One, who thought it was all quite hilarious. “You have to do it! It will be so funny!”

Needless to say, I ended up on stage with one other reviewer. A third reviewer who had been called had clearly been a faster runner than the two of us onstage and had made it to one of those emergency exits and was nowhere in sight.

The first stage of our obstacle course was a spoon and egg race, to be followed by a pie fight with the vampire-comedian, followed by the critics dashing back across the stage to jump through hoops held by His Minions.

It was as the comedian was telling us the bit about the pie fight that I turned to my onstage victim and asked if he would mind holding my spoon and egg for a moment. Looking confused but happy to help, he took my spoon and egg and I tried to sneak back off stage, leaving him standing with both spoons and eggs.

The Colosseum erupted with equal parts laughter and boos, and a hellish glare from Dracula returned me to my starting position.

The obstacle course itself was a bit of a blur. Because I had been trying to sneak off the stage I missed the bit about throwing the pies at each other. I just arrived at the pie table and didn't know what to do next. Suddenly there was lots of pie throwing, however, and always quick to catch on, I threw pies. Later The Dreaded One would ask how on Earth I managed to not get a single drop of cream pie on me when the others were covered in the stuff. What can I say? I'm a Pie Fight Ninja. You have been warned.

And the minions holding the hoops? Naturally they moved the hoops each time we jumped.

The thing about all this is, is it really so smart to get revenge on your reviewers before they have reviewed your show?

No,” Sanderson Jones admitted when I asked him this over a post-show drink. “Don't know what I was thinking, really. Especially when I've read many of your Grumpy columns now, Lee, and I have to hand it to you, you are one funny bastard. Way, way funnier than I am. In fact I'm going back to the drawing board and learning from you, the master, I'm going to try really really hard to be a better comedian.”

Well that's good to hear, Sanderson,” I replied. “The promising thing is that you have a lot of room for improvement. A lot. In fact here's a Venn Diagram... this tiny little circle here is how good you are now, and this separate great big circle over here represents your 'room for improvement.'”

“Ah. I see what you mean. And hey... this Venn Diagram thing... that could be a great addition to the show. You mind if I borrow that?”

And so my story ends... except I'm wondering... if it's a mistake to take revenge on on a reviewer prior to their writing of the review, is it a mistake for me to be getting my revenge here when cyber-stalking comedians can have their revenge at another comedy festival, in another Colosseum?

Damnit. I really should think this through before publishing, shouldn't I.


Chris Boyd said...

Huh. I was tea-bagged once during a comfest show. Couldn't wait for the stinky- and saggy-balled C U Next Tuesday to ask me what I did for a living.

Could have been much worse...

Lee said...

Haha... the old tea-bag... erm, gag. Did you exact revenge?

It was all pretty good natured with Sanderson. And the mag is running the column at this length), almost twice the word limit. Putting it in the reviews page to justify its length. Hoorah.

(Who was the Tea-bagger?)