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Saturday, 31 December 2016

The Obligatory New Year Message 2017

It's been a busy 2016 - I launched myself on Patreon and started to seriously move in a more organised way online in audio terms.  I popped into London to see how the fringe has changed (not a lot) and (as per usual) lost all my money.
I've also been focusing on archiving and updating - soon the Milk Bottle website will be all up to date with huge amounts of info on past shows as well as acting as a proper delivery system for new and old audio.  There's already a fair amount up, more coming throughout January.  Thanks to Keith for all his hard work on making the website look so good and hold so much.

So, what projects are on their way?  Well, I've been aside a lot of time the next month or so to record versions of my older monologues - so these will start coming out soon.  But the next exciting audio project is Investigate Me? which I've promised for about a year to produce.  It's going to be a huge full length radio play and I'm really exciting about it.  More very soon.
Live from the Get In! returns in March and I've lots of ideas for the next two shows.  I'm really pushing the boat out for them and hoping to have some great new talent on board as well as the regulars.
I'm directing The Time Machine in April.  It's going to look amazing and be a real departure from some of my usual work.  I'll be writing in detail about what the show is going to be like in the next month or so, but, trust me, book those tickets NOW.  There are only three shows happening and it's going to be amazing.  Book those tickets at www.quaysudbury.com
And I'm also directing As You Like It by William Shakespeare for Lavenham Players in July - tickets will be on sale soon.  We've a fabulous cast and I'm really looking forward to getting down and dirty with the text.

I'm also going to be announcing some dates for an occasional show I'm doing with Michael Fouldes - The Museum of Tat Roadshow - based on our radio show.  It'll pop up here and there over 2017.  Like a harmless but slightly annoying rash.
So, basically, 2017 is all about more recordings of old shows, more audio, and a few live bits and bobs.
And the huge secret project I can't tell you about.  There's that as well.

***

My work couldn't happen without the support of my patrons - if you think you could contribute to the work I create, go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton and see if you can help.

Also, as there's a lot being planned at the moment, if you want to keep up to speed, why not join my mailing list.  I know, so last century. 

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Saturday, 10 December 2016

When is a joke not a joke?

When is a joke not a joke?
When it's from a Christmas cracker.
For our Christmas Special of The Museum of Tat we reviewed some Christmas crackers - if you haven't listened yet, skip below and listen before you read the following...

***

The Remains of the Day...
So, the crackers held four jokes in all - and they were not only not very good, some of them weren't really jokes.
Here's the first joke:
What do you get if you cross Father Christmas with a detective?  Santa Clues!

Right... it looks like a joke, it's structured like a joke, and if you don't hang around you might not notice that it isn't.
So, the joke looks like it's a simple bit of wordplay - it should end on a pun...

What do you get if you cross Father Christmas with a detective?  Santa [Insert Pun Here]
Unfortunately, Clues doesn't rhyme with Claus.  I don't think alliteration is enough to provoke a laugh response.  It's a half joke, it's got the right idea, but doesn't actually deliver.

Next joke from the cracker:
What do you call a man who claps at Christmas? Santapplause!

Where to start... well, on the surface this looks like a better joke than the last, because it does contain a functioning pun, justifying the term joke when describing it.
However, dig just a little deeper and you immediately see the joke doesn't function properly.  You see it now?  Of course you do.  The joke is only funny if the man referred to in the joke is Santa, but the set up doesn't really push you in that direction.  Statistically speaking, a man clapping at Christmas is almost certainly not Santa for two reasons.
1. The population of the world is approximately 7.4 billion and the odds that one of those 7.4 billion, who identifies as 'a man', is going to be a specific person (Santa) is so improbable as to be practically impossible.
2.  Santa doesn't exist.
Beyond setting up the approximate timing of the event in question - clapping at Christmas time (somewhere between early December and early January potentially) - the joke doesn't give any clue, even half hidden, that the identified man would be so improbable (nay imaginary) a figure as Father Christmas.  It just refers to him as a man.  So when the punchline turns out to be a pun on Santa Claus, it delivers no punch, no satisfactory payoff.
Additionally, the answer makes no sense.  If you saw Santa Claus clapping, you'd be receiving Santapplause, but you wouldn't call him that.  So, perhaps it should read.

What do you get if Father Christmas is particularly pleased with you? Santapplause.
Not perfect, some additional context, say that you're an Elf in Santa's seasonal Pantomime at the North Pole, might help make the joke function better.
Though, it still isn't really very funny as it's just a basic pun.  There's only so much of a laugh response to be expected from basic joke structures.

Next cracker, next joke:
What do the reindeer sing to Father Christmas on his birthday?  Freeze a jolly good fellow!

This joke is the only one we recognised from a previous Christmas/Life and were happy to move on.  Yes, the manufactor lost points for so unoriginal a joke, at least it functioned, which was something of a relief.  Beyond the improbability of reindeer singing, especially when there are plenty of Elves available, it works well.

We therefore come to the issue of the final joke of the Christmas Cracker set.  Two jokes per cracker, unfortunately the same two joke slips were replicated throughout the set.  Epic fail.

Father Christmas wins a saucepan in a competition.  Now that's what you call pot luck!
The problem with the joke is simple - whilst it does work as a play on words [saucepan - pot luck etc] the connection to Christmas is tenuous in the extreme.  This is an example of a cut and shut joke.  As with cut and shut cars, where the front end of one car is welded to another, this joke has been bodged together by some cracker cowboys.  Who the original joke referred to we may never know, but it almost certainly wasn't Father Christmas.  As my colleague Mr Fouldes said on the show, in the character of Colin, it feels like something from a stand up comic's set performed in a working mans club in the 1970's.  The Mother-in-law won a saucepan in a competition the other day... [pause] Now, that's what I call pot luck.  Which reminds me, I'm next on the snooker table... 
Whilst I'm all for the occasional resurrection of an old joke, this bodged restoration of a not so classic gag has left me flat.
On top of all the other problems with the crackers in question, these jokes really were insult after injury.

The Museum of Tat Christmas Special can be heard below... Enjoy.


My work couldn't happen without the support of my patrons - if you think you could contribute to the work I create, go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton and see if you can help.

Also, as there's a lot being planned at the moment, if you want to keep up to speed, why not join my mailing list.  I know, so last century. 

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Friday, 9 December 2016

The Museum of Tat Christmas Special

The Museum of Tat Christmas Special has gone online - enjoy!


My work couldn't happen without the support of my patrons - if you think you could contribute to the work I create, go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton and see if you can help.

Also, as there's a lot being planned at the moment, if you want to keep up to speed, why not join my mailing list.  I know, so last century. 

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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Editing the Museum

Myself and Michael Fouldes...
I'm currently buried deep in the edit of The Museum of Tat Christmas Special.  We had lots of fun recording it, producing seventy minutes of content.
Those are always worrying words - "we had lots of fun" - usually the death of comedy.  Never trust any production where the cast had too much fun.
But why am I doing down my next show - well I'm not really.  The point is The Museum of Tat has always been a very wasteful process and a lot of the show comes out in the edit.  Seventy minutes of incredibly self indulgent wittering by Michael Fouldes and myself, will amount to about twenty minutes of comedy.  I'm currently on the second wave of the edit - the first wave I go through the material fairly quickly, cutting out the big chunks of unfunny/slanderous/sick material and maybe trimming the odd bit of breathing/coughing/urming as I go.  After that first wave I've got about thirty minutes of material.  It was easy to do.
Now I've got to get tough.  There are funny sections that will now get cut, because I'm shaping a show and some bits, funny in themselves, which no longer fit the grand scheme.  Then there are the structurally important bits that I can't cut but which might not be very funny in of themselves.  I have ways of inserting material into these sections for cheap laughs, but it's going to take hours to get a one or two minute section to be moderately amusing.
Unlike the Live from the Get In! shows, The Museum of Tat isn't scripted - it's almost entirely improvised and that creates a messiness to the recording that is also a bitch to cut up.  But it's worth it.  I'm really very fond of MoT, and I'm looking forward to creating a touring version next year.  That said, there is also a sense that there is also a limit now to how many more shows we can create.  We're moving from radio to live shows to shake it up and because in a different medium the jokes work differently, but the format has a limit and after two seasons and few one offs, we know the radio version has only a few more shows before we start repeating ourselves.
So 2017 maybe the last year for the Museum.  But there are always more adventures to come.

The complete series one and two of The Museum of Tat can be heard, for free, here.
Episodes of Live from the Get In! (featuring special live episodes of The Museum of Tat) can be heard, for free, here.

My work couldn't happen without the support of my patrons - if you think you could contribute to the work I create, go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton and see if you can help.

Also, as there's a lot being planned at the moment, if you want to keep up to speed, why not join my mailing list.  I know, so last century. 

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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Why Not Subscribe?


There's a lot being planned at the moment - if you want to keep up to speed, why not join my mailing list.  I know, so last century. 

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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful

What have I done this year?  It's nearly Christmas, so time for a recap.

In the realm of free audio I've produced...
Two episodes of Live from the Get In!
A radio version of the award-winning play Fantasy Terrorist League
A re-imagined production of the follow up play, Keynote Speaker, with Simon Nader.
A documentary series using an archive recording of a veteran of the First World War, Wartime Memories.
A reedited version of the comedy Hang
A recording of John John by John Heywood for my other blog - any day now!
The odd totally random thing...
Most of which can be heard below.

And I've also produced the odd bit of live theatre:  returning to London with Undead Bard - including Shakespeare: The Ever Living! and a revival of The Shakespeare Delusion - which will be online for free as a radio adaptation very shortly.
And finally, I directed by good friend Anthea Halstead in the well received adaptation of The Yellow Wallpaper.

Actually, this is a bit of a lie.  It didn't happen in a year.  It was nine months.  And none of this could have happened without my fabulous patrons who've all supported my work.  Phil Hope, Sara Knight, Fiona Dinning, Sharon Buckler, Pete Richmond, Alan Scott and my family.
And I could do more - with your help.  Could you pledge just $1 a month - $12 a year?  It's so easy to do and makes such a difference.
And it's so easy with Patreon to give and help my work happen - just sign up and pledge - and you'll get my online audio work before anyone else! And if you pledge more, then you'll get extra special surprises too.
Have a listen, make a pledge, help make next year even more exciting!  After all, it is Christmas*.




*It is now the 1st December and so perfectly legitimate to reference Christmas, nay it's practically an obligation. Christmas, Christmas, Christmas! So there.