It was a crazy experiment – comics doing live stand up on Twitter. (Follow TVCasualties on Twitter, by the way.) The audience could watch by searching #tcgig and refreshing. Comedians would be restrained by the confines of the tweet medium - just 140 characters at a time. On top of that, they’d have to deal with, not so much ruthless hecklers as spammers – careless people clogging up the #tcgig tag, essentially elbowing their way onto the stage, with inanities. Fast typing fingers and jokes that work in text suddenly became paramount. (No amount of flailing around could save Dane Cook here.) And the most important thing to keep in mind here – this would be a single gig that could reach thousands.
So how’d the first show go? Typing speed, more specifically a lack thereof, reared its head almost immediately. The first act, Matt Kirshen, got in some clever stuff, but was too slow and seemed self conscious about being on Twitter. He also got steamrolled about by idiots not following directions and cluttering the stage. My favorite joke of his was a dry understatement at the beginning of a story:
“mattkirshen There’s a museum in LA I’d urge you to go. It’s run by the Scientologists. And it’s called Psychiatry: An Industry of Death
mattkirshen And it’s mostly anti-psychiatry”
Rob Heeney was up next. He pumped out a quick series of one-liners which translated a little better, though there were some misses along with the hits. His best:
“Robheeney I’d love to know what Ripley would make of ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’”
Comedian Carl Donnelly merely posted a link to a video of himself, an act he claimed was sheer laziness:
It may have been a cop out, but the video made me laugh more than the first 2 comics. Plus, he would make a formidable pedophile.
“Mitch Benn wrote a pretty funny twitter themed parody version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He clearly put in a lot of effort and had the whole thing mapped out ahead of time. He seemed like a clear crowd favorite. Weird Al can suck it.
MitchBenn I’m just a dull boy no-one re-tweets me HE IS JUST A DULL BOY WITH A SMALL FOLLOWING LET’S BLOCK HIM AND-STAMP ON HIS-BLACKBERRY
MitchBenn I am not on TV, will you follow me? BISMILLAH NO! WE WILL NOT FOLLOW YOU Follow me! BISMILLAH! WE WILL NOT FOLLOW YOU
MitchBenn Follow me! BISMILLAH! WE WILL NOT FOLLOW YOU WILL NOT FOLLOW YOU (follow me!) NEVER NEVER NEVER FOLLOW YOU-OO-OOO NO NO NO NO NO NO”
Tiernan Douieb also tailored much of his material to be about the internet.
“TiernanDouieb I love the interwebs, but not as much as the @ sign does. Before email and Twitter other symbols used to just laugh at it.
TiernanDouieb ‘Haha look at your stupid tail! It looks like a fish turd,’ they would say. Now who’s laughing out loud? Thats right L and O and L.”
Sharp and quick, Gary Delaney went a dryer route. His Steven Wright-esque one liners worked well in this format.
“GaryDelaney Went out for lunch today. The restaurant had a big sign saying ‘The Chef’s Special’. So at least that explains the food.”
Switching away from the quickfire of short jokes completely, Terry Saunders told a story about going to the doctor.
“terrysaunders I had this worry I always get at doctors. Should you use medical terms to or the words you’d normally use?
terrysaunders To my eternal shame I went with the latter, and actually said ‘It’s my balls, doc.’”
Pappy’s Fun Club were next – a sketch comedy group. Of all the acts, their material really didn’t work in this arena, in my opinion. There seemed to be an element of back and forth banter between the members of the group that just didn’t come across since they were all posting from one twitter account.
The final act was Mark Watson, who also was pretty hit and miss. Some of the stuff was clever enough to work in text, but some probably really needed delivery on stage to sell it.
“watsoncomedian Mission Impossible III was a bit lacking in suspense I thought. ‘Well, he’s managed two. He’ll probably crack this one.’
watsoncomedian Other poor sequels: ‘Dude, Seriously, Just Take Me To My Car’”
All told, it was interesting to watch the show unfold. It was a first for everyone, so the comedians hadn’t worked out exactly what works and what doesn’t in this medium. Still, I L and O and L’d some.