I have been called to do Jury Service in England from 3rd June, so what follows is of more than passing interest to me…
In a blog three months ago, I mentioned the live This Is Your Laugh comedy events.
At the time of posting this blog, there are 11 days left.
The Kickstarter pitch has twelve levels of pledges ranging from £5 (you get a postcard sent to you from Edinburgh) to £600 (for which you get a bespoke Christmas comedy trial tailored for you). But, for £500, you can get your own Edinburgh Fringe show especially designed and written for you or (perhaps more probably) for your business. For the £500, you also get a “guarantee of special guest celebrity comedian in the role of the judge and up to 40 guests with special souvenirs and surprises”.
Organiser David Allison told me yesterday: “Tickets are being sold as individual tickets per show, priced at £500. I’m sure they must be the most expensive tickets on this year’s Fringe.”
There are only five show slots at the Fringe (5th-9th August) and, at the time of writing this blog, two people have already forked out £500.
The This Is Your Trial format is that a group of friends or business co-workers basically have a jolly time. One or three people from the group, are put on trial before their friends and colleagues to face ‘charges’. Friends are brought forward to provide evidence and witness statements. Comedians play the roles of Judge, Prosecutor and Defence counsel. It is, says the pitch, “like a comedy roast but far more creative, interactive and less insulting!”
Comedians already signed-up to perform at the shows include Mark Dolan, Tim FitzHigham, Janey Godley, Tony Law, Norman Lovett and Glenn Wool.
Also involved is the ubiquitous Bob Slayer – the shows will be staged in his new Fringe venue Bob’s Bookshop.
Yesterday, he told me: “I am really chuffed with the response before it is even in the Fringe Programme - I always knew it could become a show that acts want to do… With the quality and experience of the acts we already have getting involved it will be very interesting to see how differently they approach the roles. There is a lot of flexibility for an act to make their own impression on the role and really take it wherever they want to go. A couple of TV producers are already showing interest in the format and the next step will be to start speaking to agents to represent the format after Edinburgh… maybe someone reading your blog will get in touch?!”
So This Is Your Trial is part comedy show, part corporate business gig and part TV show format tout.
“I’m taking this unusual Kickstarter approach,” David Allison told me, “to try to get more awareness of what we’re doing – being very public trying to raise funds to do the shows.
“I’m offering decent rewards for pledges (I think) which will each help further push the message and brand out there. I’m offering souvenir programmes, T-shirts, pens, discounted shows in London – I’ve already sold one of those – a birthday we’re doing in July.”
“So who has actually forked-out 500 quid?” I asked.
“One Fringe show,” replied David, “has been booked by a solicitor firm in Glasgow called Inksters. Brian Inkster came to that London show you came to with Norman Lovett.”
“And,” Bob Slayer added, “we will be doing a show with the two sponsors of my Heroes venues – Scottish Borders Brewery and Bawbags underpants, based in Edinburgh. Two good local businesses who have a suitably irreverent approach to business. We have other folks interested – but it’s not bad to have 40% of tickets sold before they have even officially gone on sale. May 9th is when they go on sale online and then the Fringe Programme is published on 30th May.”
“And TV?” I asked.
“The TV format is shaping up,” David Allison told me, “and there’s a great company on board: CC-Lab. We’re hoping to be pitching that very soon. I’m also working out how to broadcast the shows via MixLr as live podcasts to attract businesses seeking additional promotions by doing it.”
I suspect there will be more laughs – and justice – at these Scottish comedy gigs than in the English court on 3rd June, where a highly-paid Prosecutor will presumably hide evidence and the court system will, as always, assume the defendant to be guilty unless he can afford to prove himself innocent.
There is a clip on YouTube of a previous This Is Your Laugh show featuring Phil Kay: