Pompous advice to an as-yet unknown comedian spotted by a TV company

The Elgin Marble from the charity shop

Who is behind the mask? Me, giving advice.

I know someone.

I felt I should share that with you.

I occasionally go out onto the streets and meet people.

This person I know is clearly deranged, like many people I know. He is a performer, obviously. And he is not yet entirely successful, like many people I know.

I know he is deranged because today he contacted me for advice.

No sane person would do this.

He is being considered for a TV series.

His question to me was: “Should I do this or is the format too tacky…?”

My answer went thus:


You can never tell how things will turn out. I know someone who turned down being a judge on what is now a long-running Top Ten TV series because, in an earlier version, it sounded like a bad idea and slightly tacky.

The show you are being considered for will get you exposure. If it is shit, people will soon forget and also they will blame the TV people, not you. Your profile will rise because the TV people saw fit to book you on the show.

If it is a complete and utter 100% failure, you might get seen by 500,000 people in one episode. And this is a series of more than one episode. At the Edinburgh Fringe, you might not get seen by 500 people in the whole month.

You have to be in the right place at the right time, so say Yes to anything unless it involves setting fire to small woodland creatures or sticking children’s heads on spikes on London Bridge.

If you come across as brilliant, that’s good. If you are edited to look shit, that’s good. If you are edited to look dull (which would be bloody difficult) that’s not great, but it’s still hundreds of thousands of people having seen you and it is better than not being seen at all.

To be totally and brutally honest, no-one in the executive corridors of TV Land has ever heard of you and, if the series goes arse-over-tit you will not get the blame. But you WILL get seen. And the freelance people working on the show will be off on other future projects they do not yet know about and you may be perfect for one of those as-yet-un-conceived-of shows.

Don’t forget the independent TV production companies employ people solely for one-off projects. So, at the end, they will scatter onto other shows made by other companies for other channels.

Always explore every avenue because you never know what unseen side turnings may be down each of those unexplored avenues.

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Filed under Performance, Talent, Television

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