You just have to say the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards are increasingly prestigious at the Edinburgh Fringe and they start to be.
One of the three annual awards is the Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award for best publicity stunt promoting an Edinburgh Fringe show.
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about Richard Herring’s clever publicity scam and Cunning Stunt Award contender in which he announced he had decided not spend lots of money on lamp post ads during the Fringe and instead spend lots of money giving away a free copy of his DVD entitled 10 to members of his audience.
Two days ago, Lewis Schaffer announced he will be spending the entire promotional budget for his Fringe show Lewis Schaffer is Better Than You on giving every paying member of his audience a free copy of… Richard Herring’s DVD.
Lewis Schaffer’s show is part of Bob Slayer’s Pay What You Want variation on the Free Festival.
Lewis Schaffer said: “I thought, this year, why not spend my entire £75 budget on something that people might actually want? People love Richard Herring. At first, I thought I would give them a DVD of my own shows, but my shows are unfilmable and people don’t like me as much as Richard.”
Lewis Schaffer cannily added that the offer lasts only as long as his unspecified stocks last and only, he said, “if I can strike a deal with Richard Herring to get them cheap and, if not, I’ll give a copy of a similar DVD or other gift with a value of greater than £1 to all paying customers at each show.”
I am not sure if ripping off someone else’s stunt disqualifies Lewis Schaffer from consideration for the Cunning Stunt Award or actually makes him even more considerable than Richard.
As there are no actual rules for the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Awards, this is something we will have to decide nearer the date, possibly on a whim. Having any actual pre-determined rules would have been anathema to Malcolm.
A couple of days ago, I also got an email from the Fringe Office saying:
We’ve been getting a lot of enquiries about the Fringe awards for this year, so I wanted to add a line to the award summaries on our website to clarify how acts can enter their shows for the awards. Please could you let me know how acts can enter for the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award or are they nominated or just selected by the judges? And then I’ll add that to the details on the website.
The only answer I could think of giving was:
God preserve us from people actually applying for the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards. We have enough problems! Acts are selected by the judges via osmosis, gossip, buzz and word-of-mouth.
Juliette Burton, I guess, is another Cunning Stunt contender. Yesterday, I went to see her shoot the final scene for a pop video promoting her Edinburgh show When I Grow Up. It is only part of a whole raft of linked promotional ideas she has lined up. This might bode well as, last year, Stuart Goldsmith won the Cunning Stunt Award for multiple linked promotional ideas.
Juliette also got me to come along to a meeting she was having with her choreographer Omari Carter near the MI6 building. She told me she had once worked nearby, but this was less impressive than one comedian I know who was actually interviewed for a job at MI6.
After that, I drove down to see the Comedians’ Cricket Match at Staplefield in Sussex, where Bob Slayer had apparently tried to swing the game by being one of three batsmen simultaneously playing.
And in a blatant, slightly drunk, attempt to curry favour before the Fringe, he tried to ingratiate himself by telling me:
“Your blog is very effective at getting publicity.”
He is publishing Phil Kay’s autobiography The Wholly Viable, financing it via an appeal on Kickstarter.
I blogged about it at the end of last month and, as of yesterday, the Kickstarter appeal for £3,333 had raised £4,727 – that’s over 141% of the target, with 2o days still to go.
“Your blog sent a few interesting backers to Phil’s Kickstarter,” Bob told me. “Russell Howard and Alan Davies are the latest backers, who also include Glenn Wool, Isy Suttie, Arthur Smith, Miss Behave, Chris Evans – who may or may not be the ginger one – Davey Byrne, who may or may not be the frontman of Talking Heads and John Steel – who may or may not be the original drummer for The Animals.”
Frankly, I think it’s more likely to be John Steed of The Avengers.
“Facebook has referred most backers to the Kickstarter page,” figure-fancying Bob told me, “with Twitter just behind it and there have been Tweets from Richard Herring, Johnny Vegas, Boothby Graffoe and Limmy.”
So there you have it, an increasingly prestigious blog effective at getting publicity which you should be proud to read, if only for the increasing bullshit factor.
But back to reality.
At the time of posting this on Monday morning, I am just about to leave for jury service at a court somewhere in England. My jury service was supposed to end last Friday, but has trundled on to today and possibly tomorrow.
There may be a future blog in this – not that I am one to be increasingly obsessive about seeing everything as a blog possibility.