I can’t remember what a petard is and can’t be bothered to look it up, but it’s easy to be hoisted with your own one.
I used to work as a researcher on the slapstick-ish children’s TV show Tiswas, where people had custard pies shoved in their faces. So, sometimes, when I met people who wanted to be on the show, they felt obliged to demonstrate how ‘wacky’ and ‘zany’ they were by shoving a custard pie in my face.
Except they used a real custard pie. The Tiswas ones were actually made from highly-whipped and coloured shaving foam (it clung to you, did not stain and wiped off easily).
Now I organise the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Awards at the Edinburgh Fringe, so I have to beware of people pulling cunning stunts on me.
Last year’s Cunning Stunt Award was won by Becky Fury who not only put her flyer on the dating site Tinder to attract single men to her Fringe show but who, on that flyer, claimed she was a ‘Last Minute Comedy finalist’.
Last year, the second most prestigious comedy awards at the Fringe – formerly known as the Perrier Awards – were sponsored by lastminute.com so were called the Last Minute Comedy Awards.
Becky correctly called herself a ‘Last Minute Comedy finalist’ to lure in punters thinking she was up for the ‘Big’ prize whereas, in reality, she had been a finalist in a competition run by a small comedy club operation called Last Minute in Hertfordshire. The day I saw her show, four people had, indeed, come with (and still retained when they left) that false belief. A cunning success.
But who would have thought that the lovely Becky was a grass?
Or possibly a nominator. It depends on your viewpoint.
This week, she drew my attention to a couple of comedy blurbs.
In one, comedy duo Loose Brie blurbed themselves as MALCOLM HARDEE FIRST MINUTE AWARD NOMINEES 2016 –
Like The Dangerous Brothers, Vic and Bob and We Are Klang before them, Loose Brie deal in the glorious art of high-concept, low brow, organised chaos. They’ll use their bodies in ways you didn’t think were possible. You’ll see things you can’t un-see.
All jolly and appealing except there was and is no such thing as the Malcolm Hardee First Minute Award. At least, I don’t think there is. Reality, like grassing-up/nominating someone, is often a case of personal perception.
Cally Beaton is publicising her debut solo show Super Cally Fragile Lipstick by saying her previous show Cat Call (with Catherine Bohart) “received a Malcolm Hardee Award” at the Fringe last year.
What happened last year was that the excellent Edward Hobson (a former producer on BBC TV’s The One Show) had the cunning idea that he would give an award for the Fringe show with the best first minute. On the basis that, if a show doesn’t grab you in the first minute, it is no good. He would go into shows, see the first minute and then leave. Which he did.
So I gave him one minute at the start of the increasingly prestigious two-hour-long Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show last year to announce the winners of his First Minute Awards. Which he did.
Cally Beaton was the winner; Loose Brie were nominees.
They were, to tell 100% of the truth, neither nominees nor winners of a Malcolm Hardee Award but they deserve brownie points for exploiting every opportunity. In fact, I am of a mind to possibly nominate Cally Beaton for a Cunning Stunt Award this year on the basis of her not-quite-100%- truthful plug for her excellently-named Super Cally Fragile Lipstick show at next month’s Fringe.
I did ask both her and Loose Brie if they had any quotable comments and the Brie duo sent me a frankly unnecessarily-long statement, which read:
We believe it is very much in the spirit of our show about confidence (Loose Brie Are Great, Camden Fringe, July 31st – Aug 6th) and the Malcolm Hardee Awards, to have linked our nomination for the jokey, one-off ‘First Minute Awards’ to the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardees, due to them both being given out at the same venue.
By claiming almost-but-not-quite falsely to have been nominated for a Malcolm Hardee Award we have provided a fitting send off to, at the very least, the Cunning Stunt Award.
No need to thank us, as the nomination is thanks enough.
We are not up in Edinburgh this year (because we are at Camden Fringe, July 31st – Aug 6th, show title: Loose Brie Are Great). But, if we were there, we can all agree Loose Brie definitely would have been nominated for several more Malcolm Hardees. Our 2018 poster quotes are likely to reflect this.
Ed Hobson told me today:
“Cally did win and Loose Brie were nominated, but I never told them it was a Malcolm Hardee Award so I think they’re just being ‘cunning’.
“The First Minute Award is not making it to Edinburgh this year because I spent one minute planning my trip, looking at trains and accommodation and then stopped. If it can’t be decided in one minute it’s not worth doing.
“Also, with my wedding in October and getting my fiancée over from the USA, I decided it might be out of my budget.”
“Wedding?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said, “I’m getting married to Nikki Kvarnes, an American musician and artist.
“She was in a band called Those Darlins.
“We find out today if her visa to marry me has been granted or not. Very exciting day. She is far too talented and beautiful for me but thankfully my sense of humour paid off.”
Or perhaps hers.
Everyone thinks they’re a comedian.