Ok, look, I'm not going to make any secrets of this - I'm not enjoying the new livestream comedy boom very much. I've watched a few livestream gigs, and I've contributed to a few livestream shows with pre-recorded segments (such as my story for Tales Of Whatever which I contributed the other day, or my Death In Paradise song for the Dear Harry/Spock livestream, which I'll share on catch-up here soon). I've enjoyed contributing pre-recorded bits as it just feels like making a sketch for film. And I understand the desire to try and recreate the feeling of going to a live comedy gig via livestreams - comedy gigs are nice, communal, creative atmospheres and I understand it's something we should be trying to recreate however we can. But my one involvement so far in an actual livestreamed gig, trying to do comedy material from my bedroom down a webcam, didn't feel like a good surrogate for actual live performance to me. It just made me feel even more distant from the thing I used to enjoy doing.
However, I'm aware that we're in this for the long-haul and that any attempts to maintain a sense of creative, collaborative community might involve getting to grips with this technology, so I'm trying to say yes to opportunities to get to grips with streaming via concepts that use the technology to do something bespoke - so that I can craft something from scratch rather than trying to reinvigorate old routines down a webcam, which to me felt unsatisfying and sad. So here's what I've got lined up:
Terrible Wonderful Adaptations - John-Luke Roberts is moving his stupid collaborative concept show online tomorrow night at 9pm, when a bunch of comics (me, Thom Tuck, Sophie Duker, Olga Koch, River Hall and Ben Target) are going to try and adapt a book of prayers for teenagers from isolation. You can watch it from the Cosmic Shambles network here.
Weirdos Comedy LIVE & Online: A Good Friday - Head Weirdo Adam Larter realised that one way to make these livestream concepts feel more like they belong in this format would be to incorporate more Powerpoint so, in a similar vein to the old Weirdos Tone of Voice nights we did a couple of years back, on Friday 10th April at 7pm we'll be doing a streamed gig in which myself, Adam, Helen Duff, Cassie Atkinson, Ali Brice, Matthew Highton, Eleanor Morton, Liberty Hodes and Andy Barr do some sort of collaborative silly thing via Powerpoint. There's an event page here, and technical details will follow.
Pinata - And finally, big collaborative absurdist nonsense night Pinata will be doing some sort of livestream project via NextUp Now, also on Friday 10th April but at 9pm. It will involve some archive footage of Mr Fruit Salad being silly at an old Pinata night, so that might be fun to tune into as well. You can tune in via NextUp's Twitch feed here.
So let's see how we go! I'm very much just dipping my toe into this streaming thing because, like I say, I have my reservations and uncertainties about it, but it does seem like if it's used in the right way for the right project, it's a good tool for restoring some sense of community to the idea of making comedy online. So I'll use these "gigs" as a way to try and engage with the technology creatively, and see if I can make it work for me. Tune into one or more of them if you like!