Twitter Comedy Club - May 20, 2009 by: Emma

At 8pm on the 8th June, the first online comedy club will be happening via the medium of Twitter. Nine comedians are taking part in the live gig which you can watch unfold from the comfort of your own sofa. No one, comics included, need to leave their houses and assuming you have broadband, it's totally free. Each act will spend ten minutes twittering a comedy set, within the boundaries of the 140 character limit.
To watch the gig, simply follow the hash tag #twitcom on Twitter. The idea, concocted by comedian Tiernan Douieb, has attracted a lot of attention with people all over the globe joining the Tweet Comedy Club page (there are currently over 4,500 members) and Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) describing it as 'larky'. Praise indeed from the Tweet High Priest.
Compered by Tiernan Douieb (@TiernanDouieb), the line-up will feature:
Mark Watson - @watsoncomedian
Pappy's Fun Club - @PappysFunClub
Mitch Benn @MitchBenn
Matt Kirshen @mattkirshen
Rob Heeney @robheeney
Carl Donnelly @carldonnelly
Terry Saunders @terrysaunders
Gary Delaney @garydelaney

Sounds pretty cool huh? We caught up with Tiernan to find out a little bit more about it via the ultra high-tech medium of Instant Messenger (and before you ask why didn't we use Twitter this is actually quicker, alright?!).

Emma: So how did the idea arise?
Tiernan Douieb: Well it was spurred on by me doing a local gig that didn't have many punters at it. I complained online and some of my followers said why don't you do a gig online as you have lots of audience on there?
So I started thinking whether or not it would be possible to do a whole show so credit to my followers really! wow that sounds culty!

Emma: As a Twitter newbie, how will this event work - do I have to follow all the comedians?

Tiernan Douieb: It's advisable but no you don't. What you need to follow is the #twitcom hash tag. there will also be a live feed on the website and if you follow @tweetcomedyclub you will get all info as the hash tag may change due to its overuse by people

Emma: do you just keep clicking refresh to keep up to date?
Tiernan Douieb: No you shouldn't have to on the twittercomedy webpage. You might have to on your own Twitter page depending on what you are using to look at it. The whole thing is prone to people trying to add their own tweets but we are hoping the general goodwill of twitterers and the fact that audience know who is on the line-up should help

Emma: and will it all have to be one-liners with 140 characters max?
Tiernan Douieb: no. That's a misconception. we will try and keep it to a 140 word limit but acts may tell a story over several tweets
Pappy's will be doing sketches all four at once, Mitch Benn is going to attempt funny song lyrics, so hopefully everyone will bring something a bit different to it

Emma: are you expecting to get some brutal heckling from people hiding behind their computers?
Tiernan Douieb: yeah probably but what's nice is that it shouldn't interrupt the gig. So either we can deal with it, ignore it, or send @tweetcomedyclub in as security and ask them to quiet down. :-)

Emma: so comedians can answer tweets halfway through their set?
Tiernan Douieb: Yeah, if using the hash tag they can answer them during the set. theoretically without the hash tag they can answer them when they like!

Emma: where will all the comedians be doing it from?
Tiernan Douieb: we'll all be wherever we're tweeting from. Haven't arranged us to be in the same place. I presume Pappy's will be together, but with technology they don't have to be. If this goes well we may try and do a proper live one at the Edinburgh Festival although I'm still not sure how that would work!

Emma: that would be quite geeky - like an Apple convention!
Tiernan Douieb: yeah I think so. It would sort of be a very anti-social social occasion with everyone on their phones or computers but watching live comedy that is uploaded as it happens. I guess!

Emma: yes it's an interesting medium of connecting with people; no atmosphere in the room but a lot in your head
Tiernan Douieb: yeah I think so. And what I've noticed is people will send a funny tweet and if it works people will send back 'lol' or another response to say they've laughed and then RT it. So it does affect people even though its text and probably not as much of a gut reaction as laughing at a live gig

Emma: How will your role as a compere work - how will you get the crowd warmed up?
Tiernan Douieb: well I know I can't banter as such, but I have a few plans afoot to try and get people in the spirit. Also I think there will be comedy to be had in trying to compere it like a normal gig. I'll do some gags too of course!

Emma: Now it's gone global and has been mentioned by the likes of @stephenfry - has that put a lot of pressure on?
Tiernan Douieb: ha ha yeah a tad. It'll be the biggest audience some of us (certainly me anyway) will have played to! If it gets any bigger it'll be O2 Arena sized!

Emma: Mark Watson has said it's a 'defining moment' in comedy which is kind of true - it's the first time a comedy gig has ever been done online in this way
Tiernan Douieb: yeah I suppose it is. I know Jimmy Carr did a gig on Second Life, which may have been the first time

Emma: think Second Life is a step too far for most people- this is a good middle ground
Tiernan Douieb: yeah I think you're right. We can at least pretend to have a real social life outside twitter.

Emma: ha ha
Tiernan Douieb: even if we tweet everywhere we go! - Guilty

Emma: well good luck I can't wait to watch it....
Tiernan Douieb: Cool. Hope you enjoy! Please feel free to * applause * and * cheer * for the acts!

So, interested in attending? Before you do here are some of the rules:
1) First rule of Twitter Comedy Club is please do tweet/speak/email about Twitter Comedy Club.
If you don't talk about it there will be no crowd and we may as well have all gone out and done a normal gig.

2) Second rule of Twitter Comedy Club. If you wish to heckle please @reply to the act on stage. They might respond, they might not. Just like real heckling. If you get too drunk and shout at your computer before being asked to leave by your mum/partner/friend that is your own fault.

3) Third rule of Twitter Comedy Club. As it will be run using the #twitcom hash tag please do not use this unless you are responding to an act who is onstage. We understand this is prone to sabotage but only the acts listed will be performing so if you see anyone else using it then we will send people round their house to shout bad words at them.


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