Twitter Comedy Club review
June 9, 2009 by: Emma

Last night was something of a geek's night in for Spoonfed with several of our programming team staying behind in the office to watch the 2009 Apple WWDC Keynote online (that's Worldwide Developers Conference for any fellow non-Jobsworths) and me at home watching the first ever Twitter Comedy Club on my laptop.

So did it all go off without a hitch? Well no, not quite. For a start, non-comedians kept using the event's hashtag (#tcgig) which meant that instead of seeing all the jokes and routines unfold in quick succession, you got heckles and retweets from followers, despite compere Tiernan Douieb's pleas to leave it to the professionals.
I needed to keep switching between tabs and applications to keep track of uncluttered updates from comedians as well as seeing what the followers' reactions were using the hashtag. Another drawback to using Twitter to cover a live event is that there is an hourly tweet limit so most sets were briefly interrupted while the comedians quickly switched to new accounts to finish off.

Technical difficulties aside, the comedy material itself was on the whole, very funny and imaginative. Jewish stand-up Matt Kirshen was up first, valiantly taking part and typing from the back of another comedy gig! He started with a good one-liner but made the mistake of then telling a protracted and confusing long story. He was lynched by the hecklers for it but turned it around by repeating the best heckle he'd ever received. Someone once shouted at him: 'That's racist you Jewish c***'.
Perhaps learning from Kirshen's mistake, Rob Heeney was next and went for some solid one-liners including 'My mum only sees the positive in people ... which ultimately cost her job as an HIV tester.' Carl Donnelly won the prize for least amount of effort with a link to a YouTube clip of him performing stand-up but what it lacked in creative spirit, it made up for with the strength of the communication and material.

One of the best sets of the night was musical comic Mitch Benn who used Twitter-based lyrics to cover Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody': 'So you think you can spam me and twit in my eye/So you think you can love me and not @stephenfry'. An innovative way to do musical comedy online which was duly rewarded by the audience with barely any heckles and a lot of retweets.

After the #twinterval (yes we even had a real break to stock up on drinks and listen to a playlist from @thelastskeptik), Gary Delaney followed with a machine gun approach to the one liner. Highlights were: 'When the doctor told dad he'd got palsy his face fell' and 'Just seen a picture of Freud's mum. She's hot!' Some smoking gags there not to mention taking on the prolific @Tweckler with the put down: 'Ooo, you're a big manly heckler. The last time I saw that much testosterone it was running down your mom's chin.'

Top marks should go to Terry Saunders who mastered the art of telling a story within 140 character tweets. He also earns full nerd points by managing to integrate Spotify links and Twitpic photos into the set - I'm betting he was switching between watching the Twitter gig and the Apple Keynote. One of the acts I was most intrigued to see was sketch group Pappy's Fan Club who didn't disappoint.

Without going down the Donnelly route they tackled sketches by talking about ones they wouldn't be performing like the one about the cosmetic surgeon who used to be in a biker gang – 'Harley Street Davidson'. They made good use of Twitpic (see below) and even introduced a fake heckler @TerryWitter at the end which caused much confusion to followers who thought he was for real.

The headline spot to finish was Mark Watson, whose manic Welsh persona was sadly lost on the web. He had a shaky start by forgetting to use the #tcgig hashtag but once he was up and running some sterling one liners came through: "Well, as my dad used to say, 'money: you can't take it with you.' which led to some pretty boring holidays. He also used to say: 'You can't make an omelette...' (pause) Very pessimistic man."

Douieb has said on his Twitter page that although they can't tell how many people were following the gig, the website had at least 5741 hits last night and the Twitter Comedy page now has over 6,500 members. Positive responses have flooded through on the #tcgig hashtag from 'brilliant idea' to ‘thoroughly enjoyed it – despite the hecklers'. So, all in all, the gig was a successful and fascinating experiment - one I would happily watch again. It's not a patch on live comedy of course but on the other hand, what club can compete with its cost and location.


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