Quite often among the Comments there are bits and pieces which I notice and think ‘I should really go back and respond to that’, but then I generally don’t. I’m going to take a few from recent blogs and address them here in a fun, non-sequential manner.
‘Sorry I’m late, but the claim that this was “probably the first time ever on an improvisation show” that a green screen has been used is incorrect, as after Whose Line Is It Anyway? was cancelled in the USA, “Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show” popped up on another network for a couple of seasons and was just WLIIA with a green screen.’
Ahem. Yes. I didn’t know about this at the time. (In fairness, I hadn’t devised the show myself, so I believed the show’s creators when they made me say it was ‘probably the first’. Still. Hey. I said ‘probably’, right? It turns out it was to be understood in the sense of ‘there will probably never be a coalition government in the UK’.
‘Alas, I have not managed to meet up with the iPod chain, despite being in the inital list, and can’t make the picnic. Therefore 2 questions (will also get in touch with iPod team directly):
1. Will it still be in London next Tuesday (19th July) and if so can I bring a song then?
Or if not…
2. Can I nominate a song and email it to someone with my message for the notebook?
I refer this one to our iPod team. I myself am still trying to arrange to meet it before it heads off to the winner. Pretty exciting, all this.
‘And how are the Toblerone bars coming?’
Oh God. I never organised this. I bet the original winners are dead by now.
‘I watched the first episode of Time Trumpet last night, and blow me down if there wasn’t a completely forgotten cameo from one Mark Watson in it. So, given that I’ve got you here and everything, perhaps you can answer a question I’ve had for a while about this sort of contribution to this sort of programme – namely, how much is scripted, and how much is improvised?’
Thank you for asking, yes that’s right I was in Time Trumpet, the little-noticed but retroactively acclaimed Armando Ianucci spoof talking heads documentary about the future, so yes that’s right I am unspeakably cool. It was pretty much my first TV gig and I was amazed to be asked. It’s something of a Watsonian collector’s item now. I look about 14.
The answer to the question is that normally with these shows, they strive to make it look off-the-cuff but lean on you quite heavily to say certain things. In the case of Time Trumpet though, because of the remarkable way Iannucci and his team work, we genuinely were pretty much allowed to just talk unscripted and they used whatever they wanted. It would only work in a show with a fairly loose format, but it would also only work with someone like Armando who trusts performers and knows what’s funny. I was kind of spoiled by this as my TV debut; for a brief time I assumed everyone working in comedy had a good sense of humour.
(It’s not actually QUITE my first time on TV, I once popped up on one of these 100 Greatest Films shows they use to fill up time on Bank Holidays, but I’m quietly confident that’s not on Youtube.)
‘Not only providing a positive healthcare message, but also (with the mention of George Michael and Location Location Location) giving me yet another reason to give the abomination that is Twitter a wide berth! Good job!’
Honestly, Twitter is not an abomination. A lot of the stuff in Rwanda has been much worse. There are many things wrong with Twitter – it promotes a certain media-leftie smugness among some people, it allows people to endlessly have their own opinions reflected back at them by like-minded friends, it can be cliquey, and potentially of course it’s a huge waste of time. However, I’d say anything that allows the free flow of ideas and information is as good as the people that use it. The internet itself is only as good as the people using it. It’s the same with Facebook, with Google Plus (which I’ve not even seen, but still), with every development in online ‘networking’. Don’t try to fight the march of the internet. Just find people you trust to go through it with.
‘As for giving blood, that’s another one I have always kind of wanted to do. But I don’t know how. Do you go to the doctors or something? I am aware I sound stupid for not knowing this.’
I think you just make an appointment at the doctor’s, yes, but presumably there are specific times you have to go. Again, someone will help with this in the Comments I don’t doubt.
That actually was quite fun. If you have any more questions or problems, I’ve not thrown open the site like this for a while, so by all means pose them. Or if you’ve commented on something recently but it was never really dealt with. I like answering questions. Apart from, ironically, many of the questions asked in interviews, because they come up ten times a week. ‘So, is it true you did a 24-hour show…?’ NO. I PUT THE STORY OUT THERE TO MISLEAD THE PUBLIC. THE VIDEOS ON THE WEB WERE MADE BY USING ACTORS AND CGI.
Have a nice evening.