july…10th (?) 2020
So….the world of comedy is getting weirder and weirder.
Last week i agreed to do a gig – online i.e. a virtual gig – for free, a short set for a bloke in Cardiff, with all donations going to BLM.
about 3 days ago he facebooked me to say he was sorry but he had to pull me from gig because someone had complained to him about my ‘behaviour’ in the past. If i quote him word for word it would be in welsh, so for the general reader’s benefit here i’ll stick to the english, and summarise.
Anyway, i was shocked, gobsmacked, angry…and told him so. we had a short exchange on FB about it. Basically he wouldn’t reveal to me who it was who’d said this thing, or what the accusation was. I pressed him on it but he claimed he was not 100 percent up on the details himself, just that someone complained to him that they wouldn’t feel comfortable with my doing the gig …remember this is a virtual gig so i would be nowhere near anybody physically !
Firstly , dear reader, I am innocent of any wrong doing…..so i was angry for that reason. Secondly, i was angry becasue i’m not being informed of what it is i’m meant to have done. am still in the dark about it.
I kept thinking it must be one of the other acts on the bill, and i assumed the ‘accusation’ was something to do with what’s going down on the comedy scene at the minute. i.e. the phenomenon of women being harrassed by men. (again: Not Guilty!)
– On a tangent: what about the consequences of this stuff on the mental health of performers like myself? Yes there are people with genuine grievances out there, but there are also names being mentioned on the social media right now of people who’ve not done anything wrong. There are attempts at naming and shaming people who’ve not done anything wrong.
This bloke, the comedy booker, has left me paranoid. Though in this case he did it discreetly, and did not expose it to the world wide web
I did get out of him in the end that it wasn’t one of the acts on the bill who’d ‘accused’ me …but he remained adamant that he wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me the nature of the accusation, which i think was out of order.
I can only speculate….
so the gig is for Black Lives Matter…- THINKS – my girlfriend suggested it might be linked to something that happened in the National Eisteddfod last year, when a man in the audience heckled me by saying i’d done a racist joke. He took it further and when that became a thing on Twitter last August- you can read about this in previous blogs by the way – the guy became vulgar and rude to me whenever i’d write a response to his initial comment, but attracted other accusers and people keen to be part of the witch hunt action….;witch hunt’, a horrible image…more like ‘kill the monster’, like the inevitable gathering of villagers with torches at the end of every Frankenstein film.
By the way, how come no one pulls up anyone for bullying on social media – again another way of harming mental health – ?? If you are accusing somebody of doing or saying something wrong then surely, if you accuse by bullying that negates -or aught to negate – the credibility of the accuser.
In fact, it seems to be the opposite, – or has been in my little experience – that the bullying element of the accuser is ignored . In the case of last year’s tweet it didn’t matter that this guy would say things to me like ‘prick’, ‘cunt’ ‘shit flows out of your mouth’, ‘you piss your pants’…-other people seemed to be more keen to join in with him and get me to admit something, rather than call him out for his offensive, intimidatory attitude.
There’s got to be a law about all this. If i had the money i would probably go to a lawyer and consider a libel case. – and that applies to the bullshit on Comedy Collective a couple of weeks also – but i don’t. Apparently there’s never been legal aid for libel cases.
When i was doing comedy before the advent of social media i also got treated unfairly or unjustly then, by a promoter or agent from time to time…it’s not a new thing. Life is unfair.
Most comedians will occasionally do a gig with someone on the bill they don’t like. you just get on with it. But now it seems there’s a new idea in place. In fact , looking at previous FB pages of the bloke who booked me for this BLM gig you see the idea in the form of a manifesto:
‘Feel free to approach me and tell me about anyone you’re not comfortable with’…i am not quoting it verbatim, but the word ‘blacklist’ is used. He’s happy to build up a Blacklist! based on what ? hearsay ? In this case the gig was free so i did not lose any money….but if this idea snowballs..? Fuck me there will be a comedy police drawing up rules for what jokes to do and which jokes not to do !!! Mind you it might not affect as by the time that comes about i will probably have been banned from the live circuit all together.
I think it was a cowardly act