Sunday, February 22, 2015

ARCHIVE: Collected (and Rejected) Media Empire Joke Archive

Over the many many years I've been doing this writing thing, by far the longest and most powerful collaboration I've been a part of has been with my dear old friend Warwick Holt.  I met him when I was 18, fresh out of high school, and almost immediately we became firm friends, bonding over comedy, prog-rock, and copious substance abuse.  He was writing and performing comedy on 3PBSFM's Sunday radio show 'Laugh, You Bastards', and I was writing strange novels and sketches and short stories.  When Peter Tatchell left the radio show, Wok was quick to invite me into the fold, and we really haven't looked back: it was together that we first wrote for 'The Glass House', 'The Side Show', and 'Good News Week', and we're still working together today (on various screenplays and series and animation ideas and feature scripts that will, ideally, eventually actually see the green light of day).

(We were also in a band once, a chaotic piece of frenzied nonsense called 'Lump Ump Mump Pump', often abbreviated to L.U.M.P, the less about which is spoken, the better.)

Anyway.  Point is, as we churned out gag after gag for the Paul McDermotts and Wil Andersons of the world, the lovely Mr Holt collected and displayed our raw input, revealing our comedic grist for everyone to see, on his Media Empire website.  This unedited, unexpurgated, and frequently unfunny collection of raw proto-comedic chaff is basically a window into what we did day after day.  We'd be given a news story / topic in the morning by head writer (Australia's most awarded comic wordsmith) Ian Simmons, and Wok and I would just crank out as many possible jokes about said topic as possible (bouncing ideas off each other in frequent document swaps), and send 'em back at the end of the day.  Because it was almost impossible to know what jokes would work and what wouldn't (sometimes a joke would be so bad that it became funny again, or so wrong that it would flex back into rightness), Wok and I would just blitz poor Ian with pages and pages of potential.  Our mantra was 'Quantity Street' (remember those assorted chocolates called 'Quality Street'? No? Well, let's move on then).  It's a strange job, really, knowing that 90-95% of what you're writing is a waste of everyone's time—a particular story that made it to air might have 4 or 5 jokes, total, and here we were, cranking out pages and pages of the things—but it's ultimately satisfying, and very very fun.

So.  Here, then, are the collected raw jokes that went into our years at the GNW coalface—the jokes that made it to air, plus all the jokes that didn't.  Read them and weep.  I know I do.

WARNING: only read these if you're really really determined to wade through the chaffiest chaff and the gristiest grist in some kind of behind-the-scenes glimpse into why these shows have dedicated editors.  This shit is unpolished, unperformed, and mostly rejected.  Even the hilarious stuff is massively dated.  Seriously, I am in two minds about even sharing this archive of turds; part of me thinks we should forget this stuff ever existed and just focus on the brightness of the future.  Read at your own risk, is what I'm saying.  Go in with your expectations lowered; around ankle-height is appropriate.  Okay, well, I've warned you all I can.  May you make it back out alive.  

The Archives of Doom.

PS: The Media Empire Archive is incomplete, I think: as far as I can tell, it doesn't include the sketches we came up with for the miserably unsuccessful and tragically misguided (and executively-compromised) 'Good News World'.  This is, all things considered, probably okay.   (Nor, of course, does the Media Empire Archive contain any of the sketches I created for 'Wednesday Night Fever', as that had nothing to do with Wok, and Media Empire is his baby, really.  Which, given the universal hatred and scorn WNF attracted in its short time on air, is again probably okay.)

REVIEW: Kine - Meditations in April Green

A review of balls-trippin', trance-inducin', psych-drone-experimentin' group 'Kine', written for Heathen Harvest, and edited by Sage Weatherford.  He changed the simple and straightforward 'Note' to 'Author's note', which seems to me to call into question the rest of the article's authorship; plus instead of the simple and straightforward 'Oh, and what's a garrahand?', he changed it to 'Oh, and are you asking yourself, what’s a garrahand?', which sounds clunky to my ears.  But I can forgive both of these unexpected quirky editorial decisions because he's generally such a nice chap.

"[T]hat’s what proper improvised experimentation is about: leaping into the void without a parachute and trusting that you and your companions have, through years of tireless practise and perseverance, actually grown wings." 

Kine - Meditations in April Green