Category: Jack Dee

Crowdfunding – Who is it for?

I have enjoyed getting more involved in comedy in the past 12 months and I’ve really enjoyed the trial and tweets of Richard Herring (@Herring1967) with his crowd funding attempts for video recording his RHLSTP and his successful attempt in bringing back AIOTM (aiotm). However recently there have been two crowd funding requests that have court my eye.

The first is this

I’m not sure why it annoys me. Perhaps its that at least 3 of the cast are currently on mainstream TV already. Perhaps it is the creative team being a collection of existing TV writers/producers. I’m not sure. But something feels wrong when you have the likes of Jack Dee and Harry Hill both asking you and me to fund a creative project of theirs. And to the tune of £75K.

This is Jack Dee, who in 2013 was reported to have earned £5.2 million and Harry Hill, who in 2011 was reported to have turned down £4 million.

Should I be annoyed? I’m also not sure. There is no reason why Harry & Jack (and Michelle and Romesh and Bredna and David, et al) shouldn’t be allowed to ask for crowd funding as that is how it works but for everyone who donates to their cause, they are taking money away from other venues and other crowdfunding opportunities where the people arranging them aren’t household name TV Stars. They are very close to their target and I expect them to meet it. What I don’t understand is why rely on Crowdfunding at all. I would have thought that the people involved (cast/crew) could have got £75k together to make this. They mention on their pledge page

Crowdfunding makes it possible to produce the quality show we want to, funded entirely by the comedy fans who want to see great new comedy. It connects the fans with the comedians directly – giving us all a unique sense of ownership – YOU can make it happen.

Which makes sense, comedy fans usually want to see more comedy but I’m not sure why they are needed to pay for it. The pledge page does give some more details on this.

Because this fabulous cast believe in the project so much, no-one is taking a fee for this show. Everyone is appearing for FREE. The stars are investing in the project themselves by lending their names and time to turn it into a brilliant show just for you.

So, the budget is ONLY for the production costs, camera crew, edit, location fees, costumes, transport costs and background artists.

And this makes me feel a little better and I do understand that costs for making a TV show must be massive. It just doesn’t seem a fair way to make the show. Or maybe it is the fairest way to make the show? I’m so unsure its crazy.

I think my issue is that I don’t want this being the future of comedy TV. The BBC, for all its faults, still produces some comedy which isn’t mainstream but has an audience. If stars like Jack Dee and Harry Hill need to fund projects through crowdfunding then what hope do lesser-known people have in having their scripts/creations featured on TV? If the big names were not attached to the project, would it have received that level of funding? I doubt it. Do the fans ‘Own’ it as the pledge page suggests? the easy answer to that is answered when this gets picked up for a series – will all the people who back it get a cut of the profits/refunded?


I suppose this is one of the reasons I like Richard Herring’s output as he puts on all this stuff and creates it ‘for free’, selling only tickets. His crowdfunding for videoing AOITM have been very similar to this crowdfunding request for The Mayoress but the major difference being I think if Rich approached ANYONE wanting to film it, they would turn him down, let alone offer to pay for it. When Jack Dee owns his own production company (Open Mike), sometime doesn’t seem right that he is asking you and I to pay to record this, rather than fund it himself. Obviously they must be short for cash, what with making The Last Leg and Alan Carr: Chatty Man.

The more I look into it the more it just doesn’t feel right. I suppose that’s the benefit of Crowdfunding…people donate or not…no-one holds a gun to your head.

I’ll post about the 2nd Crowdfunding request I’ve seen recently on another blog post.



The Unbelievable Truth – Recording – 23rd February, 2016

I managed to blag some tickets to this recording. One of my friends was running late but a bit of Derren Brown mind control and the lady gave us the extra sticker we needed for when they arrived. I’d not been to any recordings at Logan Hall before. Usually the ‘big name’ London Radio recordings are done at the Radio Theatre in Portland Place. This wasn’t far though and I joined the queue at around 5.45pm. The tickets just said Time 6:30, doors close 6:50pm but I knew from previous experience that the earlier you get there the better.

The queue grew longer and longer until about 6.45pm when they started to let people inside. We managed to get some great seats in the middle and waited for the show to start. The producer explained that 2 shows would be recorded and they started recording around 7.15-7.30pm. I knew this was going to be a long night. He also said that they had moved venues to allow more people to attend. There were 940 seats at Logan Hall and over 15000 people applied for tickets!

The guests were introduced and we were treated to;-

  • Jon Richardson
  • Henning Wehn
  • Susan Calman
  • Jack Dee

The format of the show is that one person speaks on a given subject and everything they say should be false except for 5 Unbelievable Truths. The remaining 3 people buzz in when they believe that the speaker has said one of the truths. A successful buzz in gives a point to the challenger however an incorrect challenge deducts a point. At the end of the talk any truths not found gain a point each for the speaker.

Each show started with Jon and there were some great challenges. There was as added complexity in that for some reason every time people pressed their buzzers, it would show Henning’s light on David’s desk. A second press would not repeat the issue so maybe Henning was pressing his buzzer first and then denying it for comedic effect?

Henning’s subjects seemed to allow him to be stereotypically German (mirroring his act) but Susan’s talks seemed to just turn into weird fantasy journeys with little in common with the original subject.

Both games finished with Susan Calman being the winner. It was a great experience to be part of but the format of the show isn’t that engaging and I think the whole audience was flagging as the end of the second show arrived,

Always good to be in a new venue and I do enjoy David Mitchell but I’m not sure I’d go for another recording of this.