Am trying – in vain – to write sketches. I’m not entirely sure why I put myself through this. I mean, there are enough other deadlines for me to miss this week, without wanting to add to the load. I’ve got a short story that’s demanding my attention, a TV review, a reasonably short play, and (at least) two other plays that are reasonably longer. Now, admittedly, the deadlines for all of these things are not due this week, but some of them are, and the rest will be screaming over the horizon within a month.
The sketches, though. I’m trying to write something for Newsjack, the BBC radio comedy for which anybody can write. That means anybody: just send something to the office, inspired by this week’s headlines, and there’s at least a chance that it might get recorded and transmitted to the nation by Thursday evening. I have submitted every week this time round, and I have a 100% lack of success rate.
There’s no way of telling, really. Admittedly, some of my efforts really have been hack jobs, which may have received no more than a cursory glance before being thrown aside on the ‘No’ pile. But there’s been at least two things I’ve sent in this year – ego and false modesty aside – that I’ve genuinely thought were pretty good ideas, and while I’m level-headed enough not to get spectacularly upset that they didn’t get past the gate, it does make you wonder what they are looking for.
And let me repeat (translation: protest too much) that I really am level headed about this sort of thing. Listening to an average episode, I think that there’s probably about 10% of gags that I think – ‘oh, that’s genius’, that the writer is already crafting jokes and scenes at a professional level. There’s about 5% of sketches (maybe slightly less, if I’m honest) where I think, that’s the same joke as mine – and I preferred my version, another 5% og gags when I think, I’m not sure how that joke got through (I think that it’s too obvious, or old.) And the rest of the sketches? Either that they’re very funny, but just not up to genius level, or that I personally am not laughing, but I get that subjectively, it’s funny, just not for me.
All of which means I’m no closer to working out exactly what’s required to get past the entry phone for a sketch. I’ve written this blog as a kind of distraction (cough, procrastination) technique to see if I can get any closer.
Time to see if it’s worked ..