Where to start. Why am I writing this? Good question. Is it because I am in the midst of organising a comedy night on the 18th May at the Union Chapel called Bring it Home, with some of the best talent on the circuit today and this is a cynical attempt at PR? Lord no! It is an open and quite clear lunge for PR. Is it because our night is going to one of the shows to see in London this year? That the night is full of award winners? Or because it's in aid of homelessness and as poverty continues to seep into the lives of more and more people, it's a cause that must be championed? All of the above - and we don't want anyone to miss out.
I am rather new to PR and I thought that selling our show would be easy . It's a night of top quality comedy, and despite an all female line-up we very consciously resisted the temptation to refer to it in the title of the show - in that sense alone this night is going to be a game changer. No more Laughing Labias, Tittering Tits, Braying Boobs, Giggling Girlies, Clapping Clunge, Happy Flappy, Valiant Vaginas, - you get the all too clear picture no doubt. We didn't want the night to be defined by the gender of the acts, but rather the quality of the acts and God they're good; award winners, award nominees, acts from BBC TV and radio, Channel 4 and Sky. What more do you want? We've even thrown in a house band for good measure.
I thought that editors everywhere would be fighting off staff wanting to write about the night; radio and TV producers would be clambering to have us on breakfast news, lunchtime news, tea/supper news - all the main meals. But no. We've had offers, but our dance card is not full. I thought that their angle would be that finally we've done what everyone has been asking for: a night of comedy where the organisers are unafraid to book a line-up that's all women and the focus of the night is the quality rather than the gender; how often do you see the phrase 'all male comedy line-up'? Never.
It's been difficult though. I have had people ask, 'Have you thought about getting a man as the headliner? It would give people more confidence in the product.' 'What about selling the charity angle more?... No - not the actual charity - no, more like people should be charitable and give women a go'. Did they want people to feel charitably towards the award winners on the bill? I was confused. Or people just coming straight out and saying 'it's all women; it's a tough sell'. It has been ridiculous. In trying to get a feature in one of Britain's many newspapers, we were asked, 'has anyone in the show done something 'amazing' recently...' Have they? Er... YES. They have been asked to be in THIS SHOW. They have won awards; been nominated for awards. They have starred in award-winning comedies. They have had pilots commissioned. They have had shows commissioned. They have had shows re-commissioned. Many have done all this whilst having a second job. Or what about us lot; the organisers? We have put together a night that could be revolutionary for the future of all female line-ups - in that they could forever more just be referred to as 'line-ups'. We have been given a venue - a wonderful venue - for free based on the strength of the quality of our acts. We have set up a night where NO ONE is getting paid, all to raise money for charity (if we sell every ticket there's more than £12,000 up for grabs).
So; YES unnamed newspaper we've all done something amazing - we did this: www.bringithomecomedy.co.uk
Here are some sample films from our wonderful acts (you can find the full line-up on our website):
Roisin Conaty on Russell Howard's Good News
Cariad Lloyd in a sketch she wrote for BBC Web Exclusives
Aisling Bea in the award winning Cardinal Burns
Mae Martin on Russell Howard's Good News
Birthday Girls (nee Lady Garden) on BBC's Live at the Electric
and our MC Alison Thea-Skot
Follow Caroline Hardie on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@thomashardie