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Making new media types laugh is a grey area

I was at a industry dinner last night, the end of the day’s business at the Revolut!on Forum at  Savill Court near Windsor. Okay, so it’s not the world’s greatest new media gathering but there are some interesting people here keen to gain further insight into developing technologies (well, it sounds good).

Anyway, this dinner. After all the nosh and free wine, the lights went down and the turn came on. Mike Gunn — ” one of the 10 best stand-ups in Britain” — The Telegraph. No, I’d never heard of him either.

I’d been told earlier that a previous turn two years ago had been a comedian whose act resembled something out of the 1970s, with foul language and casual racism about blacks and Asians, made worse by the fact that he too was black. Who was this guy? Charlie Williams? No, actually, it was Reginald D. Hunter. Seems it’s not only Americans who don’t understand irony.

Well at least I’d heard of Reg Hunter, but Mike Gunn? No.

And he wasn’t getting the best reception; the Comedy Store it wasn’t. After all, they’d taken away the free wine (or at least stopped serving it) and some of us were even facing the wrong way.

Some of the quips weren’t going down well, and then he started on the ageist jokes. Well, for a start, in any gathering of new media types there is always a large minority of those present trying to act their shoe size, not their age.

And then he spotted me: white hair, glasses, goatee beard. Had I got my Saga brochure yet? Did I need my hearing aid turned up? Ha bloody ha! I’m reminded of the guy who said when asked what he thought of getting old, replied: “Good. Especially when you consider the alternative”.

Okay, I’ll admit I’ll never see 40 again but hey, I had fun getting here!

His next target was ginger hair, and how it was akin to the great scourges of the world. I still don’t understand this mock prejudice against ginger hair — perhaps it’s institutional racism against the Celts.

Well, Mike finished his act, tying up some of the threads quite expertly I thought. Despite it all, he really was quite good, in a general way. Sort of.

After all was over, I approached him in the bar. He flinched visibly as I walked up to him (I don’t look quite so big sat down). His first words to me were: “Oh, you’re actually not that old.”

I explained to him that I began greying at the age of 17: my maternal Grandmother was white at the age of 14. And guess what, before my hair turned white, I was ginger (some parts STILL are!). He was nervous but we talked and I got the distinct impression that he’d felt several times the urge to change track in his set as one joke after another failed to click with his audience.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I’m giving his website the once over: perhaps in order to get “one of Britain’s top 10 stand-ups” in the top 10 search results.

Wish me luck!