Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

July 29, 2007

Dave Gorman on his JAM debut

Again I hope Dave won't mind me copying from his blog - sounds like he found it fun but tough going!


Enjoyable Torture

If the point of Just A Minute was to make a 30 minute programme and then work out at the end which of the four panellists had contributed just a minute then I might well turn out to be the victor.

Sadly that isn't the point and I might well turn out to be the lowest scoring contributor ever. It really is devilishly difficult to even get on the microphone so quick are the others at spotting a repetition. I spent the whole of the evening pressing my buzzer and discovering that someone else had managed to press a split second sooner. The live audience were aware that I was pressing and not getting in on time and they enjoyed my playful frustration but of course the listening audience won't be aware of any of that.

It was definitely a jolly evening and I was getting laughs from the audience for acknowledging my own ineptitude but those are the kind of laughs that inevitably hit the cutting room floor... quite right too as they do sort of sit outside the show. Which leaves me concerned about quite how scant my contribution to the shows will be. Especially the first of the two.

I was very glad there was a second show because I'd already improved a little bit and knowing that the audience were onside I felt more able to be bold about making challenges. I think I managed to talk for a good 45 seconds on one of the subjects before grinding to a halt. Sadly it wasn't long enough for me to reach Gertrude's whistle and so I didn't get a point out of it.

The comic challenges people make - usually for deviation, where you know they will be given the subject back but also that it will raise a laugh - have to be judged right. I think until the audience trusts you it can feel as though you're spoiling someone else's flow rather than adding to the comedy. I think I got those right - and certainly the audience seemed to go with them - but they also seemed to be dismissed with speed while others seemed to be dwelt on. But that might just be my imagination.

All in all it was an enjoyable form of torture and it's interesting to see how closely my own experience tallies with Michael Palin's from 1975. Of course he only published his diaries recently - which is a very slow and non interactive form of blogging. Here I have the advantage because by the time I got home someone from the audience had left a nice comment on my previous entry. I'm sure Michael Palin would have felt similarly lifted if someone had scribbled a nice message like that in his diary at the time. So long as it could have been done without breaking into his house and finding his diary. Isn't the internet great?


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