Popcorn, Popcorn! Get your Popcorn!

I’m typing this through bleary eyes today after another cracking time at Popcorn Comedy at London’s Roxy Bar & Screen last night, concluding our month of Popcorn-related fun. As ever, the films were excellent, particularly Birdboxstudio‘s ‘Pub’ which bucked the trend and gave everyone a hot slice of traditional animation amongst the more surreal entries.
As you may well know, we were asked to bring Popcorn Comedy to Birmingham recently to spread the potent mix of funny videos and live performances about the place like a particularly amusing rash. I think it’s safe to say it was a success!

The Electric Cinema is a fantastic venue and really provides the perfect atmosphere for films to shine. Funny or Die hit the right notes with their Dawson Brothers-scripted Too Much Minerals sketch, and Rocket Sausage‘s CGI-brows went down a treat too. Misery Bear achieved his usual ‘awww’-factor and Swatrick Payze‘s Funny Fish Finger Friends was a personal favourite. Another Funny or Die entry, Photocopier, looked great too and gave off more short film vibes than out-and-out comedy which changed the pace nicely.

We gave a new film its first airing too, which was both exhilarating and mildly terrifying. We’re interested to see how that goes down on YouTube, as we peered through the cracks in our fingers on the night!

Because of the cosy, cinema setting people were a little quiet at first, so Doc Brown really had to work for those laughs. Luckily he was excellent and I can’t wait to see more from him in the future. His ‘Slang 101’ rap was a highlight, and his gangsta-rap video about equestrian dressage is just awesome.

Sensing a conservative audience, Holly Walsh came out all guns blazing and used her energy and natural banter to rouse them. She’s a very funny lady and I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot more of her on the tellybox very soon.

I have to say a big thanks to several people, including the Electric Cinema for being such a good venue and the staff for making it all work, Hello Digital for sponsoring the night, Birmingham Comedy Festival‘s Dave Freak for his continuing support, Holly Walsh and Doc Brown for coming up and doing a great job on stage, the filmmakers for submitting their lovely films, the people for coming to watch and Jon Petrie for giving us the opportunity to give it a go and helping everything run as smoothly as possible.

There were undoubtedly times when we had dark thoughts like: “Will the venue be OK?”, “Will people come?” and “What if it all goes tits up and we look stupid?” Fortunately, none of those fears were founded and I’m sure everyone had a good night.

As one of the organisers I am hyper-critical of everything that went on, so the observations below are probably not indicative of the views of joe-public in the audience. But still, here’s some other thoughts I think need airing.

Taking an established night to a new city is not easy. Promotion was tricky as many central venues wouldn’t allow posters for out-of-house events. Listings websites also seemed slow to update given our admittedly short notice and the region’s print media showed little-to-no interest in providing any coverage, a fact that I am still slightly disappointed by. Reaching the city’s students is something to work on too.

Big shout out to BBC Radio though who interviewed Holly and Doc before the show, and Who’s Laughing Now?, Animation Forum WM, and Created in Birmingham for the previews. Cheers!

Hyper-criticism aside, everyone seemed to really enjoy the night, we’ve proved to another city how unique Popcorn Comedy is, and we can’t wait to bring an even better Popcorn Comedy night to Birmingham soon!

The next Popcorn Comedy night is at The Roxy Bar & Screen in London on 5 November. Check the website for more details and sign-up for updates here.