I know, I know, this is a horror based blog but I just need to share my feelings on last nights show for the writer in me.
Mike Reiss is one of the 23 writers on The Simpsons and the creator of Queer Duck. He politely declined to acknowledge his co-creator credit for Teen Angel – We all love it really..
As with Silent Hill Live, I was sceptical about travelling in to an area with a less than average reputation, but upon arrival, I was taken back by the venue and this was a huge surprise. Not because of the stories I have heard, but because I used to live around the corner from this beautiful, church-run hall and never bothered to check it out. If you had told me that Crytal Palace had an International film festival last week I would have literally rolled on the floor with laughter. Some say that ignorance is bliss, but on this occasion, it is most certainly not.
The festival is run by the nicest people that you will ever meet and that is no exaggeration. There couldn’t be a friendlier bunch of people out there and the atmosphere inside was most definitely a contrast to outside the doors of the Stanley Hall. The venue, by the way, was the first building to have electricity in Croydon.
I got there 45 minutes before showtime and took my seat in the front row; I was excited. Mike Reiss was already there and this is the part that I love the most; he hung around in the crowd talking to everyone and even let someone interview him for their website. Mike, ever smiling, is the personification of happiness. He was genuinely happy to be there and I wondered if a man who is responsible for some of the funniest gags on television would be anything the same in person.
Mike answered that right away when he took to the stage. He started by telling us that a comedy writer and comedian are very different, and within seconds, contradicted himself. Firing away with a joke about how it was like phone sex and real sex; only to tell us that one was a long, drawn out, boring experience, that ended with a soulless feeling and the other cost him £20 for 4 minutes. The crowd were fully engaged and the rest of the show didn’t disappoint.
Mike regaled us with past stories about his experiences, a journey in to the ideas behind his own show – Queer Duck, a scene from The Critic – the show that didn’t do to well, and a lengthy Q&A session.
Considering that I did not know what to expect, this show was phenomenal. A genuine guy with lots of stories and a whole lot of time for the people. Mike stayed afterwards and spoke to every single attendee who had formed in a queue. He signed things and took photos and answered any questions that anyone had. I couldn’t recommend one of his talks enough.
The session was a huge inspiration to me and Mike Reiss is one of the biggest reasons that I will continue to pursue a career as a screenwriter. A big thanks is due to him and the people that put together the festival which is still on for another week.