INTERVIEW: Sketches That Never Quite Made It

With the difficult times we are facing at the moment, it is the perfect time to try something new whilst you are forced to stay indoors and over the next couple of weeks we are interviewing acts that are putting on everything from projects to lessons. Today, we are talking to one of The Phoenix Remix team – James Walsh who has just started a brand new podcast all about Sketches. I caught up with him to find out all about it.

Hello there tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hello! I’m James, I’m a comedy writer, performer, and co-producer for Next Level Sketch at Hoopla, and I picked a very bad year to pivot to dog sitting and live comedy promotion.

Tell us all about the project that you are bringing to the online world at the moment?

It’s a podcast called Sketches That Never Quite Made It – cue catchy jingle – and it’s about sketches that never quite made it. The writing process is all about knowing when to let go – to abandon an idea if it’s not working and move on to new, fresh corners of the imagination palace. I am not very good at this, so decided to start a podcast where I exhume old, abandoned sketches to talk them over with fellow sketch comedy writers and performers. In the process we hope we may learn something about how not to write sketches.

What times does it run throughout the day?

New episodes are delivered to the internet on Monday mornings, because nothing says failure like a Monday morning.

How much does it cost , what platform etc?

It’s free! You can find the podcast on anchor, and should start appearing on your regular podcast provider any day now.

How was the project formed?

The idea came to me very late at night, so I had to stagger around in the dark to find a receipt to write it down on. In the morning, what I had written down still made sense: an unusual occurrence.

How has it been going so far?

It’s going great! Although my guest Euan entirely ruined the premise in the first episode by saying my abandoned sketch Harry Potter but it’s Hazza Pazza “had something in it”. But that’s fine – perhaps there’s hope out there for even the silliest of ideas?

With everything happening in the world at the moment, why is it so important to have activities like yours available?

Well, one early piece of feedback was “I don’t know anything about sketch comedy, but it was lovely just to hear you two talking.” It was too easy to isolate ourselves even before lockdown, and if this nonsense brings even a tiny molecule of joy to someone out there then I would feel I am doing my bit in the eternal battle against entropy.

What can people expect over the next few weeks from your project?

More guests! More failed sketches! At the moment we’re just reading them out but I might start recording them properly, as there’s something very entertaining to me about going to all that effort producing something you have long since decided is not good enough for public consumption.

If people want to find out more about you on social media where shall they visit?

This question made me set up a twitter account. You can find me @failedsketches – would love to have more guests lined up if they want to talk about their own abandoned idea kittens.

Finally why should people get involved?

What could be more delightful than to metaphorically sift for gold amid the muck? Only by embracing failure can we truly be free. Also, it’s a lot cheaper than therapy.

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