“You should be on the telly!” – a regular comment from folks buying me drinks after a show. So why haven’t you seen me on the likes of Britain’s Got Talent? Penn and Teller: Fool Us, The Magicians and any of the other TV opportunities that are going around?
It was a close shave, I almost made a big mistake and got myself on the telly-box when we drove to ITV’s Southbank Studios early one day to do a day’s filming for an ITV Prime Time show called Phenomenon. The thing was commissioned and all was ready to rock. Just before airing it was pulled because a screening audience vote said that they didn’t like the guy who was hosting is (which wasn’t me I might add).
At the time yes, I was disappointed but now I appreciate that everything happens for a reason.
For the past 3 years I’ve had phone calls from the producers of Britain’s Got Talent, and each year I’ve openly told them that I don’t want anything to do with the next ego-trip, money machine that is Simon Cowell.
I believe that what I do can only be presented in it’s truest form, in a live environment. Yes Derren Brown has done a kick-ass job on TV over the past 10 or so years, and he’s amazing at it, but what I do really has to be right in front of you, using your friends, your guests and reacting to the moments that occur at your event.
When you see one of my shows live you’ll have no questions, there are no camera tricks, we didn’t edit anything out, we didn’t use Computer Generated Imagery or split-screens, it’s for real using your thoughts, your choices and your mind.
The final reason I won’t do it is the same reason controversial comedian Frankie Boyle has stepped back from television work. I want to be able to spend time to refine an act, get every moment right and make it great before you get to see it. On TV you can’t be afforded that luxury. Once something’s been on TV everyone’s seen it, and some are stealing it.
I love that I write all of my own material, every word, every idea is mine. In the world of mass media such as broadcast you are forced to have others create for you. This means you end up performing stuff you know it’s right for you, doing things that clash with what you believe, and the pleasure drains from this fantastic stuff.
So, after 10 or so years of being asked “why are you not on TV” you now know, I nearly was but thankfully I’ve now seen sense.