ABOUT THAT RANT I WENT ON
Look, I know it was dumb to go on a Twitter rant about a review I received for one of my comedy shows. It was dumb to think I could right a perceived wrong in 140 characters or less. It was dumb to even draw attention to a review that 99.9% of my followers (average in an estimate, not a mathematical fact) would have never even known about. It was dumb to mention the writer’s name. It was especially dumb to ask my followers to give their opinion to the writer; even though I asked everyone to be polite, the guy really didn’t deserve to be hassled for a review that really wasn’t all that bad. For that, I apologize to the guy. All in all, just a series of dumb things I did that day that seemed perfectly logical when I woke up at 4 am and couldn’t get that review out of my head. Let me at least try to explain.
Remember “A Christmas Story”, where Ralphie wrote the essay about the Red Ryder BB gun? The one he imagined getting the A++++ on? Remember how devastated he was when he got the C (or C+, or C-, whatever the heck it was)? Well, essentially that was me, thinking I was going to get that one tremendous review from an influential comedy website, that was going to allow me much greater exposure in the UK media – and with it, a legitimate chance to expand beyond the curiosity factor in the UK comedy world.
The reviewer had attended two shows; one in Glasgow, and one in Newcastle. I made sure he got to see two distinctly different shows. According to more than one account, he had a very enjoyable time as a spectator in Glasgow, even noting that it was a “great show” to promoter Chris Brooker. So following the Manchester show, which I firmly believed was the stronger set of the two, I anticipated a review that would reflect that “great show” sentiment. And when I didn’t get it, I got angry.
I know it seems foolish to care so much about a single review. But I firmly believed that this was the review that was going to “make” me. I’d seen it happen before. In 1988, there wasn’t even a whisper of a full-time job for me in pro-wrestling. I’d been sending letters, tapes and photos to promoters seemingly forever – all to no avail. Until one reference of my name in “The Wrestling Observer” as one of the best unknown Independent workers in the business – after which I received three full-time job offers in two days. One of them, in Memphis, led to Dallas, which led to WCW, etc., etc.
Believe it or not, my first novel, “Tietam Brown” whose poor sales I joke around about in the US, was actually a modest success – both commercially and critically – in the UK. While the sighting of a Foley novel at a US event or signing is a rarity indeed, I signed dozens (and dozens) of them while on my UK tour. Why the difference in perception? I really believe it was due to one influential reviewer for the BBC, who took the book seriously and gave it a positive review, which seemingly allowed every other media outlet to take the book seriously as well. Not all the reviews were positive, but, love it or loathe it, the book was taken seriously. I seriously thought the reviewer in Newcastle was going to be THAT guy for me in comedy; the guy who would allow others in the UK - whether they loved it or loathed it – to treat what I was doing with at least a modicum of respect. Obviously, that didn’t happen.
Yes, I should have been able to let it go. After all, the reviewer wouldn’t have been the first person to refer to something as “great” when it actually wasn’t. I believe every wrestler (including this one) at some point in their career has said the phrase “great match” to a colleague without really meaning it. My wife might even be guilty of referring to something I did in the Foley bedroom as being “great”, when in truth, it was probably only really, really good. Nonetheless, when one has their heart set on something - whether it be a Red Ryder BB gun, or an A++++, or a great comedy review - and then doesn’t get it..well, it tends to leave a mark. I used to have creative outlets for frustration. Remember the “Cane Dewey” promo? Yeah, that was a pretty good way to vent frustration. Now I’ve got Twitter. Sometimes, having instant access to expressing your frustrations – and an instant audience, with permanent ramifications, is not the healthiest..or wisest way to vent those frustrations.
I’m pretty sure I learned a lesson here, and I hope wrestling fans and followers will cut me a little slack. I’ve got to run now – I’m late for my “Tweeter’s Anonymous” meeting. Perhaps disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner will have a sympathetic ear for me.