EP 28 – Ben Williams – Comedy Editor at Time Out London

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Total run time: 1 hour 27 mins 15 secs.

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About Ben Williams…

Ben Williams (@benagain) has been the comedy editor at Time Out London since 2011. He’s also run the Long Paws Comedy Club for over a decade and really knows what makes a good listing that attracts the eye and the right kind of audience for your event. He also had advice on PR and press releases. 

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Here’s a list of questions we covered… 

Listing / Review…

  • How would someone get their gig listed? What’s the minimum criteria? [9 mins 20 secs]
  • Do people want to know who is on the bill? Do you think people care about who is on an open mic or just the headliner? [9 mins 20 secs]
  • Does a long list of unheard of comics aid the reader in any way? [9 mins 20 secs]
  • How to get more exposure for your night / listing by becoming recommended [9 mins 20 secs]
  • What’s a big no-no that stops people from getting into Time Out? [9 mins 20 secs]
  • Ever banned anyone from being listed? If so, why? [9 mins 20 secs]
  • On average how many emails would you say you get per day? [9 mins 20 secs]
  • If your gig doesn’t appear on the site, should we email again, or is that annoying? [18 mins 25 secs]
  • How do you select what goes in the magazine with such limited space? [20 mins 35 secs]
  • How has the expansion of the comedy club circuit in London impacted the listings process at Time Out? Do you need more notice now? [23 mins 14 secs]
  • How often do you get to go and watch comedy for fun? [25 mins 46 secs]

 

    • Are there too many clubs?
    • What are the common mistake / your pet peeves that people do when sending in listings details to you?
    • How you ever blacklist clubs from being listed? If so what for?

 

  • Why doesn’t Time Out have star ratings on it’s reviews but it does let the users of the site give star ratings? [26 mins 51 secs]
  • What do you think about the star rating system? [27 mins 11 secs]
  • Do you think the star system has made the public lazy and less likely to read your review? Does it upset you that you work hard on reviews and people don’t read them? [29mins]
  1. Mark Fisher Podcast
  • Do you write a review for the comedian or potential audience? [31 mins 08 secs]
  • Has anyone ever misquoted you? Does that get picked up? [33 mins 53 secs]
  • What makes a good Time Out press-release? [36 mins 35 secs]
  1. Indie Guide to A Press Release
  • Will Time Out accept press releases from independent comedians? [38 mins 30 secs]
  • Are there too many middle men in comedy? [39 mins 24 secs]

The Internet…

  • Do you think there’s a level at which comedians don’t need listing sites because they have their own direct relationship with their audience using the internet? [44 mins 45 secs]
  1. Daniel Kitson
  2. The Londonist podcast
  • What is the purpose of Time Out’s social media accounts? [47 mins]
  • Time Out advertising and how many hits per month he needs to get to have a job [49 mins 40 secs]
  • How driven by advertising is Time Out? [49 mins 40 secs]
  • How do you track comedians you like to keep up-to-date with performers and clubs you like? [52 mins 35 secs]
  • How early should you send in a press release? [53 mins 45 secs]
  1. Bruce Dessau’s podcast
  • Do you prefer to see previews or fully finished shows? [58 mins 10 secs]
  • Do you worry or pay any attention to other more niched London-based listing with a much less general focus? [58 mins 45 secs]
  • Who does Time Out see as competition? [58 mins 45 secs]
  • Which other publications do you read to keep up with the industry? [59 mins 35 secs]
  • Are you anti-paywalls? [1 hour 0 mins 36 secs]
  • How often do you cover new comedians? [1 hour 01 mins 40 secs]
  • With more and more audiences sticking with performers they know and trust are you finding this is causing you issues as a historic listing platform? [1 hour 7 mins 57 secs]
  • How long does a Time Out post stay live on the internet for (helping to create a web presence for a new comic)? [1 hour 7 mins 1 sec]

Time Out Deals…

  • There’s been a lot of talk that “deals” devalue comedy as it lets people enjoy it for less money causing the margins to be tighter for performers. What do you have to say about that? [1 hour 11 mins 25 secs]

Other…

  • What’s the most under used or least known about feature or tools on the Time Out website you think comedy fanatics looking for gigs, and promoters looking to get the most out of their listing. [1 hour 18 mins]

 

    • Which other websites / reviewers do you read / enjoy the writing of?

 

  • What are you pet peeves about comedy nights? [1 hour 21 mins 20 secs]

 

    • If you could ask promoters to stop saying one thing, what would it be?

 

  • What comedy do you enjoy / favourite comedians? [1 hour 14 mins 30 secs]
  1. Stewart Lee
  2. Tim Key
  3. Bo Burnham
  4. Sara Pascoe
  5. Bridget Christie
  • Show recommendations?
  1. Bo Burnham – What
  2. Stewart Lee – 90s Comedian
  3. Tim Keys – Master Slut 

 

 

 

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