A funny thing happened on the way to graduation
Heard the one about the students who shut themselves away in a basement for two months without food or water or sleep, just so they could build the best comedy website they'd ever seen?
They almost died laughing.
Okay, I won't make it on the comedy circuit. But the students just might. Suchsmallportions.com was the brainchild of Josh Widdicombe and fellow MA students at City University in London. What began as an online magazine project with Yours Truly the guiding light quickly gathered pace and became one of the most professional and commercially promising sites I've seen in seven years of teaching.
It's certainly the first one I've puffed and, if you follow this link, you'll see why. It's packed with news, reviews, quirky podcasts and clips from smokey clubs. There are even some adverts starting to appear. When I joined them to swig champagne from the bottle a few days before the launch, they were already 43p in profit.
Most pleasing for me was the way in which, from the day we met to brainstorm ideas in a classroom, they were thinking commercially. No hobbies, no indulgences, no 'how can I get the guy with glasses to upload my 3,000-word travel essay (think I'm joking?), just a fresh approach to a subject that's ripe for the web.
OK, so they did most of their thinking in the pub, but some - such as design guru Aaron Davis (guy with glasses) did spend up to 14 hours a day underground and PR mastro Anna Winston (girl with a smile) did get get out there and spread the word on the club scene. One promoter even compared their style to early NME which chuffed them to bits.
One of the best features is the Showcase section which allows comedians to submit clips of their act with a promise that they'll appear live if they're funny enough. The ones there so far a worth a chuckle and it deserves to gather pace.
All in all, it's quite endearing to see the surprise on young faces when they present a really quite good idea and get a really positive response. I just hope they stick with it all the way.
Who knows, they could be laughing all the way to the bank.