Monday, August 30, 2010

What next?

I have accepted that offer to do a gig in Italy during a congress on translation organized by the University of Bologna, even if unfortunately it meant canceling my partecipation to the Manchester Comedy Festival. I'm really intrigued and not only because it will be my first performance in Italy, although still in English. I'm also intrigued by the academic settings, after all many critics niticed that at times my show sounded like a lecture in linguistics. This might also indicate a line of development, some new jokes have sprung to my mind during the festival's run and they all happen to be on the subject of language. I originally thought of doing a show on language for this Edinburgh, but I didn't have enough material so I added the part on becoming British and tried to harmonize these two parts under the umbrella of a reflection on national identify. This forced marriage probably wasn't a complete success and I must admit that the part on citizenship tasted a bit stale in my mouth. I'm now ready to let it go, so I'll work on replacing it with new material on language with the goal of finally writing that language-centric show in time for Brighton in May. After all it's the only subject that is winning me invitations to literally festivals and prestigious universities. More importantly, it's the subject that feels "mine" to me and that gives me the greatest pleasure.

The last performance

Today Edinburgh was very quite and I was worried of breaking my no cancellation record but at the I had a small audience but I had an audience. And I managed not to get too nervous or discouraged about it. After all confidence is a form of memory, it depends on having enough good experiences to remember when you are having a difficult one. This run has given me exactly that so there couldn't have been a more fitting finale.

It's almost over

Just one more performance. I feel quite sad but also satisfied. Two weeks ago Ashley told me: by the end of your show will be a different show and you will be a different man. Am I? I do feel different, I don't remember doing anything else in my life that required so much resilience, such a continuity of effort and concentration. I never had a day off, never cancelled a performance, I never gave up on the promotion. And I had people in my audience who really loved this show. There will be more reflections, balances and projects from the train home but for now I'm enjoying this nice feeling of achievement.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A twist in the tail

Today it went really well, the audience loved the show, laughed loudly and clapped enthusiastically. Such a difference a day makes. Pity I didn't register today's show, but maybe it was the camera that made me nervous yesterday. And, I discovered afterwards, there was a critic from FringeReview, so the last critic word on the hasn't been said yet. I'll be curious to see what a critic says after seeing a good performance, no justification this time. But no critic can be as severe as I was yesterday witj myself after my horrible performance and I'm happy that I came back from that. Tomorrow is the last show and the start of the countdown to the next Fringe.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Learning the hard way

Maybe I should have gone to bed earlier yesterday, expecially since I got the time of the tour wrong by a hour and I managed to catch only the last ten minutes. And when I arrived home at 3.30am I couldn't find the keys and I had to phone and wake-up a flatmate. Today I felt fine but at the end I gave one of my worst performances so far. The audience combination was quite unfortunate, mainly local week-enders with some non resident Italians, with no Londoner and only a couple of foreign UK residents. I know, classifying the audience by geographic origin goes against the very spirit of my show. Whatever the reason, they reacted very weakly to my opening gambits and the vicious circle of the bad show started again. When things go well now I'm pretty good at milking the laughter with a pause and sometimes a facial expression, but when I get silence I just rush towards the next line. What I need to learn is how to milk the silence, how to extract laughter from the jaws of silence with a pause and an expression that says: you can take your time, I'm waiting for you but I'm not anxious, I know you will join me. Otherwise you are telling your audience that you are giving up and even the few members who are laughing will start to think that they are the ones who are getting it wrong, given that their laughter is often covered by your rushing nervously to the next line. While I'm writing these lines I'm quite happy, at least, by the level of consciousness I managed to achieve. I will probably not show today's recording to anybody else, but I'll watch it myself in order to become even more conscious of these mechanisms.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fringe binge

Today I felt physically tired but I was surprised to my find my performance quite energetic. The wise thing to do now would be to go to bed early, given that tomorrow I'll video-record the show, but few days ago I bumped into Arthur Smith, who was really nice with me and invited me to this year's edition of his legendary alternative night tour of Edinburgh. I read about these crazy, almost dadaist events in his autobiography and I was really fascinated. Arthur even told me that I should play a part, probably involving speaking in Italian only. The only problem is that it will start at 2.45am! I voiced my dilemma to Ashley Frieze, who told me that it will be an experience I will never forget. He is probably right, besides I'm a little ashamed of having these doubts while the man running this event is much older than me, is diabetic and survived a near-death experience. So, fuck it, I'll see a "Dracula" at midnight, then I'll probably go to Late 'N Live (it starts at 1am and finishes at 5am!) and then to the tour. Tomorrow I'll pray Dr Theatre to give me, again, an extra injection of energy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Never had so good

Everybody around me seems to be counting the days to the end of the festival, but I'm really enjoying this tail. I feel so much more confident and relaxed about this show and I'm having an absolutely lovely audience. Today at the Pleasance I gave a flyer to these two guys, a Scot and a Belgian. We started talking and I offered them two free tickets, but they accepted only one while promising to buy a second. And so they did. After the show they waited for me at the exit, complimented me warmly and, again, asked to take a picture with me. They told me that they met at the Fringe many years ago, when apparently there was also an Italian girl involved, and kept meeting here every year despite living afar. Now I'm part of their Fringe memories and of course they are also part of mine.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In your face, critics

Today I had another very good show, with big laughs. This morning I was down because of the review, but at the end I managed to pull myself up and I gave an assured performance, maybe with a bit more of anger than the usual, which seemed to suit well the more polemical bits of the material. The only negative side was that there was this sweet old lady on the front row, a student of Italian, who seemed to be disappointed during the second half, the one about becoming British. I know why, she is an example of the typical elderly English italophile who perceives my journey as a betrayal. But other people seemed to connect very well. I also gave an interview to an Italian radio and agreed another with BBC Worldwide for Thursday, which will include extracts from my show registered on the same day. They are all part of the fallback from the Guardian's article, it's amazing how much the media world feeds on itself. Quite a lot to savour for a day.

Comments and reviews

Once again some very nice comments from members of the audience have come to my rescue in a difficult moment. Thank you very much Murray Brady and all the other people who enjoyed my show, your "stars" are the most precious.

The last review

Here it is:

There are a couple of points that really annoy me. First, of course I don't answer my own questions on identity. Funny enough, the very same publication in their preview article about my show wrote that this is typical of all good comedians and I even declare it in my publicity, albeit of course in an interrogative form. And my favourite definition of a philosopher is: somebody who has a question for every answer. Maybe I should say during my show, although I don't want to call myself a philosopher. The other point is that I don't make enough fun of stereotypes. It's what Henning Wehn does brilliantly but I'm not him and I'm not interested in doing the same things. This kind of expectation, however, might indeed been erroneously suggested by the publicity. Of course what hurts more is the allegation that my jokes might simply be not strong or sophisticated enough. I need to remind myself why I believe in the opposite, hopefully before 5.35pm.

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's how you hold it

My exercise in reliability is going pretty well. Today I was worried since, despite having gone to bed early, I overslept and woke up very sleepy. It seems to happen on rainy mornings, so I came to the conclusion that I'm more meteopathic than I thought. It's of course a very dangerous thing to be in Scotland, although it has been quite a good year from that point of view. But my performance was good and I got laughs all the way true. I'm also experimenting with ways of holding the microphone. Ivor Dembina told me that leaving it on the stan would help me to avoid looking down and loosing visual contact with the audience, but I love to move on the stage and I don't want to do like Lewis Schaffer, who walks around with mic and stand. So I'm now holding the mic with both hands, as if to project an ideal stand in front of me. For some strange reason this seems to force me to look high while also allowing for freedom of movement. Please send your Freudian interpretations on a postcard.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Best show so far!

After my unusual night of sleep in "normal" hours this morning I woke up full of energy. In fact I bumped into Giada who asked me why I looked so cheerful. And I did a showcase slot just before my show, not just after. It went less well than the other ones but that was because it worked as a warm-up to my show instead of the other way round. My performance was very energetic, I did feel hot but I actually enjoyed my sweat as the proof that I was giving all, as if I was doing some physical workout. And I never lost visual contact with the audience, which had been one of the problems in my past performances. Audience that, on their part, really seemed to enjoy it, with a couple of people even waiting outside to congratulate me. All this, however, makes me also a bit angry with myself. If all my performances were like today's this show would have been a great success instead of the struggle it has actually become. I guess this is the real distinction between the pro and the non-pro, professionalism after all is mainly about reliability. But at least now I know what I can achieve on a good day and I discovered a reserve of performing energy I didn't even know I had. My next challenge will be to keep it flowing.

A bad one

Yesterday, after a string of good performances, I had a really bad one. I hadn't slept well, I discovered that going to bed late and waking up late doesn't really do for me, so
last night I went to bed at 11pm and this morning I woke up at 8.30am. So rock-and-roll. The heath in my venue was also particularly unbearable and chance had put together an audience mix that seemed to react weakly to even my strongest jokes. It's very difficult to say to what level is your performance and what level is the audience, since what happens in these cases is some sort of vicious circle, where a weak response to something originally delivered reasonably well makes you loose confidence and concentration, leading to a weaker delivery and an even weaker response. Of course the right reaction would be to do the opposite, to step up your game in front of the adversities, but I guess this is one of the things I'm here to learn. Today I feel more rested so let's see.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sorry for the delay

Here I am again. I was quite busy with my parents in town on top of everything else. I enjoyed their company and they loved Edinburgh and the Fringe atmosphere. They came to see the show, which was a bit weird given that they don't understand English. Fortunately it was a good show so they could at least see that the audience were laughing. The only moment of embarrassement was when my mother started to clap a bit too early. I came out to the stage after the show to greet them and this German woman was absolutely enthusiastic, she told me that she had been looking for a long time for a good comic treatment of those questions of identity and that she related completely to the spirit of the show. She even took notes to send to her friends and yes, before you asked, she also laughed heartly. It's encounters like this that make the all thing worthwhile. And yesterday I received an invitation from the University of Bologna to perform my act as part of a conference about translation. I'm really honoured, I just hope they'll not say afterwards that it sounds more like a comedy show than a lecture .

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A day full of events and people

First of all, a media event I have waiting for ages has finally happened. The Guardian has published (for now online, tomorrow Wednesday on paper) the interviewed I gave to Brian Logan along with other foreign comedians:

It's a good article and I think I come out pretty well. And it's the Guardian. Wow. Roll, presses, roll.

And at the show I had some very important guests. First of all, my fellow Italian comedian Giada Garofalo and her partner Nelson. Since I did the Brighton festival with Giada she followed with interest and partecipation the development of my show so I was looking forward to her opinion. I wasn't disappointed at all, she gave me a lot a food for thought, for which I'm really grateful.

And Ivor Dembina came too. He is a comedy legend and a personal hero of mine, I loved his show "This is not a subject for comedy". Later I pumbed into him on the Royal Mile and he gave me a lot of advice. In particular he advised me to keep more often the mic on the stand. The amazing thing is that I had just read on Stewart Lee's autobiography how he learned that technique from nobody else than Ivor Dembina. I mentioned that to Ivor and he said: "yes, but you are even worse than he was back then". Well, I can live with that. Here was somebody who remembered when Stewart Lee was bad and taught him to become good and who now was giving advice to me, as if me and Stewart (as I feel entitled to call him now) were pupils in the same class. Amazing, only in Edinburgh. This is one of the reasons why is great to be here, you are fighting shoulder to shoulder with so many good and great comedians that not learning something from them is almost impossible. Especially with somebody as generous as Ivor.

The show itself was not bad, the audience was small but there was an Italian young lady who laughed at every punchline, serving as a cheerleader for the others. The critic must have thought that she was a "plant", but I swear she was "real". Regarding the critic herself, I regret to report that she never laughed and smiled only a couple of times. She spent most of the time scribbling as if she was going to publish a verbatim account of of my show. Let's see.

And my parents have arrived in town, of which I think I'll write more tomorrow.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Never count your chickens

When you think that you cracked the code, there is probably a bad gig just around the corner. Today the omens weren't good. I didn't sleep well since I had just forrgotten to have dinner, it can happen at the Fringe. Then I went to a showcase at 12.40am to discover at the last moment that it was a show for children. I panicked, thought of removing the swear words but realized that it would be pointless so I chickened. The MC was forced to pull the show since I was one of the only two acts who hadn't cancelled. And it was a paid show. At the end I think I did the most professional thing, it was more serious for the audience to get the money back than to witness the wrong type of show. And my solo show got a weak reception. No I need to understand why, but the truth is that there is probably no code you can crack once and for all.

It's all about me

I was reading another comedian's blog where I was mentioned along with many other people and I realized that I have hardly mentioned anybody else in this blog. Maybe it's not a bad thing, at least I'm not in danger of damaging or hurting anybody else. I'll make an exception for a critic: yesterday I bumped into Kate Copstick from the Scotsman, who last year wrote a very good review of my show. Not only she recognised me, but she remembered my name and even pronounced it correctly. We then went on having a conversation in Italian, she told me in fact that she spent some years in Italy. That reminded me how much comedy is about connection and how that applies both to audience and critics. The critics who speak well of me are those with who I establish that connection, those who don't are those with whom that connection fails. This thought should help me to relativise both criticism and praise. She also asked me about this year's show and she told me she'll try to come, although I felt obliged to tell her that this year show is "an extension" of last year's, meaning that I repeat quite a lot of material, so it's probably unlikely that she'll come. Let's see.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Safety in numbers

Yesterday I had 31 people in: 8 paying full price, 1 senior, 12 half price and 10 for free. It's a good example of market segmentation or, in more socialists terms, from everybody according to their possibility. Income for the day: £155. Having a 2/3 full house: priceless. The theatre companies at my venue seem more comfortable with small numbers and less desperate to increase head count by any means, but stand-up really needs a good audience. Yesterday I had my best show so far, my delivery was lively and relaxed, I got laughs all the way through and I added new bits of bantering and audience interaction. I now understand how important it is to get the audience relaxed about me and me about the audience. Every time I add something new or I change something I wish I could move the clocks back and start the run again, but that is always the problem with learning from experience. And as a spectator yesterday I saw two amazing theatre shows at my venue, one so powerful that one member of the audience fainted and another after the show was sobbing in the arms of the actress. I love the Fringe.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

And up again

I know, this up and down thing must be sound a bit cliche by now, almost formulatic. I must have learned on a blogging course. But today I had a fantastic show. I really pushed hard on the promotion, it was a Saturday and as a tesult I had an almost full house, a lovely, responsive, laughing audience. I hope to defeat the cliche and stay "up" for at least few more days.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A very tough day

Today for the second day in a row the Half Price Hut failed to display the name of my show. In order to compensate I paid a girl to flyer for two hours in front of it explaning to everybody that the show was indeed available inside. But she didn't seem to understand the task, I was going back to my venue when I saw her going in the direction of the Royal Mile, so I had to stop her and send her back to the Hut, feeling a bit like some sort of Fagin. At the end she did spend two hours there and she gave away a shitload of flyers, probably all to random passers by, given that I didn't sell a single half price ticket. At the end I did a show in front of 6 people, 3 paying plus 3 from another company. There were some tantalising moments of laughter, an indication that a show very strong in all his parts could have worked never the less. Instead these moments were alternated with moments of embarrassed silence. Afterwards I felt as deflated as after the very bad review, with a feeling that the very small audience had made me face for the first time the limits of my show.

Storms and stormings

Yesterday the weather was really stormy, with violent showers that made flyering very difficult. After the show I faced one this shower to go to another showcase. Afrer the gig rhe MC said "you stormed", so this time you don't have to take my word for it. I guess what's happening is that I'm cashing the dividend in confidence from dealing with an audience on my own for almost a hour in a dark and sweaty room. Doing a short set in a club now feels like a walk in the park. If this is true and if this extra confidence is going to stay then this festival has already succeeded in making me a much better comedian.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's never too early

A couple of ideas for next year are already buzzing in my mind and given that apparently this year I wasn't brave enough they are suitably both quite wacky. The first is doing a solo show called "Giacinto Palmieri doesn't even mention that he is Italian". Apart from playing with the paradox in the publicity, I will indeed never mention a single time the subject of my nationality, but I will maybe allude to it, almost-say it but retreat at the last moment, play with it as with some sort of taboo elephant in the room. I might market it as a social experiment on the readiness of the British public to accept a foreign comedian who talks about something different from his nationality and it would also represent a logical next step from the cosmopolitanism I advocate in this year's show. Moreover the constraint would force me to write all new material. The second idea is to run also an evening free showcase called something like "Bad reviews support group" or "Badly reviewed anonymous", where comedians are invited to get out steam and vitriol about the bad reviews they had. I might offer the option of doing so publically or with a KKK-style "hat" (what's the right word?) over their head. The problem with bad reviews is that the rational behaviour would be never to mention them at all, but as with all negative experience a problem shared is a problem halved. And what better way for a comedian to deal with a negative experience than making fun of it? I would really love to hear from you what you think of these two ideas.

Healthy numbers

You might remember that I wasYou might remember that on Tuesday I was worried about having pre-sold only two tickets for Wednesday. So I released tickets for the Half Price Hut and I went to flyer there, but I found it less busy than I hoped. I didn't have a chance to check the sales report before the show so I waited backstage for the audience to come in fearing an almost empty house. When I was called to the stage I was very pleased to see a relatively well populated house. I checked the report afterwards and discovered that I had sold 21 tickets, only 8 at half price, for a total of £130. Not bad at all, given how competitive the festival is this year. Hopefully it means that the word-of-mouth is taking off, but is also due in part to C Venues having an excellent year, with an almost costant queue at the box office. I had my doubts before but now I'm happy of having chosen them, they have always been helpful and the venue has a very nice buzz about it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Good enough" is good enough

Chortle's review is out:

Now, let's put all this in perspective: I took the mic for the first time only two years ago. I'm pretty sure that many of my comedy friends, and a big part of me, thought it was simply mad to do a one hour show with so little experience in the most competitive festival in the world. I know many people who are very good but are still far from doing a hour. And I do comedy in my second language and in my spare time. I hope to get more praise and many more laughs, but for today "Good enough" (Chortle) is something I'll write proudly on my inner flyer.

Thanks for the comments

Just a quick note to thank you all for the very nice comments you are leaving. I haven't replied to any of them so far only bacause I haven't discovered how to do that with the app I'm using, but I'm savouring every single word of them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And jumping...

...which is probably the best way to prepare yourself for a new fall, but for now I'm enjoying it. The show today was a real cracker, the 2x1 audience was numerous and they laughed heartly all the way. Unfortunately tomorrow we'll be back at normal prices and I have sold only 2 tickets so far, but it's the first day of the Half Price Hut so I have released 20 tickets for it and I'll push them like cake or sliced bread or whatever the right expression is. Now I really, really, really want my show to be seen.

And galloping

Indeed I had fun at my how. The audience was very good in number and they seemed to enjoy themselves. Three Italian girls came backstage to give me feedback, the UK-resident among them loved it while the visiting friends confessed to have understood very little. This made me realize how much I was missing the immediate feedback I had last year when I didn't have a backstage where to hide, so maybe I might decide to thank the audience at the exit. After the solo show I rushed straight away to do ten minutes at a showcase, which made me feel very professional: no time to loose here and no need to rest either. The audience was young, nice and responsive. Then I switched my phone on and discovered that a critic from Chortle, the industry's main website, had been to my show. It was probably a good thing that I did not know it in advance, but I'm now happy that he was there and I'm looking forward to the review. I don't mean that I expect only praise this time, but Chortle's reviews tend to be quite articulated and alwayd an interesting reading. Regardless of the review, however, I think I proved to myself that the show is something I can be proud of and that my presence here is not a waste of time, money and energy but a small contribute to one of the most amazing events in the world.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back on the saddle

Sorry everybody for the gloominess of yesterday's post. Apparently what I was supposed to after the "fall" was to get straight back on the saddle. I was helped in this by the fact that today at lunchtime I was on a panel show based on the theme of skepticism and rationalism. It was good and I got some of the biggest laughs. I always thought improvisation wasn't my strength but now I think it's a side I should develop more. But above all the experience reminded me that the Fringe is about having fun, only that way you can bring other people to share it and have a successful show. I then went straight to do some flyering. Doing promotion after a confidence crisis feels weird, but it's also the best thing to do: you repeat so many times how brilliant you are that you end up convincing yourself. Which, by the way, makes me a bit worried for the guy flyering beside me, who had the brilliant line: "my show is rubbish". And today tickets are 2x1, it's raining after a glorious morning and the venue is packed with people. It's the right day to have some fun.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


The first review is out and I got a real trashing. If I had to write a parody of a bad review exaggerating its harshness for comic effect the result wouldn't fall that far from the actual words of that review. It has left me feeling completely broken. I dont't know what to do next. Going to see a show? What, a brilliant, well reviewed one? A bad one one in which to see the reflections of my fears? Every poster or flyers around me celebrates brilliancy and success. I have just be given one with five stars, for Christ's sake, some people have no shame. I feel like somebody dropped by his girlfriend on Valentine's Day. In Venice. On a gondola. And everywhere I look I can only see teddy bears and heart-shaped cushions.

Busy days

For yesterday I was planning to take it easy and focus on the preparation, but I forgot that it was the day of Meet The Press. It's an event that seems to exist to remind you of how difficult it is to get any attention from anybody and how fierce the competition is. I queued 1 hour to get in, half hour to talk to BroadwayBaby and 2 hours and a half to talk to the Scotsman. At that point it was time to go to my venue for the show. I felt knackered and not looking forward to standing for another hour. Fortunately being physically tired helped to relax, the delivery was precise and animated and the audience laughed all the way. It was the first performance when I thought I was getting the result I was hoping for. In the evening I took part to a very funnily wacky talk show hosted by Robert Commiskey. It was nice, as it also was Electric Cabaret on Thursday in front of a packed audience who rewarded me with big laughs and a couple of applause breaks, that holy grail of comedians. I'm happy that this year I have been invited to quite a few of these events, not only they are a good chance to promote your show and socialize with the other comedians but they are so much easier than the solo show and they help you to recharge the confidence batteries when it's needed. And on Friday night I watched Richard Herring's show "Christ on a bike", very clever and very funny. Now I have finally got the C Venues pass so I'm planning to see more shows. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

First lessons learned

Today it went much better. I had around 15 people, I kept the audience light on and that helped a lot, I got many more laughs and the visual connection with the audience helped my confidence. But I forgot a couple of bits and I finished earlier. I came to the conclusion that in these two days I dedicated too much energy to the promotion of the show and too little to the show itself, maybe because I had only 0 and 2 tickets sold. For tomorrow I have got 6, so I will resign myself to the possibility of having exactly that number and concentrate on script alterations and on the preparation of the delivery. The most important thing is that your audience leave happy, regardless of how small it is. Otherwise even the best promotion becomes a lie or at least an unkept promise.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The baptism of fire

I'm in Edinburgh and I have done my first show. I arrived by train at 12.35 and went straight away to the venue to collect my flyers and print some complementary tickets. The reason for such haste was that I had two reviewers booked in and no ticket sold for today, despite a quite healthy sale of 54 tickets in total. I printed 20 tickets and went flyering like crazy in front of the Fringe box office, fighting for attention with Ivor Dembina and Lewis Schaffer. I mananaged to "sell" all my tickets to people who looked truly determined to come and in fact at the end I did a show in front of probably at least 25 people. Problem is, I have never heard people NOT to laugh so much at a comedy show. I had few chortles but norhing more. Strangely enough I had quite a generous applause at the end. It would be tempting to ask whether they knew it was comedy, but it's never the audience, it's always the message you send them. I think the biggest mistake was not to leave an audience light on. The room is narrow and deep so I could only see a couple of rows, which made impossible to interact with people. My delivery was ok, without any major setback apart from skipping a bit, but I didn't move enough in the space, which is a mistake I make often. Not, after all, errors impossible to correct. Problem is that I can now expect a bad review from ThreeWeeks and The List. Aside from the psychological blow bad reviews can just be ignored, but the "opportunity cost" is big, there aren't so many publications likely to see you after all. It's the revenge of that anonymous "source" who criticized my venue for allowing critics too early, to which I replied in my usual cocky style: it's up to us to be ready. Yeah. And I don't think you'll have a chance to vote for me in future editons of that "Who Is Your Comedy Comedy God?" survey, given the Foster's panelist was in today too. Not so bad, after all if it wasn't for Stewart Lee who would remember Frank Chicken?