A Correctness State of the Union
First, a bit of history.
About a year and a half ago, after some social function or another (I believe it may well have been an evening of Settlers of Catan) just as the man/boy who would become known as Robbie Robtown was heading out my front door, I said to him…
“Hey, we should start an online humor magazine.”
This would be a repository of bits of humorous fiction and general weirdness that wouldn’t adapt easily to performance, and was better served in prose. I would have added “Like Cracked” at the time, had I known of the sites existence, and known it had evolved WAAAYY past being a shitty Mad magazine rip off
“Definitely” he replied heading home to silently ruminate on his singleness, as he often does.
A few days later, the question of what to call it came up Rob said “I always wanted to call a sketch troupe or an improv team THE CORRECTNESS”
That was the ENTIRE name discussion. I liked it right away. It had just the right tone of over the top self importance with just a dash of buffoonery. I went and got the domain registration.
Mere days later, Rob mentioned bringing Dave in as he was wise in the ways of website, and neither Rob nor I were. I had known Dave off and on for some time, I had done some Star trek based improv with him, and played Velma to his wife’s Daphne in a Scooby Doo play I wrote and performed with my sketch troupe. The comedy community here in Calgary is pretty small, we knew each other mostly by reputation. Plus, he had a habit of showing up in my vicinity for pretty much every geeky event that came through town.
Thanks to Dave and his single minded sense of purpose and fast Lego building reflexes, he site was up and running, complete with its first article on June 30th 2009. It was an Article on whether or not Indiana Jones deserved another sequel.
That added a layer I wasn’t thinking of, a kind of repository of pop culture punditry. But I liked it. I liked that it could be one of Rob’s weird and wonderful essays one day, some sort of acidly opinionated (in a good way) top ten list by Dave the next, and some obscure bit of microfiction, or a self made motivational poster by me the day after. I highly recommend taking a look at some of those early articles in the archives, there is some really good stuff in there, and I really dug the direction it was heading in. It was shitloads of fun, and it shows in the writing.
Robbie Robtown, Tbinns, and Admin Rock were rockin the internetz
Well, kind of. Nobody was reading us except friends and family, and a few obscure outsiders. We didn’t care.
Then, one day, an argument starts about who would win in a fight between Batman and Wolverine in a talkback. A topic my wife instigated, surprisingly enough. She suggested we turn it into a series of articles. Dave, being a) the only guy among us who like sports and b) the only guy with even the faintest hint of an organized mind started drawing up brackets to make it into a tournament.
Then, on a whim, he figured “ehhhh what the hell” and submitted it to Fark.
Well, I didn’t even know what Fark WAS when we made the main page. I don’t think I even realized it was a big deal until I saw the numbers. When people I hadn’t seen in years were sending me messages congratulating me on the green light I started to get the idea that this was not an easy thing to achieve and we were VERY lucky. So lucky in fact it shut our server down. (Or “Farked” it, as they would say, those board posting scallywags!) Somebody over at Fark liked us.
Many of the fark readers however, did not. I knew people were passionate about their favourite superheroes, and I knew the anonymity of the web community could create some really hostile characters but I don’t think ANY of us were prepared for the sheer amount of piss and venom in the comments section
That changed our game significantly. Or at least mine…I can’t speak for the others. I think Rob REALLY stuck to his guns and is to be commended for it. But as for me? Well…if I didn’t crave the approval of complete strangers for no good reason, I never would have gone into comedy. And here they were, 20, 0000 hits and more all streaming in to read the article, waiting to pounce on every bit of missed continuity. I felt tremendous pressure to do what I had done for YEARS in my stand up act…cave to the audience. Give them what they want, WORRY about what they want.
The Smackdown became strictly regimented, every Friday, hopefully before noon, we get the Smackdown up and Fark ready, submit it and wallow in abuse and adulation. The point, we thought, was to get people in with the Smackdown, then hopefully a handful of them would enjoy the site, and stick around for the stuff we REALLY wanted to do. ( It’s the same reason I do impressions in my act.) And to a certain extent, it worked. I think we have some regular readers who came over from Fark. And thanks for coming and sticking with us, and once again a huge thanks to Fark for the coveted greenlights. Unfortunately The Smackdown quickly became THE thing on the site, with all of the other little bits of wonderful weirdness falling to the wayside.
But this last go round, with the super team smack down something changed. We still got greenlights, but rather on the less traveled geek page. That was just fine by us, we are still grateful to get the nod at all..but even some of our most ardent defenders were starting to get bored. Telling us we were not even trying anymore. And to a certain extent, I think that was true.
For myself, anyway…I was trapped in a tight box of public opinion… having to really comb over who could do what to whom, and catch up on long lines of continuity, just to please an un-pleasable audience. My heart wasn’t in it … I just wasn’t having fun with it anymore, and it showed in the writing. Only when I said “Fuck it, screw continuity, screw everything else, I just want to have fun with this.” did I start enjoying it again. (See my entry in the X-men vs. Avengers finals)
As of right now, and for whatever reason, the finals of our latest tournament has not been greenlit, and after the initial disappointment I began to feel something like relief. Like I am free of this giant responsibility to please people I haven’t even met, and hopefully never will.
So ideally this means that The Correctness, or at least my part of it will take this opportunity to return to its roots. Just be a goofy little comedy website that occasionally comes up with gold, sometimes falls a tad short but almost always entertains on some level or another.
That said, it’s not the end of the smackdown, but I think we’ll stay away from comic books for a little while. And if the council of the wise at Fark deem us worthy of a link once again on something non tournament related, well that would be just fine too.
Nor does this mean you can no longer insult us, in an artful fashion. We kind of dig it. We’re weird like that. And as for that last insult contest, personally I think it’s a tie between spcMIKE and Iron Patriot.
So go to it you two…insult us like you’ve never insulted anyone before in the comment section…it might be the last competition you see on here for awhile.