Hugh Cooney is a unique comic talent who has been making videos for over fifteen years. Hugh was one of the earliest comedians to see the possibilities of using YouTube to reach an audience. Hugh's surrealist masterpiece Accessorise becoming an early viral sensation on the platform.
Hugh has previously put on some smaller live events – doing a regular Monday night event in Dublin, but I'd felt he'd never put together a live show on the scale to which was possible.
I approached him with a view producing & promoting the show, which we decided to call simply 'The Hugh Cooney Show'.
I booked the venue 8 months in advance to allow the time to develop, produce, film material & rehearse for the show & have it as polished as possible by the day of the event & allowing time to shoot the huge amount of advance video material that's needed fo a show such as this.
Hugh, alongside Charlie Doran, who collaborates with Hugh regularly on his projects (& was the live VJ for the show each night) filmed lots of on-screen material that became the basis of the show. This made the show quite complex as Hugh would need to hit a very high number of queues throughout the night, reacting to the video as it was live as well as remembering the script.
"I encouraged the guys to use a lot of on-stage props which I had to source & whilst staying within our relatively tight budget"
Hugh & Charlie had a smaller version of a show they'd already performed at Beatyard in Ireland. However I pushed them not to just repeat the format & to take this as far as we possibly good.
We had lots of ideas for the show, many of which were a little too impractical or expensive but we did go as far as hiring a plane to film some sketches as well as hiring a bagpipe player for the night, playing outside as people arrived & also playing Hugh onto the stage.
Other ideas, such as hiring a Ronan Keating impersonator were dropped!
I suggested few new segment ideas to help create more crowd interaction as well as some social media elements allowing crowd interaction before & after each performance including a questions & answers session we called 'Hugh & A').
I also encouraged the guys to use a lot of on-stage props which I had to source & whilst staying within our relatively tight budget.
Having Hugh & Charlie so closely integrated into the promotion process also greatly helped, we were able to put out promotional videos quickly to boost sales & awareness for the show at very short notice.
The promotion was extremely well received & the first night sold out so quickly that we decided to add a second night which also sold out.
This was first experience of producing an event such as this & it furthered blurred the lines between being a creative & art director & gave me experience that will feed back into other areas of my work. As such it was one of the most rewarding experiences I could have hoped for & would be very keen to be involved in more events like this.