If you’ve always dreamed of being a contestant on @midnight, today is your lucky day. The show recently announced an internet casting call called #PointsMe, in which @midnight fans can try out to appear on the show via Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr posts using the #PointsMe hashtag. I spoke with @midnight co-creator, executive producer, and head writer Alex Blagg to get more details on the casting call, what kinds of aspiring @midnight contestants they’re looking for, and where to keep track of the writers and performers the @midnight team is hunting down to potentially appear on the show.
How does #PointsMe work, and why did you decide to hold an internet casting call?
The whole thing is kind of an experiment. We’ve been really impressed with fans of the show – not only how much they play #HashtagWars, but sometimes their jokes are funnier than the stuff that the comics do in the show. We’ve always had this idea that it’d be amazing if we actually had a regular person from the internet who we felt had what it takes to perform on the TV show and see what happens if we put them up against two of our best @midnight comics. So we have our eyes towards a special event episode of like the “everyperson” vs the @midnight comedians. We put this call out and the way that it works is we’re just looking for funny people, however they choose to express themselves – whether it’s tweeting funny jokes or doing Vine videos or YouTube videos or even cartoonists and people who do weird photoshops and stuff, and we’re collecting it all together with the #PointsMe hashtag.
Basically, if a person wants to get our attention and wants to be considered for this, they can just add the #PointsMe hashtag to whatever they’re putting out on social media. We have a team of people going through that every day and we’re cherry-picking the ones we think are the best and the funniest and the most promising. Then we’ll reach out to the people we think have the most potential, make sure they’re interested in being considered, and then do a quick Skype interview to get a sense of who they are, where they’re from, and what their background or story is.
So initially, you’ll pick just one person? If it all goes well, is this something you’d like to do again?
Because this is just an open-ended casting call, the idea is that if this works, theoretically it’s something we could continue to do. I would love to have a system in place where anytime we identify someone from the web who is super funny and interesting, we could have a place to try them out and put them up. Our talent producer Bart Coleman does an amazing job at booking great comedians, so almost all of the people we have on the show are pretty experienced and accomplished. That’s important because it keeps the show consistent and those people are all funny, but there are also just so many people online – whether it’s Megan Amram or Kelly Oxford or Shelby Fero or Rob Delaney – who have come up and been recognized through Twitter, and are now enjoying very successful careers in entertainment themselves. We’d like to find the next crop of people who are just out there putting weird, funny stuff online. It seems like a viable place where we should also be looking for talent – not just the comedy clubs.
And anyone can audition? Are you looking only at more unknown talent?
Yeah, anyone who is funny and a fan of the show. Unknown people. Maybe it’s some kid in Iowa with 100 followers – as long as it’s a person we think is consistently funny with a defined point of view and a voice, we’re absolutely interested in trying to get that person on the show. And on the flip side of that, we’re also looking at people who are amateur or semi-professional Twitter comedians too. I think in the ideal scenario, we’d like to find someone who hasn’t quite achieved mass exposure. If we could break new talent who just organically come out of social media and we put them on and they do well, that would just be really exciting and fun for us as a way to play off what I consider to be the interactivity we try to weave throughout @midnight. We’re pulling stuff off the internet and into these games and having comedians make jokes about them, then often we’re putting those things back out onto the web and asking our fans to put their own spin on it, and then sometimes we take the best ones then pull them back into the show. It creates this loop, where it’s an interactive, participatory experience, and this feels like the next natural extension of that.
For more information check out the #PointsMe website, where you can also track the writers and performers currently in the running for a potential @midnight appearance.