I will die because of Twitter. One way or another Twitter will kill me.
Last night I played the 2,300 seater Royal Festival Hall in London and my support act, Stewart Lee, said that he never looks on Twitter because it's dangerous. He's right. Of course, that didn't stop me and my beautiful vanity from looking up my own name on Twitter after the show. It was quite pleasant that some people said nice things but really it was the two negative tweets that had the most impact. "Loud and boorish" is quite accurate, I suppose, so I can't really argue but "really bad" is a terrible thing to say. I mean, if I thought a comedian was really bad I wouldn't say "Oh, he was really bad". I'd say something like "Fuck me, I've seen funnier things crawl out of my Granny's corpse" (that was Tweeted to me in October last year) or "If you're a comedian then I'm King Bigcock, you cunt" (Tweeted to me in March). I mean that was probably that man's one and only chance to see me or even hear of me and therefore his only chance to have his opinion thrown into the void and he blew it. "Really bad". That is a tedious thing to say. If he thinks he can review comedy or give his opinion on comedy then he can "Fuck off, get AIDS and die" (Tweeted to me about 18 months ago).
And, by the way, before you say anything, Stewart Lee WAS my support act at the Royal Festival Hall. I was NOT his support act. I didn't pay him, I didn't offer him an opportunity to be seen by a couple of thousand people who wouldn't know me from Douieb. HE supported ME. So get that right, OK?
Don't Feed The Trolls is often a phrase read on Twitter. Mean people writing to celebrities and me saying nasty things and we're supposed to ignore them. They're meaningless. They just want attention.
But what if we did feed them?
A few months ago a man on Twitter wrote to me saying "You're about as funny as famine. Give up". Clearly, this man hasn't seen the hilarious antics of Lenny Henry and Jonathan Ross on Comic Relief that prove how side-splittingly wacky famine can be. But I wrote back to him and thanked him for the advice. He then wrote again saying "I hope you die of cancer". Now, that's not very nice, is it? I let that stew in my brain for a while. I remembered what everyone said. "Don't feed the trolls". Don't reply, Michael. That's what he wants.
But why let him off?
I started to get angry. Mainly angry at Twitter for coming up with such a spineless, wet, namby pampy statement like "Do not feed the trolls". Fuck off, Twitter. I'm going to feed the trolls. I'm going to force feed the trolls. I'm going to shove everything down their fucking cowardly throats.
My blood boiled so I thought I'd reply with something scathing but it was just then that I realised this man's Twitter name was his real name. My heard pounded and my mind punched me in the balls. LOOK HIM UP ON FACEBOOK, MICHAEL. FIND THE FUCKER. Shut up, Twitter. WELL, IF YOU'RE GOING TO IGNORE OUR ADVICE YOU MIGHT AS WELL GO ALL THE WAY. FIND HIM. LET'S HUNT THE CUNT. No. No, I just want to call him a big wally. I don't want to be mean. SHUT UP. WE TOLD YOU NOT TO FEED THE TROLLS. YOU'RE FEEDING THEM. NOW LET'S MAKE THEM PUKE ALL OF IT BACK UP AGAIN.
My hand moved on it's own. I grabbed the mouse on my computer and clicked on to Facebook. Involuntarily, my hands jumped on to the keyboard. I don't want to do this, Twitter. TOO FUCKING BAD. WE'RE DOING THIS TOGETHER, MICHAEL. I looked at my hands. They were bright red and sweaty. Each of my knuckles had grown a tiny demon face that laughed at my fear of what I was about to do. The demon faces typed in the name of the man who had simply and innocently hoped that I would die. And there he was. This man who had only made a joke about me dying. He was only having a laugh and now I'd turned into this horrible, twisted man who must live in the shadows. A man hunting human flesh. I closed my eyes but my eyelashes turned into the arms and hands of bats and they forced my eyelids open. I could see this man's Facebook page in front of me. It had his place of work on it. It's an office in Manchester.
I will not Google it, Twitter. Leave this poor man alone. We unknown comedians and celebrities can't just go around bullying people who wish death upon us. It's their right to abuse us. After all, we knew people would want us to die when we took the job. FUCKING GOOGLE IT, I SAID. My hands pissed themselves laughing as they ran across they keys typing the man's workplace into Google. There it was. I had his name, his workplace, his work phone number plus the name of his boss and his girlfriend.
No. That's too much. He hasn't done anything wrong. He's just having a laugh. FUCKING RING THE LITTLE SHIT. From the waist down my body had turned into that of a snake. Oh, Twitter, please don't do this. I slithered across the living room and my laughing demon hands grabbed the phone and dialled the numbers. I was terrified. Twitter was laughing. The phone rang and rang and laughed and rang. My heart pounded and my mind started eating itself. Please don't do this, Twitter. What have you done to me?
A receptionist answered. I said nothing. I can't say anything. This is madness. Why am I calling a troll? Why is Twitter doing this to me? It can't make me talk. I'll say nothing and the receptionist will just hang up. That's when Twitter itself came out of my mouth.
CAN YOU PUT ME THROUGH TO **** ********, PLEASE?
Oh, God. No. Please, no. The receptionist was pleasant and courteous like the damned and she cheerily put me through. What twisted hell this is. Can't you see that when people are mean to us, we just want to laugh it off? Why has Twitter changed me into this monster?
"Hello, **** ******** speaking".
RIGHT. BEFORE I SAY ANYTHING ELSE I JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I'VE BEEN PUT THROUGH TO YOU VIA A SWITCHBOARD. IF YOU HANG UP, I'LL JUST CALL AGAIN AND GO THROUGH TO YOUR BOSS.
"Who is this?"
IT'S MICHAEL LEGGE.
The silence was long, heavy and loud. It wasn't Michael Legge. It was the paranoia that is Twitter. I could have just let this guy off with it. Blocked him. Carry on with my life and be happy. But no. I am a Twitter subscriber and therefore I am a wreck. People say horrible things all the time and look, I've snapped. Who could have seen that coming?
"Look, I'm really sorry. I was out of order. I'll delete those tweets now".
OH, I KNOW YOU'RE SORRY. BUT LET'S SEE HOW SORRY YOU REALLY ARE. HOW BIG IS YOUR OFFICE?
"Not very big".
IS IT OPEN PLAN?
HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU WORK WITH?
RIGHT. HERE'S WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO. YOU'RE GOING TO PUT THE PHONE RECEIVER DOWN ON YOUR DESK. THEN YOU'RE GOING TO STAND UP AND LOUDLY SAY "I'M A LITTLE PIGGY. OINK OINK OINK".
YOU FUCKING HEARD ME.
"But I can't really..."
WELL, I'VE GOT YOUR BOSSES NUMBER AND YOUR GIRLFRIEND'S FACEBOOK ACCOUNT. SHALL I JUST LET THEM KNOW HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME?
He put the phone reciever down on his desk and I clearly heard him loudly say that he was a little piggy. He followed that statement by saying oink three times. He picked up the reciever and said "OK?". Twitter replied. THAT'S BETTER. MY LITTLE PIGGY ALWAYS DOES AS HE'S TOLD, DOESN'T HE? The man said yes and Twitter and I hung up.
I shook. Why the hell had that happened? Who would take Twitter that seriously? Why did I let Twitter take over? My snake body and bat eyes disappeared. My weird hands stayed as they were because, well, I have weird hands. Oh, Twitter. You're so fucking stupid.
A few days ago I was looking on my phone at Twitter. I was on my way to a meeting but only concentrating on scrolling through tweets. I slipped. I was fine though so kept walking and scrolling. Then I tripped over an iron bollard that was ripped open exposing sharp, pointy, dangerous metal. I was lucky to not be seriously hurt. That could have gashed my leg horribly. But I was OK so I kept on walking and scrolling. A few seconds later a man grabbed my arm and pulled me backwards. A car flew by in front of me. Jesus Christ. Twitter will kill me.
All I'm saying is, Twitter isn't that good.
But here's my account anyway: www.twitter.com/michaellegge
Get more Legge embarrassment at the Edinburgh Fringe. I'm very proud and happy to say that my show, Michael Legge: What a Shame, is on nearly every day of the fringe at the fantastic Stand Comedy Club. Here's info: http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/michael-legge-what-a-shame
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