A Genuine Job Application


I just found an old job application I wrote for a computer game company looking for a writer.

I never heard back from them.

The Letter

As we all know computers were first invented by aliens attempting to find the best fighter pilots in the galaxy. But since those times, games have come quite a long way. Now you can use them while you go to the toilet, which was very much frowned upon in the days of arcades. I’m interested in this role because once, just once, I’d like to be able to help someone in the bathroom without it being considered “a matter for HR”.

I’ve always loved computer games. From the earliest days of duck hunting, throwing fruit at karts and travelling through pipes, I thought “Gee, I’d much rather be at home playing computer games”. And then my parents got me a Nintendo. Sure it might be the reason I once came last in cross country out of my whole year, or lacked the upper-body strength to peel a banana, or even the reason why I struggled so talk to girls until embarrassingly late in my life. But it gave me something far more important.

Strong thumbs. Like, super strong.

And also the ability to see how stories work in the only really interactive medium. To see how exposition is given without interrupting the action, to see how a cut scene and loss of control can be powerful, rather than annoying. To tell stories in a way that for the vast majority of human history just hasn’t been possible.

But it’s mostly the thumb thing.

I have lots of writing experience. In fact, I won the judge’s award for UK’s Funniest Blogger 2015 for my blog www.ivorysoapbox.com. Which was even more impressive when it was still 2015. I’ve also written jokes for a Rose d’Or winning BBC radio show. And I’ve written “about” comedy for the most read comedy reference site in the UK. In fact, these very hands, the hands which thanks to the wonders of modern technology you can’t actually see, these hands wrote a diary of their time on the stand up comedy course widely considered the best outside North America, a summary which is now used by the course themselves to promote it. You can read this here. But if you get bitten by the comedy bug and develop the Lyme disease of seeking other people’s laughter to soothe your fragile ego, I am not to blame.

I also wrote a few bits for Time Out London’s comedy section, which doesn’t exist any more, BUT I WASN’T TO BLAME FOR THAT!

I write a lot in my spare time. Too much, some might say. Especially those I ask to read it all. Be it a book on the space/time-travel properties of non-Newtonian liquids, or blog posts about why Captain America is the best. And if any in your team have ever wanted to read an unproduced episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine with some pacing issues and a plot that’s perhaps a bit too much for a 20 minute show, then boy do I have something for them!

I also have a super-power for meeting celebrities. In my current job I organise comedy nights with some of the biggest talent in the UK, including Stewart Lee, Jo Brand and Arthur Smith. I also got Lee Mack to agree to become an ambassador for the charity. I convinced my favourite writer to meet me down the pub for a couple of pints one day. And I got one of the biggest bands in the UK to help me with a massive personal favour.

Now, I’m not saying that if you hire me I’ll bring a different celeb each day like I would a packed lunch… “Today? Well we’ve got jam sandwiches, a packet of Frazzles and…. 80’s teen heart-throb Rob Lowe”. I’m just saying, statistically it’s more likely if I’m actually allowed onto the property.

So that’s me in a nutshell. And it’s probably also a good reason for you to rethink your policy on “inventive” covering letters. So we’re both taking something away from it.

This job sounds really interesting. I remember my mum always told me to get off the computer. “You’ll never get a job making computer games, so do something productive. Besides, it’ll turn your eyes square!”

Well take THAT mum. With your crazy microwave-shaped head.

Any questions, just whisper my name into the wind. Or, if you’re after a reply, maybe drop me an email or something.




Open Mic 101 – Don’t Anger the Audience

CJ's Comedy

The part of my act where I appraise the ripeness of an avocado. Apparently.

For those who don’t know, I’ve recently dipped my toe into the pool of stand-up comedy. With that pool mostly being formed of my own fear-induced urine. You can read more about how I fell into comedy here.

I’ve carried on performing over the past few months, trying to get myself one gig a week to keep building my confidence and material. Whereas in fact what happens is I do a gig, then realise I have a week to do all that work on my material, so it can wait until later. Later rolls around and I’ve done nothing, so I desperately scramble to find some tweets I’ve sent, realise there’s nothing there and practice the same material again and hope I remember it. Rinse, repeat.

This week though I managed a personal best. I managed to offend almost the entire audience. And I hadn’t even been on stage yet.

I was with some friends, and they went to get a drink. As an open mic night they don’t tend to have a ‘real’ audience, instead it’s mostly the other acts. So the absence of my friends, one of only two groups of non-comedians, was noticed. And addressed by the MC.

He made a joke about their sudden absence. I was left needing to say something to address it, so I thought a bit of self-deprecating would be the way to go. The conversation then went like this:

What I meant:

“I’m just flattered they went to the effort to come all this way and see me perform – to be honest after spending the evening with me I’m surprised they didn’t leave sooner.”

What I said:

“I’m surprise they lasted this long.”

What they heard:

“Based on the calibre of acts I’ve seen so far, I’m surprised they lasted this long.”

Queue a pretty big laugh from the audience (except I’m assuming the acts who’d already been on) and a bright red face for me (mostly hidden in the half-darkness). It was probably the biggest laugh I got in the night, with my set probably not being helped by the other acts thinking “oh it’s this arrogant prick, he thinks he’s so funny huh?”

Maybe you’ve read the title of this blog and were expecting more drama. Pitchforks and the like. OK, maybe I oversold it a little – but hey, clickbait.

If you don’t agree with my methods, well you’re a kind of audience. So if you’re angry about it… mission accomplished?