Flipside, a new comedy website affiliated with the online magazine The Bubble, was launched today in a blaze of publicity and champagne receptions, bringing with it promises of “carefully crafted humour” and “a war on puns”.
However, the launch has provoked what can best be described as an ambivalent response from the media world. Ian Hislop – editor of Private Eye – said: “Well, generally I approve of the whole concept, but where’s Durham again? That’s not The Other Place, is it?”
In a champagne reception this morning, held in the backroom of The Shakespeare, a spokesperson for Flipside declared the release of the first issue. “We are delighted to announce the launch of Flipside, which will provide comedy by the people, of the people, for the people. The marketplace is currently lacking in what we believe to be a cohesive comedic organ which can provide high-quality humorous pieces on a weekly basis. We aim to see Flipside fill this gap.”
The comedy section is being pitched as Durham University’s answer to The Onion and The Daily Mash. “We hold the cause of comedy to be sacred to the wellbeing of mankind, and we hope that our humble publication may soon rank up there with the best. We believe that through producing up-to-date, factually-correct and completely relevant features, we will see an exponential rise in our readership, as eager minds increasingly desire to be informed by their fellow man.”
Flipside is anticipating becoming the primary comedic publication in Durham by Easter 2013, in the UK (excluding the Isle of Wight, due to the stranglehold that Candy Press has on the local market) by Christmas 2013, and in the world by Christmas 2014 (excluding Luxembourg, where Den Neie Feierkrop is contractually obliged to firebomb all rivals). “We don’t consider it arrogant to assert these projections; we are certain that the public will respond to our brand of humour.”
While being run by a team of Oxbridge rejects, a spokesperson for Flipside was keen to reassure us that a diverse spread of national and international occurrences would also be covered. “We will be covering everything BBC3 mentions on its 60seconds news bulletins, from the American presidential elections to the resurrection of Michael Jackson through hyperbaric oxygen therapy. We believe that no issue is too small to be covered by our experienced team of professional reporters.”
When interviewed, Olivia Pryer – Senior National Correspondent for Flipside – said: “Well, people want to know what’s going on in their world, you know, but they don’t really, like, want to know about the depressing stuff, right? So, we give them, like, what they want, sort of. Being funny and all that, you know?”
However, such enthusiasm has not been shared by contemporaries to the newly-founded Flipside. The Times, dismissing the arrival of the comedy website, said: “They’re doing what? Putting funny stuff online, for free? That’s absurd, it’ll never work, ludicrous, preposterous; how do you spell ‘humorous’?”
Attempts to elicit a response from the Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, were met by an answer phone message: “Out of the office at the moment, I may be some time.”
Internationally, rumours abound that Rupert Murdoch has already offered a lucrative six-figure sum for rights to the domain, whilst Jon Stewart of The Daily Show notoriety said: “That’s nice… Hey, Oliver, listen to what you crazy Brits are up to now. Boy, it’s like trying to keep track of Easter.”
When asked for his opinion on the new comedy section, Thom Addinall-Biddulph – General Editor of The Bubble – said: “Flipside, what’s that? Our new comedy section; we have a comedy section? Becky, why didn’t you tell me about this?”
The Editor-in-Chief of Flipside, Mr Cuddles the Cat, refused to comment on the avalanche of indifference which his publication was receiving, but his Public Relations manager issued this statement: “We at Flipside are dedicated to the cause of comedy and refuse to allow the naysayers and doubters to damage our enthusiasm and belief. These gloomy-geese should be asking not what Flipside can do for them, but what they can do for Flipside.”
Bold words from someone who takes orders from a cat, but will they hold true? Only the future can tell.