'Do your Fringe show, and we'll sue' | Legal threat to comedian's story

'Do your Fringe show, and we'll sue'

Legal threat to comedian's story

A comic has been threatened with legal action if he proceeds with his Edinburgh show.

Matt Price plans to tell Fringe audiences about an ill-fated comedy tour to Turkey – which he cut short after deciding that the venture was not only ‘dodgy’ but ‘horribly wrong’.

He wasn’t paid for the gigs, coming home penniless and ‘thinking that I was going to die’ – but added: ‘On the bright side, I have a story that is so daft that you just couldn't make it up.’

So he secured a place in a Free Festival venue to tell the story about the ‘nightmare’ tour he shared with stand-up Dave Thompson, who played Tinky Winky in Teletubbies, and Jason Manford’s comedian brother Colin.

But the organiser of the Turkish gigs, Spotlight Comedy, has warned Price that if his show goes ahead, he will be in breach of his contract – which included a clause requiring him to promote the company – and warned they would set their ‘international lawyers’ on to him if he pressed ahead.

In a follow-up email, Jonathan Greenwood, who booked the comedians, told Price: ‘You agreed not to disclose any staff, managers, owners and connections with Spotlight Comedy Turkey. You were explicitly told not to reference me. You failed to do that on many occasions, which are all documented with the organization, which is a breach of your contract.’

He also demanded Price stop using his photograph on flyers, saying this would be passed to lawyers too.

He wrote: ‘I would like to receive confirmation from you before the start of your show in Edinburgh that you have removed ALL documentary photos (including ALL flyers and web material), visual aids, pre-show videos and anything that you are now in breach of your contract and/or the use of my photo without permission.

‘Your story is advertised as "a true story" and therefore everything you portray must be completely true and under your contract, not be in breach of it's [sic] terms. To ensure that you receive this email before your show, I have cc'd Martha (who I had an email relationship with whilst you were in Turkey).’

Martha is Price’s partner, Martha McBrier, a comedian who was brutally attacked by her drug-dealer neighbour in 2007, losing most of her hearing.

Price told Chortle: ‘It's the bit about his email relationship with Martha that upset me the most. He knows about her attack several years ago and the impact that it had on us. I'm not saying that he is threatening me or her, but I spent six weeks in the company of this person, so I know him fairly well.

‘We have exchanged many emails and messages since Turkey. He always avoids the issue of the money that he owes me and the other comics involved.’

But he insisted his show, Matt Price Is Not In The Program [sic], aimed to tell a good yarn rather than settle scores,saying: ‘It's a story that I believe people will find interesting and funny in parts. This is not a revenge piece, I'm better than that. It's a chance to write a show while I'm there, tell a great story and get a few quid in the bucket.

Greenwood did not respond to Chortle’s request for a comment.

Price only got his 6.30pm slot in The Hive after another comic, Chris Dangerfield, had to drop out, saying he needed to use the time to find money to settle debts he’d run up visiting prostitutes.

In withdrawing his show, How I Spent £150,000 On Chinese Prostitutes , from the Fringe, Dangerfield said: 'I have six weeks in which to find one hell of a lot of money or face some very serious consequences including mutilation, homelessness and incarceration. I spent a load of money on whores you see and it's left me up shit creek...'

Price said: ‘It seems that his story is the reason why he is not going to Edinburgh and my story is the reason why I can go.’

Published: 1 Aug 2013

What do you think?

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.