Speaking to co-founder Gretchen Meddaugh recently, we reminisced about that first round in 2009 when if we had 30 people in the room, we were delighted. That season didn't make a bob. In fact, subsidising it cut a large hole in my pocket money. GOTG then skipped a year as Gretchen moved away and I, quite frankly, couldn't be arsed to give it the time and attention it needed.
It might look like it all just happens on the night, but there is a huge amount of effort involved in keeping it all together and a strong team working behind the scenes to make sure it all comes off on the night.
In 2010, after the IHBC AGM, I was cornered by Messrs Lucey, O'Sullivan, Elders, Downey, and Harron in the basement of a pub called the Dog's Bollox. I'd heard murmurings that others wanted to kidnap my baby and plied with enough cider, I found myself agreeing to do it all again - but this time, for charity. Terry and Kenny (of the then Fun Palace) offered a free venue. Speakers stepped up to the mark. And that season, we bagged an average of 80 punters a night. The final at the Orfeum sold out at 160 and we made my target - 660 000 forints - a number I'd plucked from the air.
This season, we moved to the Cotton Club and with some generous sponsorship managed to keep costs at bay. For once, we had more speakers than speaking slots and had to turn people away. We averaged an audience of 100 each night and have sold out the final at 200 for this coming Thursday. We've already broken the 1 million forint target and I'm thrilled skinny about that (well, not literally, but you know what I mean).
As our speakers get their voices in gear and as the rest of you get ready to be entertained and party down on Thursday night, I'd just like to say a heartfelt thanks to all of you who made this happen. For your support, your generosity, and your belief in the event.
Go raibh mile maith agaibh go léir.