The Improv Diaries – Master Of The Keys, Rotations and Similarity… [Case Study Cutthroat Kitchen]

This week I was back in the Punderstandably wagon and it was great to be back. Whilst it is nice to have a break from Improv over Christmas, it is nice to be back with people I really enjoy performing with. We have a huge challenge this year – we are doing our first ever Punders Night! We have a really unique idea how to make it different to your average show and we have rehearsals pre booked for every week all the way up until the end of March at the moment! The nights plan / script is already into its second draft with a lot of exciting developments hopefully to happen along the way!

Anyway, back to this week, this week wasn’t about the May show, instead it was about this Saturday! First rehearsal back and we are going straight into a show! Talk about throwing ourselves into the deep end!!!! You know what, it is ok, we are a very supportive network of improvisers so the fact that we are going straight into a show doesn’t really matter that much.

With every show that we do, we always like to twist things up a little bit and have a different Master of the Keys everytime we do the show and this time it is Caroline. So this week was all about getting a show built and helping Caroline feel comfortable in that role. The Master of the Keys is the most important part of the show as they lead the whole thing so if you are not used to it, it can be very daunting and at Punders HQ we love pushing and supporting one another.

So we have decided to keep games that we have played before as a basis for the show in January because it is the familiar for Caroline and we have just come back from leave so sometimes this is the best thing to do. Even though we are now a fivesome as one of our members has left to focus on long form (we are basically like the formation of a pop band now) the energy was strong in rehearsal and also really fun!We were all in high spirits and the sense of wacky definitely returned because we all like to be really silly!

We started the rehearsal with lots of high energy warm ups and then we went through all the games that we have played previously at shows and narrowed it down to what ones we wanted to play this time. Every time we play a show we always switch positions in the games as well – this is for three reasons:

1) So everyone has a go at doing different parts of a game

2) So If an audience member has seen us before it’s not the same format all over again

3) Every improviser approaches and plays a game differently and gives it their own fun and unique spin.


This months show took place at the Pre-Show Party at The Miller starring alongside The Parentheticals, And Now, and ABOB. We were the first act on that night – sometimes as a short form act you enjoy going on first as you ‘warm up’ the audience. We always open with a bit of music to create energy and to pump up the ideology that we are a game show format. The music changes every time as it reflects on who is the Master of The Keys. This month was Caroline hosting so we had a more Rock type tone in the for of a Foo Fighters album track from their first album. The idea of the music is to have something that is catchy but maybe not very familiar.

The show went quite well, it was fun and we got a lot of laughs for some of the games that we played. The one thing I enjoy about performing with Punders is that we have a lot of high energy on stage and it also shows that we work well as a team. Caroline did a really good job of hosting the night and brought her own unique twist to the night, it was a lot of fun!

Case Study – Cut Throat Kitchen


The one thing that this week is about is all about team work and creating a new and fun game every time we perform by trying to freshen things up with a new host and a different feel. There are many game shows that run for a long period of time because even though they have the same host, they always do things to freshen it up to audiences, old and new.

There were a lot programmes that I could of chosen as a case study this week however, I chose Cut Throat Kitchen because it is one of my favourite game shows i the cooking world. The reason I love this show is because the more you watch it, the more the tasks get more wacky. If you haven’t seen Cut Throat Kitchen before then let me explain this show for you.

There are four professional cooks that come onto the show to compete with each other to win a cash prize of $25,000 and they all get given the money at the beginning of the show. Each round there are a number of forefits that the chefs have to ‘bid’ on to make sure that the others cannot cook a decent meal for the judging round. It is a really fun show and here is just a taster below.

I feel in some ways that this show both relates to improv and the style of show that we aim to create for a crowd. We enjoy delving into the silly and we hope that by doing this we entertain audiences. We always try and ramp it up and make it more silly by alternating the host and it is a format that works well because no two shows are the same. Cutthroat Kitchen is very similar because no two shows are the same either – the chefs have to improvise to make sure that everything works right so they don’t get eliminated and have to improvise with the situation that they are given.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s