There is one thing that fascinates me about improv and that is how it is portrayed in Television and Film. This is becoming more and more apparent in recent years because the comedy art form is sort of in fashion. There are some interesting topics that we can gai frim these ways they are displayed so every so often we are going to look at different scenes from different shows and films.
When Season 2 of You came out, I binge watched the episodes. I spent part of the year reading the original books so I was intrigued to see how they had altered it to the original.
In episode three Joe ends up at an improv show with Forty (i won’t explain why incase you watch it). It wasn’t a scene from the book and they had completely changed the narrative so that now this scene worked and had a reason to be in this show. (This is not the only thing they changed there is a lot that is different).
I remember vividly my reaction to the comments that are made in this scene and sort of made me want to start this feature as it is a really interesting discussion point. Here is what Joe says about improv:
Your brother is a sycophantic fame-grubbing Hollywood has-been, so of course our first friend date is in a sea of sweaty thirsy Hollywood outsiders.
Young hungry and broke masquerading as actors slash-writers-slash-directors to take the pain out of being nannies-slash-baristas-slash-dissapointments. The room is a sel-fellating ouroboros of desperation
Now, let’s be honest, this is a pretty negative portrayal of improv and you are probably wondering why I am including it in this article? Well, I believe if you like something you should always look at both sides of the argument.
This season of You was released in 2019 and if you Iook at how improv is growing in popularity this was a big year for the comedy art form. I am sure it was the same in America as well. This particular scene could be a play on the fact a lot of people do improv and there are a lot that don’t and it could be how they feel being forced to watch it if they don’t understand it or its not their thing.
Since I am not in America I cannot talk about that but I am going to talk about the UK instead .
In 2019, I felt a change in the demand, whilst I may not of been in the biggest teams, I interviewed a lot of acts, That year I went to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was astonished as to how many improv shows were available, there was so many!
I also noticed the demand in London for shows and lessons as there was all of a sudden a dramatic increase as well as more and more people were turning to the comedy form to learn it.
When things become commercial there will always be the critics and seeing this perception being perceived in television, I understand it. Also in some ways it makes me think about my own experiences with improv. When I first started improv, I invited everyone I knew as I really wanted them to see me perform. I loved seeing them in the audience and trying to make them laugh. However, there is a time where you do more shows and invite them more regularly and you start to worry and get this anxious feeling that , well I suppose, you wonder sometimes if that is how they feel when they make up excuses why they can’t come and I understand it.
So whilst this perception may be negative you have to look at the character of Joe as a whole and you realise that it is also essential for this character not to like comedy in any form. However, I do feel it is an interesting clip to watch.