If there is one show on television that is a great to watch for improv inspiration then that would be Taskmaster. A television series where 5 comedians or television personalities take on a number of silly challenges that are set by Alex Horne and Greg Davies there is so much to love about this show and also it can be very funny to watch. Personally, I feel that the older series are the best and they also are home to some of the best games and there are a few that are really great to watch for inspiration.
I think when you do improv and you get the same suggestions or play the same games over and over again it can be hard to look at it from a different angle, however that is why Taskmaster is good because most of the time everyone approaches a task in a completely unique way and it is a metaphor for what improv is an can be.
Here are some of the tasks that are good for inspiration
The Smallest Gap
Aim of task – To get a toy camel through the smallest gap possible
Why is it a good example for Improv – When you watch this task you realise that it is actually quite a good one when thinking of improv. Each of the contestants have their own completely different take on this task with Mel completely thinking out of the box. Thinking completely random ideas that others haven’t can make a really fun improv scene. If you think of something really unusual then give it a try, it can create a lot of fun on stage.
Create a Computer Game In Real Life
Aim of task – To recreate a computer game in real life
Why is it a good example for Improv – I think this game is a great example as to how people can be really creative when they are given a limited amount of time to do so. Some of these games took a lot of planning in a small amount of time such as Rhod Gilbert’s Space Invaders and James Acaster’s GTA. The Space Invaders game is a great example of how synchronised movements can really create an effective visual – it is something that is used a lot in musical improv and it can create a great production on stage. When you do your next improv show try an incorporate synchronised movements into a scene they can create a lot of fun and amazement to the audience.
Aim of task – Make a music video for a nursery rhyme
Why is it a good example for Improv – You can have so much fun with Nursery Rhymes in improv so I like this game as it highlights a different way that you can use them. I really like this task and it is one of my favourites but I think it is also a great example for improv to show again that you can take a simple idea and put a really unique spin on it. That is why games like lines from a play work amazingly on stage because people enjoy seeing it performed in a different way to what they normally see.
The Photo Challenge
Aim of task – Create four completely different looks for a photo as the camera spins around and they are on limited time.
Why is it a good example for Improv – I think this game is a perfect example of what improv does and sort of really highlights the panic that people have when they are given a suggestion on stage. I feel that the way that the players react on this game is sort of how different improv players react – some panic, some are organised and some come up with some really random things.