Improv Corner – Improv In The Media – The Michael McIntyre Chat Show

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 gain from these ways they are displayed so every so often we are going to look at different scenes from different shows and films.

I have been a fan of McIntyre in the past, but like most of his fans I never saw him do his arena comedy shows. I saw him about 4 times and everytime I did its was with an audience of no more then 200. The first time was a £5 work in progress show for his stand up tour Showtime and the rest were all based around the Michael McIntyre Chat show. In this small surroundings, McIntyre to me comes across as such a down to earth person, interacting left right and centre with the audience and genuinely funny.

I saw the two stages of the Mcintyre chat show – the rough run throughs at a random studio just off Tottenham Court Road and even at the real television recording that happened at South Bank. When watching these live, they were entertaining, had a lot of interesting elements and really reeled in the audience. However, when it came to watching the finished product I was utterly disappointing as to what the edit had lead the show to be. It was edited to come across as the UK version of an American chat show such as Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy Fallon and it did not work, it looked wrong and just didn’t have the right feel. In reality, it really was a fun and entertaining show to watch being recorded, Michael really was great with the audience and it felt more lively and audience led. However the actual edited show completely altered my original views on the show. I hated it, it felt like such a copy cat show which was clearly done to test the waters in the UK and also to break away from the norm chat shows like Graham Norton and Jonathan Ross.

I think this is a really interesting point when talking about Improv because there are different types of audience members who come and see an Improv show – those who are fans of the comedy style and want to see the real organic release of the comedy and those who are not familiar with it and want a sort of edited version so that they understand it quicker and get the quick laughs that they desire. Seeing this show in two different formats made me realise that with improv, depending on the audience (and this may be relevant with festival season just around the corner) you may have to be harsher with your edits and make sure that your set has mass appeal and not just for a certain audience.

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