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 always find it amusing when I come across improv as a snidey remark in a television show, you do not get it very often in comedies or shows from the United Kingdom but it tends to be a common trend in some United States ones. I was recently re watching Schitts Creek and came across an episode where improv is mentioned.
Patrick suggests to David that they should have an open mic night at the store Rose Apothecary and true to form, he is not keen on the idea initially. One of the comments he says to show that he is not keen is ‘worst case scenario I watch improv.’ I have spoken before about shows such as You using improv as a negative comment and I find it really interesting. Over the last few years improv has become increasingly popular and so it could be a dig at that, however I do feel there is more to it then that.
I have been writing about the improv community since 2015 and in that time there have been significant changes to the comedy form. There are a lot of people that are not sure on the idea and I totally understand. It can come across as goofy or wacky at times and if you are not in the mood to commit to the made up world around you then it can be hard to see a positive in relation to improv. Unlike the United Kingdom, I think improv is used a lot more commercially in the States. It is very on trend at the moment you only have to look at the amount of shows popping up on Netflix that are improv related, some work, a lot do not.
I do wonder if this is why there is such a negative aura around the comedy form at times. Thinking about it right now I can think of at least three shows that portray improv as negative and I will be talking about one of those soon.In regards to Schitts Creek, it is a passing comment and there are no other remarks or showing of improv later on. I honestly don’t believe that Schitt’s Creek is there to be completely negative about improv and wonder if it is used as a tongue in cheek remark in the show to point fun at the fact Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara both started their careers in improv. It is a small remark in the show but it made me laugh when I heard it.
Also in the show David realises that an open mic actually can be a wonderful thing and I like to think if there was a really good improv team he would change his mind…although saying that it would probably be really bad in Schitts Creek.