From Mav: Way back in April — which granted, wasn’t actually that long ago, but in the world of COVID, feels like a lifetime — we did a show about how stand-up comedy works in a world where everyone’s socialization is socially distant. Since that time, the world got a little better and then a little worse again… and well, we’re largely in a very similar situation. When we did the stand-up show, I immediately started wondering “but what about improv?” I would argue that even more than stand-up comedy, improv relies on an audience. The audience is very much a part of the show. But, what happens when live audiences go away? What if improv has to be done from the performers living room over Zoom? That’s what I want to talk about on this show.
I’ve been thinking about this even more lately as a good friend of mine, Cheryl Platz, recently announced that she’s directing her first completely online improv show. In some respects this seems crazy to me, how will it even work? On the other hand, I wonder if the Zoom world we’ve all live in is just built for this. Maybe it’s even better. Cheryl’s production company is based in Seattle. She can broadcast this show across the world! Improv works over the radio… why can’t it work over the internet?
So what I want to talk about on this episode is the nature of improv comedy — both normally and in our current cultural circumstance. What is improv? Why is it so popular? What makes it work? What’s it like to try and maintain it in a socially distant world?
Hopefully we’ll be inviting some improv players on, so let us know what you’d like us to address.