Improv & Comedy

The Talkshow

There are 2 main types of Talkshows.

  • The "serious discussion" type programmes, which generally go out evenings (experts/politicians discussing weighty topics),
  • The talkshows which take place during the day and are more "tabloid" (i.e. Superficial) in nature (celebrities discussing lighter themes)

Gossip-talk shows

Characters

  • Relatives
  • Youths
  • The unemployed
  • Surprise star guest
  • (Celeb) Wannabes
  • The cheat/womaniser
  • The cheated
  • The other woman/mistress
  • Members of the great unwashed
  • "Father who needs a paternity test"
  • Bird of paradise - extreme looking e.g. numerous piercings, a tattooed face, extremely overweight etc.
  • A sometimes sympathetic, sometimes shaking his head in despair.

Elements

  • Host/Hostess
  • Chairs, sofas on one side, audience on the other
  • A sliding screen
  • Camera crews
  • Guests/Audience
  • Expert guests (sometimes)
  • Lie detector
  • Choice of doors
  • Wall with projected silhouette to ensure guests remain anonymous

Subjects

  • Paternity tests
  • Marriage proposals
  • Unrequited love
  • Internet love
  • Disagreements, "Neighbours at war"
  • Confessional, admitting guilt, double life
  • Conflicting (and non-reconcilable) views on topics such as unemployment, adultery/sexual expression, children, etc.

Speech, appearance of the guests

  • Chavvy (Google this)
  • Screaming
  • Mixed up expressions
  • Dialects
  • Nose-picking
  • Crying, laughing
  • Extremes of emotion
  • Extreme views
  • Provocation of other guests

Typical progression of events

  • Send someone out, then ask all the remaining participants
  • "Do you think you know why you are here?"
  • Name a long list of women which have nothing to so with the issue at hand (I think it's because of Suzy, Annica, Catherine?)
  • Give conflicting statements: "We are together/separated" – "No, we aren't!"
  • "I told you, you didn't tell me"
  • "XYZ still owes me money"
  • Opening statement to present ones self "I am Joe Bloggs and I...."
  • Comments, opinions and criticisms form the audience, asked for by the presenter
  • Vocal taking of sides in the audience (agreement, dismissal, ostentatious unrealistic laughter, shaking of heads and so on…)
  • Using text message to start/end a relationship…
  • Internet lovers – meeting each other for the first time
  • Somebody only appearing via telephone, someone who didn't dare come to the studio
  • Staying behind, not in the studio
  • Storming out of the show after an argument gets heated
  • Everyone talks at once (only suitable for a short amount of time as it detracts)
  • I can sing and want to show the world, wannabe singer
  • I have a secret I want to confess (I really a man/woman, I lied to to you, I'm leading a double life, am a stripper…)
  • I have contact to secret powers
  • "Make a decision"

Turning points

  • Reconciliation (offered, even if not meant or accepted)
  • Bringing an surprise guest into the studio
  • Results of a test (lie detector, paternity test…) are revealed
  • Asking (or begging) for forgiveness

Serious talkshows

Characters

  • Celebs
  • Politicians
  • Organisations-/Lobbyists
  • Artists (actors, authors, singers, musicians, directors…)
  • Experts
  • Journalists
  • Someone affected by the item of discussion
  • Someone of noteworthy appearance and notoriety to liven things up (Nina Hagen, Klaus Kinski - UK equivalent would be Graham Norton, Jeremy Clarkson…)

Elements

  • Presenter and/or interviewer
  • Chairs, armchairs, sofas on one side, audience on the other
  • Camera crews
  • Guests/audience
  • Decorations

Topics

  • Current political themes
  • Publishing or release of a book, cd film, a tour…
  • Personal topics (illnesses, problems, dramatic experiences)
  • Life story of the affected person, evaluation of their life, anecdotes involving them…
  • Something explained by an expert

Language and demeanour of guests

  • Politicians long-winded, say nothing meaningful, hot air, elude being pinned down and make for good discussions
  • Experts serious, neutral, objective
  • Organisations-/Lobbyists one-sided, also possibly long-winded, say nothing of meaning and full of hot air
  • Artists make subtle references and adverts to their previous (last) work macht, talk about their work
  • Sufferer / person affected cannot talk well, is not media savvy, stutters, gets muddled, appears unsure

Typical procedure

  • Interruptions due to film clips, displays, photos, music…
  • Interpreters for foreign guests
  • Introductory talk from the presenter
  • Closing words from the presenter
  • Drinks get poured/drunk
  • An interview takes place
  • Controversy, disagreement and argument are generally polite and objective
  • Members of the audience are asked for their opinion
  • Loud objections/agreements from the audience on controversial subjects
  • Presenter attempts to ensure (his own) objectivity
  • Guest arrives too late during the show

Turning points

  • Victims of verbal attacks leave the studio in a huff
  • Those affected loose their self-control
  • One of the participants steps out of their typical role (e.g. politician talks of his highly personal experiences)

updated: 2016-11-29 by Edd Turner

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