"But I don't do improv."
Recently, I recorded a show with someone who is a lot more famous than I am (not hard to do) who is known for being incredibly funny and talented and agreed to do the show with me. I was ecstatic, because I have been a long-time fan of this person and felt really great about getting someone aspirational to come on to my goofy little show. We had a great conversation, he is incredibly nice and was just as great a guest as I assumed he would be, but when I said we were going to start recording the sketch, he replied with the quote above. It was a scary moment for me, because I was worried that he would just say "I'm sorry, I can't do this" and leave the call. He didn't, and he did an incredible job on the sketch which will come out in this next season.
But this interaction got me thinking... a lot of times I have people on my show and they have never heard the show or know what it is about. And that is A-OK! Sketch Comedy Podcast Show is a show that is different from most shows on the internet, so it makes sense that people will be thrown off by it. So, I figured I would spend a moment and give some guidance on what to expect if you decide to be on the show.
The best guests always have a story that they want to tell. Sometimes it's a story about something mundane, sometimes it's a story about an event that happened in their life. The stories are fantastic, because it is the low-hanging fruit for sketch. One of my favorite episodes was with Aaron Ryder, in the episode "So You Wanna Start A Band", we took his story of meeting Les Claypool in a Guitar Center and turned it into a ridiculous and fun sketch. But the story itself was just fun and ridiculous on it's own. So one suggestion, have a story to tell!
Sometimes it's about getting into a discussion that can get heavy, and then can come out the end in a funny sketch. Heavy subjects usually get people dialoging and getting passionate. More recently, I had a guest on by the name of Jim Greenfield, and we started talking about religion. Did it make me a little uncomfortable? Sure! But it was a good discussion, and from that we were able to come up with a sketch from it!
The one suggestion I always make is to not try to be funny. Sometimes, people are just naturally funny and we call those people comedians. Outside of comedians, it's pretty hard to be funny on a consistent basis, so I often suggest to people to not worry about it. The way sketch works best (in my humble opinion) is that we set a scenario, set the characters, and then let them interact. It's amazing what can happen when people (including myself) can stop thinking and just react to the scenario in front of them. It is also really important not to stomp on a joke, regardless of the situation presented to you, never break character and never break the 4th wall. Statements like "this is silly" or "I don't understand where this is going" are sure-fire ways to break a sketch. It is better to finish a sketch and say "that sucked" afterwards and record a new one than to stop mid-way and frustrate everyone.
So, I know that was a little verbose, so I will simplify it with a list!
- Have a story!
- Think of a subject you want to talk about!
- Don't try to be funny!
- Try not to step on jokes!
- Always finish sentences with exclamation marks!!!!
That's it! I look forward to you clicking on the "Be A Guest" at the top of the page and filling out that form!