You can’t plan improvisation comedy, and for me that’s a problem. All of our Podcasts are planned, sort of. We know what beats we want to hit, and what each of our answers or anecdotes are going to be. The host has notes. The brief is always discussed in the WhatsApp message before hand.
But will it be funny? Will we get to the plateau of good times where we start riffing on each others lines? We don’t know. I think, deep down, we don’t even know the ingredients we need to assemble to make that happen. We know we need energy, and we need a starting point, but other than that, even to us, it’s a mystery.
Which makes using it as one of the key aims of our Pod really difficult, how can we aim for something if there are no clear steps for how we’re going to get there? How can we build an audience on the promise of something that quite plausibly, might not happen in that episode, or the next or the next?
Well, it’s a challenge.
But maybe that’s part of the fun. People don’t look for the holy grail because there is an easy map to it. We chase it because it’s wild, elusive, and fickle. We want something that is obtainable, it’s tantalizingly close, but often out of reach.
Getting into the zone on an episode, I think you can hear it when it happens. There’s a perceptible “click”, where the four guests minds sync up in the right way and the energy starts to feed on itself and multiply. Of course the counter is also true, when it doesn’t happen, you can sense the group pushing and pushing, and then the boulder sliding back down the hill, not quite having enough to push it over the edge.
We’re reaching out to other comedy podcasts, on firstly, what’s their recipe for getting “on the level”, how do they achieve that glidey state of riffing, and how do they cope when it doesn’t happen. How do they manage the feelings of failure that I, and I know others in the podcast feel sometimes, when a joke doesn’t come off.
We’ll keep you posted on what we find out.