The Improv Diaries – Part 3 – Whose Line Is it Anyway?

This week with the improv there was one thing on everyones mind and in focus – status. The status of a person in society can make a big difference as to how we play them as part of a scene of scenario. For example – if we saw a posh rich wealthy person slip on a banana skin then we would all laugh as it is lowering their status in society, however if we saw fragile old lady slip on a banana peel we would not laugh instead we would be concerned.

Status makes a big impact on comedy and is an iconic function that is used because the audience can relate to it. To understand this more, in the lesson we were given a number that was put on our foreheads that we could not see and we had to guess whether we had a high or low status in society to see the reactions that people would have to you in a social situation and what the differences in the status would be. This was a great exercise as it made you understand how it should be played or presented in a comedy situation.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Whose Line Is It Anyway is a show that is quoted as being the inspiration for so many improv acts that are around today. The shows origins date back to 1988 when it was a radio show on BBC Radio 4 and it was created by Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson. It then lead to a television show in the United Kingdom which ran between 1988 – 1998 and when it finished it run, ABC America released an American version which ran between 1998 – 2007. In 2013 it revived again the the United States and is still going strong.

The status idea really comes into play on this show and a good example of this is some of the rounds that they play. On eof the rounds is called infomercial where they are given a bunch of mysterious items that they have to sell to the camera/ audience that is is a brand new way of getting rid of hair, curing snoring etc etc. The duo doing it have to create a high status to talk to the audience to make them believe that what they are selling them will actually work.


Another game they play is called conference – this is when team members have to talk at a member on a podium of a conference answering questions being thrown at them however they do not know what the topic is that they are answering questions on. The status comes into play here as the ‘journalists’ have a lower status then the person on the podium as and the person on the podium has to show confidence even if they have no idea what they are talking about (whilst always saying YES (remember last weeks post)

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