YOU HAVE to admire the audacity and foolhardiness of a group of comedians who perform a show with only a skeleton idea of what they will do, little in the way preparation, and relying on the goodwill and creativity of the audience.
It’s mad, but that’s what comedy improv is all about and as Galway audiences know so well, it’s what the Whose Line Is It Anyway? team do so brilliantly.
The gang, led by Stephen Frost, and featuring Phill Jupitus, Dave Johns, and two of Ireland’s most popular comedians - Joe Rooney and the brilliant improviser Ian Coppinger - will play a ‘Róisín Dubh presents...’ show at the Town Hall Theatre on Easter Sunday April 12 at 8pm.
Unlike conventional stand-up, in which a comedian has a prepared set of themes, stories, gags, and routines, improv is dependent on audience suggestions and the comedians’ ability to come up with something fast and at the same time make sure it’s funny.
Phill Jupitus, though, doesn’t see it as something daunting.
“Improv is more fun because the crowd are more involved and are investing in it as much as you are,” he told me when I interviewed him last year. “In stand-up it’s more gladiatorial - it’s you against the crowd. In improv there is a feeling of a common endeavour, so as nervous as you might be, the audience are also nervous as they have to provide the inspiration for us.”
Some suggestions from the audience are inspired. There are some, however, that simply are not.
“There is always some young guy in the audience who will shout ‘Porn!’ and genuinely think he is the first person to ever suggest it,” says Phill. “He’s not! There’s not a night someone hasn’t shouted porn.
“I remember at one gig there was this guy who kept shouting ‘Gay cowboys’ all night. Any suggestion, he’d shout ‘gay cowboys’. I think he must have seen Brokeback Mountain and it inspired him beyond measure.”
Tickets are €25/20 from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 and the Róisín Dubh.