Monday, 27 June 2011

The Chat Show Phenomenon

They've been around for a while, but I've noticed that the chat show format seems more abundant that ever this year.

Quite a few of the acts I've seen before and many that I have recommended are going down that route this year. I'm a fan of Tim Vine... I've not gone to see him live because he's on telly so much, but he seems to have switched to the chat show format. Jack Whitehall and Arthur Smith are other reasonably big names who have done the same.

I've sung the praises of Marcel Lucont on the blog before and also recommended Bob Slayer, a real mayhem specialist... Whilst I'm a huge fan of both I have different opinions on both of them doing it. I expect Bob Slayer will not change that much, his shows will still be anarchy and he'll still run around like a lunatic, but Marcel Lucont is a much more polished comedian. I've really enjoyed his shows and would be happy to just see more new material.. I don't know how well his stuff will come across in a two way dialogue... but at least he is trying something new and I sincerely hope he nails it!

The locals are getting in on the act too, with Scott Agnew and Hardeep Singh Kohli joining in (I've always thought that Hardeep is more suited to a presenter style/TV type gigs than straight stand up anyway).

Long-standing chat show enthusiasts Neil and Christine Hamilton are doing their regular lunch time show and other names using this format include Olivia Lee, Stephen K Amos (on the Radio), and that's before you add in other TV and radio shows like Fred MacAulay who usually comes livefrom Edinburgh every day during the Fringe...

The question I really want to ask though... Is it taking the easy option? I'd like to see comments on this as I'm still undecided....

Many comics tirelessly try to reinvent themselves, develop and refine their material in order to try and come up with an hour of magic that finally sees them propelled to stardom!

To just invite your mates on and have a bit of material prepared to slip in along with the regular banter, doesn't seem as dedicated to me.

Having another comedian on stage would, I imagine, make performing much easier. If you hit a weak point and you aren't getting the laughs you can keep quiet and let the other comic do their bit.... It would certainly be a lot less lonely than being on stage for an hour!

On the other hand, many comedians come into their own when they ask ballsy questions and manage to stay just inside the line. Mrs Merton and Ali G are two character comedians who deservedly found fame by shamelessly taking advantage of the people they were interviewing.

Maybe people just want to see chat shows. Is it a simple case of supply and demand? Do punters drift towards these types of shows just like they drift towards your standard "three acts and a compere" because it's a safer bet? You can't blame comedians for following buyer trends. After all, comedy is still a business and anyone who doesn't treat it as such, especially in Edinburgh, is certain to lose out!

What do people think?

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