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Episode 139 — Penis T-Zone


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#1 July Diaz

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 11:37 PM

Seth Morris, Mary Holland, and Stephanie Allynne get into the difference between short form and long form improv on this week’s improv4humans with Matt Besser! Tune in to find out what the consequences are when you take your mother’s lucky pantyhose, the results of taking an acting role too far, and the repercussions of faking an alien demon possession in a court room. Make sure to get the UCB Comedy Improv Manual, Matt Besser’s new comedy album at mattbesser.com, and Dragoon’s new album at dragoongalaxy.bandcamp.com! Check out improv4humans with Matt Besser LIVE at the Del Close Marathon on Saturday, June 28th at UCB East! Go to www.delclosemarathon.com for more info.

#2 Jacob C

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 02:54 AM

Matt, I would SO love you to have one of the Whose Line guys on the show for a Case Closed.

I don't think they're unfunny at all, by the way. They play funny party games. But I totally agree they shouldn't get the word "improv."

#3 Joe Lerini

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 06:16 AM

I definitely feel like there should be some interaction with Whose Line alumni. They've been referenced a few times on the show.

This episode was great, though. I really enjoyed the courtroom and debate scenes.

#4 Gerard Smith

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 07:46 AM

I'm imagining the the difference between short-form and long-form improv being like the difference between casual/phone gaming and hardcore gaming (PC and consoles) but called the same thing but both very different. Though I'm assuming short-form improv doesn't feature nickel and diming, unethical, child exploiting microtransactions and in-app purchases but I might be going off on my own stuff here...

Perhaps Matt could explain his issues with short-form? Its a beef I truthfully know nothing about.

#5 Matt E

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 09:22 AM

View PostJacob C, on 19 June 2014 - 02:54 AM, said:

I don't think they're unfunny at all, by the way. They play funny party games.

I think that's exactly it. They're playing games in a more literal sense than the way games are used in long-form. I think that's where the "Stumped Ya!" mentality comes into play:

The Who's Line audience isn't likely to suggest "School Picture Day" because they can already imagine that scenario being funny. In their mind, a challenge for the players, say, "German U-Boat" would require more skill and thus be more rewarding.

Meanwhile, in I4H format, "School Picture Day" is a great suggestion because it's loaded with personal connotations and anecdotes to draw from. Whereas if someone sent in "German U-Boat" I can already hear Besser in my head: "Jesus... Anyone have any good German-U Boat stories?"

#6 Matt Besser

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 10:28 AM

I would have no problem with German U-Boat. I don't have a problem with most nouns besides foods. It's when they say an obscure SAT type word like "percutaneous". Seems like more an effort to stump us than inspire us.

If I had someone on from Whose Line, what is the topic supposed to be without me insulting them? I don't have anything against those guys but I just hate a million things about short form. The biggest being how it negatively effects my long form pitches to tv networks.

I think it's good for college kids learning to be on stage and do "comedy" for the first time, but after that it's time to move on if you want to be a real comedian. To me it's no different than watching someone play pictionairy.

Didn't I cover my (bitter) hatred of short form on one of the Ask the UCB episodes?

#7 Luke HENDERSON!

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 10:48 AM

My favorite Matt Besser's catchphrases are 'Excuse me?' in a scene and 'HOLY SHIT!' between scenes.

#8 Joe Lerini

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 11:42 AM

Yeah, Matt, it was "Ask the UCB 3" where you talked about shortform/Whose Line. And you did mention not having a problem with those guys, even mentioning seeing Ryan Stiles do a Harold well.

#9 Jacob C

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 01:17 PM

View PostMatt Besser, on 19 June 2014 - 10:28 AM, said:

I would have no problem with German U-Boat. I don't have a problem with most nouns besides foods. It's when they say an obscure SAT type word like "percutaneous". Seems like more an effort to stump us than inspire us.

If I had someone on from Whose Line, what is the topic supposed to be without me insulting them? I don't have anything against those guys but I just hate a million things about short form. The biggest being how it negatively effects my long form pitches to tv networks.

I think it's good for college kids learning to be on stage and do "comedy" for the first time, but after that it's time to move on if you want to be a real comedian. To me it's no different than watching someone play pictionairy.

Didn't I cover my (bitter) hatred of short form on one of the Ask the UCB episodes?

I guess that's true. I think I'd like to see it just because it's something that you're passionate about; and it's obviously something that they're passionate about. I found your points about how the mentality of short-form is totally different. Short form is all about one-upsmanship and long form is all about support. I think it would be interesting to hear their side of it, because even though I hate that Whose Line is associated with improv rather than UCB or improv4humans (which is the best sketch comedy show, improvised or otherwise, of the past decade) I have to admit I find their show entertaining for what it is. But I feel like they should use the term "comedic party games" instead of "improv."

#10 Poika

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 03:19 PM

Just saw Matt's post- season 3 of UCB is (finally) coming out next week! Don't forget to use the Amazon link on the Improv4humans page.

#11 Bruce Reid Robinson II

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 03:45 PM

I have a logistical question about I4H that I have thought about a little and never seen asked (on the message board at least). I assume that when you have several members of an improv team on at one time, they all know that they will be there together and car pool and stuff. But in general, do the guests know who they will be on the show with? Do you tell them ahead of time if you are going to do a case closed segment? It's probably not that relevant but I often think about dumb stuff.

#12 Kickpuncher

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 03:53 PM

While we're at it, I have a semi-related question - There are sometimes four guests, so do you always (or often) invite four people, knowing that one will probably not be able to do it (or will eventually have to drop out)?

Anyway, awesome group, great episode. The courtroom video and ensuing scene were amazing. And the biggest highlight of all may have been Dr. Ducca, penis diagnoser.

#13 KajusX

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 05:42 PM

THE SWEATY ZEPHYR IS AN AMAZING NAME FOR A TRAIN
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#14 KajusX

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 06:31 PM

Also, Seth must really know some things about canning and craft hobbies. Between this ep and the last one with his astronaut's wife character, one could make a pretty solid case. ^_^
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#15 Talalaban!

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 07:38 PM

I agree with Matt about short form being a good way of getting into comedy and i'm glad to hear him giving it some slack.
I'll fucking say it; I fucking love Whose Line and always will. It's always had a place in my heart because it's something i've enjoyed as an 8 year old and as an adult. It got me into improv before i even knew what it was. Even after eventually doing it myself and now moving on to long form, I still find short form really fun.
By the way, on Greg Proops podcast he sometimes mentions something along the lines of not really respecting short form and doing it coz its easy money and he gets to hang out with the boys and bro out or whatever. That breaks my heart as much as hearing Matt and the crew ltake the piss on I4H this week. But yeah i have to say, that game did not need that long of an introduction at all.
Anyway, great episode, great guests. A real trip out at the end, fuckin genius.
nice one.
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#16 PuncturedJesus

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 11:23 PM

Motell Hell reference was gold.

#17 Hot - Slunch

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 11:47 PM

I'm so amped about season 3 being released. Looks like I'll have a night of Titte Brothers, Supercool and Thunderball next week. Seriously, Besser as Silky Slim on the basketball court, and the car roving the infield are two of my favorite things ever... Plus Steve Youngblood, and the Decatur Fist mascot drinking bleach. Holy fuck.

Also, I feel like I have to say that Colin Mochrie was definitely mocking the audience a bit with the 'Do you understand?' long explanation stuff... Stiles and Mochrie are definitely smart and funny guys.

I do fully agree with the stance of short vs. long form though. When I talk about improv, people assume it's Whose Line stuff and they instantly turn off. They don't even know what long form is because it falls under the same nomenclature. Pretty shitty, especially for pitching a show or spreading word like Besser said.
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#18 chekov's nug

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 04:31 AM

Bitching about what makes people laugh is lame. Putting yourself above other comedians as a judge of what improv may or may not be makes you look small. It carries as much weight as Jackie Mason complaining about "today's comics" or complaining about Carrot Top. Don't watch Who's line myself, but the criticism affects me conversely, as I'm less inclined to listen to I4H when MB adopts the whole "long form is pure" bull, attached to the "why aren't I on TV?" lament. Work hard and succeed on your own without tearing other people down and folks will be more apt to liking you, which could put you back on a show.

#19 Matt Besser

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 05:24 AM

View Postchekov's nug, on 20 June 2014 - 04:31 AM, said:

Bitching about what makes people laugh is lame. Putting yourself above other comedians as a judge of what improv may or may not be makes you look small. It carries as much weight as Jackie Mason complaining about "today's comics" or complaining about Carrot Top. Don't watch Who's line myself, but the criticism affects me conversely, as I'm less inclined to listen to I4H when MB adopts the whole "long form is pure" bull, attached to the "why aren't I on TV?" lament. Work hard and succeed on your own without tearing other people down and folks will be more apt to liking you, which could put you back on a show.

I'm just being honest about a sentiment that is pretty universal about short form to long formers. I admited that I am bitter and envious of their success. I literally went to a pitch this week where the tv executive wanted i4h to be more like Whose Line. That affects my life and makes me bitter. And even besides that I find the set ups of short form to be ridiculous and worth making fun of. Actually I felt like I was holding back. I didn't even mention what's going on the show RIot. I could go on for hours about Wayne Brady. I also think Carrot Top is worth making fun of and he is not indicative of "today's comics".

#20 Talalaban!

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 05:49 AM

Matt Besser is passionate about what he does and that naturally leads to bitterness about more commercial comedy succeeding over the in depth stuff. But without his passion we would not get the quality comedy he provides us for free every week (more if i lived in the US but sadly here in the UK the only stuff i can get is through the podcasts, youtube etc.). I will defend short form as a legitimate form of entertainment, but i will never dispute the passion and anger that drives Besser and other long-formers.
Correct me if i'm wrong Adair.
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