Jump to content
JulyDiaz

Episode 139 — Penis T-Zone

Recommended Posts

It seems strange that a couple of you claim to be fans of I4H yet are bashing it so heartily. Are you a fan or not? Do you really think Matt doesn't know how to put together a good show? If not, then why are you even here??

Are you really above dick jokes? Is anyone above dick jokes? Its what you do with the dick joke. I think penis t-zone was a great concept borne from spontinaeity.

Consider short form a giant dick joke, or fart. Its all about what you do with it. A well timed fart can be extremely profound. A dick joke has the power to hold a mirror up to society. A short-form performer can apply long-form techniques to enhance their performance.

 

I've attempted to apply short and long-form techniques to a character i do on YouTube (Arab Sing!). I roam the steets of London as this Arab hippy character singing, interacting and exploring. A bit of a shameless plug, but it's heavily inspired by early UCB stuff when they took their characters into the streets of New York. But the difference being i got into doing long-form after this character was created. Arab Sing! was kind of my transition into long-form. The other point of this character was to create an ethnic comedy Arab persona that was centred on positive stereotypes for a change. Check him out...

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

where is the joke

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Every time I start to try to defend Matt Besser or his opinions I remember "This the same motherfucker that liked X-Men 3. Like REALLY liked it." Hard to argue on the same side as someone with opinions like that.

 

that was a joke

 

this next part is serious

 

There's built-in cheat mechanisms in both forms. There's low hanging fruit in both as well. However, anyone saying they are the same thing is just incorrect. Short form is limited comepared to long-form and has more of the built-in cheats, which I think makes up most of long-form folk's negative opinions. Its down to personal preference, IMO. My stand-up friends who do long-form classes get shit from their stand-up friends and short-formers get shit from long-formers and vice-versa.

 

Speaking to the clip in the episode specifically I think Matt was perhaps hypocritical and unfair in his mockery of what they were doing on the clip. I4H initiates a ton of scenes directly from the story or youtube clip so acting like Colin Mockery asking for that information is something to be ridiculed seemed odd to me. Also the concept that short-form improv lends itself to audience recognition while long-form doesn't is silly. Though, to his credit that was Stephanie Allyne who said that last part and Matt acknowledged "no doubt I'm bitter..." so he's speaking from emotional place

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

My favorite part was when empireinrecline told Matt Besser how jokes work and what improv is

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

First off, empireinrecline seems like an awful person.

 

A long form has nothing to do with how long it is. A long form could be one minute long. Our nine minute setup wasn't setting up the rules of what we were going to do.

 

I didn't mean to compare long-form/short-form to storytelling stand-up/punchline-based stand-up in terms of length. Your comparison to karaoke vs music seemed to imply you think of short-form as a simplistic, pale imitation of long-form, where the performer doesn't have to worry about actually creating something. I assumed (based on what I know of you from the podcast, reading about UCB's history, and currently working my way through the UCB Improv Manual) that this might stem from the idea that short-form improv (usually) doesn't have to worry about creating an actual scene, establishing a who/what/where, or finding a game that needs to be heightened. Usually, short-form is primarily about making simple connections in service of the joke (this prop looks like this object! Here's a dumb reason to justify why this audience member moved my body in a certain way!), rather than creating an organic scene and letting the comedy flow from it. In this way, I compared it to punchline humor versus storytelling humor. Punchline comedians don't have to worry about heightening a story or establishing character or context. But I wouldn't expect punchline comedians or storytelling comedians to refer to the other as not "real" stand-up.

 

If there had to be an analog to karaoke in improv, wouldn't that be, say, Second City touring performers who act out, word for word, scenes that were originally improvised by other people? (Assuming Second City still does that.)

 

We were having conversation which is supposedly entertaining in itself... I'm not just shilling for my book but if you really want to know what my feelings on this are then it is all in the book. Right now I feel like I'm trying to convince someone that cotton candy isn't a food while they are in the middle of having fun at the circus.

 

I think I just disagree that it was a conversation that stood on its own. Of course, that's not objective, and I don't have a podcast with thousands of devoted listeners or a history as a huge influence on modern comedy, so I'm almost definitely in the wrong as to what's entertaining. It's just that no one played devil's advocate or offered an argument for why short-form deserves to be called improv - which is fine - but also, no one really explained their rationale behind why long-form is more credible (versus how you've fleshed out your argument here on the forum). That short-form is a lesser form was just accepted by everyone on the show as the truth, without much question or elaboration. That meant that the nine minutes was made up mostly of playing two clips of Mochrie/Sherwood, mocking them for wasting the audience's time - while playing the clips nearly in their entirety on your own show. I just thought that was ironic.

 

I'll just throw in here that if I'm being a dickhole, I invite other people to tell me so. Because man, empireinrecline cast a dark shadow. And I'll also throw in Jeff Davis's name again as a potential guest, for a Case Closed or not. Really smart, thoughtful, witty guy on Harmontown, but still performs with Whose Line to this day.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Honestly, who gives a shit what it is, so long as it's funny? Short form, long form, guy gets hit in the junk with a football, who cares. I like it all.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Its unfair to shit on the Whose Line guys. They're good at what they do. Its also unfair that there's not a long-form improv series on TV. But hey.... thank God for podcasts. We don't have to let network executives that don't even like comedy tell us what kind of comedy we're supposed to like.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

mr besser was very very careful to say he didn't like short form improv, but had nothing against the whose line guys doing it

i dont think anyone in this thread has said anything bad about them either

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

As Rob pointed out, yes I am a terrible person. I'm also a trained improvisor who has performed for paying audiences.

I'm not attacking Matt or the show even though plenty of people are jumping onto the defense. I'm asking a question that no one has answered: what is a succinct description of the I4H format.

 

I have no problem with Matt as an improvisor or dick jokes but I do have a problem with hypocrisy. So I broke down the show conceptually and made some observations. I'm just one opinion among many. But I still don't get much of a long form vibe from I4H. That's on me.

However I will critique now and say that if I went into scenes repeatedly and endowed my scene partners with the performers name I would get called out as a lazy improvisor by my scene partners but I guess that's just a culture thing or maybe a format thing. Again, that's on me. There's no doubt Matt is a pinnacle figure on the scene but everyone is entitled to their opinion concerning art. I am definitely a fan of Matt and the show, I've listened to many episodes more than once but that doesn't mean I have to love everything equally.

Cheers.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

However I will critique now and say that if I went into scenes repeatedly and endowed my scene partners with the performers name I would get called out as a lazy improvisor by my scene partners but I guess that's just a culture thing or maybe a format thing.

You're just...ugh. Come on. You can't seriously think that you can tell Matt Besser whether or not his show is long-form, or if it gives you a "long form vibe." You sound like an idiot. The man is a pioneer of long-form improv. He teaches it in a school. He's one of the founders OF the school. He wrote a book on it. HE KNOWS WHAT IT IS BECAUSE IT HELPED DEFINE WHAT IT IS. Your opinion is irrelevant: Matt Besser is a defining figure of long-form improv and you're just some guy on a message board like me.

 

And what on earth does a performers name in a scene have anything to do with anything? What, if the guy's real name is Bill but you call him Bob you're being creative? Unless the name is part of the scene, it's just a name.

 

I say this because I love you and you're my best friend

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

One of the first things I noticed about i4h (other than it's funny and owns) was that Matt will just use the other performers' names. And I thought it was a really good idea. It cuts through guys standing around trying to make up funny names so that they can get to whatever is really funny about the scene. And then when somebody does make up a funny name it has an impact because you've not been listening to forty straight minutes of 'Hello! My name is Ignatius Bumparple!'

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Why do i have to like one and not the other? Why must i be a fan of long form and therefore sacrifice my love of short form? I am a fan and practitioner of improv. I live improv every day, which is what i believe is the lesson of improv. When i found improv, i realised what life was about. I don't look down on short form because every day is a collection of short form and long form for me. There is an overarching message to every story but within that there are short moments of seemingly irrelevant banter. But even within live well performed short form shows, you see a theme running through it and that can be considered an element of longform intertwined with the short form games. I think its rediculous to seprerate them completely because improv is improv. Its following brain patterns and instinct, whether youre playing a game of top that or performing a herald.

 

Amd in response to recent comments, i4h is improv at its best. Full stop.

 

PEACE

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

As Rob pointed out, yes I am a terrible person. I'm also a trained improvisor who has performed for paying audiences.

I'm not attacking Matt or the show even though plenty of people are jumping onto the defense. I'm asking a question that no one has answered: what is a succinct description of the I4H format.

 

I have no problem with Matt as an improvisor or dick jokes but I do have a problem with hypocrisy. So I broke down the show conceptually and made some observations. I'm just one opinion among many. But I still don't get much of a long form vibe from I4H. That's on me.

However I will critique now and say that if I went into scenes repeatedly and endowed my scene partners with the performers name I would get called out as a lazy improvisor by my scene partners but I guess that's just a culture thing or maybe a format thing. Again, that's on me. There's no doubt Matt is a pinnacle figure on the scene but everyone is entitled to their opinion concerning art. I am definitely a fan of Matt and the show, I've listened to many episodes more than once but that doesn't mean I have to love everything equally.

Cheers.

 

Please never do improv or any form of comedy ever again

Share this post


Link to post

"Long form is to jazz as short form is to pop" - Joshua Funk

That's not a good analogy, no offense. Jazz is riffing on modalities based on scales within a key. A pop song is a composition with distinct sections that are not improvised. Neither are direct equivalents to long/short improv.

Share this post


Link to post

Honestly, who gives a shit what it is, so long as it's funny? Short form, long form, guy gets hit in the junk with a football, who cares. I like it all.

 

It works on so many levels.

Share this post


Link to post

That's not a good analogy, no offense. Jazz is riffing on modalities based on scales within a key. A pop song is a composition with distinct sections that are not improvised. Neither are direct equivalents to long/short improv.

 

I think it's more about appeal, and "art" of it. Like some Jazz people are pretentious and look down at people who just make a "catchy song" but at the same time there are lots of parts of pop that aren't as crafted or aspirational to do something great that a jazz person might do.

 

I believe the analogy is about the social and creator's view of Jazz/Pop rather than the actual craft of making either.

PS: I came to this topic because I was a bit disheartened with Matt's opening bitterness. But I feel for the most part the discussion here was really good and credit where it is due Matt owns up to him being bitter about short form. And you gotta respect anybody who knows their own prejudices which Matt does. He's clearly passionate about improv so he certainly has a right to have strong opinions.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×