Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 interview: Clive Anderson vs rising improv stars

  • The List
  • 22 July 2014

This article is from 2014

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 interview: Clive Anderson vs rising improv stars

BattleActs, Austentatious and more quiz the Whose Line is it Anyway? host

As the stage version of iconic improv TV show Whose Line is it Anyway? debuts in Edinburgh, some rising stars of the adlibbing scene chuck questions at its cheeky host, Clive Anderson

David Allison, This is Your Trial: As an ex-lawyer, you will appreciate that what appears as a witty adlib may actually be the result of anticipating the responses of ‘witnesses’ or improv participants and some carefully planned prompts: how much is this cheating?
Clive: If you are cross-examining a witness or interviewing a guest, it is sensible to think what they may answer so you are ready with a follow-up question if necessary .Or a joke. The same could be true to a lesser extent in improv. I wouldn’t call it cheating to try to anticipate what might come up, but it is generally easier to come up with things as you go along.

BattleActs: If you could remove one thing from the world of improv what would it be?
Clive: The three Rs: repetition, repetition, repetition.

Baron Sternlook: In long-form improv, how important is it to be funny in comparison to creating a satisfying storyline?
Clive: As with everything in life, it is important to keep a balance. On a TV or radio programme you want to keep the jokes coming thick and fast, or the audience will switch off or turn over. In a longer form of improv, in the theatre say, you can take your time to develop a scenario but you hope to build to something satisfying to justify the time taken. But a joke or two along the way also helps.

Blind Mirth: What’s the least expected way improv has helped you in real life?
Clive: It allowed me to appear on radio and television.

The Cleek: What are you most looking forward to about reforming the show for Edinburgh?
Clive: I love the excitement of appearing in front of a live audience and working with a bunch of quick-witted performers.

Joe, Austentatious: How do I tell Rachel about my romantic feelings for her without upsetting the dynamic of the group?
Clive: You are bound to upset the dynamic of the group – for good or ill – by telling Rachel about your romantic feelings for her. But the vital question is whether your possible relationship with Rachel is more important to you than the group dynamic or not. I can’t answer that for you. Good luck.

John Hastings: McEwan Hall is taken over by 800 schoolchildren who want to fight you. You have to distract them with an improv game: which one would you choose? 
Clive: ‘Stand, Sit, Lie Down’. Starting with everybody, including the audience, lying down for five minutes.

The Improverts: What, for you, has been the most inventive use of an audience suggestion?
Clive: In an early radio recording episode of Whose Line is it Anyway?, a member of the audience suggested I should be a chat show host. I have built a career on that.

Racing Minds: Who would be in your improv dream team?
Clive: Greg Proops, Steve Frost, Josie Lawrence and Angela Merkel.

Showstoppers: Do you ever get the urge to join in or do you prefer sitting behind the desk?
Clive: Opinion is divided on this. I have occasionally joined in with improv games and I think I have been fine. Everyone else thought I was better behind the desk.

What Does the Title Matter Anyway?, Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, 6–19 Aug, 9pm, £16–£17.50 (£14.50–£16).

Blind Mirth Improv Comedy

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