In a world that knows no bounds, improv can infect you anywhere (if you didn't just read that in a deep movie-announcer voice, what's wrong with you?). Case in point: Pre-Recorded Late Night. Hosted by baton-waving Jay Frosting, guests are invited on for interviews; however, they don't know who they are or what they do until they're introduced. Frosting records the show via Skype, edits the audio tracks, and then posts the shows as podcasts.
"The show began as Pre-Recorded Late Night Live during the free-for-all Block Party at the Dallas Comedy House," Frosting said. "I've wanted to host a late-night talk show as long as I can remember, but I also love satire and watching 'regular folk' who have no media training try to get through an interview.
"I also wanted an excuse to get stage time with lots of different performers, for my benefit and theirs," he continued. "So every week I'd invite new people and get suggestions from the audience maybe five minutes before showtime for who the guests are. Also, I look good in a suit."
Frosting says that most late-night talk show hosts are in the habit of asking prepared questions and knowing the answers ahead of time.
"I enjoy mocking that by surprising our guests with an absurd job or life story and following them down the rabbit hole of ridiculousness," he said. "What's especially funny to me is when we're satirizing a real trend like extreme couponing, and then that episode becomes popular in iTunes, and I can only imagine the shock on the face of the listener who didn't know it was satire."
"We'll mix up the straight-and-absurd interviews with some Armando-style improv scenes from time to time, and for people who like that part the best, I heartily recommend the podcast 'improv4humans' by Matt Besser," Frosting said.
As in any art form, evolution is key to survival and relevance.
"We're considering bringing in some kind of topical news monologue or Weekend Update-style segment," Frosting said. "We'll also have special guests from time to time, like an interview I just did with Jessamyn from MetaFilter, which should be available the week of January 16th."
Frosting says that one of the things that sets the show apart is the editing.
"I remove all the filler and ums and uhhs so that the listener's time is never wasted, and I can, for example, adjust awkward silences to be just long enough, or rearrange whole segments to happen in a different order," he said. "As the straight man, I even get a weird thrill from editing out a suggestion I made during the recording so that it sounds like it was the other person who came up with the idea. It's the most powerful tool I have for supporting my teammates."
You can listen below to an excerpt from a recent show. Once you get hooked, and you will, tune in each week and think about being a guest, too. To paraphrase Mojo Nixon, improv is everywhere.