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Achieving a depth of character : long-form improv practices in US comedy podcast culture

Smith, AN

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Abstract

This article examines the specificities of long-from improvised comedy performance (that is, long-from improv) within podcasting. It demonstrates how the podcast medium’s technologies, together with related cultural conventions, motivate performers to innovate long-form improv techniques distinct from those applied in theatrical contexts. So as to exemplify this process, the article draws on the content of the Los Angeles-based podcast network Earwolf, as well as from evidence of production pertaining to this content. With reference to Earwolf series including Comedy Bang! Bang!, Hollywood Handbook and With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus as examples, the article identifies and details three distinct long-form improv practices that podcasting contexts have influenced. These are: (1) the development of episode formats centred on interview and discussion; (2) the adoption of relaxed and informal approaches to performance; and, (3) the use of serialisation as a means to narratively link multiple separate recorded performances. Via this analysis, the article contributes to a nascent body of research concerning the increasingly prominent comedy podcast sector. Through examining long-form improv practices within podcasting contexts specifically, the article furthermore makes a unique contribution to the field of academic literature concerning improvised comedy.

Citation

Smith, A. (2019). Achieving a depth of character : long-form improv practices in US comedy podcast culture. Comedy Studies, 10(2), 167-182. https://doi.org/10.1080/2040610X.2019.1623500

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 15, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 3, 2019
Publication Date Jun 3, 2019
Deposit Date May 10, 2019
Publicly Available Date Dec 3, 2020
Journal Comedy Studies
Print ISSN 2040-610X
Electronic ISSN 2040-6118
Publisher Intellect
Volume 10
Issue 2
Pages 167-182
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/2040610X.2019.1623500
Publisher URL https://doi.org/10.1080/2040610X.2019.1623500
Related Public URLs https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rcos20

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