Improvised stand-up? Have you ever heard of such a thing? Or, maybe you think you’ve seen that go down when some stand-up has nowhere to go with their material. Actually, a new live show produced by comedians Troy Conrad and Paul Provenza, Set List, further refines the idea of “improvised stand-up” into a hilarious showcase of some of stand-up comedy’s best minds working– like Dana Gould (former producer on the Simpsons), Laurie Kilmartin (writer on Conan), Eddie Pepitone and more.
The core of the show is based on a set list, normally a napkin or a scrap of paper on which the comic jots a loose list of the material to be covered. In this show, however, the set list is written on a giant notepad for the audience to see; the comic gets under a minute to prepare brand new jokes based off of all those topics, as if it was their normal set.
The topics, handpicked by Conrad, Provenza, and their team include things such as “communist graveyard” “genocide note” and “temporary amnesia.” Though it might sound impossible and no doubt, intimidating, Set List comes out incredibly funny, like a sharp Whose Line Is It Anyway? for stand-up comedy.
Because the audience is in on where the set is supposed to go, it’s even more amazing to see comedians apply their comedic voice to a topic like “jock bacon.” It’s also a treat to watch a comic segue into a ridiculous subject like “bagpipes and murder.” You get the point.
There’s a slight game show-like element to the production, too. While performing their improvised set, each comedian has to pick a mystery topic (from an box onstage) or two; and one of those topics needs to become the name or phrase of a new sexual position.
Having had a successful run in LA, Conrad and Provenza’s Set List will show the world this summer what improvised stand up is and how funny it can really be, first at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal July 29th and 30th and then in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival August 4th-30th.
For more information and to check out a video of Set List, go to the show’s website at setlistshow.com.