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View Full Version : What do you want from a host?


NateG
May 6, 2004, 08:06 AM
The question is: As a player about to perform, what do you want from the host of the show?

As an audience member about to see some Dirty South Improv, what do you want from the host?


I ask these questions because I really want to know. See, I'm hosting soon and I'd like to give the people, give the people what they want! Got to give the people, give the people what they want.

CoreyBrown
May 6, 2004, 08:20 AM
SHORT bits.....

The longer and longer II has been involving hosts, the hosting segments are taking up way to much time imo. Yes sometimes they are really that funny, but save those long ones for a one man show. I like a host to get in and out with a good solid laugh that doesn't take up 10 minutes of stage time by themself.

EthanK
May 6, 2004, 08:43 AM
I dig what Corey's saying and am planning on scaling down all my bits in the future, should I ever host again. Everyone does good stuff but unless the crowd is focused and you have TONS of energy it's all going to be lost after the first minute or so. I made the mistake of coming up with a bunch of stuff the last time I hosted that I ditched last minute because I was asked to play the Journey song - and I'm happy that I did because the more I think about it what I had planned would have tanked with that crowd that night. On the flipside though, it's kinda cool to have someone come up and say "are you going to do that again?"

As a performer I expect the host to remember that we are performing (hasn't always happened) and to remember our name (hasn't always happened). I like longer hosting bits as I'm waiting outside because it gives me more time to talk to the team. Every little conversation kind of helps get into the mood more.

Jennings
May 6, 2004, 08:49 AM
This is the basic hosting formula:

- Opening bit, no longer than three minutes. And that's seriously pushing the upper boundary. (Yeah, I've done five minute bits before, but I'm brilliant.) Remember the cardinal rule of hosting an improv show: It's Not Your Show.
- High energy. Big big high energy. It's midnight, wake me up, get me ready for comedy.
- If you've got a premise-y bit, present it, attack it, and get out of there. I've seen several seven minute bits that would be ten times better as two minute bits.
- Minimize props. Easy trap to fall into, but it kills the pacing when you're clearing a whole load of shit before the first team can take the stage.
- Minimize the hell out of that bit between sets, if you even choose to do one. Seriously, like ninety seconds, tops. If the group that just played left the stage with high energy, keep that energy up. If they died a slow and painful death where you wanted to scream at them to do something, for the love of God just do something, then do what you can to bring the energy back up.
- You better have a really good reason to be doing a closing bit, because I've never seen one that has ever ever worked. (Yes, sorry, I'm talking about YOUR closing bit. And, hell, yeah, mine too.) After the second group, the audience has been patiently seated for at least an hour, and they'd like to go home. Do the plugs, thank the audience, say good night.
- Don't fuck up the plugs. Be poised and professional and represent the theater well.
- PROJECT. That ice cream shop is acoustic death.

I'd be happy to talk more about hosting mechanics or help hone a hosting bit, if you'd like. Drop me a line or tug on my collar.

Jennings
May 6, 2004, 09:49 AM
And if you're going to eat something large over the course of the show, pace yourself. It's a little anticlimatic to scarf down a fifty ounce steak before the first Harold reaches the second group game, and then display an empty plate to the audience before introducing the next group. Instead, set a pace so you can display a wounded steak between the groups, and have a couple of bites with which to dramatically close the show.

Then again, when you get into a groove eating grilled meat, it can be hard to slow down. Oh my, that was a good steak.

EthanK
May 6, 2004, 09:50 AM
I'm going to make a plea on this board to stop food-related hosting bits for a while (not forever). So far we've eaten peeps, mountain dew, applesauce, steak and a bologna sandwich on four separate occasions within the space of about a month. Not to say they weren't great but "seeing the guy eat stuff" shouldn't become something to expect.

Jennings
May 6, 2004, 09:52 AM
I thought a fifty ounce steak would have been enough to say "this has gone too far."

I let my meat speak louder than my words.

CoreyBrown
May 6, 2004, 09:54 AM
I was about to post the same thing.

Even though watching Jin eat all those peeps with the biggest smile on his face was GOLD!

Jennings
May 6, 2004, 10:17 AM
Thank you, Mike.

ilaughatme
May 6, 2004, 10:55 AM
What are peeps? I hope they're not what I think they are.

EthanK
May 6, 2004, 10:59 AM
marshmallow peeps. the bunnies or chicks that are covered with day-glo sugar. fat free yet wholly evil.

ilaughatme
May 6, 2004, 10:59 AM
I want a host that'll play a huge game of enemy protector with the audience.

L'il G
May 6, 2004, 11:21 AM
I'm going to make a plea on this board to stop food-related hosting bits for a while (not forever). So far we've eaten peeps, mountain dew, applesauce, steak and a bologna sandwich on four separate occasions within the space of about a month. Not to say they weren't great but "seeing the guy eat stuff" shouldn't become something to expect.

Yeah, I feel partly responsible for this, so I apologize. I had no idea that my Mountain Dew Challenge would spawn a "let's eat and drink tons of stuff as a bit!" craze, just like I had no idea that the Memento bit would pave the way for DSI hosts to get more and more naked on stage.

Muh bad.

Anyway, Jennings is pretty much right on with the advice. Also, if anyone needs any help with hosting bits, gimme a holla, and I'll try to help you develop/tighten up your bits.

PT
May 6, 2004, 12:19 PM
Do something that'll no one has done. I made a sandwich while singing to the Beauty and the Beast song blind folded last week.

Okay, so actually I say do something dangerous and scary, yet funny at the same time.

melanie
May 6, 2004, 12:31 PM
As an audience member, I want the opening bit to get me involved and pumped up. You have 3-5 minutes to make us build a community of audience-members, into which the improv teams will be welcomed.

One way I've seen this done is to get us to sing in two-part harmony by dividing the room in half, teaching half the room the melody while the other half of the room does the harmony. Or pick a audience member who's never been to improv before and get them involved in a warm-up exercise. Do an audience-wide zip-zap-zop or crazy eights. Teach someone in the audience to juggle with you. Or get them to clap in a neat rhythm, stomping their feet also. What else do you know how to do that you'd like to teach others? Audiences love to watch someone take a risk, learn something new, and return to their seat beaming with pride. They also like to be given permission to do crazy things, like everyone shouting "HuuuuWWhhhat?!!" or some other improv mantra. The possibilities are endless. Being on stage and making a spectacle of yourself by eating a lot of food alone... Has it occurred to you that someone in the audience might want some steak/ a marshmallow peep/ some mountain dew? And what might an audience member do to get what they want? Maybe you can get them to recite a poem that they've memorized. Or sing a song. I have a theory that every non-performer has at least one "bit" that they've been saving up for years and hoping for a chance to perform. Just keep them within tight parameters though (eg, give them a 30-second time-limit to do their bit), because the audience member might run away with the show and you might not be able to stop them without making them feel bad.

You're the host of a wonderful party. A good host is one who doesn't steal the focus away from the guests. You must radiate with energy, but you invest that energy into others so that the audience and the teams feel energized.

Good luck!

Jeff Sconce
May 6, 2004, 01:53 PM
Also, try not to forget all the teams playing that night (coughPTcough).
Oh, and don't be Kit, because he's too fucking funny.
And if you are going to be musical a la Ben or Ethan, wear an outrageous wig. It guarantees success!

PT
May 6, 2004, 02:25 PM
I forgot the team playing cause I was sooo excited about them playing (cough)

Kit's Alter Ego
May 6, 2004, 02:48 PM
And I was too fucking funny because I was on pain medication that made me drowsy.

I should have taken Sudafed.

--Kit