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JONESGH's avatar

What do comedians do during commercial?

Asked by JONESGH (3554points) June 3rd, 2009 from iPhone

When you’re watching a live comedy performance on tv and it goes to commercial, what does the comedian do?

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10 Answers

aprilsimnel's avatar

Banters with the audience. Takes a good long drink of water. Might have a quick chat with a PA or stage manager or someone related to the production. Breaks are only about two or three minutes, so that doesn’t leave time to do very much.

DeanV's avatar

I would say that most of those comedians you watch on TV are prerecorded, and the commercial breaks you speak of aren’t actually breaks in the show at all, just stops found in the recording good for inserting commercials by the studio.

So basically, the comedian probably doesn’t know about those commercial breaks, he/she just has their usual routine without breaks.

But I could be wrong.

GAMBIT's avatar

They drink some water and get ready for the next part of their performance.

WhatThaF's avatar

They take a minute nap.

dalepetrie's avatar

I’m going to say pretty much what @dverhey said. Personally, I love stand up comedy, and I have never once in my life seen a live comedy show on TV that had commercials. The only network I know of that ever broadcasts live comedy is HBO…generally I think it’s deemed too risky for commercial television with the possibility that they might go blue. Most comedy performances are filmed live…the comedy show was recorded live, but it’s edited for broadcast and what you normally see is they will pick a point in the show where the comedian has paused for laughter, or when he switches topics for them to interrupt for the commercial break. Comedy being all about timing and pacing, it would be impractical to show a live comedy show with commercial interruptions. If a network WERE ever to try doing that, I’d suspect they’d probably break away and come back and let the comedian keep his routine, because if you break pace in a comedy routine, it’s not going to be very good.

The only exception I can think of, and I actually DO have an answer for this is TV talk shows, like the Tonight Show or the Late Show or what not, where you have the host doing a monologue and then they go to commercial and the host is now at the desk and every commercial break inbetween the host stays at the desk, you kind of wonder what they do, or what the audience does, and that I can answer having been at a taping of one of these shows many years ago. Essentially the band plays and the host either just listens to the band, grabs a few sips of water, and maybe chats a little with one of the guests if the guest sticks around during the break. Before the show they bring out a comedian to warm up the crowd, and they go through the “rules” like pointing out the applause sign if there is one, maybe they ask the crowd a few questions so that if someone has an interesting story they can give the host a note. Towards the end of the show they might have the host do a couple of voice promos for the local affiliate.

But most live comedy shows the comedian comes on, talks for 45 to 75 minutes and leaves…rarely is there an encore, rarely is there any break in the action, and if you want to show it on TV, you film the whole thing and break it up and insert commercials in the studio.

Darwin's avatar

Having been on a number of live TV shows, I know that during the commercial break we used to just chat amongst ourselves until the hand signals were given that told us to turn to the front and go back to smiling.

dalepetrie's avatar

@Darwin – any YouTube links to your live TV appearances?

YARNLADY's avatar

On the live TV shows I have attended the Audience Wrangler would entertain the audience while the host and guests would take a short, in place break, usually a sip of water, and sometimes a wipedown from the towel person.

The time is used for the various staff people to reposition the equipment and exchange any microphones that are glitchy.

At one show, some thing was spilled, and the crew rushed in with a change of shirt and jacket.

Darwin's avatar

@dalepetrie – I hope not.

dalepetrie's avatar

You never know, I went to a concert in April and in May I quite accidentally found a YouTube video of the last song in the show with me in the foreground.

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