For one night only, The Greatest Sketch Show in America comes to The BIG Theater. What is the difference between sketch comedy and improv? Both sketch comedy and improv are theater-based performing arts, with scenes, dialogue, and characters.
When you see a sketch comedy show, it is scripted – written and polished before. Improv is completely created in the moment. Some TV shows employ some level of improvisation framework of a script, they still use enough of a script to understand the story and characters beforehand.
In between their many practices, Kim Scarfe checked in to talk about producing the sketch show. Kim previously brought comedy competition Comedy Deathmatch 3000 to the stage. Before moving to Baltimore, Kim originally began performing improv comedy in Iowa.
“There's been a lot of talk about how we put a ridiculous amount of time into creating a show...and that's true,” Kim said. “it's also true that every meeting, rehearsal, and session in the writers' room is just as rewarding as the final performance.”
“Our experiences as improvisers at BIG, especially through the focus on game style improv, helps us to not only recognize what is funny in a situation and to follow that, but it also give us a better understanding of how to structure our sketches.”
With improv, actors discover and create with each other as if they are the writers and actors. In a sketch show, they’ve taken extra time to write, polish jokes, and is rehearsed before the fact.
As taught in BIG U classes, this type improv focuses on creating comedy scenes focused on a single idea. The sketch group features performers who all create with improv comedy regularly live on stage. Kim regularly teaches improv classes and performs every weekend with improv team GUS.
“What we have learned in our improv classes here at BIG has been a real asset to our writing. On the flip side, our experiences as sketch writers help us to create better improv scenes out of nothing. We laugh a lot, and sometimes we cry. I love the GSSiA team, and I'd die laughing for each and every one of them.”
See The Greatest Sketch Show in America on Thursday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m. at The BIG Theater, 1727 N. Charles St.
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