And back to another John Sessions episode. Yes, Mike and Sandi are here, which will definitely help, but backing up John is something of a ‘guest star’, ex-Muppet Show writer and future slime aficionado Chris Langham, who…well *looks* the part of someone who’ll be blacklisted from showbiz in 20 years.
Authors: Flash Gordon goes to Shangri-La
Mike: Dr. Seuss
Chris: Jack London
Sandi: Joy Francis
John: Alan Bennett
Clive: “Now what we need from the audience is a title for the story, something nice and exotic and interesting.”
Clive: “….more interesting than complete silence, for example…”
Sandi does bring a nice line of “well, no wonder they call him Flash Gordon” to the until-then-listless game.
John, as usual, doesn’t connect his bit to the story, goes on for 20 seconds more than everyone else, AND DOESN’T GET THE CONCEPT OF IMPROV.
The second round is a little better, as Mike does have a great rhyme ending with “they were buggering the mighty Grinch.”
Chris has a nice recovery: “Black Jake strapped the heffalump to his shed- SLED….AND HIS SHED!”
He does a cheeky eyebrow move to the camera after here.
This wasn’t a bad one, as Sandi, Chris and Mike all did well (with an emphasis on Sandi), but the momentum stopped every time John started speaking. You think he’d have learned by now.
Film and Theatre Styles v1: Chris and John (Headmaster and Pupil)
Already both Chris AND John do a number of faux pas- Chris doesn’t listen to John and instead makes jokes on his own, then spends 5 seconds not being able to think of how long he’s been there, then turns the scene slightly sexual early on, then ALONG WITH JOHN, goes over the buzzer for 10 seconds.
And then, in the Berkoff style, they ONCE AGAIN, keep talking well after the buzzer, still going on with puns and jokes and things. Clive has to intervene and go “CHRIS! SHUT UP!” while pressing down even harder on the buzzer.
Clive: “Is my buzzer on strike, or are you playing in the style of two deaf actors??”
I would like to note here that when Chris does an American accent, in a gruff manner….it sounds a weeeeee bit like Jim Henson’s voice, as Kermit or just in general. It’s a very…muppety American accent. This makes sense.
The Thunderbirds style SORT OF saves it…John does try to bail the scene for no reason, but the physicality is there, especially when Chris tries tying his shoe and falls over.
This was a very shoddy scene, not helped by how inconsiderate Chris and John seemed to be toward the fact that this was supposed to be a lawful improv scene.
Film and Theatre Styles v2- Sandi and Mike (boss falling in love with secretary)
Almost immediately you can tell how amazing Mike’s chemistry with Sandi was, owing to last episode as well.
Clive: “Let’s go with a fly-on-the-wall documentary”
Mike, slowly turning to Clive: “Ohh…what is a ‘fly on the wall documentary’?”
The Tarzan style brings this back on track, as it ends with Mike wanting to ‘make banana love’ to Sandi, and getting in a very suggestive position behind her…the second the buzzer goes. Sandi does an ‘aw maaan’ gesture.
The Film Noir style does bring this one home nicely, with great acting from both, and a good ending line
Mike: “Yeah, right in my eye. AAAHHH!”
Not as good as their last scene together, but still pretty nice.
World’s Worst- person to go into space
John, as Bowie I assume: “Planet Earth is blue…and there’s nothing WE can do…”
Mike: “Cindy left me. I don’t care if I DIE…”
Sandi: “While we’re up here, I thought we should talk about the liberal party and whether or not we should rename ourselves…”
Chris: “….but I suppose, in a sense, we’re ALL latent homosexuals, aren’t we?”
John: “You know I’m a poet, they’ve sent up here…I’ve written a Moon Poem…”WE’LL BE ON THE MOON……SOON!”
Pretty nice one, with equal amounts of good stuff from everybody, though John and Chris’s were still a bit too talky at times.
Props: Sandi and John vs. Mike and Chris
Sandi: “Darling, I SAID you should have had a circumcision, this is ridiculous…”
Mike: “YOU WANTED A *LARGER* DOG, YOU WANTED A *LARGER* DOG…”
Relatively fun round. You can definitely see some Muppets influence in Chris’ energetic offerings here.
Film Dub: Chris and Sandi argue over what to have for dinner
This was a nice scene, and there were some great moments with Sandi and Chris’ back-and-forth, but I can’t completely love it with some of Chris’ more aggressive choices, including a racist joke and a few ‘bitch’ drops toward Sandi’s character.
Tag: Chris and John start
John, on the floor: “Antony…do you know that the people downstairs…have been making love to a Cornish morris dance?”
Mike: “….oh, COME ON, I’M NOT RACING AGAINST A DEAD PERSON!!”
Chris taps out Sandi to get near John’s back, saying “no, I WANT TO BE HERE…”
John, taking this as a scene: “I haven’t gotten my scout badge yet, sir…”
Sandi: “But, doctor, I’m SURE the baby doesn’t come out this way…”
After a really nice scene here, Mike taps out Sandi, and Chris has a second to shake his head as Mike gets under his legs.
Then Sandi taps out Chris, gets in that position, and goes “…i had nothing to say, I just had to do that…”
Once again, not only is this a really nice round, but John doesn’t contribute at all after he’s tapped out.
Party Quirks: Sandi hosts
Chris: finds everything baffling
Mike: an eskimo
John: a society wit
Chris is actually great here, as Sandi explains the fun party game, and he’s just completely dumbfounded, going “WHY???”
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Chris is carrying this game, by pointing out all the flaws in it, such as “I tell you what, there was a big bloke in here earlier, and now he’s gone! How’d that happen?”
As John’s doing his one of his many heady phrases, Sandi motions to Chris that John may be a bit of a wanker.
Chris, repeating the motion: “Sorry, but what does THAT mean???”
Solid scene, though, as usual, Clive had to rush to a climax. Sandi is beginning to get better at letting the participants interact, though she’s still not great at interacting with them.
Overall: A step up from the last show, but not by much. This show was, as usual this season, hampered by John Sessions’ inability to be a team player, and a lot of the worst moments were thanks in part to him. Also as usual this series, Sandi and Mike were the heroes, with emphasis going to Sandi Toksvig for some really great choices throughout the show, and for proctoring a really nice Party Quirks.
I’m gonna dedicate a whole paragraph to Chris, because his case is an interesting one. In some early games tonight, like Film and Theatre Styles and Film Dub, he was downright disrespectful, self-effacing and didn’t get the concept of good improv. However, in later games, like Props, Tag and Party Quirks, he worked really well with others as well as off of them. So it’s very hard to make a statement about whether he was good or bad, as he was both throughout the show. I’ll make it quite clear, though, that he had more positive moments than John.
Show Winner: Mike
Best Performer: Sandi, for having a fantastic all-around show
Worst Performer: John Sessions, as usual
Best Game: Tag, for bringing out the best in everyone
Worst Game: Film and Theatre Styles v1, for just being really messy all-around.