In Let’s Go to the Phones: A Podcast Taping, some of the city’s best improvisers and a few special guests create two completely fake discussion panels on really boring topics, decided on by the audience. The hope is that recordings of this show will eventually become a real podcast. Before the show’s start, the performers ask two things of the audience: that they challenge the performers with tough questions, and that they participate.
Pretending to be an expert, or even interested for that matter, in either of the performance’s topics, fake plants and tupperware, took skill and commitment. Donovan Workun is hysterical as Tupperware fanboy Larry Sturko, and Jesse Gervais, though he was cracking up at Workun’s enthusiasm, never broke character as Tupperware scientist Richard Attenborough. Every single performer though, commits fully to their characters, and to fervently discussing the topics with passion and interest. This is not a show where there is much to look at, so it’s a testament to the fantastic performances that it is so enjoyable to watch.
Audience participation can be unpredictable, especially when the show is based on such inane topics. In the first half of Friday’s show, there was minimal participation from the audience, which in less capable hands might lead to lulls in the conversation. The actors however, worked together to keep things fluid, hardly missing a beat as they called and responded their way through the topic. In the second half, with the audience more warmed up, several more people decided to join in on the fun, which created higher-stakes improv and made for a much stronger second act.