This is Your Laugh
Andrew O'Keefe's new show is an alternative chat show that is having a go, improvising with the 7HD channel.
Andrew O’Keefe’s pet project This is Your Laugh finally hit screens last night, airing exclusively on 7HD.
The digital-only channel allows the show to find its feet without the same pressures as its analogue channel. Seven has experimented with 7HD before, when The Night Cap aired briefly earlier this year. Using the channel for ideas like this is a clever “off-Broadway” path for new shows.
The format for this show is chat meets improvisation. O’Keefe, who already takes a chat chair on Weekend Sunrise, flies solo here and is clearly loving the freedom already.
Filmed in a small studio with an even smaller audience, the set was simple, with a low-rise performance stage taking the centre, straddled on one side by the four ‘Improfessional’ actors and host and guest chairs on the other.
O’Keefe’s opening monologue, which floated the differences in laughs and laughter was rather forced. Hopefully there are some gags with punchlines written into subsequent episodes (it isn’t clear if these are being shown out of order -I suspect they are).
First guest radio gal Jo Stanley told O’Keefe of her early years being born in Papua New Guinea, including a return to PNG as an adult where a flight in a small plane was accompanied by a live cow. This anecdote provided opportunity for the four actors to leap to centrestage (a doorbell indicates the interruption), and illustrate the scene for comic mirth.
The four actors, Nicola Parry, Rebecca Deunamuno, Toby Truslove, Daniel Cordeaux, all show great skill in improvising -some will be familiar to viewers of Thank God You’re Here and Comedy Slapdown.
The Umbilical Brothers similarly provided tales of their formative years, which were enacted by the four.
A final scene fused both Stanley and The Umbilical Brothers together -the best scene of the debut show.
O’Keefe was, like his appearances on Deal or No Deal, a man in control. He knows how to keep the ball in the air, even if his abrasive style sometimes divides viewers.
For a one hour format, the show could do with either a third guest or another trick up its sleeve. These guests are not ‘A-list’ enough to sustain two segments each, unless, and it’s a big ask, O’Keefe wants to conduct more introspective interviews. But that would probably digress from the brief.
As an HD experiment (it’s not making much use of the ‘high-definition’ so much as the low key forum) This is Your Laugh is an alternative that is having a go, improvising with with channel itself. Sometimes it will probably fall flat on its face, and sometimes there will be entertainment for the fact it is going off script and loving it.
This is Your Laugh airs 8:30pm Sundays on 7HD.