My sister-in-law snagged tickets to the filming of Alan Carr’s Chatty Man show at the ITV London Studios, where I ended up sitting at alone. The filming began early and the audience filled up quickly, so I was hurriedly herded into the far left side away from the rest of the group, hoping that I would understand the humor without any friends to translate for me.
The behind-the-scenes entertainment guy tried to pump up the audience by having us learn silly dances, which he told us would be filmed (false) and incentivizing us with prizes for contests (that never occurred, though some lady was given a bottle of wine for her enthusiasm). I didn’t dress up for the camera and I was sat next to the wall, so even if an audience shot was used, I knew I wouldn’t be in it – which happily allowed me to bundle up in the studio that was kept frigid for a mountain goat guest.
“Who came the farthest to view the show tonight!?”
Hands shot into the air and shouts of British cities filled the room. I felt kinship with the Midwesterners who came from “Chicago,” and I wondered if they were from the Windy City or if they were actually Wisconsin natives like me.
I enjoyed seeing the studio – the stage area and the activity area, where they held the rugby demonstrations with the London Irish and Gareth Thomas, presented the animals to Sarah Millican and staged a rap battle with Alicia Dixon. (Gareth Malone was the only guest that had a simple interview.) The set felt sophisticated with purple and magenta lights superimposed on screens featuring concrete and oak bark textures, which changed red and orange with excitement as guests entered down the small staircase.
I also enjoyed watching the show unfold in person and on the camera. Alicia Dixon looked lovely as I saw her in person. That probably contributes a lot to her fame. But on the screen (they showed the live feed), she looked like an absolute goddess since the lighting, make-up, etc. is created for the camera – for the viewers at home, not the few lucky people that sneak into the show.
Aside from set changes, a few little flubs and the filming of the 15-second promotional “Stay tuned to Channel X because I’ll be on at Y o’clock with [famous persons 1-4]” the tapes kept rolling, which was nice. I had only ever seen The Big Bang Theory (Season 2 Episode 20 – the Hofstadter Isotope) live at the Warner Bros. Studio just northeast of Hollywood, which my best friend and I left early. Although the show was enjoyable, minute changes to the script and delivery (facial expression, vocal tone, body language, etc.) necessitated take after take after take, lessening the impact of the jokes.
And concluding with jokes, I understood 80% of the humor on Chatty Man, including some simple (stupid) jokes about balls (rugby … or anatomy) and drinking (whoohoo booze) that somehow always get laughs, but the show was entertaining. Maybe I’ll start tuning into British chat shows from the comfort of home and attempt to view another one live when I’m more in sync with British culture.