Quickfire Round – Middleditch and Schwartz

With no idea if any of it was objectively good, this long-form improv show made me genuinely laugh out loud – a rarity for American humour.

They’re able to do so much with just two chairs for props

Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz have a real stage show where they perform long-form improv based on an initial scenario discussion with a member of the audience. Netflix thought it would be a good idea to film three of these for a one-off comedy special – and they were right.

Each episode, roughly 50 minutes long, was hilarious and completely different. The first, involving a wedding, had the clearest (you might say easiest) plot line to follow and was therefore the least littered with unintentional gaffes. It’s probably my pick of the three. The second involved a class at law school, a truly random experience but with a satisfying pay off. The third and final episode was probably the weakest, not helped by the lack of detail provided by the audience member and the confusing plot twist which couldn’t be ironed out. That said, none of the episodes were a waste of time.

The show is just as much satisfying as it is funny. Middleditch and Schwartz are highly skilled, managing to weave in and refer back to both the nuggets of information gleamed from the audience at the beginning, and wacky details improvised throughout. Often times the funniest parts were the ones I saw coming, which did double work by reminding me of the initial hilarity and repeating it at the perfect time.

You’ll want to dedicate a solid 50-minute slot for each episode without interruptions, to help you keep up with the flow and keep the inside jokes at the forefront of your mind.

I’m just worried I’ll never see another improv show that compares.