Mock the Week is a British panel show where comedians make jokes about last week's events. It's made to feel as though it's all improvised banter (or at the very least jokes they told their friends over beer in the days preceding the recording).

One of the parts involves some of the participants doing a short stand up bit on a topic chosen, seemingly at random. Another part is the participants making jokes in the form of "unlikely thing to hear in whatever scenario", which often involves two scenarios given (first the one, and after it is exhausted a bit, the second). Both of these feel somehow as they are coming with these on the spot.

However! You can sometimes see that some people have notes on their hands or hidden on the desk. There are graphics prepared for some of the jokes. And in one outtakes part, a participant in the "unlikely things to hear" said something that made no sense, and then it was clarified (through a later outtake) that what he said was supposed to be in the second scenario.

All this raises the question, how much do the panelists know in advance? Do they know who is going to the stand up challenge, or what the topics might be? In other words, how far is this from a proper improv show (e.g. Whose Line)?

  • I have no idea what tags to use, please help!
    – Ink blot
    Sep 26, 2020 at 16:34
  • The tags look good enough to me.
    – F1Krazy
    Sep 26, 2020 at 16:35
  • I know they do get preparation time; but I don't know where I found this information to provide citations… the hunt is on ;) btw, the stand-up routines, they know the topic before-hand, so they pick a part of their routine that covers it. They don't have to write it all fresh. How does Hugh always know the 'real answer'? How does he manage to keep up with the voiceover for the Queen & Prince Phil? btw, what makes you think any show is all truly improv??
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 26, 2020 at 17:20
  • @Tetsujin: Thanks! I guess it's the part of me that thinks that Ryan Stiles is awesome.
    – Ink blot
    Sep 26, 2020 at 17:58
  • The point is to create a funny show, not to create a "honest" quiz. I'm sure some of those stand-up bits are even short excerpt from a comedian's actual routine, thus you see them tell stories that might only barely be related to the subject that is picked.
    – BCdotWEB
    Sep 26, 2020 at 19:35


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