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Laughter Shock

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David Thair | 15:15 UK time, Wednesday, 31 March 2010

LaughtershockLaughter Shock is a new sketch show pilot for BBC Three. Here's producer Gary Reich to explain how it all came about:

In 2009, faced with hesitant, strapped-for-cash broadcasters, we decided to go for it and shoot our own series. We had a little bit of money to fund the show ourselves and our own kit: a Z1 camera, a boom mic and a copy of Final Cut Pro on a laptop. We knew we could make sketches for very little and that they don't need to be expensive to be funny. We wanted to find new comics who had something interesting to say and wanted to say it enough to overlook the fact we couldn't afford to pay them much more than a few quid, a free lift to a place we could film for free, and a sandwich. All be it a chicken sandwich.

Laughtershock - hatsWe scoured the country for nine months to find the best new writer-performers out there. They needed to fulfill certain criteria: they needed to have only been on the scene for a short time; they needed to have passionate and distinctive styles and voices; they needed to be struggling to find agents or even paid slots; they needed to be in some way marginalized or under-represented on TV. So we went to the gigs other TV companies don't go to.

We filmed sketches with the comics we found each month, developing them and script editing over an intensely short period of time. At the end of each month we put on a live show where we projected the sketches and each of the comics performed a 5min stand up set. The nights where a huge success. We filmed all of them and cut together the sketches and the stand up to make our pilots.

Simon Lupton from the BBC was very supportive of our mission and came to all six of the live shows. What was brilliant was that when he said he wanted to commission a broadcast pilot of the show we were able to sit down together and view the six DVDs and select the acts and sketches we felt had the strongest potential - so from the six shows and 60 amazing new acts we picked some of the very best to be in our BBC pilot. There are many from those 60 who would make their way into a series, so it's our hope we can continue on to make one.

What all this novelty and play and sheer adrenaline has produced is an amazingly fresh comedy show which is absolutely driven by the raw visions of writer-performers not normally given this chance to play. And we are very proud of it.

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Watch Laughter Shock tonight at 11.05pm on BBC Three - and let us know what you think!


  • Comment number 1.

    Great new comedy. The first stand-up does a line about 'gay = rubbish/crap/something-I-wouldn't-touch-with-a-barge-pole'. The first sketch has a punch line based on 'gay = rubbish/crap/something-I-wouldn't-touch-with-a-barge-pole'. Hmmm. I wonder where kids get the idea that it's OK to be homophobic. It surely can't be older people on TV.

    Oh. It is. They're on Laughter Shock.


  • Comment number 2.

    Great to see up and coming talent getting a shot to appeal to a wider audience... My only comment/question would be that ok London is a big place, lots of people and comedians apparently...

    If a series appeared would there be more from other parts of uk? - Some of the humour didnt resonate with me is all im hinting at (perhaps im the wrong demographic for BBC3 now, too old etc...). Or did I suffer a comedy breakdown?

  • Comment number 3.

    I liked this show but sadly for me a couple of acts were not convincing as comedians,there delivery and punch lines were a bit weak, also the format for me was cluttered with quite a few more acting than expected which then sadly for some of the short drama outtakes became kind of tasteless,what will be great will be cutting out the acting bit and just keep it as straight comedy with each act having 10 minutes slots to state there claim and simply maqke people laugh,the first lad had really good with his routine and prince, they both made there make on that pilot sadly the rest was just not good enough but all in all great effort guys

  • Comment number 4.

    I thought the show had potential and would be interested in seeing a few more episodes at least

  • Comment number 5.

    I thought it was pretty good. The stand-up parts seemed a tad rushed - (give us your funniest minute!) but an interesting idea. A bit Londoncentric, but perhaps that can be worked on?

  • Comment number 6.

    Fantastic to see so many young acts given a chance to get themselves out there. Would absolutely love to see more!

  • Comment number 7.

    The warning when signing in says they have the right to refuse comments which "Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable"

    What's not homophobic about the first couple of sketches of this show? I feel sorry for any of the other acts who appeared in it and (please god) might have been better and less embarrassing, but I switched off and immediately rushed here to whine about it. Bag of cack.

  • Comment number 8.

    Come off it BBC3, this was poor. Stop aiming so low.

  • Comment number 9.

    There is something irredeemably adolescent about both the tenor and execution of this show. The stand up sections hold most promise and do present some up and coming comics who were engaging despite dim-witted, glib references to mental health etc without any meaningful/comic import. Furthermore, are we to believe that the commissioning editors and the team dedicated to creating this show can stand by the nonchalant and insidious association of all things gay with all things naff as progressive, intelligent comedy or indeed comedy at all. The acted scenes are painfully scripted and awkwardly directed. My hope is that BBC 3 will explore excellence and innovation rather than predictable, old-hat stereotypes in future. 'Not all stereotypes are bad' you kept refraining but you were quite happy to use a few without any seeming consciousness of the implications.

  • Comment number 10.

    I thought it was good, I would definitely watch it again. It might me laugh out loud quite a few times. I agree that some of the jokes about homophobia were weak and some of the sketches dragged on for quite a while (the Olympics one went on too long, for example.) My favourite part was the stand up.

  • Comment number 11.

    Good in parts, but nevertheless exactly the type of thing BBC3 should be doing. I struggle to see, however, why this received more promotion and better scheduling than the brilliant Lizzie and Sarah?! More new comedy please!

  • Comment number 12.

    Chapter 34 in the BBC's 'Let's Be Down With The Kids' manual: Make comedy show with lots of young, trendy folk. Plenty of Ethnic Minorities, and 'street' slang. Doesnt have to be funny or anything. This is the TV equivalent of those 'DO U NO CHLAMYDIA' posters on the Tube.

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi there,

    Haven't read the whole blog but must comment and say, whilst baz may have a point about the formulaic "..'Let's Be Down With The Kids' manual.." feel of the thing, I thought the show was worth any investment expended.

    The Sebastian Coe sketch had me laughing more that I have in years, honestly. I'm not sure why I found it so funny, maybe the wine helped, nevertheless I laughed so hard I had to use an (asthma) inhaler, again for the first time in years.

    PLEASE include the short video on the site/program homepage or somewhere I want to link to it. The rest of the show was a worthy gamble but, to me, a little hit and miss. The rush stand up thing didn't work for me, we didn't know who these people were, they run up there, get 2 or 3 minutes, then they run off again just as we are getting to know them and maybe start laughing.

    I see BBC3 CREATING output, using NEW writing and performing talent, drawn from the UK, filling the timeslot relatively cheaply*, it's what the BBC should be doing, especially BBC3. Keep it up I say.

    *(I guess so, no expert on the cost of these things... did it cost more or less than 30 mins of family guy repeats I wonder)

  • Comment number 14.

    this has been refreshing after an amount of droll comedy from the bbc, and contains suitable hilarity to warrant an hour long show in the actual screening, perhaps giving the acts more time for their material, a good show.

  • Comment number 15.

    Proved to be a really good show. Nice sketches and its great to see a few new stand up faces. Very funny indeed (though some bits really I really didn't "get").

    Would love to see more.

    And I don't really agree with the other commenters saying "... Let's Be Down With The Kids' manual.." with young and trendy folk. Put on at 2:05am with hardly any publicity - I think this is genuine stand up.

  • Comment number 16.

    I was really disappointed to see that the first stand-up had a joke about schizophrenia.

  • Comment number 17.

    I watched Laughtershock with interest. Not living in London is took me a while to understand the accent but having watched it again on iplayer I find it very funny. The stand up sections are not long enough to let the audiance tune into the style of each participant which is why it is better on a second viewing.
    It is high time the BBC experimented with new material and I think that with a few tweeks this deserves a series and may well become cult viewing.

  • Comment number 18.

    Not very good at all. BBC Three seems to keep coming up short. Most of its "humour" is amateurish and not at all funny. The only exception I have seen is Russell Howard's Good News. BBC Three needs to develop more quality programming like that and stop churning out rubbish like Coming of Age and Laughter Shock.


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