TV Talk Show: How to play Improv Comedy games on Zoom

TV Talk Show

(The following can be found on page 36 of Improv on Zoom by Walt Frasier, available for FREE via KindleUnlimited or just $7.99 via Paperback and Kindle at Amazon)

This game has changed names over the years. I still call it Miracle Ear, out of habit, as taught to me by Lee Markham in 2005. Liz Lord coined the name, “Interpretive Dance” for school shows.

There are three primary components. A talk show host, a guest (usually a book author) and the interpreter.  The host interviews the guest. Establish the name of the characters, the show, and the book. Discuss the book for a minute or two. Shift to the guest’s private life. Wrap up by going to commercial or ending the show.

Meanwhile, the interpreter translates everything into movement: think Charades. Use mock sign language and/or interpretive dance. Alternate translating actual words and phrases with acting out the story.


  • This game has been a perfect fit on ZOOM without alterations.


  • Create a fun story with lots of action. Use big descriptive words that inspire character and movement. Animals and weather disasters are great. Colors can be tough.
  • Interpreter: Stand-up. Play to the camera. Don’t even look at the performers talking. HAVE FUN. Play with puns and other word play. When they try to get me to do a cartwheel, I pretend to be Tevye from FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, pick up the cart, point to the pantomimed wheel. For pushup, I eat the ice cream treat.
  • Never stop moving. Don’t stop to listen. Keep doing a movement or action until you grab onto something else. Like any performance, see the story unfolding around you. Great pantomime comes from seeing and believing the imaginary as truth.
  • When I interpret, I add another layer by pretending to be BAD at the job. Acting anxious helps fill the dead space.
  • Avoid the b ag of tricks trap. Avoid stealing another’s trick. Improvise!
  • Add multiple interpretive dancers to give more students stage time.

Online Classes – January Schedule

This entry was posted in Behind the 8 Ball, classes, kids, Learn to Improvise, online, Sketch Comedy, teens and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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