Off-the-cuff comedy from Merton and his Chums
For most people, comedians included, it's a terrifying prospect. Going comedy commando – no script or prompts whatsoever – would strike the fear of God in many seasoned professionals.
But Paul Merton and his merry band of Impro Chums have mastered the art with ease.
Their latest performance – part of a national tour – will see them tickle the ribs of an audience at Cheltenham Town Hall tomorrow night. The quintet of inspired improvisers – Paul is joined by Richard Vranch, Lee Simpson, Suki Webster and Mike McShane – have been conjuring comedy routines out of thin air for years.
"I haven't written a joke for 25 years," says Paul. "In Edinburgh one year, we were in a bar 20 minutes before the show was due to begin.
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"We wanted to write down what impro games we would be doing in the show, but we realised we didn't have a pen or paper.
"So we had to borrow the waiter's pen and notepad. That's the great thing about doing this show – there is no stress involved whatsoever.
"And it's such a joy performing with the Chums. We get paid to go on tour in a lovely big bus with all our mates. What could be better?"
Tickets for the 8pm gig cost £19. Call 08445 762210.