Have I Got News for You

Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing another live recording of the BBC show, Have I Got News for You. I am not actually that big a fan of watching TV shows being recorded after some friends took me to a quiz show a few years ago and it was awful. Took me a log time to recover from that experience!

Fortunaltly, HIGNFY doesn’t run its cameras over the audience (apart from the back of their heads), so feel safe attending – and it is also probably my favourite TV show.

Alas, this time – the queue when we arrived was shockingly long for that time of the evening, and we got a rather bad seat where I could only see one panelist – and that was Ian Hislop – by leaning back and twisting hard. Fortunatly they put TV screens in front of us, so we could still follow the show – and got to see the full 2 hours worth of recording.

Unlike most shows, this one is recorded as a single take – and then they do a bit of re-recording at the end, so it is very much like watching a 2 hour version of the broadcast version.

One thing which really comes across during the recording is how fast the panelists are at creating funny comments. They do that for a solid two hours without a break – its very impressive. The infamous auto-cue seems to be used for probably no more than 5% of the total recording – but seems like it is used more in the final version, as it is used mainly to stop/start each round of the contest.

That means a lot of cutting goes on – especially it seems jokes that run throughout the evening which cannot be condensed into the half hour broadcast. Also, while they do the re-recording at the end, Paul Merton keeps things light by telling a constant stream of jokes while they prepare everything.

We get the tickets for free – the only cost being that we have to “fake” clapping in additon to laughing at the jokes, but after a few minutes it almost seems natural to clap at jokes. Overall, it is a very good evening out.

Something to watch out for tonight is right at the end when the camera pans back over the audience. Last night a chap waved his hands wildly – and after the recording was finished, Ross Noble ripped into his stupidity at doing it. Not sure if they will edit the hand waving out somehow.

I shall sit down avidly tonight to see how the show has come out in the end.

The three shows I have now seen were hosted by:

Michael Buerk – with David Mitchell who was really funny in the recording but had a lot of his jokes cut for broadcast and Diane Abbot, who I think it might be polite to say was “sympathetically” edited (aka, she was really crap at the recording).

Moira Stuart – with the ever excellent Marcus Brigstocke and Jim Jeffries, who I can’t actualy remember (odd!). Moira Stuart make some hysterical mistakes at the end, and I gather they were included in the online podcast (although I haven’t seen it).

Kirsty Young – with the author Robert Harris and Ross Noble. This was quite good, and I suspect from the way they did the re-recording last night that a fair number of the jokes during the show will be left in. Robert Harris made a lot of very good political jokes, but I think they might get cut as a tad obscure for the mainstream – alas.

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