A Little Bit Racey: Interview with Sam Hutchinson
Wacky Racey: Exposed gets the lowdown on local improv show A Little Bit Racey.
New improvised comedy show A Little Bit Racey has just launched on Cornucopia Radio and Sheffield Live. The show, which has already seen a host of local and national comic talent, is gathering further support from the Sheffield comic scene. We had a natter with co-founder Sam Hutchinson to find out more.
Hiya Sam! First of all, tell us a bit about your show A Little Bit Racey…
Racey is an improvised comedy panel show for radio. The best thing about it, the platform upon which we build each show, is its unique, original format. It’s a wonderful idea, and I can say that without any bias because it’s not my own idea; the credit for that belongs to a guy called Henry Fosdike. We begin each episode with a loose script, providing instructions for panellists to race each other, over a round of just three minutes, to a particular destination. However, they each have with them a random assortment of objects, companions and modes of transport, which they must use to both help themselves and hinder their opponents. I went to university with Henry in Bournemouth and we test-drove the show on our student radio station, Nerve, in a broadcast that went on to become a regular, weekly outing. By the time we left university, I’d been producing the show for what felt forever, but I didn’t feel anywhere near finished. Inevitably, it just followed me when I moved up North.
So why did you decide to get involved in a comedy radio show?
Racey’s format is a perfect fit for radio. It pushes the idea of radio being a ‘theatre of the mind’ to the extreme, delivering the most surreal scenarios and stories from topical and factual events. Following on from this, we’ve been inspired by the panel games which have been very popular on BBC Radio 4, in particular. Things like The Unbelievable Truth, Armando Iannucci’s Charm Offensive and Whose Line is it Anyway? For me, there are lots of similarities between Racey and The Unbelievable Truth especially, as both shows can become very silly and far-fetched owing to the nature in which panellists are trying to out-wit and out-smart each other. It’s always felt as though this was the sort of tone ‘Racey’ should be striving for. And we’ve been peering wistfully at BBC Radio 4 on the horizon ever since.
What was the inspiration behind the name ‘A Little Bit Racey’?
Henry had the name before I even became involved, and I thought it was catchy and solid. It sits nicely between the panel game itself being a literal ‘race’, against both another panellist and the clock, and the show pushing a few boundaries – and occasionally being quite risqué. I always tell the panellists to imagine that there’s a line they cannot cross, for fear of being too offensive, but that they should feel free to go right up to it, poke it and dance around on it etc. Most comedians are very good at instinctively knowing where this line is.
Why did you decide to launch the project here in Sheffield?
Sheffield is gaining an increasingly strong reputation for its developments in media – the Children’s Media Conference and the Documentary Festival are held here, and Sheffield LIVE have launched a new TV channel recently. There’s also a strong presence of improvisation (Shakedown Comedy) and radio (Cornucopia Radio). Cornucopia is a particularly fantastic project. Peter Beeston, who runs it all by himself, has brought together so many comedians and writers and actors from in and around the city to produce a wealth of radio content. When we met earlier this year, I was delighted that he was interested in Racey and we went ahead a recorded a first series of the show for the now very popular Cornucopia Radio podcast. And, just like that, we’d launched with Cornucopia in Sheffield. Now, I’m very excited that there will be a brand new, second series being recorded soon, available on that same podcast as soon as February! The show keeps on going from strength to strength.
For more info about A Little Bit Racey see www.facebook.com/alittlebitracey.