They’re running for president: Yes, and? Chris Gethard finds room for improv-ment among GOP candidates

Friend of the site Katla McGlynn took an Improv 101 comedy class from Chris Gethard a decade ago at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

Last night, McGlynn asked Gethard to watch the first of what will prove to be far too many debates among the Republican presidential candidates to winnow the GOP field of White House contenders down from 17 down to one by next summer. Your Twitter and Facebook feeds already warned you that so many jokes will be made of these candidates in the coming year.

Gethard heightened that premise and dropped the mic, delivering detailed notes on each of the 10 candidates invited to the FOX News GOP debate on Thursday. He also described for McGlynn, in a piece appearing today on, how each of these men would interact with your improv comedy group.

For fun, though, check out each of these 10 comedy improviser archetypes, then see if you can match Gethard’s description to the candidate he’s talking about!

Archetype: “The guy you kind of hated in your class because he was a steamroller, then he’d get on a house team and you’d be pissed more thoughtful people were passed over for him, then he’d be the first guy from his generation to get a commercial agent and you’d be pissed. Then, like, a year later you’d be more secure and you’d see him perform and you’d be like, ‘Technically he’s not polished, but I can’t deny that he’s fucking funny.’”
Archetype: “Kid who was the best one in his shitty semi-misogynistic improv group in college who loudly proclaims he’s going to be on Saturday Night Live someday in week two of his level-one class.”
Archetype: “Dude who stops coming six weeks into an eight-week class. Other students do bits about him until they get to level three and forget about him.”
Archetype: “Smart guy that really funny people like playing with because he can be a boring straight man.”
Archetype: “The rock-solid improviser who oddly gets quiet and doesn’t do much during the class show, to the point where after the show friends of other people in the class say he was a drip and the class members are like, ‘He’s actually really good.’”
Archetype: “The guy who shows up to day one and asks people at the break if they like his head shots (the head shots are shitty with this guy, always).”
Archetype: “Every improv class needs a lovable chubby loose cannon.”
Archetype: “The dude who has one good day, then hits on the 21-year-old N.Y.U. student at the bar they all go to after class.”
Archetype: “A guy who would take six classes from me, and we’d have heart to hearts about how he could be that good and not get more attention in the scene. I’d probably feel guilty and recommend that he try sketch writing.”
Archetype: “Your average white dude in a button-down shirt and khakis with Buddy Holly glasses. Exactly what you think when you hear ‘a guy who takes improv classes.’ ”

First GOP Presidential Debate participants (in alphabetical order)

Jeb Bush
Dr. Ben Carson
Chris Christie
Ted Cruz
Mike Huckabee
John Kasich
Rand Paul
Marco Rubio
Donald Trump
Scott Walker

How’d you do? Click on McGlynn’s piece to see who Gethard is describing, along with more detailed improv coaching notes from Gethard on each of the 10 candidates who participated in Thursday night’s debate.

The Chris Gethard Show airs weekly on Fusion and streams online Tuesday nights.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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