PROVO — This season of “Studio C,” the theme is "new": new cast members, new executive producer and, of course, new sketches. Joining two “Studio C” alum are nine new cast members and writers. At a live taping on Aug. 2, we got a look at what the new cast means for the future of “Studio C.”
Live tapings let you in on the secrets of a show. On a show like “Studio C,” which airs several comedy sketches per episode, the sets, costumes and makeup are always changing, but the fun starts well before the seats are filled. Before the taping, an excited crowd milled around, chatting. Crew members organized everyone into a line and the waiting group spilled into the studio, filling every seat.
The studio — actually called studio C, which is where the show got its name — was heavily air-conditioned with rows of seats facing two adjacent sets. Upbeat music kept spirits high while waiting for the show to start and screens displayed the “Studio C” logo.
The audience — filled with lots of families with children — cheered as the executive producer, Jim O’Doherty entered the room. O’Doherty, who was previously the executive producer on the Disney show “Kickin’ It,” moved to Provo with his family from Los Angeles to take over as showrunner on “Studio C.” O’Doherty welcomed the audience to the taping, sharing his enthusiasm for the show and cracking a few jokes before the cast ran out to wild applause and got ready for the first sketch. Filming sketches in front of a live audience is a different experience than merely working with actors and producers.
“Performing in our live sketch show is one of my favorite parts of this job,” said cast member Jetta Juriansz. “We get the amazing opportunity to connect to our audience in person.”
Juriansz played a middle schooler on a cooking show in the first sketch, and between takes, she showed the audience the retainer that made it look like she had braces, joking about how uncomfortable it was.
The sketches referenced pop culture mainstays like “The Lord of the Rings” and Bruno Mars, exciting the audience with parodies of beloved movies and music. The second sketch showed a first read-through of the “Lord of the Rings” movie, imagining what would happen if everyone — from Orlando Bloom as Legolas to Cate Blanchett as Galadriel — spoke in Smeagol’s rasping, creepy voice.
Playing off Bruno Mars’ habit of long, drawn-out encores, the final sketch of the night depicted Mars’ band becoming more and more exhausted and trying to keep Mars from giving yet another encore.
While the sketches gently mocked Smeagol, Mars and inspirational quote books — one sketch features a woman trying to help a man stuck in a subway rail by reading him inspirational quotes, telling him it really helped her after her divorce — the comedy was noticeably positive.
“We’re sensitive to what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” O’Doherty said at the “Studio C” panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on July 25, 2019. “Why we’re doing it is really just to bring joy. It’s really about, you know, creating shared experiences that the viewers can watch together: Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa.”
Between takes, cast members introduced themselves and entertained the audience with their unique talents. The more personal interaction lets fans get a better idea of the cast’s unique personalities, which is important for the almost entirely new cast. Tanner Gillman, a new cast member, drew a picture of someone in the audience, Juriansz performed an improvised song, and Matthew Galvan, the youngest cast member, did impressions.
“Performing live is so fun!” said cast member April Rock. “I love being able to show people what we’ve been working on and I love when I get my turn to interact. Since they don’t know me quite yet, (I’m excited) to connect and show them my personality.” In the Bruno Mars sketch, Rock won over the audience while protesting another encore. “Bruno, I’m tie-tie,” she exclaimed to enormous laughter.
On top of the sketches and interaction with the cast, seeing set changes and hair and makeup adjustments was one of the most interesting parts of the night. Crew members move walls, cupboards and flooring, transforming the studio into a subway station, a kitchen or a meeting room. For the “Lord of the Rings” sketch, crew members taped down big squares of industrial carpet, while the Bruno Mars sketch came complete with extra “sweat,” courtesy of the makeup team.
“Overall, it’s really exciting to see our work come to life in all aspects,” Rock added. “(Like) wardrobe, hair, makeup, sets, lights, etc.”Comment on this story
The new cast of “Studio C” carries the new season with the show’s signature family-friendly charm. While the cast members are different, the feel of the group — lighthearted, goofy and very talented — remains the same, as does their goal of hilarious, clean comedy.
“I always think about it like at Christmas at the dinner table,” Juriansz said. “A really good joke will make your cousins laugh, but a really, really, really good joke will make your little sister laugh, your parents laugh, your grandpa will laugh, your aunt and uncle laugh — and that’s how you know it’s a good joke.”