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Paul Merton: 'People dismiss improv'

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Paul Merton on Have I Got News For You

© BBC

Paul Merton has suggested that he feels like an outsider in the comedy world because he primarily works through improvisation.

The Have I Got News For You panellist begins a two-month national theatre tour titled Paul Merton's Impro Chums at the Basingstoke Anvil on April 23.

Merton told The Times of the attitude towards his style: "'Oh! Improvisation!' they say. They dismiss it because it can be naff in the wrong hands but also because you don't have to do any work.

"Perhaps the only golden rule is that whatever you do it has got to be entertaining to the audience."

Regarding the poor reception to his TV improv show Thank God You're Here, he added: "To the higher-ups at ITV, it made sense to have someone in the programme who couldn't do it but was well known.

"So we had a couple of people - soap-opera stars, young actresses - who really shouldn't have been in it. You really need to have experience and confidence. And a couple of them didn't, and it wasn't their fault."

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