Part of 10’s Pilot Showcase, Time To Die takes two comedians and puts them through the ultimate test: writing three minutes of the worst stand-up they can think of, swapping material and performing it for an unsuspecting audience.
The winner, if you could call them that, is the comedian who can commit to their terrible material and get the most laughs with their bad jokes.
Speaking to 10 play, Executive Producer Tom Whitty first tested the idea alongside host Ben Russell as a podcast. Now, joined by co-host Get Fricker, they’re taking the cringe to the TV.
“I have always been obsessed with stand-up comedy since I was a kid, and as I’ve been lucky enough to get to work with a lot of my heroes, I’ve noticed two things. They’re incredibly competitive and unbelievable sh*t stirrers,” Tom said.
“Time to Die allows them to turn those two instincts up to 10 for all of our entertainment.”
For Tom, Time To Die is the funniest show he’s ever worked on, calling it “a twisted combination of MasterChef and Candid Camera” the show pits comedy pros against each other, with the added prank element.
But ‘bombing’ a set isn’t just tough for a comedian, it’s also torturous for the poor crowd they’re performing for. Luckily for the viewers at home, we’re in on the joke from the very beginning.
“Watching two comedians try to make each other bomb is about as fun as it gets because they’re such masters of their craft,” Tom explained.
“They know how to write material that will flop, and they know how to manipulate an audience to turn them against anyone having to deliver that material.
“You gain an incredible respect for their understanding of the art form, and also for their bravery every time they step on stage.”
Unfortunately for the audience watching the sets, they’re kept completely in the dark about what is actually happening, making the range of reactions all the more hilarious.
“A lot of people clearly just wanted desperately for the comedians to succeed, so you see a lot of warmth as they’re willing them on,” Tom said.
“But the gold comes from those who must have assumed they were not on camera, and who are not shy about showing what they thought. You can’t look away.”
For the comedians, there are “absolutely no limits” to what they can write for their performing partner, “Primarily because we love the danger,” Tom said.
“But also because we want to see how the show evolves as comedians come up with new ways to make each other bomb.”
Pilot Showcase premieres Monday, July 4. Free to stream exclusively on 10 play