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Is there much room for ad libbing on the set of sitcoms? I know in films it can work because you shoot multiple takes - but in a sitcom format (i'm thinking of Robin Williams in Mork and Mindy) do writers appreciate when actors ad lib or is it generally frowned upon?
Some shows like CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM are built around the actors improvising after being given a detailed outline. Most scripted sitcoms don’t allow for ad libbing except maybe early in the rehearsal process.
On multi-camera shows, cameras change shots based on line cues so it’s imperative the actors speak the lines as written or else you're going to have three cameras crashing into each other. That's generally not good.
Robin Williams didn’t “exactly” ad lib on MORK AND MINDY. I know this first-hand. He’d deliver a line on the first take. Then deliver another on the second. And still a different one on the third. The studio audience would be in awe of how quick and inventive he was. But here’s the thing. The “ad libs” were just the jokes that had been in the script and were replaced. Writers wrote them, not Robin.
Not to take anything away from Robin and his enormous talent, but he is notorious for stealing other people’s material.
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