Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #416: Team Show Tip — What’s Your Partner’s Role?

So many team shows are “the funny person, and the person who laughs at the jokes”.

But often, the funny person isn’t all that funny. And the person who laughs sounds insincere, or even reluctant to live that role.

First of all, there’s a difference between saying funny things (which is pretty rare) and “saying things funny”, which is all about “camera angles” and vocabulary.

But usually, it’s about a lack of “blocking” in the theater sense of knowing what you’re going to do, and where and when that will happen.

“We can’t rehearse. It always seems flat when we do it a second time” is an excuse I hear often, but it’s not about knowing exactly what the other person will say. If you talk about a break beforehand, you don’t have to know what they’ll say. You just need to know WHEN they’ll say it. (And you should know what KIND of comment to expect. That just grows out of knowing each other well.)

Hand signals – which most teams are reluctant to use – make this ultra-easy. It’s stunning how many people think they don’t need them. (And they’re wrong.)

And being willing to get out on the first “reveal” (the First Exit) is another technique that will guarantee success. (Because it’s a surprise even to YOU.)

If you’re just making your partner into an information giver and/or a laugh track, I wish you well, but I won’t be listening. It’s just too predictable.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2021 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #402: Team Shows are like a Marriage

Anyone who’s done a team show knows that it’s very similar to a marriage. As a matter of fact, I know many air talents who refer to their partner as “my work wife” (or husband).

You spend a lot of time together. (If you don’t, you won’t be very good.)
You’re working toward shared goals.
You want it to last. (Especially now, “movement” isn’t nearly the same as it was 20 years ago. A new job is pretty hard to find when one company owns multiple stations. If you divorce one station, you probably divorce all the stations in that cluster, or maybe even all the stations in that company.)

So, remember this: If you “cheat” on a team show, it may bring on a divorce. Here’s how I define “cheating” in the radio context:
Hold your ego in check. If you don’t, resentment sets in.
If you habitually talk over a partner, resentment sets in.
If you don’t share the credit, resentment sets in.

And remember that nobody goes to a party to hear someone fight with his wife.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2021 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #198 – What Team Shows can Learn from Curb Your Enthusiasm

This tip is team show-centric, but it actually applies to everyone on the air.

What Team Shows can Learn from Curb Your Enthusiasm:

In every great show, there’s a thin wire to walk between being spontaneous, but still being aware of how it “plays” to the ear. Larry David’s HBO comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is a great example of how ensemble shows should work.

Everyone in that cast knows what the circumstance (the scene) is, but it’s not scripted. They may not even have a concrete idea of exactly how the scene will end, but what made that show so successful, to me, is that they’re sensitive to those “don’t try to do more” moments. That’s how you get that perfect form of being Consistent, but NOT being Predictable.

“Curb” is something every team show could study, learn from, and get better as a result. You might want to re-watch a few episodes.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2017 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #194 – THE Role Model for Team Shows

Often in coaching, I find that the best examples may lie outside the radio arena. A lot of the techniques and strategies I teach come from movies, music, and Sports.

At one station I work with, finding the right partner in a team show has been an ongoing issue. Having worked with literally hundreds of team shows, I was brought into the discussion of “what to look for.”

My example had nothing to do with radio: John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Here’s why…

Lennon was primarily known for aggressive, edgy songs like “Revolution”, “Day Tripper”, “I Am the Walrus”, “Help!”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, etc.

McCartney was mostly known for pretty songs, like “Yesterday”, “And I Love Her”, “Let It Be”, “The Long and Winding Road”, “Hey Jude”, etc.

But Lennon also wrote beautiful songs: “In My Life”, “Girl”, “If I Fell”, and “All You Need is Love”. And McCartney wrote some really powerful, straightforward rockers, like “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “Helter Skelter”, “Back in the USSR”, and “Drive My Car”.

And THAT’S what you want in a team show: people who may be defined by ONE thing each of them does, but they CAN do other things. Picture the Olympic rings – slightly overlapping circles with a common area they share, and a larger area that’s unique to each.

Two people who are nothing alike can result in a tug-of-war on the air. Two people who at least have SOMETHING in common, but come to that only once in a while to join forces – well, there’s that “extra dimension” that you should be looking for.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2017 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #193 – Just the 3 of Us

This is a team show tip, and there’s a special bonus prize included.

Okay, let’s say that you’re in a 2-person team show. Here’s how the listener sees it: It’s just the three of us, over lunch together (or over breakfast, if you prefer), and once in a while, a caller joins us.
Just like in real life, the third person at the table (me, the listener) may not be saying anything, but I’m still here.

Now here’s the Easter egg – a hidden secret from my vault:

You can have an exchange between the two of you with me at the table – but you can’t ever IGNORE that I’m at the table.

Read that last point again. The minute it feels like you’re JUST talking to each other, I might as well leave.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2017 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #185 – Intimacy, and how to get it (a Team Show tip)

Intimacy is the most unique ingredient in a team show, because often what works against it is that a team’s individual roles get “assigned” – or at least defined – by the PD or Consultant. Sometimes, in trying to stick to those definitions, intimacy just drops off the radar screen.

In reality, the roles don’t matter when it comes to this particular quality.

Every great show has Intimacy – and the more THAT element stands out, the stronger the team will be as a whole.

Here’s the tricky part: The Strategy is to reveal. But the Tactic is to not compete with or impede that happening. If you don’t know how to prep, but still be largely spontaneous, you might want to get some help with that. As Pierce Brosnan said in ‘Mama Mia’, “It’s only the rest of your life.”

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #152 – Fake Disagreements

Here’s something that needs to be clubbed to death, never to appear again:

I’m hearing a lot of “fake disagreements” these days on team shows. Person #1 says something, then Person #2 disagrees with it. Which does happen in real life. But you can’t just take a position because some Consultant or some PD told you that “conflict is interesting, and you’ll get more phone calls.”

First of all, the object of being on the air isn’t to get phone calls. It’s to be a good neighbor, and to be informative and entertaining. Sometimes that’ll be funny; sometimes you’ll disagree. But it has to born of a genuine emotion, not just put on like a coat, because it ALWAYS SHOWS.

Manufactured disagreements are like fake I. D.’s – they don’t really show who you are.

Here’s a tip in developing a more real, true to life sound. You can AGREE, but for different REASONS. (Actual people do this all the time. Let’s be like them.)

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.