Hate 'n' Live is all improvised. None of the revolving lineup of comedians knows what's coming out of the bucket next. It's not a hateful show though - the fun is seeing the comedians skate round contentious subjects as much as it is seeing them unload both barrels onto something everyone hates.
It is nearly midnight. Two hundred punters are crammed into an old church in Edinburgh’s Cowgate appropriately entitled ‘Sin’. The loud 80’s hair metal that played as the crowd took their seats abruptly stops and the lights fade to black, then blaze in time to thumping rock. There is a gladiatorial atmosphere as the MC takes the stage and whips the baying crowd into a fervour. The rules are laid down: We are all in this together. Anything goes. If you don’t agree you must leave now. Everyone stays. Then, five brave acts - the Gladihaters - enter through the crowd like prize-fighters to the ominous tones of ‘Dance of the Knights’ by Prokoviev.
This is no ordinary comedy night. This is Hate ‘n’ Live.
The late night, all improvised stand up show that took Edinburgh by storm in 2015 is coming to London. The premise of the show is a very simple one: The audience write topics on slips of paper which are then pulled out at random and the comedians on stage have to say exactly why they hate that particular subject. Taboos are broken, lines are crossed and one thing becomes apparent as the evening goes on: everyone loves hate.
The show isn't actually hateful; it works best when the comedians use their skill and dexterity to find an angle to navigate contentious suggestions without actually causing offence, but this is live improvisation and in the white hot crucible of stand up comedy the desperation to get that laugh means performers take risks. There are improvised rants on topics that UK comedians wouldn’t normally touch with a barge pole. Sometimes it doesn’t work and sometimes it brings the house down, but a fast paced show format with varied rounds and a deep bucket of subjects keeps the whole spectacle moving. The audience feel catharsis when performers articulate exactly why they hate their suggested subjects. Everyone leaves happy.
Hate ‘n’ Live is a punch in the face to anodyne young men with their "genuine" anecdotes that "literally" happened, and the cloistering political correctness that dominates the comedy scene. There is a ready made angle for articles about Hate ‘n’ Live as it has created its own counter movement; hugely popular with the public, a bubble of raw free speech in an increasingly staid, self regulating comedy scene. If Live at the Apollo is Pink Floyd, Hate ‘n’ Live is The Sex Pistols.
Hate 'n' Live is the creation of three award-winning comedians, Leo Kearse, Darius Davies and Justin Panks.