‘Conte and the City’ targets wider audience than SNL

By 원호정
  • Published : Oct 26, 2015 - 17:24
  • Updated : Oct 26, 2015 - 17:24

Created by one of the original producers of “Saturday Night Live Korea,” tvN‘s new Friday night series “Conte and the City” hopes to reach a bigger audience than “SNL” with comic skits focusing on a wider range of social topics.

“The show is an omnibus serialized comic drama,” producer Yoo Sung-mo told press at the Amoris Wedding Hall in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul on Monday. “Even though it’s a comedy show, we focused on keeping it high quality. We also emphasized the dramatic narrative aspect, and if you watch the show you‘ll see that it’s a comedy that differentiates itself through believability and narrative.” 

Cast of "Conte and the City" (tvN)

Yoo also said that the producers have tried to keep the comedy clean so the show can be enjoyed by the whole family.

“We tried to keep the sexual jokes to a minimum,” he said, while acknowledging that the idea of empathy across generations seems difficult to reconcile with comedy. “The most important thing for us going forward will be to find the middle balance between empathy and comedy.” 

The show is made of several “episodes” that work as frames highlighting various aspects of life as a young Korean -- “City Ecology Report,” which discusses a topic through the eye of a columnist, “BSI:Seoul,” depicting a crime drama-style investigation of a relationship gone south, “Special Exhibition,” giving a tour of a fictional exhibition in a gallery with “artwork” representing various social scenarios, “Paranormal X,” providing a supernatural twist on everyday experiences, and “Taken: Attack of the Father,” which adds some thriller spice.

Another interesting aspect of “Conte and the City” is that the cast is made up of both comedians (Jang Dong-min, Jang Do-yeon, Kim Ji-min) and actors (Ha Yeon-soo, Kim Hye-seong, Lee Jae-yong).

“It‘s true that actors are a little more stiff when it comes to comedy because they are not always exposed to that kind of material,” said actor Lee Jae-yong, known for TV dramas like “Splendid Politics.” “But since skits are stories in the end, actors can bring their skills in delivery. Together with the improvisational skills of comedians, there’s a nice balance and style that comes together.”

“There is a synergy that comes from the combination,” agreed comedian Kim Ji-min. “It‘s a push-and-pull. Sometimes, having the actors do comic lines added depth; sometimes, having comedians do the serious lines made it even funnier.”

“There‘s a limit to what we can show onstage at live comedy shows, and I’ve always wanted to have an outdoor comedy show like this one,” said comedian Jang Dong-min. “We‘re talking about a lot of the ideas we‘ve been saving up, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

“Conte and the City” begins Friday at 11:30 p.m. on tvN.

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)