Sports are usually the norm for Knoxville television shows. One comedy duo, however, wanted to make anything but a sports show.
The aptly named “Not A Sport Show,” was created by Josh Lampley, senior in journalism and electronic media, and Connor Thompson, who graduated from UT with a degree in philosophy a year and a half ago. Lampley and Thompson also act, write, direct, cast and edit the entire show.
Lampley got the idea to make a show after getting involved with producers at TVC.
“I asked them if there had ever been a comedy show here,” Lampley said. “And after watching the one episode made, I thought, ‘I can do better than that.’”
Lampley approached Thompson for help after hearing that Thompson was involved in stand-up comedy. The two had worked together as RAs for Hess Hall in years prior.
“Josh approached me and said ‘Hey, I want to do a TV show for UT TV,’” Thompson recalled. “And I said ‘I didn’t know we had a TV station … But I’d love to.’”
When the duo pitched the show to the network, they were given the green light, but not necessarily any direction.
“We went to the library and checked out some DSLRs and made every mistake along the way, but we ended up here,” Thompson said.
What began as a sketch show run off of rented DSLRs — digital single-lens reflex cameras — has turned into a show with a late-night vibe and green screen magic. This shift was a highly intentional move.
“We wanted a place for the show to be based out of, so we could still have sketches but have that familiarity of always going back to the same place,” Lampley explained. “In the past our content was all over the place, and we want people to keep interested in it.”
Making a comedy show independently created and produced by two college students is no easy task, and there’s an extensive process that goes into each show. First, the duo meets and pitches ideas with one another. After finding ones that stick and fleshing them out, they write scripts and block out the episode. After this, Lampley and Thompson cast and recruit crew for the episode, pulling participants that vary from old interns to roommates, to help them shoot in the field.
For the pair, shooting in the field is one of the most challenging parts. A three to four-minute sketch can take two or three hours to shoot.
After shooting, Thompson will take the film back into his room and edit from there, where his desktop Mac helps him fill in the green screen and sound gags. This whole process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month to accomplish.
However, with Thompson having graduated and Lampley approaching graduation this spring, the run of “Not A Sport Show” is coming to an end, of sorts. Thompson is moving to New York City in a month to pursue writing and producing comedy, and the Lampley plans to head to Chicago after graduation for acting and improv comedy.
“Because it was Conner and I’s show, I wouldn’t feel right carrying on with the same show and not having him,” Lampley said. “Whatever I make after is going to be very different without his influence. We might do a spin off, like “Not A Sport Show Presents,” where it will still be associated with the title but not be the show.”
But “Not A Sports Show” isn’t going out without a bang. Currently, the duo is working on a deal with a performance venue to stage a live version of their show, and then premiere an episode surrounded by all their friends.
To check out the show and keep up with Thompson and Lampley, visit their Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbFE8_S11vkDgjtidEOTm9g.