Friday, July 22, 2022

Taskmaster Interview: Alex Horne, Creator Of Comedic Game Pain

 By Jonathan Bilski
Taskmaster is a favorite of mine and if you don't have BritBox, you can catch it and a new season (to American audiences) on both Taskmaster Supermax+ and YouTube. Season 10 comes out this month online.

For those who have never seen Taskmaster, check it out on YouTube. 5 comedians per season compete in idiotic games all in control by the ever-judging,Taskmaster, Greg Davies. Alex Horne, who we interviewed below, is Greg's in-show assistant who sets up all the tasks. The debuting online Season 10 contestants include Daisy May Cooper, Johnny Vegas, Katherine Parkinson, Mawaan Rizwan, & Richard Herring. And by the end of it they'll all wish bloody murder on Greg and Alex. While, Greg may belittle them for the failures in their tasks. Alex's is the one who devises how to torture them in new ways each season.

Taskmaster Season 10 Cast

Alex Horne
Alex Horne, creator/producrer/co-host gave me some time (from his kitchen), right before going to bed about making Taskmaster.

"I always find it weird when I find out the people watch the show. I always assume no one does," is how Alex started our conversation after I said how much I've enjoyed the show. (I have seen multiple seasons.)

Tasks can range from dropping an egg into a pan from massive distances with junk lying around your house to creating a music video. Horne told me he comes up with the tasks all on his own. "Yeah, no, it's just me. A lot of comedy show are made by committee." Taskmaster is done differently, " I think we wanted to have a distinct tone and personality and so, I did them in the beginning." He says he gets okays from his director and producer now and other input from staff on the show, but says 98% are his made-up tasks.

And, those tasks can make comedians look like dimwits. Be it trying to finding a missing key or creating an art film with whatever is in the fridge.
"We try to do tasks that you can do at home. So, it tends to be with household objects." Alex told and further explained, given that many times there just filming in the same tiny house and don't have the largest budget for the show.

"There were some perks to Covid," Alex said, as I laughed as this season was filmed during the pandemic. Alex continued, "It did mean Greg couldn't reach me with his ... big hands."

I told Alex how much I loved the use of the small lab room, to which he gave the name, " Yes, that's my favorite room, that's the Dexter Kill Room. Continuing, "People do find it unnerving walking in there. It does something to people because they lose their minds. When you walk through, they don't know what's happening at all."
"Was it, I need someone to make fun of me and feel hurt...or." "Yeah, that makes it sound like I have a personality disorder." That was me asking Alex about how Taskmaster, Greg
Davies, got added to the show. Alex told me that after two Edinburgh (big comedy festival town) shows he noticed something was missing. Alex could get comedians to suffer, but to truly be admonished Greg was added to make the show work. Alex explained the man was not only a former teacher, but a very tall man which invokes the Taskmaster persona.
Alex explained they he and Greg didn't start as friends, but after doing the show together for so many years their going to holiday in Cornwall together later this year.
I brought up the joke about BBC or any British television seen by an American audience. They do not seem to be hiring a lot of people. You'll see a lot of the same comedians on British game shows and Taskmaster isn't any different. Though, Alex told me the promise of no repeat comedians on Taskmaster and even pulled out the number of how many had be on the series now at 75 different tortured souls.

Alex said, "Series 10, which is just about to come out in America, we're in this abandoned print works, where they use to print newspapers. It's now where they have raves, late-nite drug-fueled gatherings." Each season gets a fun location outside of the tiny house area and this time we have this large echo-inducing structure to see some rather large scale tasks.

"It's always fun to chuck an egg into a frying pan from a distance," Alex said of getting to use the rave-at-night abandoned print works.

Alex said to look out for Mawaan Rizwan and to look forward to the just the livid and very real anger of Daisy May Cooper this upcoming season. "People behaved very badly," Alex ended the interview on that and hopefully, as he  had said he would, went straight to bed.

Don't sleep on it, check out the new to us Series 10/ Season 10 coming out online this month.