Anthony Francis is an improviser, teacher, and producer based in Delray Beach, Fla. The Five Minute Late Night Show is a madcap, outlandishly condensed version of a late-night television talk show, featuring guests, a musical act, a monologue, commercial breaks, and more — all performed within a five-minute span. Francis will perform the Five Minute Late Night Show at the start of the 10:38 p.m. EST show block on Friday, December 11. In this spotlight interview, Francis talks about the genesis of his show, his top five favorite holiday songs, and which other pieces of pop culture would be better if condensed to a five-minute span.
We’re thrilled to have you with us for this year’s festival! Tell us a bit about the Five Minute Late Night Show. How did you come up with the idea, and what can people expect?
I am so excited to be a part of this festival, thank you for having me. The Five Minute Late Show came from a sketch writing session with Dallas Wait of Da Boyz fame. Originally the idea was to do something you wouldn’t expect at an open mic. The open mic scene in south Florida rarely sees any experimentation or risk, and we thought it would be very fun to do an entire late night talk show in that five minute time frame. Set up, run the show, breakdown, all in 5 min. That would be crazy to see.
We’ve noticed that you like to challenge yourself as a performer, which is laudable and inspiring. What do you find most challenging about the Five Minute Late Night Show? What do you find most exciting about the concept?
Oh, wow, thank you. The most challenging part of this show is time. Five minutes is nothing. How do we keep it tight and clean and short? How do we not go over? If this show is one second over five minutes, it fails. The most exciting part for me is the amount of variety we have packed into this show from content to the cast. This show has three cast members, and every moment has comedy to it.
Condensing a full late-night talk show into a five minute span is an inherently funny idea. Can you think of any other pieces of pop culture that would be funnier if they were compressed into 5-minute spans?
I am IN LOVE with this five minute concept now. I think a five minute cooking show would be stupid funny and also a five minute reality show. Like Ghost Hunters 5 minute edition. “Hello!!!…Nope no ghosts”.
You’re also serving as technical director for this year’s festival! (Thank you!) If you had one bit of technical advice for this year’s performers, what would it be?
The pleasure is all mine. I am so proud to be a part of anything you two put together. You work so hard to make a space for performers and that is rare. If I could give one piece of advice to online performers it’s treat your camera and mic buttons like missile switches. Keep it off, make sure it’s off. Even then, assume all cameras and mics are on.
You recently released a brief Christmas album with Tone Tata, which is currently available on Spotify. Excluding your own songs, please give us a list of your top five favorite holiday songs, along with a few words for each about why you like them.
5. Noel Noel, it’s just pretty, it’s got so much room for power singers to just go. If you hear it live by pro singers it’s got a lot of power to it.
4. Santa is coming to town – Bruce Springsteen, it’s just so fun.
3. Simply having a wonderful Christmas time by The Beatles. It’s a love hate relationship.
2. Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson, that song comes out of the gate HARD and just goes, also that ending!
1. All I want for Christmas – it’s #1 for a reason folks.
Finally — we are contractually obligated to ask this question — on an ascending scale from 1 to 10, how normal is your show, and why?
On a scale.of 1 to 10 my show is a 1. It’s incredibly normal. It’s just a real normal show. If the Commodore is reading this, ahoy sir! It is very normal!