UCL’s School of Communication Arts is producing an improv comedy show where the stand ups will respond to comments made on Twitter as the audience watches.

140 Characters is billed as “the world’s first Twitter-powered” show. The university has teamed up with digital agency Nice to produce the technical support, while The Comedy Store is providing comic talent including Neil Mullarkey.

Nice has created an app that aggregates comments on Facebook and other social media, as well as Twitter, and rank them. The top comments will appear on a screen in front of the performers, who will take their lead from host Dave Birss.

A pilot edition is being broadcast live on the internet tonight (7 Nov) from 7pm and it is hoped that if successful, a full series will be created. Although the pilot will only enable audience members to influence the show, Nice expects to include tweets from viewers at that point.

Peter Dolukanhov, joint managing director of Nice, said: “The spontaneity of improvisational comedy lends itself brilliantly to a medium like Twitter. This is a fascinating experiment in how traditional media integrates with new modes of engagement such as Twitter, and enables the entire audience to participate in real time.

“Television is becoming less and less important for young people, in part because TV has traditionally been a one-way medium. In the future, viewers won’t expect to sit as passive viewers; that’s why 140 Characters is all about making every viewer involved.”

Go to http://www.140characters.tv for more details.