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Love Island USA Narrator Iain Stirling Opened Up About How He Writes Those One-Liners
Love Island USA Season 5 is here and the show's narrator, Iain Stirling, opened up about how he writes such amazing narration every day.
Everyone who has watched Love Island USA will tell you that the only thing more synonymous with the series than the hot singles, steamy hookups and dramatic coupling escapades is the quippy tones of everyone’s favorite Scottish comedian and the series' narrator — Iain Stirling.
Not only does Stirling narrate the American version of the show, but he is also the recognizable voice behind the original UK version of Love Island. So, it’s safe to say no one quite gets the tone of the show better than him. But, how does he come up with these expert one-liners that make the show so entertaining?
On July 11, Stirling sat down with USA Insider for a chat all about his process ahead of the premiere of Love Island USA Season 5. It turns out that, while his narration sounds as off the cuff as it comes, the stand-up comedian writes down every word in a painstaking script process alongside another Love Island expert.
“Yeah, I’ve got a writing team,” he confessed. “His name’s Mark [Busk-Cowley]. It’s me and Mark, who’s also a Scottish man who also came up with the format Love Island.”
He added: “So, obviously every day is a holiday for him. … He’s just so delighted. So, me and Mark sit from about two in the afternoon, and the show is basically finished at that point, barring a little fancy bits and bobs. But the storylines are all there. And then we just watch it, write some jokes. Part by part, and then go and record the jokes, and then carry on. So, it is rather quick.”
The turnaround time has to be quick. Unlike other reality dating shows, Love Island airs its episodes six days per week. So, Stirling doesn’t get the luxury of a week between episodes to craft and record the perfect narration. He’s got to trust his gut, his writing partner and his sense of humor and produce the content as quickly as possible. It’s a labor of love but nothing the comedian isn’t used to.
“It’s an hour, each part, four parts in a show, so from writing it to saying it is like an hour,” he revealed. “So it is sort of off the cuff. And I might throw in, if I ever do like a joke, and I’ll say at the end like, a ‘you’re welcome’ or ‘lovely bit of business.’ Whatever this stupid nonsense that I say is. Some of that I will say to make [Mark] laugh. But it is scripted, but it is quite loose. And it is very recently written. The ink has yet to dry on the page.”
Although there’s a quick turnaround time, that doesn’t stop the mischievous Scotsman from trying to sneak in a few lines past the censors here and there. However, he confessed that it’s very rare for him and Mark to be told something they’ve written and recorded is a no-go. But, it has happened.
After doing the narration for so many years, he revealed some patterns have emerged in the episodes that let him know he’s going to have an easy day, as well as some that let him know he may have to work late. Like all of us, he’s most excited to see host Sarah Hyland show up in the villa.
“Whenever the presenter shows up, that is a happy day for us,” he revealed. “Because we have nothing to do because the presenter does all the talking. So we’ll high-five each other when the presenter starts slowly walking down. We’re like, ‘Yeah! Stay off, here we go!’”
As for the most difficult days, he joins the islanders in feeling stress around the recouplings, but for very different reasons.
“The most tricky days are after recouplings. When they’ve all been put into the couples and you watch them walk off in their own couples, to different parts of the villa,” he said. “And we’re like, ‘Oh, they’re all going to have a little chat now.' Because we know we’ve got to do a joke for every couple. As they bounce around the villa.”
Whether it’s an easy day or a hard day for Stirling, the end result is pure magic with his narration that ushers the audience through all the drama and hilarity that goes down on Love Island USA. As for what fans can expect, Stirling confessed he doesn’t know much more than the viewers because he likes to get as little information as possible ahead of time so that he can experience the show with everyone else. He did note that he “loves a job” and thinks the Season 5 cast has some bangers. Like all of us, he’s ready to get to know them.
Tune into the supersized premiere of Love Island USA only on Peacock starting July 18.