Saturday, March 7, 2009

SCRIPTS? We Don't Need No STINKIN' Scripts

Jesus. Afro-Sheen. Bacon Grease. Montezuma's Revenge. Autopsies. CLOGS, FROGS, and LOGS. Amish Death Bats. Charlie and Martin Sheen. Huffing 'Possum Ass From A Jar. CONFUCIOUS. Chastity BELTS. Studio 54. President Obama. Equine Stimulation. Jeopardy. Chaka Khan. Last Action Hero. The Octo-Mom. The Ying-Yang Twins. Nostradamus.

No. Not the Fall Line-Up for BRAVO. Just a little bit of the insanity that was the final show for Random Acts at ComedySportz-Richmond on Friday, March 6th.

Immature men doing MATURE things.
George. J.R. Jeff. Mike. Pat. Tim......and Me (the new guy)

SO...LAST NIGHT was my second show performing with the improv group RANDOM ACTS and sadly, it was also the last night RANDOM ACTS would be performing at comedysportz richmond. (the club is closing at the end of march)

You never know how a show is going to go when you're doing improv, mostly because the majority of the ideas come from the audience. As a performer you have to rise to the challenge....whether you are getting good suggestions or bad work with what you got....what you get. It's the nature of the beast.

We had a little of both last night....but the audience was enthusiastic and the energy was infectious. It was great. It was one of those nights you pray to have as a performer. Sure. There was that one table who kept shouting out "dildo" and "anal-beads" and "syphillis" and "bestiality" and "monkey-rape." But, I've said it before, if you get a table full of priests and they're drinking, you never what they're gonna say.

WaCkY Catholics!

No..they weren't priests....I was just being funny...(priests hate improv-they like strip clubs better) The table in question was obviously enjoying their beers and having a good time and that's the point. It's not like we had school children in the audience. It was the 10 O'Clock show, and is advertised as "intended for mature audiences."

All in all, though, it was one of the cleaner shows RANDOM ACTS has performed. I think audiences expect us to cross the line-and seeing as they're giving us the suggestions-we sometimes do. We do know what not to say or do. There are certain subjects that are taboo.

We hit the stage running last night and we didn't stop until the last laugh and we walked off stage.

For the record: the suggestion "vagina" was given in the first minute and a half of the show. That's a new record!

Yes. We're all about class.

The temperature in the theater was about 96. the temperature on stage was somewhere around 157. I might be off a little on that, but it's hard to think when your brain is melting like a crayon in a microwave. And by the end of the night my red and black bowling shirt was stuck to my back and my hair was stuck up in some sort of spiky little curly-cue.

MMMMMM. I know what you're thinking. Funny and sexy.

To set the record straight, with the exception of my first show with RANDOM ACTS two weeks earlier, I haven't performed improvisational comedy on stage in over 25 years. I guess though, that it like riding a bike. once you get going and you start picking up speed, you pray that everything goes well, you have fun, and you don't end up with your dick stuck in the chain.

heart racing. beads of sweat on forehead.

I am comfortable on stage. I always have been. And I LOVE performing improv. I love that trapese-act-with-no-net feeling. Trust me. You had better have your shit together when you are performing improv, but then again, half the fun of improv is trying to fiqure out what exactly that shit is.

I have performed scripted shows and have enjoyed those experiences and have garnered my share of good reviews from family, friends, and complete strangers.

Improv though is different. It's walking out on stage completely naked. Oh sure. You have an idea of the games you are going to play, but everything else is a crap shoot. Totally out of your control. The only thing you can do is listen and watch and react and participate...

And let's see...there's one more thing....oh yeah...


Yep! You gotta be funny!

I think we all had some funny moments last night.

Mike's dead-pan answer "Dysentery" in game of Chain Murder was hysterical. We were looking for him to say that he was suffering from Montezuma's Revenge, and after describing that he was in fact in Mexico, and had, in fact, drunk the water, and he was in fact, shitting his insides out (oh yeah. this is high-brow stuff, people) Pat asked him what the illness was called.....Mike answered, "Dysentery." So matter-of-factedly. So Funny. So Mike.

Pat got a little over-zealous with his Amish Death Bat during a game called, strangely enough, Amish Death Bat, and i'm pretty sure both Jeff and Mike have bruises on top of bruises this morning. Wiffle bats can kill people. Remember that.

BUT it was funny. really really funny.

Pat: "Two men! Standing close to one another and not building a barn!!" WhAcK! WhAcK! WhAcK!

During the game Sorry I'm Late, Jeff received the suggestion "UPSTAIRS" when he asked the audience for a LOCATION. It was funny. It was just so simple. We're used to getting suggestions like "Middle Earth" or "DisneyWorld" or "Uranus." Upstairs was a funny suggestion. And seeing Mike and Jeff pantomiming going upstairs was even funnier. I think even JR was thinking "It looks like they're going upstairs. What the-It CAN'T be that simple." It was. He guessed correctly. And the audience laughed. Mission accomplished.

In the game, In My Day, the 5 of us portrayed old men griping about how in our day we didn't have whatever the audience had get the idea, right? (some of the suggestions were automatic handguns, porn, afro sheen, and paint thinner) This isn't Shakespeare, people.

Jeff: "In my day we didn't have paint thinner, and if we wanted to huff, we had to use 'possum ass in a jar."

Me: "In my day we didn't have porn. No. If I wanted to watch a little action I had to smear bacon grease on my wife's backside and then let the dog's in the house."

THAT got a huge laugh and let me tell you, if you have never received a big laugh from something you have said on stage (or at the dinner table or at the office) then it is hard to describe the rush that goes through your body. I can totally understand how comedians say that performing for them is like a drug.

It is addictive.

I did have a brain-fart during the second half of the show. It was my fault. I wasn't paying attention. But you move on and try to do better. And you pay attention. And then the other players take you out back and beat you within an inch of your life with a wiffle bat.

We were all running on all cylinders last night. All the games worked and the audience (which was pretty damn big, almost every table was full) was getting their money's worth.

And you know what else was nice? Seeing the faces of my friends in the audiences. Of course my girlfriend was there. I would not let her see my first show. Just a little superstition of mine. But she was there last night surrounded by our friends who are regular performers at comedysportz.

I heard some familiar voices calling out suggestions and I heard familiar laughs (nobody laughs like Jenni or Stacey..nobody)...they have these great, genuine, hearty laughs, and hearing them and knowing they were out there made me want to perform that much better.

Our show was divided into two halves and each half had some really high moment. We ended the show with Chain Murder....with 3 SECONDS TO SPARE.

Nice job, Guys.

We each took our bows and the audience gave us a hearty round of applause.

I received a few high-fives from complete strangers, but more importantly, I got a kiss from my lady (who told me I didn't suck all that much-she was kidding-she's a kidder that one!) and great reviews from my friends.

It took a while for me to slow down after show last night and I think I could have gone on for another hour. Some of the guys and I sat on or around the stage and enjoyed a cold beverage (thank you Marybeth for buying that first round!) I think the guys were very happy with the way the evening had gone. It was a good show. Nobody was arrested. Nobody died. There were lots of laughs. And no one farted on stage.


I'm genuinely sorry that comedysportz is closing (that's a whole other blog) because it is a great venue for improv. And I wish I had started doing this earlier but things happen for a reason. It's taken me a long time to realize that. BUT they do though.

The important thing is that I am enjoying myself. I get to play once a week and go a little crazy and flex my brain and maybe get some laughs in the process.

ALL IN ALL...I think I am a pretty lucky guy.

I don't know where this whole improv thing is going to take me. Maybe nowhere. Maybe festivals in other states. Maybe national television. Maybe the moon. Who knows? You're just going to have to stay tuned.

I'm pretty much making this stuff up as I go along. I am improvisor.

THAT'S what I do.

and that's jody with a "y"

1 comment:

  1. Man, I so wish I had been there. Maybe when you guys go on tour in Chicago or Detroit or Grand Rapids. Or anywhere reasonably nearby.