Monthly Archives: June 2015

Getting to Know… Your Dad’s Friends

This group from Austin knows how to put on a show! Read about them and make plans to check out their set!

Tickets to YDF!

your dads friends

What do the members of Your Dad’s Friends find funny?
Usually, members of our group laugh when things are going horribly wrong.  It isn’t that we love misery.  It is that we love watching people recover from adversity.

If your troupe was a mixed drink, what kind would it be?
Probably a fruit smoothie.  Topping is the frozen banana.  Cole is the orange juice. Jessica is the strawberries. Tyler is the smug sense self of righteousness that recovering alcoholics feel about drinking non alcoholic drinks at the bar.

What inspires your improv? Is it a constant or changing idea?
We have all been improvising for a long time.  We like to find inspiration in the pleasure of finding new, genuine moments.

How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?
Chuy has instituted a no warm up policy.  Really.

What do you like to do outside of improv?
Members of YDF can be found at their second home, The Hideout Pub watching Jeopardy and over tipping.

Getting to Know… Rory Scholl

You’ll have two chances to see NYC improviser Rory Scholl at Big Sexy- once in a family friendly show, once in a not so family friendly setting. Check him out at both!

Get tickets to Rory’s show!

rory workshop pic

What is one of your favorite improv moments?
I’m part of an improv group in NYC called Fake Church where we get a suggestion from the audience and build a complete church service around it. I did the music portion and brought up a kid which turned out to be our directors kid, Everyone was nervous that it would go south and or I’d poke fun at the kid, but we did three really sweet and funny songs together. It brought laughter and tears to everyone in the crowd and was one of the most satisfying times I’ve ever had on stage.

What do you find funny?
Sarcasm is always funny. Also, believing in the reality you create on stage is always great fun. I also love little kids falling. Still the best.

Where do you get comedic inspiration?
I’m inspired by other improvisers who are, and I hate this word sometimes, but fearless. That doesn’t mean cursing up a storm and yelling in every scene. That means not being afraid to throw new ideas, show formats, and concepts up at any time. Straight forward 30 minute scene shows get pretty old so I’m always inspired by improvisers who think differently.

How did you develop this show?
I developed Rory and Friends based on some strengths I think I have as an improviser. First and foremost, I enjoy crowd work. I love talking to people and playing off them. You should base your show around things you enjoy. I also like playing guitar and creating songs. This is a very immersive show for the audience. Also, the more you invite people up the less hecklers you get.  🙂
How do you prepare for a show? Any rituals?
I don’t have any hard fast rituals for a show. I do like to see who files in and try to get a glimpse of the crowd. Also, if there’s an act before me, I usually try to watch it to get a sense of what they like or don’t like based on what they’ve seen. Also, beer. Always beer.

Getting to Know… ComedySportz

Get revved up for a crazy comedy match with ComedySportz! See them at Margo Jones Theater in Fair Park on Friday June 26th at 7pm. This is going to be fast paced high energy fun!

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Tell us about Comedy Sportz.
A ComedySportz® Match is comedy played as a sport where two teams go head-to-head in a competitive, down to the buzzer, swinging for the fences, all out, high energy, fast, fun, clean, improvisational showdown that’s perfect entertainment for all audiences. The whole match is improvised, so all dialog and scenes are entirely made up on the spot!

​These Players will play for Audience laughs in hopes of earning points for their team. Audiences get to participate throughout the Match by yelling out suggestions that inspire the scene and cheering for their favorite team of the night. Some audience members, if they want, could even find themselves on the field.

How do you choose games for a match?
Just like most Sports Team, our ComedySportz Teams have Captains that help lead their Team to victory. You can think of Captains as Quarterbacks. They help call the plays they think will help take their Team to the next level. So really, it’s about looking at the players on the field and determining what game might be best for the night.

What was one of your favorite improv moments?
A favorite? Oh wow. Not sure we can pick just one…um…So for those have been following us since the beginning, might know that our Troupe has a history of losing our performance space due to unforeseen circumstances. A few years back, when we had to leave our venue, we weren’t sure where or when our next show would be. So we decided to performed a special last hurrah kind of show. We didn’t know what would be made of it, except we were determined to play with heart and have a ton of fun. Well as it turns out, we have some of the best audience (or fans as we call them) who showed up and gave us packed house that was Standing Room Only. Possible one of our best shows ever. Afterwards, the crowd didn’t leave for almost 2 hours just talking to players and reliving past shows and stories. That spontaneous moment will always stick with us. We really do have some of the best audiences any Troupe could ever ask for.


How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?

Before every show we warm up by getting into a mindset that’s all about being silly and having fun. We’ll play warm up games that can get us out of our heads, that help us stay on beat or rhyme just in case the night calls for any singing games and we’ll also do some exercises designed to get us all on the same wave length and be on the same page. Right before we all go out and take the field, we all look at each other, and go up to each other individually, letting everyone know that everyone has each other’s backs.

What do you like to do outside of improv?
After almost every practice or match, the Troupe will go out and grab a bite to eat together or catch a movie. A number of our Troupe members are also in plays, so we’ll go out and support them. We’ve also been known to go camping, play kickball, cheer for Knights at Medieval Times, go to the zoo, escape room with zombies and make movies together.

Getting to Know… Mirage Machine

Pocket is going to get wild for Big Sexy and Mirage Machine is going to heat it up! Check them out on Friday June 26th at 11:15pm and read below for some fun facts!

enjoy the madness and get your tix!

Visit their website!

Mirage Machine

Tell us about your troupe name.
Mirage Machine was a really hard name to come up with. Theo Daley said, “Hey, our group should be called Mirage Machine.”

And we said, “Yes.”

How did your show and format develop?
Our format was extremely loose at the beginning. All we knew is that we wanted to play together and that’s it. We recognized that every single other group on the Improv Planet were doing that. We wanted to create something different.

David Fruchter, our resident sage, came in with a suggestion of getting a dream. We all looked at each other and went, “This makes our name make sense.” It’s a weird reverse engineering process we underwent to make our work fit the name. I can’t think of many other groups that would do that.

We let this suggestion fuel our work, too. We try and do “edit-less” edits where other players will simply hop in and start a new scene. No sweeps or tag-outs, they simply start a new scene by walking out. It’s the responsibility of the other players to go, “Oh, I’m in this.” It’s a challenge but it’s also super rewarding to watch.

What is one of your favorite improv moments?
We recently did a show at the Hideout Theater (located at 616 Congress Ave. in the heart of downtown Austin). Two of our players, Manuel and Kenny, got locked into a scene at a typography school. Kenny made a crack about feeling “Comic Sans.” The audience laughed/groaned at the same time. Because Kenny and Manuel are sadistic towards the audience, they started a Font Pun Off on stage.

Also, it’s important to note that there was a keyboard on stage for the act afterwards. Mirage Machine had no intention of using the keyboard at all.

So, when the Pun Off began, another improviser COMPLETELY UNRELATED TO MIRAGE MACHINE (Tosin Awofeso) started SCORING THE PUN OFF. It was transcendent and completely unexpected. It also made the epic Pun Off even more epic.

What are some things that always make you laugh?
Existential misery. Time.

Getting to Know… Red Dirt Improv

Big Sexy favorite Red Dirt Improv is back and ready for fun! New to RDI? Check them out at Margo Jones at 9pm on Friday June 26th and read below to get some fun details on these players!

Ticket to see them!

Red Dirt Improv

Tell us about your troupe name.
We couldn’t agree on other names, so we went with most of our second choices – Red Dirt Improv. Our group enjoys having a name that references Oklahoma in some way.
How did you form as a troupe?
Many of us performed in a college troupe together, and wanted to keep performing after graduation.
What was one of your favorite improv moments?
Anytime an audience new to improv sees us and enjoys!
How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?
We do a lot of the standard warm-up exercises, but when we get bored of those we resort to mime violence.
What do you like to do outside of improv?
We love to get together and play board and card games (like Settlers of Catan and Cards Against Humanity). We also regularly watch Game of Thrones together.

Getting to Know… Butter!

Love seeing something unique? Give troupe Butter a try! Learn more about this improvised clowning troupe below and see them at Big Sexy on Friday June 26th at 7pm!

Tickets for the show!

Butter

Tell us about your troupe name.
We were hanging out having coffee and talking about naming our duo. Then we jokingly started talking about using butter as our name. Then we started talking about how we liked the sound of butter. Then we started talking about how it was just so fun to say and it stuck. What do you like on your toast? Butter. What do you like to put on your pancakes? Butter. You like butter on your buns? Yes.

How did you develop your format?
We developed our format out of a combination of our training with traditional theatrical clowning and how we wanted to have fun with it. Traditional theatrical clowning involves direct eye contact and connection/interaction with the audience members and creating a relationship of interaction between ourselves and the audience. We combined that with playing how to woo or seduce the audience and the failure with that. We wanted to see what the limits are when we try and fail and try again to attract another.

What is one of your favorite improv moments?
One of our favorite moments is when the audience wants to play either through movement and/or sounds.  They are showing us that they want to be involved and that they are having fun.  We go into the audience and they end up supporting us and justifying our offers.  It’s fun to see the audience enjoy themselves.

How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?
Since we are a duo it is really fun and funny to try and do big group improv warm ups with just the two of us like ‘I am a Tree’ or ‘Transformation Circle’ or ‘Bunny Bunny’. We also have a ritual of counting off 1, 2, 3 back and forth and then replacing each number with a sound. Then we break off and play around the stage.

What do you like to do outside of improv?
Luke likes to sing, swim, watch sci-fi movies, and write plays/poetry. Sandra likes to binge watch TV shows on Netflix, write sketches, dance, and spend time with friends and family.

Getting to Know… Stephen Linings Kingbook

Get your horror film fix with troupe Stephen Linings Kingbook at Margo Jones Theater on Saturday June 27th at 7pm!

Visit them on Facebook!

Troupe name:
Well one of us is named Stephen Linings and the other one of us is called Karl Kingbook. Upon celebrating the deserved critical acclaim the new American classic film Silver Linings Playbook was receiving, it just made sense to hop a ride on that sweet gravy train by cleverly combining our names.  So we joined together like a two-part Vultron and became STEPHEN LININGS KINGBOOK. And also now wish trains of gravy were a reality.

Format:
Both of us are HUGE horror fans especially in film form like the Twilight films for example. Those are so terrible that it’s downright terrifying! But it’s sagas like that of Bella Swan that inspired us, famed horror film directors that we are, to present a new horror film of ours to a live audience at each of our shows. It also allows the horrors in the recesses of our minds to escape. Mostly a lot of acid flashbacks but still.

Improv moments:
Earlier this year, we were asked to appear at the Miami Improv Festival where we presented on of our more dramatic films which was very rewarding. It delved into the sacred bond between devoted mother and creepy murderous son that could almost be an homage to Psycho if so much of the plot wasn’t developed inside of the many convenient Men’s Warehouse locations and a Jamba Juice. It was untitled because we’re true artists at heart. I mean, have you been to art museums? So many untitled paintings!

Warm ups/pre show rituals:
Not unlike Hunter S. Thompson, we have a very strict drug and booze administering schedule we abide by. Directors (yes, even the golden boy Stevie Spielberg) tend to party like a sixteen year old does when their parents are away. That’s just bad parenting though because we all know what happens to those Ferris Bueller types. We also play this game where we take turns saying a sentence starting off with each letter of the alphabet from A to Z. It can be pretty challenging when your short term memory is at goldfish status.

Outside of improv:
We’re flown around the world in our private streamline jet by our pilot, Stone Cold Steve Austin. It’s our shared view that people can only truly grow by experiencing other cultures. And we don’t just mean grow in your pants either! I mean, just go to the actual Hogwarts castle in England and try to tell us you’re not a wizard! Especially if your name’s Harry!

Stephen Linings Kingbook

Getting to Know… Ghost Dinosaur

Read a little about Ghost Dinosaur below and make plans to see them at Big Sexy on Friday June 26th at 9pm at Margo Jones in Fair Park!

Tell us about your troupe name.

While developing Amoral Story, a narrative form, our coach drew a story arc on a white board. This roughly looked like a brontosaurus beneath a sheet. Someone drew feet and eye holes and there you have it. Ghost Dinosaur was born.

How did you form as a troupe?
As part of Station Theater’s curriculum, for your last level, the class has to develop a unique form and perform it for their graduation show. Our performance was well-received and we liked playing with each other well enough. We decided to take our chances in the wild.

What is one of your favorite improv moments?
Any specific example, without context, would sound idiotic, i.e., I liked it that one time the baby murdered the poop aliens. We do like it when multiple narrative threads come together with a simple, elegant solution. It looks like we planned it that way. We also like using characters from one show three shows later. The audience doesn’t know that character is from a previous show, but we do. It is a little game we can play on stage inside the game of the show.

How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?
We warm-up with Story Circle, Digits, Crazy 8’s and Thunderdome. We also like to look at our smart phones.

What do you like to do outside of improv?
We go bowling or grab a beer and watch sports ball. We also like watching improv.

Ghost Dinosaur

Getting to know… iScream Sandwich

We’re happy to introduce the troupes in the 7th Big Sexy with a Getting to Know series! Read about troupe iScream Sandwich below and see them at Margo Jones on Saturday June 27th at 7pm!

Check out their official bio!

See them on Facebook!

Tell us about your troupe name. How did you develop your format?

We started out as students in Tom Booker’s Sunday class that he taught in a comedy club in downtown Austin before The Institution Theater was a reality. We all had experience from other theater’s across the country learning the Harold format and thought it was time that Austin had a Harold troupe, when no one else in Austin was teaching and/or performing the Harold. We toyed with lots of names, almost stressing about it, we had to keep reminding ourselves to take the pressure off, our name would reveal itself when it was ready. Then one day Marv suggested, “why not something fun like Ice Cream Sandwich” and it just clicked, everyone was excited about the name, Heidi threw out “Yes, and what if we spell it like this: iScream Sandwich” is stuck and now we have been the longest running Harold Troupe in Austin! 

What is one of your favorite improv moments? 

They say that when you perform the Harold format, in the 3rd act when you get all the story lines and characters to come back together for the final scene and it wraps up the show with a nice button – then Harold is in the room! Those are the moments when the show is magical and you get off stage feeling that awesome performance high. Those are our favorite improv moments, but even if we don’t see that happen every show – we are a great group of friends that love to make each other laugh, so when we step out on stage, the only goal is to have fun with each other, when that is obvious to the audience they can’t help but have fun with us. That and one time we had an article written about us that was titled, “iScream Sandwich made me love improv!” That’s always nice to hear 🙂 
How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?

We warm up like most any group before a show to get our creative juices flowing and get our energy up – but then we always get connected by huddling in a circle and playing the alphabet game (get from a-z one person at a time, with out having two people say it at the same time or else we have to start over…we rarely have to start over). Then just before we take a stage we all take a moment to make eye contact with each other one at a time and say, “I trust you” It really makes us feel connected and supported when we get out there in front of an audience! 

What do you like to do outside of improv?

We all have our own separate busy lives, from full time jobs, graduate school, other troupes we perform with, creating podcasts, writing and pitching scripts, performing scripted theater, designing new game apps, and generally just being awesome. As a group we like to get together for bonding, social activities, usually sharing a meal and gossiping, but we also love a good pool party or the occasional trip to Hawaii 😛 (last summer we got to perform at Improvaganza the Hawaiian Improv festival). But mostly we just love to crack each other up – this is a fun group of people that just loves to laugh out loud! 

iScream Sandwich