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Getting to know… Chairold!

It’s that time of year again folks. Yes, the 9th Annual Big Weekend of Improv is only weeks away and it’s time to learn a little more about who you’ll be seeing this year. In addition to show descriptions and bios online, we’re posting thing on Facebook and in this blog. Today, we’d like to introduce to you- Chairold from Oklahoma City! See them on Friday July 7th and read below for a little more insight into this troupe.

What do members of your troupe find funny?
Mixing the mundane with the absurd and running with it. Clever wordplay. Finding hidden games.

If your troupe had a mascot, what would it be?
A chair with eyes like Herbie the Love Bug. It would be accompanied by a bare-chested fireman riding a cougar while drinking Jameson on the rocks.

What inspires your troupe? Is it a constant or changing idea?
Taking the hurdles of life and finding the bizarre fun in them. We adapt as we grow as a team and as individuals.

What is your troupe’s favorite pre-show ritual?
Eating together, creating awkward moments, and quirkily moving about. We are big fans of the marathon text message complete with topical GIFs.

What advice would your troupe give to new improvisers/troupes?
Allow your concept to breathe and adapt in a way all members are validated. Appreciate the smallest moments of brightness from way of your teammates, and work hard to value your unique contributions. Mostly enjoy the journey of creating together. Always be willing to learn from anybody. Support each other both on and off the stage and beautiful things will grow from it. Get invested in one another’s lives.

“Start with Episode IV” by Kyle Bradford

I’m sure you’ve made this mistake before. Nobody wants to sit through a minute of exposition in a two minute scene!  Just because you goofed this one up this one time doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it and correct your mistakes for next time!


CUT TO THE ACTUAL BEGINNING OF THE BLOG POST!

Today, I’m writing about starting your scenes in the middle of the action. A scene doesn’t have to start with the beginning of a story or with the first time characters meet. Some of the most important scenes take place in the middle of the action of that story world. There’s a reason we’re focusing on these two people in this moment and only so little time to do a scene. Instead of starting off with these characters meeting, or beginning to describe what they’re doing, why not start in the part that matters and let the exposition come later. (Much like this blog post, see what I did there.)

When you start a scene, you and your partner are making a ton of assumptions based on body language, the suggestion given, and the few lines that may have been spoken. You and your partner are working together to build a foundation of facts so that you understand how the scene works and what the story world’s rules are, but you don’t have to spew them all out at the top. Every specific you lay down in the scene tells us a little more about the story world.

If this scene is actually going to be about, let’s say, two thieves blaming each other for a score gone wrong, we don’t have to start with the thieves getting caught. Details will be revealed line by line, but the important core of this scene isn’t that they were caught stealing, but about the differences in their personalities that has caused this theft to fail. The thieving is really just set dressing to a story about two people with differing work ethics. And in that example, we want to hear more about their problems with each other’s work style, we definitely didn’t need to see how they reacted to be caught, that’s not the important part of the story.

Imagine your scene like an episode of TV or a movie. There’s a reason the story starts when it does and ends when it does. The same is true of your story! The events that happen after or before what happens in the movie aren’t really that important, though someone should tell that to the people who make the Star Wars films.

Star Wars was original just Star Wars, but later it was edited to be Episode IV. They decided they needed to tell more stories and that this one was really in the middle of everything. But this was the first film made because what matters is the story of a son redeeming his father and saving the galaxy, not seeing how his father became an evil dude, or seeing what the legacy of his actions would be. Sure it’s fun to see more scenes based on scenes we’ve seen before, but do we really need to know how Lando pulled his maneuver at the Battle of Tanaab? No. It’s not important.  The heart of the entire Star Wars saga was the fourth episode in the whole tale. So imagine your scenes as the good star wars movies, the only part of the story that really matters.

Learn more about… QuizProv

Get the inside scoop on a local favorite below. Haven’t had the pleasure of seeing QuizProv? See them at 11pm on Friday July 8th at Big Sexy! Tickets available at the website!
QuizProv
What do the members of QuizProv find funny?
QuizProv: When Danny has trouble tallying up the score using basic math skills he acquired in elementary school because technology has spoiled us, that’s pretty funny. Surprising the audience with concepts like “Who Said It? Trump or Cartman” makes us laugh. The people we invite on stage to play our little game with us make us laugh hard or we wouldn’t have invited them in the first place.

If your troupe was a mixed drink, what kind would it be?
QuizProv: It’s a little ode to our favorite game show that continues to inspire us in our daily lives. We call it the “Daily Double.” It’s a frothy concoction of various potent potables that no one quite knows and can only deduce by taking a sip and using their critical thinking skills to determine its contents. They must figure out the ingredients before the time runs out and the poison starts working.

What inspires your improv? Is it a constant or changing idea?
QuizProv: The show has a format and rules that may sound like it’s not a completely improvised show but hosting and bantering with the contestants before they step up to do pure improv is itself an improvised skill. We’ve learned that simply hosting a show and keeping a crowd energetic and engaged is a huge challenge and requires the right kind of confidence and personality that takes training and experience just to learn how to do on a basic level. So it changes with every show and every new audience who sit down to see us.
How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?
QuizProv: We do a little pre-banter with the contestants we bring up on stage to explain the game to them because as we’ve learned, the magic of television has tricked us into thinking that contestants on a real game show know everything about the game when the host explains it to them in front of the camera. Glenn and Danny separate off and get the stage set up and then they play a little game called “Are You Nervous? No, Are You Nervous?” The way you play it is right there in the title.

What do you like to do outside of improv?

QuizProv: Obviously, we play at a lot of games. It’s hard to put a competitive spirit back in its shell once you’ve already cracked open that walnut, my friend.

Learn more about… Clarissa Explained Nothing

We’re getting closer to Big Sexy time, and want you to learn a little more about the troupes! This blog post features a local act you should get to know so read about them then see their show at Big Sexy on Friday July 8th at 7pm!
Want more info on their show? Get it here!
What do the members of Clarissa Explained Nothing find funny?
Liz: I feel like we channel a lot of weird stuff from everyday life into our humor.
Jane: Also, each other. We really do make each other laugh a lot. Overall, I like dry humor and angry humor. I like things that come from a place of real emotion.
Greg: Joy, camaraderie, support. Every show we work to remove these things from our improv.
John: (Looks up from a giant plate of BBQ ribs he is currently eating.) I’m sorry what was the question?
Sallie: (Stares longingly at John’s ribs hoping he will share.) People getting hurt is always funny.

If your troupe were a mixed drink, what kind would it be?
Jane: (Looks back and forth between John and Sallie, worried, before snapping back to the task at hand.) Um…I guess whiskey, neat. No mixer. We can get pretty dark.
Liz: This seems very accurate. We like to create complex characters who suffer hilarious tragedies. About half of them are kids. Or some kind of special “bespoke cocktail” that’s actually just neat whiskey. Also we like meat.
Greg: Or a Sazerac! When you just want Rye and Absinthe.
John: (Mouth and hands are completely covered in BBQ sauce.) Um… give me a minute. I need to find a towel…
Sallie: (Reaches over to try and grab a rib.) A buttery nipple?

What inspires your improv? Is it a constant or changing idea?
Jane: We’re inspired by other troupes and our own strengths. It is always evolving because we always want to improve.
Greg: I know there is some next level game I am just missing.
John: (Finds a napkin on the table and attempts to wipe his hands. The napkin completely falls apart upon contact, leaving his hands covered in a pulp of BBQ sauce and shredded napkin.) Oh jeez…
Sallie: (Manages to snag a rib and takes a big bite, bone and all.) Oh god, I think I broke a tooth.
Liz: (Finds half of Sallie’s tooth on the floor and sticks it in her pocket.)

How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?
Jane: Our coach, Colten Winburn, will assign crazy characters to two of us at a time and then we do two-person, three-line scenes. It’s fast-paced and weird.
Liz: Yeah, that weird warm-up! Characters like The Little Engine that Could and someone who is running for Pope interacting, or many other crazy duos.
Greg: A child violence scene emergently appears in almost every show. We really need to put a stop to that.
John: (Tries wiping his face with his hands and smears the BBQ sauce and napkin pulp all over his face and shirt.) Gosh dangit…hang on. Just a sec…
Sallie: (Blood is dripping from her mouth but she still tries to eat the rib.) Goddamn these are good ribs. GIVE ME BACK MY SON!

What do you like to do outside of improv?
Jane: I’m really loving stand up. I try to make it out to open mics when I can. I love naps more than anything, though. Oh, and I’m also trying my hand at a webcomic on Instagram.
Liz: Writing, reading, sleeping, podcast dabbling.
Greg: (Starts drawing little pictures with his finger in Sallie’s blood.) Stand up is my hobby. Netflixin’. Dungeons and Dragons.
John: (Pulls his shirt off and uses it as a towel, further spreading the sauce over his upper torso as he wipes. He is now covered in a thin film of sauce and sweat. His face and hands have tiny bits of napkin stuck to them. He looks up in bewilderment.) I like watching YouTube videos.
Sallie: (Somehow manages to eat the whole rib, bone and all. Her mouth is severely bleeding.) I’ve been getting into ribs lately.

Clarissa Pic 1

Learn more about Butter!

We can’t believe it’s not… but it is… it’s BUTTER! Read a little about this clowning duo and see their unique show at Big Sexy on Friday July 8th at 7pm!
Want more info on their show? Get it here!

 

What do the members of Butter find funny? Blowing raspberries, simple mistakes, melodrama and fanny packs
If your troupe was a mixed drink, what kind would it be? Tequila Sunrise, Pina Colada…don’t forget the umbrella
What inspires your improv? Is it a constant or changing idea? Having fun and checking in with the audience, breaking the fourth wall and changing the stereotype of what clowning is.
How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?  We like making each other laugh and really challenge the other to break. We like doing large group warm-ups with just the two of us, think 2-person Bunny Bunny.
What do you like to do outside of improv? Watch movies, hang out at coffee shops and talk philosophy/stupid stuff people do.

Butter

Learn about ChuTopp!

More Big Sexy performer tid-bits coming your way! Read below to learn about ChuTopp from Austin, TX and see them on Saturday, July 9th at 7pm. Get your tickets here: Big Sexy Tickets

ChuTopp

ChuTopp from Austin, TX

  • What do the members of ChuTopp find funny? Life
  • If your troupe was a mixed drink, what kind would it be? a Sour Rump – Sour Apple Schnapps and Rumplemintz (we’ve never done it, but it would be very much us)
  • What inspires your improv? Is it a constant or changing idea? Constantly changing. From family, to work, to politics, to reality shows, to anything on BBC America
  • How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals? We just talk a lot about random awesome crap to get our minds in order.
  • What do you like to do outside of improv? The structural integrity of things, baseball, scrapple, music, reference books, giraffes, shoes, dive bars, etc.

Learn about Red Dirt Improv!

red dirt about

The 8th Annual Big Sexy Weekend of Improv is soon and we’d like to give you a short intro to the groups performing this year! Read below for some tidbits form Red Dirt Improv from Norman, OK. Catch their show on Saturday July 9th at 7pm.
http://facebook.com/reddirtimprov
http://www.reddirtimprov.com

What do members of Red Dirt Improv find funny? We love when an obvious punchline or joke is coming, then we get a curveball. Also, animal videos.

If your troupe was a mixed drink, what kind would it be?
Crown and Coke. Half of us drink and half of us don’t.

What inspires your improv? Is it a constant or changing idea?
There are certainly some changing ideas, but we always return to short form. We love taking short form sensibilities and packaging into a long free form set. We will pack in jokes, and quickly edit.

How do you guys prepare for a show? Any fun warm-ups or rituals?
We do a lot of circle up pass the focus games…then we get really animated and at peak energy for showtime.

What do you like to do outside of improv?
Game of Thrones, board games, video games, knitting, drinking, eating, and keeping up with superheroes on the big and small screens.

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!

Get tickets!

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.