Katie and I today sat through four and a half hours of the Del Close Improv Marathon today. Before this week, I can’t actually recall ever going to a single improv event – but now I’ve had a lengthy taste, and I’ll admit that despite a few missteps, I’m hungry for more. Some quick reviews of the groups I saw today (with pictures that are horrible due to my lack of using flash):
Quite funny, plus a little creepy. Good thematic linking between scenes, good flow, all around enjoyable.
Funny guys. Had a wonderful bit about spending too much time at Best Buy which I’m going to nick a line from for my rotating byline thing.
Killed me, absolutely killed me. Corporation, Inc is improv with a theme – it’s based at some nebulous workplace and all the roles and scenes are improved with that in mind. With a topic so easy to relate to, the scenes linked naturally and everything just clicked. Definitely my favorite out of those that we saw.
At first I was a little worried about Chairs, as they played a round of musical chairs and then just sat and improved some character descriptions about people in a high school – but once they got up and out of the chairs, and actually did some scenes, it clicked very well.
Worth noting: Both Corporation Inc. and Chairs featured Jen Malinsky, who in my eyes, stole the show – at least for the time I was there. She completely dove into her characters and really added even more life to a solid hour of improv. Jen, if you’re out there – you rock.
Dear Mission IMPROVable,
You seem to be under the impression that, when you don’t have any ideas for a scene, you can all run around making strange noises for what seems like an eternity and this will satisfy the audience. I would beg to differ. You guys had something in those last two minutes, with the Vinny Barbarino thing, but the first twenty-eight minutes were lacking.
Sincerely, Dan Dickinson
I was shocked to hear that American Dream were going to be doing, of all bits, Party Quirks – I thought they were being ironic mentioning it, but no, they really went through with the Who’s Line standard. The three quirks tossed out by the audience were “guy who won’t stop talking about the weekend”, “girl who can’t stop doing the chicken dance”, and “guy who has a vagina grafted onto his hand”.
Somehow, it worked terribly well – it only took about twelve minutes to get all the quirks guessed, but then they kept going and made a whole complete scene out of it. It was a bit refreshing by this point to have a single scene long-form improv, and there were some really terrible (read: funny) lines in here.
Delaney & Merritt’s Omlette Vision
Michael Delaney and Billy Merritt worked around some boxes and chairs that were randomly placed by the audience. I was about 50/50 on this one; some of the bits were good and some were just fair. Enjoyable, but compared to some of the other acts I saw, just not really up there.
This is what we were holding out for – an hour of the original UCB cast, doing…whatever. Three major things stick out about their time on stage:
The opening bits were entirely derailed by the cast noticing a girl in the front row was writing in a notebook. Confused, they asked her to hand over the notebook so they could see what she was writing – she refused. They tried to guess what she did for a living; they didn’t get it right. Finally, Matt Besser snuck up on her and stole the notebook – only to find she really wasn’t writing anything about the show.
The stories they were trying to riff off of were strangely pained and overwrought – so much so that they ended up launching into scenes where they were having “UCB Meetings” to discuss how horrible they were. At least it was salvageable in a self-deprecating way.
The set ended with them pleaing for someone to throw some pot on stage, as they were going to have an NYC vs. LA weed-off; they even shut the lights off to encourage anonymity. The only thing thrown on stage was a bottle of Ritalin. Looks like LA will win by default.