Heavy Metal Drummer: Michael Dolan of Rezuranger

Michael Dolan is a Level 2 student at ColdTowne and currently featured in our MainStage show, Rezuranger. He shared with us how he happened into classes, and–eventually–his role in our Saturday MainStage production.

On July 22, 2016 I visited ColdTowne Theater to see my friend, Lisa Williams (Family Meeting), perform with her troupe The High Five at a CageMatch (now Throwdowne) show vs. Rezurangur. That was the first time I got to see Chris Baldenhofer and Delaney Jo Hernandez perform. I was so impressed that night by Chris and Delaney to make two person scenes much fun! I didn’t realize it then, but Delaney and I had actually been camp counselors in 2008 for a youth retreat, and it was awesome to reconnect with her. I also remember thinking Kevin killed it that night during the performance with The High Five.

That show made me realize I wanted to do improv and couldn’t keep putting it off. I was still unsure about signing up for classes. I remember the two reasons I went ahead and did it: 1) I met Michael Jastroch during the 10 year anniversary weekend and remember thinking he was super witty and his characters were amazing. He’s a great teacher. 2) Kara King told me I wasn’t that funny in the ping pong/domino room at the Grand, so I had to prove her wrong. I signed up for Level 1 in the Fall 2016 class start.

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Dolan in Rezurangur press photo.

Towards the end of my Level 1 class, I saw that Rezurangur: An Improvised Heavy Metal Odyssee was looking for improvers and musicians with a specific request for a good drummer. It was the perfect show for me since I’ve been a drummer for almost twenty years and played in a metal band called Uglytwin for almost 3 years. I knew it was my destiny.

After a very nerve-wracking audition with Kristin Henn and company, I was very unsure about getting into the show because I didn’t talk much during my multiple person scenes. Like everyone, I’m my own worst critic. On top of that, I saw a ton of excellent performers at that audition.

About a week later I remember getting the e-mail from Kristin announcing that I had been cast for the show. I was so ecstatic that I immediately started to send friend requests to every member of the show on Facebook, just to see who all was in the show with me. When I saw Chris, Delaney and Kevin, I was super excited to work with all of them, since they were all part of the reason I invested in classes at ColdTowne. I had the chance to see a lot other cast members in Rezurangur perform at ColdTowne, and now—having had a chance to work with them—I’m certain this is one of the best groups of people I’ve ever had the chance to share a stage with.

Now, as a Level 2 student, and about to move into Level 3, I am so excited to keep going through classes, and eventually graduate. I love this community of people and always enjoy watching every show especially Missed Connections ATX, Loverboy, and Damn Gina. Come see Rezurangur: An Improvised Heavy Metal Odyssee!

Michael Dolan is an Austin native and has been a student at ColdTowne since 2016. He’s a drummer with 20 years’ experience of many different genres. He’s a beauty school dropout, graduate of Texas Bible Institute and doesn’t use any of that knowledge at his job doing Software Quality Assurance.

He’s performed in the Bit Show and now with Rezurangur: An Improvised Heavy Metal Odyssee Sat. nights at 8:30pm only at Coldtowne Theater from March 4th through April 8th. $10 online, $12 at the door. Buy tickets here.

Groundhog Indicates: It’s a Good Year for Improv!

Wondering if you or your loved one will enjoy taking classes at ColdTowne? Check out this blog post from Megan Mowry from this past March: she started in our free 101 class (every other Monday at the theater) and hasn’t looked back since.

Want to go ahead and snag that holiday class pass?

 Purchase the pass!

By Megan Mowry

Groundhogs Day 2015: Me, my birthday, and a free improv class at ColdTowne Theater. It didn’t feel significant at the time, but in retrospect, it was honestly the best gift I have ever given myself. I sat down next to Laura de la Fuente  (now a fellow SHESHESHESHE troupe member and BFF) and I remember us being like two chihuahuas in a handbag, both extremely excited and kind of neurotic nervous, but happy to be in the same purse. Flash forward one year later, and we’ve done countless shows together, both performed in mainstages at ColdTowne,  and most importantly, we’ve met so many amazing people in the improv community!

ShePoster-Frank-Mills-optAfter graduating from college over a year ago, I felt like everyone I knew had left Austin, and I was determined to find new friends. I tried intramural kickball, but I don’t really enjoy group sports. I tried a doodle meet up, but it turns out all we had in common was the fact that we all loved our dogs. And then there was improv! Improv class is this magical place filled with humans that come from many different background, yet are somehow all kind, open, honest, and creative individuals playing make believe together. Seriously, what is more fun that that? 

ColdTowne should rename Improv Level 1 to Therapy Level 1. Nat Miller was an amazing teacher. He cultivated a safe and trusting environment for my class to express ourselves in ways that most of us had never done before. I’m not sure about most of you, but I sit at a desk all day in my head, in a car for an hour in my head, even at a workout or yoga still in my head. Improv class feels like the first big stretch after being in a confined space all day. It’s the off leash dog park for humans, it’s standing on a chair in front of room full of people and throwing a full on temper tantrum because it’s  “your character”. Happy freaking birthday to me, it’s been a damn good year!


Megan Mowry performs with her all female Cagematch champion troupe  SHESHESHESHE.  She is in the cast of Fuck This Week, exploring your shit ass week every Monday night at The New Movement. She recently the  joined resident cast of Tarantula, an organic, odd, vibrant web of collective consciousness type of improv, happening the second Saturday of every month at The Institution Theater. Outside of the comedy world, Megan enjoys Karaoke, tiny coffees, and watching improv.

Ashley Blom

Ashley is a writer, improviser, comedian, and food blogger (feel free to link forkingup.com). She’s a New Englander living in Austin, Texas with a background in traditional and musical theater prior to improv. She’s studied at ColdTowne and plans to continue her improv education everywhere else in the city and beyond before she’s done. You can see Ashley perform regularly with her troupes, 2-time ColdTowne Cagematch winning Darth Brooks, all-female group The Matriarchy, all-Massachusetts group Packie Run as well as various troupes and shows across town. She also produced and performed in Ashley’s Diary, a variety show based on her childhood journals.
She can be reached at ashleyblom.com or ablom10@gmail.comsquare

BettyFest Interview with Patio Talk: A Legendary Improv Troupe who Happen to be Female

BettyFest was founded in 2014 by Patio Talk (Chrissy Shackelford, Juliet Prather, Amy Wright, and Kasey Borger), a comedy team based in New York City that originally formed at ColdTowne Theater in Austin, TX. Their members have been trained at UCB NY, iO Chicago, and of course, ColdTowne. We sat down with the ladies of Patio Talk to learn more about how they came together as a troupe, why they started BettyFest, and what their hopes and dreams are for the future of women in comedy.

AND SAVE THE DATE: BettyFest is an all-night-long event happening on Friday, 10/14 at 6pm at Spiderhouse Ballroom, featuring all-female improv and sketch troupes. All ticket sales will be donated to SafePlace, so be sure you buy yours now: http://bit.ly/2b5PEYY

How did Patio Talk become a troupe? Can you give a little history on how it all started?

Juliet Prather: We were all obsessed with how the others played so we made a Cagematch team just to have fun and get a chance to play together. It felt like magic so we decided to never ever break up. I guess it’s important to note that unfortunately at the time none of us had gotten to really play with just women or had seen only women performing together that much, so we think that was a big part of what brought us together and what made Patio Talk feel (and still feel) so special.

Kasey Borger: We really came together like any cagematch team, we just really enjoyed each other’s style of play, respected the heck out of each other and wanted to have some fun. We didn’t intentionally set out to be a team of only women, but when we did we realized it actually played a big role in how we played together and probably the fact that we didn’t get to see that or be a part of it often made it feel so magical.

Chrissy Shackleford: We met up and decided to submit to cagematch. We met up at Spiderhouse cafe to come up with a name and landed on Patio Talk because we liked the format of opening with everyone on stage character matching. Our first rehearsal (or one of the firsts) was at Juliet’s place. We just sorta goofed around and did some scenes and I remember it feeling so fun and easy and I was so legitimately amused by everything everyone else was doing and that’s something that is really rare that we just stumbled upon – this insane on stage chemistry we all have together.

Amy Wright: We talked about the form at Spiderhouse and wanted to do something very easy and fun that was as freeing as a montague without it just being a montague. My favorite moment from one of our initial cagematch runs began with Chrissy as a single mom hosting a sad Christmas and ended with us all going to the mall to see our deadbeat dad playing Santa. We respect and love each other offstage and it translates into onstage chemistry that’s hard to find just anywhere.

Where did the idea for BettyFest come from?

KB & JP: There are so many nights when you can show up to a comedy theater and see a lineup of all male performers and no one bats an eye, because that’s just the norm. We wanted to create a night that made it seem like seeing a lineup of all women performers was just as normal. That idea inspired the original tag line “a night of comedy by comedians who happen to be female”. We wanted to make it seem like that was something you could just accidentally waltz into as an audience member and enjoy just as much, because guess what, you can and you should. We thought, wouldn’t it be ridiculous if a comedy event read “A Night of Comedy by Comedians Who Happen to be Male?” It’s completely unnecessary because it’s pretty much what someone would unconsciously expect to see at a comedy theater. We wanted to sort of point out the ridiculousness of it. Who cares if the performers are all women? Women rock lol. Our idea was to showcase some of the most talented comedians we knew and, whoops, they all happened to be female. We wanted to make sure that, yes, it was about women but not just “lol a night of women”, but a night of very talented women who are comedians first and foremost.

KB: One thing that really stuck with us was when a teacher came to see a cagematch show that happened to be two teams of women up against each other and commented that he noticed the energy in the room was different when it was a night of all women performing. That was important to hear for me because it illuminated how rare of a night this was that not only was it taken note of that it was all women, but it also truly felt different than other nights at ColdTowne. We wanted to bring that same energy again in a bigger way.

CS: Agree with everything said, one thing that was important to us was that on the actual night of the show there was really no mention of “ISN’T IT CRAZY THAT WE’RE ALL WOMEN?” or “HERE’S A NIGHT TO CELEBRATE WOMEN IN COMEDY!” It was just a killer show with big laughs.

AW: Also a large part of it was an effort to encourage more female-identifying teams to perform at ColdTowne. We wanted to motivate women who might not have played otherwise/women who might be new to the community/women who might have been a bit intimidated by the typically male-dominated scene to play together. We hoped BettyFest would inspire these teams to continue playing together after the show.

What was the first BettyFest like?

JP: So fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was good.

KB: It was the best!!!! The turnout and support really blew us away for being such a new run of shows. One thing that was so cool was to see women look around them in their classes or in their theaters and create teams of people they thought were talented, respected the heck out of, wanted to have a good time with and whoops! they were also all women. It was just great to see right in front of us a bunch of teams of women whereas our experience coming up in the theater was watching mostly teams of all men. This is not to say these teams wouldn’t have already come together or were already together, it was just really great to look at the submissions and see how many talented women there have always been in the community and then see them teaming up.

As far as actually creating the festival, we treated it very seriously and put a lot of work into the marketing and making a show that would sell out every night. We learned a lot from that and took what we did for the first show into the second and improved on that. It was a great learning experience, personally.

And as far as just the logistics of the show, it was the exact same as the second iteration and, if I’m not mistaken, this third iteration– with a stand-up and two improv teams comprised of all women.

CS: Dude, it was dope. It was the first time I had seen a show sell out so fast that we had to turn away basically a whole second audience the night of the show – which was a great marketing tool – because if you’re already at the theater and the show sold out then hey why don’t you just buy a ticket for next week’s show! Which was so rewarding because we all worked our asses off to produce that festival. We put so much time, effort, creativity, and money into marketing the shows and it was such a joy to see the theater straight up lit for the fest.

AW: It was so moving to see the support from the community. Everyone got hyped up and involved. We learned so much from the first year and, like Kasey said, we really tried to step it up for the second year. The photobooth idea we borrowed from Waterbed and it really made it feel like an event. It was also a great marketing tool because people started sharing BettyFest photos on Facebook and Instagram. It was sweet to see a bunch of people with profile pictures of them holding maxi pads and champagne for a while.

What do you hope for in terms of the future of BettyFest?

KB: I hope no boy identifying boys are ever allowed!!!!!! Lol jk! But seriously, I just hope that it keeps on truckin’ and everybody keeps on having a good time with it. It’s our lil bb and something that is still so important to us. It’s great and exciting to see it blown out so much this year and in such capable hands. Maybe my true hope is that it actually becomes so completely redundant because of how many nights a week women are playing in comedy theaters that it becomes a relic of comedy’s past??!!??? Idk I guess I have a lot of hopes and dreams.

CS: I’d love to start burning penises at the 10th annual BettyFest. I think it’s great that it’s moving over to a bigger venue – since that was the biggest problem we faced that very first year – high demand and not enough seats. I guess I hope that in its future it still means as much to everyone involved as it meant for us creating it.

AW: I hope to see BettyFest end sexism in comedy by the year 2035. If this does not happen, I’ll assume it’s bc no penises were burned or even singed just a little bit. I hope that more and more teams form and begin rehearsing in order to submit for BettyFest and then they eventually take over the scene and destroy all barriers and live full, happy lives.

What are you all up to now? Any plans on making a surprise appearance this year? 🙂

JP: We’re all doing the UCB thing and working on our own stuff, but we still play a lot together which is rad. I feel really lucky to have Patio Talk, and I think BettyFest was a big huge influence on the entire team and the love we have for each other. But no, no surprise appearances planned. Unless that was a sneaky invitation ??? Hehe.

KB: I am incredibly famous now and you can catch me in the hit TV show “Seinfeld” or signing autographs for my current autobiography ”Still Kasey After All These Beers”. If we do all make an appearance it will literally be a surprise to us all!!!

CS: I’m moving from Brooklyn to Queens soon so understandably that’s pretty emotionally taxing for me. I mean, I’m taking my brand from Lena Dunham to Leah Remini, for crying out loud. Other than that I’m still grinding away, I teach at UCB now and my “solo” comedy show just got picked up for a run at UCB Chelsea starting this fall which includes surprise performances from Kasey, Amy, AND Juliet….so basically Patio Talk will live forever.

AW: I’m filming a partly improvised film in Connecticut and then heading back to NY to continue with UCB classes. PATIO TALK FOREVER. TEXAS FOREVER. CLEAR EYES, FULL BEERS, STILL KASEY.

More on Patio Talk from the archives.

Troupe Spotlight: Kingz

kingzHow did Kingz come to be?
A group of lady improvisers were talking about times that they had dressed as men in their lives (Halloween, for shows, etc). We talked about who enjoyed doing it, who didn’t enjoy it and also if at any point you were perceived differently if someone did actually think you were a man. It was interesting to hear the different accounts of various women in the community. For those who were perceived as men while in drag they had noticed people speaking to them differently, having different body language around them, and relating to them differently when they were thought to be male. Some of us loved dressing up in drag, some of us had never done it, and some of us were uncomfortable doing it but wanted to explore it more. We decided it would be a fun cagematch idea and we submitted. Not only did it end up being fun, but we found that the particular group of people that had come together had amazing comedic chemistry. Performing together felt easy and fun and we decided we didn’t want to stop after our reign as cagematch champions ended.

What format do you use, and how did you decide on it?
We do a monoscene with pop outs. It’s basically where the characters stay in one location, exploring a moment in time. The exception being if someone mentions a time in their life, a memory, etc we might do a “pop out” and explore that memory or moment briefly and then go back into the monoscene. We all really enjoy relationship based performances. The format allows for us to explore our male alter egos more fully. At this point they are very familiar to all of us. Down the line I don’t know if we will always have the same guy character every time, but for now it’s great getting to know our dude selves better and better with each show.

What makes you different than other troupes out there?
I guess the obvious would be that we dress in drag. I doubt we are the only improv troupe that does this but at least in Austin we are the only drag king improv group that I am aware of. It’s fun to explore gender roles and stereotypes with these characters. We don’t try to make all our characters walking male stereotypes. They’re all over the spectrum. Sensitive dudes, dudes filled with anxiety, cocky dudes, mellow dudes, etc. There’s also usually a lot of dick jokes.

kingz at oob 2Is it difficult to play women playing men, and then if the scene requires it, women playing men playing women? What are some difficulties that come from your unique form?
Not really. Occasionally someone might slip up and call someone she when they are their dude character but that seems to happen less and less the more shows we do. When we do the pop outs and become female characters it’s just like becoming a female character in a regular show. I don’t know that we go as deep as to do it as how our male character would play a woman.We are a troupe with a large number of people. Monoscene’s tend to work a bit better with smaller troupes. The main challenge is trying to give some focus to all our different characters and to not talk over one another. Sometimes one persons character gets highlighted more in a show, but that’s ok. It’s sort of like with each show we get to learn a little bit more about the lives of our characters.

What is your favorite show you’ve ever done?
It’s so hard to pick just one! We’ve had a lot of really fun and wonderful shows. We had one the other night where everyone just kept breaking because we were all cracking each other up so much. I know breaking in scenes can be frowned upon but I think all of us get quite a bit of joy out of making one another laugh.

What advice do you have for new troupes and new performers?
Have fun. Play with people you like. Play with people you’ve always wanted to play with. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to do a troupe with you if you want to perform with them, more often than not they will be flattered and say yes. Hang out with your troupe mates outside of improv shows. Some of the best warm ups can just be talking to each other about what happened that day.

Who is a teacher/coach (at any theater!) who inspired you?
We have so many! Erika McNichol, Jill Bernard, Kristin Henn, Mick Napier, John Ratliff, Rich Talarico, Rachel Madorsky, Michael Jastroch, Clifton Highfield, Stephen Kearin, Roy Janik, Shannon O’ Neil, and so many more. We could go on and on. But if you haven’t you should check these folks out cause they’re all rad.

What is your favorite Austin landmark?
I feel like the dudes in Kingz (especially Tyler) would really enjoy Hippie Hollow.

kingzTell us a bit about your current run!
We are coming to the end of our crazy fun Februrary run, OKingzCupid! Each week we try and “date” different all female improv troupes. They perform a set, then us and then we do a big mash up speed dating round at the end where one person from each troupe gets crowned the King and Queen of the night. Kitty Nasty hosts the whole thing and there’s a photo booth and free Kingz Boozy Love Punch at each show. Our last one is on Februrary 25th at 8:30PM and Toxic Chakra will be opening up for us. It’s a great time and features some of the funniest ladies in Austin.

Kingz is:
Arian Brumby aka Dan
Lisa Jackson aka Freddie B
Molly Moore aka Jason
Meredith Roberts aka Tyler
Xaria Coleman aka Denzel
Emma Holder aka Tony
Cene Hale aka Carlos

BIO:
Kingz is an Austin, TX based improv comedy troupe of women who dress like dudes. Through the art of drag and audience suggestions these gentleladies bring the perfect combination of laughs, beard stubble and manliness to their relationship based performances. It’s good to be the Kingz.

Performer Policies

Performers can find information here about how to get stage time, as well as tools to help promote your shows. It’s the responsibility of each troupe/cast to promote their shows.  Shows that sell out are have better odds of getting picked for future schedules.

Schedule and Performing

SUBMITTING TO PERFORM

With shows 7 nights a week, ColdTowne offers more opportunities to perform than any other theater in Austin. Here are a few ways to get stagetime:

Regular Scheduling

ColdTowne Theater will send out a call for submissions once every two months. All troupes or shows of all experience levels and theater affiliations are encouraged to apply. You can be notified of calls for submissions in the ColdTowne Students and Performers Facebook Group, or by signing up to our email list.

Written show policy: You can submit a written show (play, sketch review, etc) at any time by emailing a script to our Artistic Director submissions@coldtownetheater.com

Throwdowne

The ThrowDowne takes place each Wednesday at 8:30 pm and is a great place to play with one-off or ad hoc troupes. You can be notified of calls for submissions in the same places as above as well as the Facebook page.

Special Events

We will occasionally take submissions for special events such as Lock-Ins, Anniversary Weekend, and Mainstage Show Runs for the upcoming year. Announcements about any of those will be made in the places listed above.

Performer Policies

In addition to providing the best comedy in Austin, it is our goal to provide a friendly, welcoming environment to audience and students. Please observe the following policies:

  1. Act Professionally and enthusiastically (Show up 30 minutes prior to your shows and be prepared and sober)
  2. Dress Appropriately (Wear shoes, no shorts, be neat and presentable for shows)
  3. Create a good theater environment
    1. Do not create excessive noise before or during shows in the lobby. When in the hallway waiting to take the stage, please be absolutely silent.
    2. Do not leave personal items or garbage around the theater.
    3. Be friendly to audiences, students, and other improvisers.
    4. In general, be courteous and friendly with the staff of I Luv Video.  Introduce yourselves; they are our immediate neighbors and they will return courtesy.  
  4. Be a good audience member. Don’t talk or text during shows and let the paying customers give the suggestion, unless no one has responded after SEVERAL seconds.
  5. Be prepared to yield your seat or to pay in the event of a sell out performance.
  6. Please use the covered area of the parking lot next to I Luv Video for your group warm ups, and be respectful of neighbors with regard to the noise level
  7. Promote your shows. There are shows seven nights a week at the theater, and we like to schedule acts that take the initiative to promote themselves before the day of their show.
  8. If you are unable to make a show you are scheduled for we ask you let us know as soon as possible. If you want to try to “swap” with someone, we ask that you orchestrate the switch by finding a group to trade, and then let us know which group you’ve confirmed is willing to trade show dates with you. Please email all info and questions pertaining to show scheduling to Cody@coldtownetheater.com.

Troupe Policies

As a ColdTowne Theater Troupe, you are given preference to other comedy troupes in Austin when it comes to performance slots at ColdTowne Theater. In exchange for this preference, your troupe is expected to:

  1. Rehearse regularly.
  2. Promote and market its show slots via social media, postering, ColdTowne Twitter and Blog.
  3. Show up at least a half hour before the show block and touch base with Front of House Interns and Tech Crew.
  4. Perform with a majority of troupe mates present for shows (no excessive absences or ad hoc combinations of players)
  5. Communicate tech needs to the tech team (do not wait until the show is starting!)
  6. Help see that shows start on time. Encourage the opening group to be in the hallway ready to go, and even if a few customers arrive late they can come in during the top of the show and hopefully learn that we like to start shows on time.
  7. Headlining troupes may receive 2 complimentary tickets TOTAL (not 2 tickets per performer). Arrangements must be made at least 48 hours in advance in order to put the tickets into the system. At-the-door comps are prohibited.

Remember: show slots are a privilege not an entitlement. Failure to observe these guidelines may result in removal from the calendar.

Rehearsal Space

ColdTowne Theater offers rehearsal space at a premium rental rate, pending space availability, for ColdTowne troupes and student troupes. Although we will do our best to avoid it, rehearsals may be bumped at any time for private shows or classes at ColdTowne Theater’s discretion.

Mainstage productions will receive one month of free rehearsal time during off-hours, pending availability.

Payment is due 24 hours in advance via PayPal only. Book rehearsal space at www.coldtownetheater.com/about/venue-rental

Coaches

Coaches for troupes are hired at the troupe’s discretion. Payment arrangements should be made individually with that coach.

If you are having trouble finding a coach we recommend asking a faculty member for their recommendation of someone, or there is a website (http://austin.improvcoaches.com/) that can be helpful.


Show and Hosting Policies

Shows are the main access point for ColdTowne Theater’s entire customer base. As such, it is important that they are run professionally and that the utmost care is given to the audience’s ’s experience.

  1. Theater lobby should be open and set up 1 hour before showtime. (30 minutes if there is a class in the lobby).
  2. Lighting in the lobby should be set to the appropriate mood level, music should be playing, and the front of house slide show should be running on the monitor.
  3. Houses should be open 10 minutes before showtime. The gong should be rung and the audience told “The House is Open!” loud and enthusiastically. The preshow video should be playing as the audience files in.
  4. No more than 49 people are allowed inside the theater at any time. (and this is a SQUEEZE!)
  5. Please make all efforts to provide a predictable experience for audience members. Many times they enter the lobby and do not know where to buy tickets, when they can go into the theater, etc. Please be on the lookout for confused audience members and assist them accordingly.

Tech

Good tech is essential to the show. Remember the following basic guidelines:

  1. Loud house music (enough so people have to raise their voice to hear each other) should be playing as the audience files in.
  2. House lights should be on, but dim and intimate.
  3. Upbeat music should be playing during any lull in the show, including blackouts, between hosting segments and when troupes are taking the stage. This can kill a show if not done correctly!
  4. Play transition music nice and loud
  5. Lights should be pulled confidently, and music should play simultaneously.
  6. ALWAYS check with the troupes for their tech needs before the show starts.
  7. During the show you should remain in the tech booth. Something could go wrong, or a audio levels you thought were set correct could change. Take care of your business between shows so that you can remain in the booth during the show.
  8. With the exception of the desk lamp, turn off all white lights in the booth during the show.
  9. The house lights should be on and music playing as the audience exits.

Hosting

Good hosting is essential to the show. The headlining troupe for each show block is responsible for hosting for the evening. Remember:

  1. Relax. It isn’t your job to be funny. All you need to do is let people know to please be quiet during the show, what to expect, and to start applauding for the first act.
  2. Starting the show with confidence helps the audience relax, and lets them know that we know what we’re doing.  
  3. Make them feel excited and welcome.
  4. Do not be wasted.

Hosting/Start of Show Procedures

  1. Meet with the other groups before the show begins to see if they have any requests as to how they are introduced.
  2. Projector screen should be put up before hosting begins.
  3. The volume of the music playing turns up “nice and loud”, and the house lights are turned off simultaneously. Please try to make this transition smooth and professional.
  4. Host runs out to loud music and applause.
  5. Host dialogue should look something like this:

FIRST HOSTING SPOT:

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to ColdTowne Theater! If you haven’t already, we ask that you please take a moment to silence your phone, and we’re a small theater so we ask that you please refrain from talking during the show. By a round of applause who’s here for the first time? Welcome.

What you’re about to see will be completely improvised. Everything will be made up on the spot, and these shows will exists only once and then will be gone forever.

Tonight we have (name troupes in descending order, getting people to clap and cheer for each troupe). Coming to the stage first – put your hands together and make some noise for — XXX!

SECOND HOSTING SPOT

Let’s hear it again for XXX! And keep it going for your next troupe, XXX! (Get audience to applaud as loudly as possible)

CLOSING HOSTING SPOT

Thank you all so much for coming out tonight! Another big round of applause for XXX, XXX and (intern’s name)  in the booth. If you think this looks like fun, and want to give it a shot, we encourage you do so. Everyone you saw here tonight has been through classes, and we think anyone would benefit from taking them. We teach improv and sketch comedy classes here with some of the finest instructors in the South. Talk to anyone you’ve seen on stage or behind the bar for more information or sign our mailing list. SPECIAL WEEKLY PLUGS, Check out coldtownetheater.com for more information about shows! (Please deliver the “If this looks like fun, it is” speech with heart and intention.)

IF APPLICABLE: Please exit the door to the right. If you’re interested in attending the next show, stick around and we’ll let you in for free if there are tickets left! Please drive safe, keep supporting live comedy and and have a good night!

Intern and  House Manager Policies

Theater Interns and  House Managers are responsible for making shows run smoothly and efficiently. To receive their full discount, interns are required to work at least one night a week for the duration of each session. Discounts range from 25 – 100% off classes, depending on what night of the week the intern works. Interns and house managers are responsible for:

  1. Opening, closing and setting up the theater
  2. Keeping the theater (inside and out) clean.
  3. Making sure shows run on time and houses are open.
  4. Handling tech. Coordinating with host troupe.
  5. Selling tickets and ushering. Keeping track of capacity.
  6. Selling concessions.
  7. Counting money.
  8. Distributing fliers and signing people up for the mailing list.
  9. Finding substitutes for themselves in the event they are going to be absent.

Failure to perform these duties may result in loss of internship and class discounts.


Scheduling

Scheduling shows at the theater is a complex process. ColdTowne makes every effort to accommodate everyone and to create the funniest, most professional end product possible. The Artistic Director is in charge of determining the number of shows each troupe and performer gets. The following criteria are considered when putting together the schedule:

  1. Needs of the schedule
  2. Quality of performances
  3. Ability to promote and Audience Draw
  4. Special events
  5. Conservatory needs

This criteria along with other factors play into the final decision made by the Artistic Director.  An effort is made to be equitable with stage time, and record is kept of how many shows each act is given.

Some show slots are scheduled either by the headlining group or an appointed individual (ie: cagematch commissioner).

Availability requests for stage time are sent out by the Artistic Director 1 month before the start of each two month scheduling cycle. Failure to submit your availability on or before the due date forfeits your right to be put on the schedule.

Special Shows, Extended Runs and Events

ColdTowne Theater hosts a variety of special shows, extended runs of formats and special events. The Artistic Director will solicit submissions from the community regularly each bimonthly scheduling cycle for show runs, and once per year for mainstage shows that take place Saturdays at 7 and 8:30pm. Confirmation of your event or extended run will be given by the Artistic Director.

Marketing Resources

Show Art  – Contact Creative Director, Carlos LaRotta with Artwork for your show i.e. Slide Image, Poster, etc. Carlos will look over your submissions and offer notes if needed.

We need your art ASAP to promote your show on our site, slide show, and social media. Please send us your art 1 week prior to the month of your show run for approval from Carlos, with a final deadline the last day of the month before your show. I.e. if your show is in January, we need to see your artwork by December 25. (Yes, CHRISTMAS.)

Specs:

  • Website homepage/theater pre-show: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Eventbrite: 2160 x 1080 pixels
  • Facebook: 784 × 295 pixels
  • Facebook Cover: 828 x 315 pixels
  • Twitter Cover: 1550 x 500 pixels

ColdTowne Branding Deck – Here are files with the logo, color scheme, icons, fonts, etc. for use in your promotional materials. We also offer poster templates, which we encourage all troupes to use, as they include information about the theater.

Poster Printing – Many ColdTowne performers use Ginny’s ($18.99 for 50 12×18 posters).  You can use a postering service such as Motorblade to hang your completed posters or have your troupe divide and conquer at local bulletin/community boards.

Social Media  – Contact Ashlee Jordan Pryor for mentions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Space is made available based on theater priorities and is not guaranteed. A planned schedule with content, links, imagery and proposed dated for sends is strongly preferred.

Typical social pushes for events that work well are: 1 post the week before, 1 post a few days to a day before, and 1 post the day of.

Facebook Events – Creating a Facebook event is suggested for special shows and required for mainstage/marquee shows. All shows should be created under a Facebook page (Such as Live at ColdTowne). Request the ColdTowne Theater page to co-host your event. Always include the eventbrite link in the ticket URL (found on our website), not just the text description.

If an event is created under a personal profile, you will not have the option to add a Facebook page as a co-host. This means ColdTowne Theater will not be able to add this event to its events page.

Community Boards – Plug your event on these sites:

  1. Do512
  2. Austin 360
  3. Austin Chronicle
  4. Culturemap Austin
  5. Austin Monthly
  6. Austintexas.org/visit/events
  7. 365thingsaustin.com
  8. Nowplayingaustin.com
  9. Yelp Austin
  10. Eventbrite Austin

Know Your Troupe: After Midnight

After Midnight started on a whim when some Level 1 students decided to enter the ColdTowne CageMatch.  They went on to win that series and have kept performing together regularly at ColdTowne while still taking classes.  Now in Level 5, Chelsea Bunn, Vickie Dinges Grier, Kim Lowery, Brian May, Lance Nealy, Frances Nguyen and Bobby Stover tell us what it’s like to play shows while still learning the basics.After Midnight

Before we get into the nitty gritty, can you all explain what exactly the ColdTowne CageMatch is?

Lance: The CageMatch is like a bracket-style tourney.  Each Wednesday night at 10, two or three troupes will each play twenty minute sets with the audience voting on who they liked best.  The team that wins that night advances.  There are usually a few weeks of preliminaries, then the semifinals and then you’re ultimately left with two teams.  The troupe that wins that final round are made CageMatch champions and get to sign their name on the chump chucker, this barbed wire-wrapped 2×4.  It’s bad-ass.  They’ve also recently added a four-show run to the deal.  Since Raw Power won the last series, they get to host the current one and close out every CageMatch show.  But the best part is that anyone can form a troupe and enter.  The commissioner can only take so many troupes, but pretty much everyone has an equal shot.  That’s how we got in, dumb luck.  Part of winning is putting on a good show, but an equal part is marketing it, so you get all your friends to show up and vote.

Bobby: For me Cagematch epitomizes what I love about Coldtowne: that everyone, regardless of experience level, is eligible to perform and participate. It just makes the improv community seem so open and inviting.

How long have you all been performing improv comedy?  What made you start?

Brian May

Brian May

Brian: I started in January along with most of these people.  I had recently gone to NYC and seen some amazing stand-up that got me really into the whole comedy world, and I had always watched “Whose Line” growing up.  Then I had a friend from forever ago that tried improv to get stage experience for Blue Man Group, and he loved it.  I took his suggestion and ran with it, couldn’t be happier he told me to go for it.

Kim: My husband sent me a text one day with a picture of a ColdTowne poster someone had hung up in the break room in his office. (Thanks Sarah Coker!) His message said, “You could do an improv class =)” So I went to the free Monday night class with Cody. It was so exciting, and I was happy for the challenge.

Bobby: I saw a rap battle show at another improv studio in town and thought it looked like a lot of fun. Then Frances and I wound up in the same free class with Kim and, BAM! Next thing I knew I was standing on stage, blinded by bright stage lights. Nicely done Cody!

Vickie: A friend did an interview with Sam for the my husband’s podcast and I fell in love with the idea. The hubs got me Level 1 classes as a Christmas gift.

Lance: My neighbors took me to see The Frank Mills and Midnight Society at ColdTowne and I had a blast.  I kept that ticket stub with the free class info on my desk. I was working from home at the time, and was new to Austin so I really needed to get out and meet people.

How did you all meet?  How did After Midnight happen?

Brian: We all just met through classes at improv.  Bobby just asked who wanted to try to enter the CageMatch, and then a Facebook chat was born, and eventually we got to the CageMatch.

Bobby Stover

Bobby Stover

Bobby: I became aware that Level 1’s can participate in Cagematch on the eve of the deadline so as Brian said, I just asked everyone in my class and signed us up that night. Luckily you can change rosters before the first show because we lost about half of the people who originally said they were interested. So between those few brave remaining souls and a couple free agents we picked up as late as the evening of our first show – Kady and Vickie I believe? After Midnight became a thing!

Vickie: I believe Bobby is right. I asked if they had enough people and Bobby said “come on.” When we advanced the first night, I didn’t even realize they said our name.

Lance: Yeah, Vickie was totally “What just happened?”  That first show was so much fun and just crazy.  At this point I feel like we need to pour one out for our dead homie Kady Ferris.  She’s not dead, but she moved to Portland after we won the CageMatch series, which basically makes her dead to us.  But in a nice way.  Hi, Kady!

Where did your name come from?

Frances: Bobby signed our group up for the CageMatch, but he did so after the deadline which is at midnight. Hence, After Midnight.

Lance: I used to really hate the name, but it’s totally grown on me.  It definitely fits the material we did in that first run of shows.  Very perverted.  Very blue.

Brian:  I’m with Lance, I really didn’t like it, but it is growing on me, plus some one found a theme song with our troupe name, so that’s not a bad thing.

Bobby: I stand by my late-night, half-thought out decision on a name. Glad ya’ll finally came around!

Are you nervous before you go on?  What’s the mood like in the hallway?

Frances Nguyen

Frances Nguyen

Frances: Excited mostly. A little nervous. And just trying to keep the momentum from warming up going as we’re waiting. My favorite part is right before going on when we all pat each other on the back and say, “I got your back.” It’s slightly cheesy and totally sincere.

Brian: I’m always really excited before and not nervous at all before we get into the hallway, then it’s like game time and the mood gets more serious, and we do the got your back thing, Frances hit the nail on the head, if you read this I applaud your dedication to the interview.

Kim: I’m not always nervous until I get in the hallway, then I’m pretty much immediately giddy and sweaty and unsure. It’s like being strapped into the seat of a Roller Coaster ride. There’s no turning back, and I almost always regret my decision to put myself in these situations. But afterward, I’m so excited and proud that I did it.

Vickie: Love Fest!

How do you get pumped up for a show?

Brian: I love warming up, it’s just a great way to shake everything out and get psyched for whatever is about to happen.

Kim: Warming up in the parking lot is so fun. We play games and run through our opening. It’s pretty incredible being able to play with friends like I did when I was a kid and know that they won’t make fun of these stupid and sometimes vulgar things popping out of my mouth.

Vickie Dinges Grier

Vickie Dinges Grier

Vickie: Usually, Kim says something about poop or Lance gives a character the attribute of having one leg shorter than the other. I also love the addition of Chelsea, who brought Bunny and Froggy into our lives.

Lance: There was some Yelp review online that complained about shows not being improvised because people were rehearsing in the parking lot.  To the uninitiated, we’re not rehearsing lines or anything, we’re mentally stretching.  Getting loose.

Is it weird taking classes, but also performing?  Has one helped the other?

Brian: I don’t think it’s weird, it’s so helpful to have both sides of it going.  Currently we’re doing some coaching as well, which is extremely fun and helpful.  We have class which we really break stuff down and play less, but learn SO much.  It’s nice to be able to play in coaching, and then get down to the nitty gritty the day after, let our minds go over it and then we play again.

Kim: It was weird at first. I sort of had the thought, “Who do we think we are, we don’t know anything yet!” But I think that’s what made us decent. We were learning and we were excited. It still feels that way most of the time.

Vickie: I think they go hand in hand. Classes are the hard work and preparation that make performing fun. And, yes, some of the Level 3 sessions were difficult for me, but I learned a lot. Thanks Dave!

Lance Nealy

Lance Nealy

Lance: It’s actually funny how quickly we all moved from being terrified of being on stage to being absolutely addicted.  Most of us are in multiple troupes now because we just love playing.  There’s Loverboy, Side Hugs, Sorry For Your Loss, GameTowne, Grounded in Harmony, Save By the Bell, Replacement Mark and probably a few more by the time you read this.

What’s it like coming off stage?

Brian: It’s always a little strange, it never feels like it was 20-30 minutes, it goes by in what feels like 5 minutes every time.  Sometimes I get so caught up in watching the troupe that I almost forget that I am supposed to get up and play too.

Bobby: Oh man, I always feel in a daze and can barely focus on anything people are saying right after a show. It’s an adrenaline rush being under the lights in front of a room full of people. I love it!

Kim Lowery

Kim Lowery

Kim: After a good show where we each got a few laughs, coming off stage is exhilarating. But we recently experienced coming off stage and sort of staring at each other in disbelief. We all knew we hadn’t had fun out there.

Vickie: It’s a feeling of exhilaration and relief all at the same time, but then we start talking about what was good and what could’ve been better. I love it when our coach, Emma, is there because we can get notes right away. I am glad she didn’t see the show Kim described though. It was craptastical.

Lance: Yeah, that one show.  We had a run of shows we had really enjoyed.  I think part of them was “Wow!  We did it.  We got up.” And we were inexperienced enough that we didn’t see things we should have done better.  I think the longer you’re doing it, the more likely you are to find fault with something you did on stage.  Well, we finally hit that show that was just craptastical, as Vickie said.  It just wasn’t fun.  We had weird energy going in, lots of people had crappy days, etc.  But, two days later we had a great show.  So much fun.  For me it was very much like, “Well, nothing could be worse than that crap fest that just happened.”

Do you all hang out when not in classes or practice?

Frances: No. We all actually hate each other. Sometimes I pass Kim in the hallway, and we try really hard not to make eye contact with each other.

Brian: There’s some animosity in the group, so it’s best to act like we get along on stage.

Bobby: Occasionally we’ll show up to the same bar by accident and it’s super awkward. Lance usually gets buzzed on fruity drinks and then things just get weird!

Kim: Lance sometimes sends us nude photos. Of course, they’re unwanted but it’s nice that he’s reaching out, trying to keep us all connected.

Vickie: The troupe has kind of made me the mom figure, which means we are horribly dysfunctional.

Lance: Can you feel the love?  Seriously though, we do hang.  After Midnight is very fond of happy hours and day-drinking.  Except Chelsea.  She doesn’t like to drink.  So never offer her a free beer.

After Midnight

After Midnight

Is there something you feel you still struggle with?

Brian: I feel like I struggle with keeping it slow and not jumping to something for a crazy statement.  Characters are also not my strong suit I feel, but now you guys all know what to look for and to point out how terrible I am at them, GREAT.

Vickie: Impulse control and remembering to develop relationships with the other characters. I like playing with Frances because she is really good at both.

Bobby: So many times in a show you wind up just jumping up on stage at a moment’s notice which makes it very difficult to truly internalize a character and be able think and act like they honestly would in the various weird obscure scenarios we create. Thank goodness for practice time!

Frances: Aww, thanks Vickie! Something I struggle with is just going with my gut and having confidence in what I have to say, which is something I think a lot of members in our group, especially Vickie, are great at.

Lance: Holding onto a character.  Although I recently took a character workshop with Dave Buckman and I’m definitely working on that  And I agree with Brian, slowing things down and working on developing characters, versus just doing bits.  Also spacework.  Good lord do I suck at pantomiming.

Now that you’re way past the halfway point in classes, is there a tip you’ve learned that you’d pass on to other students/performers?

Chelsea Bunn

Chelsea Bunn

Chelsea: Sit in on classes with different teachers to see what kind of coaching best suits your learning style.

Lance: Try not to be hard yourself.  The thing you hated that you did, someone else thought was hilarious.  I’m still pretty bad at this one though.  It’s good advice but hard to follow.

Brian: Listen, listen, listen.

Vickie: I second all of that. Learning to be open and just letting go can be harder than you think. Turn into the skid!

Bobby: Go to jams early and often! Doing this helped my understanding of what we were learning in classes immensely.

Frances: See shows! There are times when I get in my head about how I’m doing in classes or performances. And then I force myself to go see a show and am reminded why I started taking classes in the first place: when you see a great show, it’s brilliant and funny and inspiring.

Lance: Also if you have the time, try to intern.  You get a discount on classes, but more importantly, when you’re doing tech you get to watch shows.  You learn so much from just watching shows.

Favorite drink.

After Midnight

After Midnight

Chelsea: There is a fierce “beer v. liquor” debate within AM. I think we all know which is better… it’s beer.

Lance: Meh.

Brian: I got Lance to say he liked a beer, and of course he denied it afterwards.  But I’m a huge imperial stout fan, I used to mainly drink liquor, but this whole craft beer goodness is too good to me.

Vickie: Vodka and ginger ale—not ginger beer, not coke and sprite mixed together, not soda with bitters in it—ginger-freakin’ ale! Lance and I are the liquor hounds!

Lance: I’m a big American whiskey fan, almost anything brown.  But I’ve also been digging on the Mezcal lately.

Favorite movie.

Brian: Wet Hot American Summer, I have watched the first half of that movie drunkenly and passed out at 3:30 am than any other movie.  It’s my I-have-people-over-and-we’re-all-drinking-we-have-to-watch-this-movie-right-now-and-then-I-pass-out-halfway-through movie.  And there are so many small gems in that movie that you have to watch multiple times through, or at least I did.

Kim: I like all the movies. Especially from the 80s and 90s.

Vickie: The Big Chill, Best in Show, Caddyshack, Dogma, Toys, and A Fish Called Wanda.  I also have to watch Snakes on a Plane and Deep Blue Sea any time they are on. Hilarious!

Favorite moment in comedy.  Ever?

After Midnight

After Midnight

Brian: That’s a tough one, I honestly can’t say.  Maybe watching “Whose Line” growing up with my dad.  That’s such a hard question though, there’s so many new moments, definitely doing improv now, every time you play there’s something that is so funny that it blows you away.

Kim:

Clark: Whew, it’s warm in here.

Mary: Well you have your coat on.

Clark: Ah yes I do, why is that?

Mary: Because it’s cold out.

Clark: Yes it is, it’s a bit nipply out. I mean nippy out, what did I say, nipple? Huh, there is a nip in the air.

Vickie: I love watching classic stand-up, especially George Carlin, Steve Martin, and Richard Pryor. The Original Kings of Comedy has me in tears every freakin’ time and John Leguizamo and Eddie Izzard are pretty genius. Yes, I know I didn’t answer the question.

Lance: I can’t pick a favorite moment in comedy, but the hardest I’ve ever laughed was during the Happy Fun Ball SNL commercial.  Something about it just tickled me to the point where I started hyperventilating and I passed out.  I woke up and my friend Chris was standing over me laughing at me.  I then started laughing again and almost passed out.

Favorite thing about improv?

After Midnight

After Midnight

Brian: The ability to do whatever you want and it’s always right.  No matter how ridiculous it comes out of your mouth, it always just works.

Kim: With very few exceptions, I go home feeling inspired and encouraged. The audience is ready to laugh and support us. The best improvisers, the ones I look up to, have been so great to give a pat on the back or an encouraging word. My troupe and classmates have become some seriously awesome friends.

Vickie: I think it’s the unpredictability that comes with playing with other people. I’ve done some stand-up and this is a totally different vibe. You have no idea what’s about to happen, but you feel fearless because you know the others are there for you.

Lance: Totally sappy, but I really love making up stuff with my friends.  It’s not always gonna be funny, but it’ll always be fun.  Also, I love being in the wings cracking up, watching my friends on stage and I look across at the other wing and I see people there laughing too.  That’s the best.

What would you say to someone who has thought about taking classes, but hasn’t signed up yet?

Brian: Either try a free class on the first Monday of the month, or maybe wait until there’s a deal if you’re looking to save some money.  I can tell you it’s been worth every penny and I can’t think of anything better to spend it on then learning more and playing with these fine people.

Bobby: Stop hesitating! It’s worth it. And who knows, you may just find out a thing or two about yourself; like that your go-to dance move is a pelvic thrust.  Lance!

Kim: DO IT! Seriously, you won’t regret it. I’m always surprised that I am doing this. I love that I’m attempting to learn how to do something that I admire in other performers.

Vickie: It’s a gift to yourself. For two hours a week, you can play and be totally in the moment. Work, traffic, bills, and anything else that’s stressing you out gets pushed completely from your mind.

Best thing that’s happened during a show? Worst?

After Midnight

After Midnight

Brian: There are so many good things that have happened, I can’t remember the best thing, they all blur together after a while.  Each CageMatch show we have had had a main point to it that we kept hitting on, and we were going through learning what we were doing, that may be the best part, but that’s just the experience on the whole… Worst thing, I can’t even think of anything bad, anything that feels rough you just forget about and move on, go through the rest of it and it all works out.

Kim: I’m not sure how this qualifies, but in one of our first shows, Bobby’s character made me get on a donkey. Everything in the show had been leading up to seeing a Donkey Show. I was thinking, “If he makes me fuck a donkey, then it’s on like Donkey Kong.” Thanks Bobby for having my back and taking our donkeys on a sunset ride on the beach.

Vickie: I have had some really funny scenes with Brian where I have gotten all up in his personal space. I also liked when I was Lance’s mom and gave him electro-shock therapy. Bobby and Frances invariably make me play the mom in scenes, which can be best or worst. (Remember our trip to the brothel, Bobby?)

Bobby: I had my improv mom, Vickie, meet my real mom once…it wasn’t awkward until Vickie said “so I took your son to a brothel last week…”. Not a bit.

Lance: There was moment on stage where Bobby and I were father and son and we were working at an Arby’s.  I said something about beating the meat and I could see Bobby almost start to break, at that point I knew it was gonna be a good night.

When people come to an After Midnight show, what are they going to see?

After Midnight

After Midnight

Brian: Honestly, who knows.  Our shows tend to have some dirty subject matter, I feel like Vickie, Kim, and I help to really drive that, maybe unintentionally, but it always happens.  We’re testing out formats, and as of me writing this we haven’t even decided what we’re doing yet, we might just make it up all on the spot.

Frances: A group of people having fun! We like performing with one another and are still learning. I feel like I’m getting up there and laughing along with my troupe and the audience.

Kim: They will see a bunch of grown ups playing on stage. We usually have so much fun, and I’m always proud of my troupe mates when they’re up there.

Vickie: Hopefully a high-energy, totally random, completely inappropriate event that’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Bobby: What Vickie really means is: donkey stuff.

If your troupe entered the Hunger Games, who would win?  Who would die first?

Frances: I think we talked about this over drinks once, but I can’t remember who we decided would win. I’m pretty sure Bobby and Lance decided to form an alliance to kill everyone else. Typical.

Lance: I don’t know, I’d probably try to form an alliance with Vickie.  She always seems to have the skinny on what’s going on in Austin. She’d probably know where all the good knives are buried and which bush is the most flammable.

Brian: I would probably talk a lot of trash and then die about halfway through, but I also haven’t seen the Hunger Games or read the books, so I don’t even know what I’m talking about.

Chelsea: Kady would definitely die first.

Kim: I would win. Because Kim gets Hangry.

Bobby: Guys, I think Chelsea killed Kady!!!

Vickie: Lance is right! I’d put your money on me. I mean, I am the person who sent out pictures of corn dogs and vodka to the entire group. I wouldn’t count Frances out either. She makes a mean cupcake and she will cut a bitch.

After Midnight

After Midnight

Besides After Midnight, who should people check out at ColdTowne Theater?

Brian: I enjoy those Miller and Purselley boys.  I’m also partial since I did graduate from high school with Pierce, and we had a very touching moment in my first improv class that we both forgot we were in class, and it stopped cause he “had to keep keeping class” or whatever.

Kim: Miller and Purselley. Anything with Juliet Prather or Sarah Coker. There are so many people to stalk… I mean watch… on stage from a safe and respectable  distance.

Bobby: The Frank Mills are awesome, Patio Talk is always hilarious, and pretty much anything involving John Ratliff leaves you wanting to become a better improviser; especially Ratliff’s Church of Indeterminate Divinity show every 3rd Sunday of the month at 5:30pm! (shameless plug, anyone??)

Vickie: There is such a variety: Frank Mills, Wink Planet, Glamazon. The jams are always a chaotic mish-mash of awesome. I also like the Triple Threat shows that combine improv, sketch, and standup.

Lance: Oh, Science! on Sundays is great and if you get a chance, catch Dervish!


All photos by Kim Lowery.

You can see After Midnight perform Wednesday, November 5 @ 8:30pm – tickets available now.

Check out the next FREE Improv 101 Class,  the first Monday of every month at 7pm.

Know Your Troupe: Patio Talk

Thursdays in June, PATIO TALK presents BettyFest featuring an all female lineup of talented performers. Each week will showcase a different opening improv troupe and will be hosted by one of Austin’s finest stand up comedians. The first three shows sold out early so be sure to pick up your tickets for the final show on Thursday, June 26. In this edition of Know Your Troupe we sit down with Kasey Borger, Juliet Prather, Chrissy Shackelford, and Amy Wright of Patio Talk. Formed in the winter of 2013, Patio Talk mixes character and relationship work with high energy fast play.

How did you get your start in improv?

Chrissy Shackelford

Chrissy Shackelford

Chrissy: I’ve been performing improv for a little over two years now. I started during my senior year of college on a whim when I decided to take an improv/sketch intensive at The Second City Chicago. I was sitting at Mozart’s coffee shop studying for finals and just wanted some sort of spontaneity in my life, I was an acting focus in the Theatre & Dance department at UT and was feeling a bit jaded with it and wanted to find the joy in why I loved performing and entertaining people again, so I reserved the last spot in an SC winter intensive starting a week later and booked a flight to Chicago. Since then I’ve never stopped.

Kasey Borger

Kasey Borger

Kasey: I’ve been performing improv for a year. I had always wanted to do something with comedy but never really felt like I had a way to do that, other than stand up. Not that stand up isn’t cool, I just don’t have the balls to do it. A friend of mine suggested I do improv and I said “What’s that?” Once I finally signed up and started, I was hooked. In a level two class showcase the instructor said “Your job in this show is to make the other people on stage look like they are the funniest person in the world.” I loved that idea so much and wanted more.

Juliet Prather

Juliet Prather

Juliet: I’ve been doing the improv for about a year and a half. My journey with it started when I saw a show at UCB in New York that made me feel like there were people in this world that thought like me, except funnier and faster. Within probably 30 seconds, I knew I wanted to be a part it. I signed up officially probably 8 months later because improv is really scary. I love it, though, and I’m grateful everyday that we’re together.

Amy Wright

Amy Wright

Amy: I’ve been doing improv for about a year. I was first introduced to it through an acting program I did in Chicago while I was in high school and I totally fell in love. But it also took me a while to sign up, a couple years actually. I was scared and shy and just being a turkey about the whole thing. Then I met Juliet and we became friends and she was so head over heels in love with improv and she basically spent an entire summer convincing me to sign up for classes – I think she might be my Fairy Godmother. I can’t imagine my life without improv and all the people I’ve met through it.

How did Patio Talk come together?

Kasey: Other than Amy and Juliet, we all met at the theater. I think we became involved in projects together, saw each other play, and realized we all had the same very specific type of humor. We just wanted to collaborate and do something fun together and the cagematch is the perfect place for that. We were originally just going to do the cagematch but we had so much fun we wanted to do more! Our name is derived from the format we all came up with together — just a coupla broads talkin’ and drinkin’ on a patio.

Chrissy: I feel like my involvement came from Kasey and I just really wanting to get brunch together.

Juliet: In all honesty I just had a big girl crush on all of them at one point or another and made the decision to pursue. Geez they are all so funny.

Amy: I feel like we all sort of collected each other, like we scouted out the people who we wanted to play with the most.

Was it deliberate to form an all-female troupe?

Kasey: No, it was not deliberate.

Chrissy: We all liked how the others played and valued each others’ talents first. I think it was a secondary coincidental thing that we all happened to be female.

What spurred you all to create BettyFest?

BettyFestKasey: After a CageMatch show where Patio Talk played Control Match, someone approached us and said that the energy in the theater was different that night with all females playing. And it’s true. Not better, just different. We got to thinking about how many nights a week tend to be dominated by all male troupes, and we realized that we wanted to bring that different energy to the theater.

It also spurred from just wanting to showcase the amazing pool of talented women in the community. We talked about our biggest influences, or shows that kind of changed how we saw improv. For a lot of us it was seeing a woman (Erika May McNichol) on stage who didn’t stick to playing traditional female characters but who also didn’t shy away from it if the scene called for that. She just played and was funny and also happened to be female. My classes have been all males except for myself since level two. I ended up playing a lot of feminine characters and kind of felt like, well, this is what I can and should add. But, watching a woman play who played with the boys but didn’t stick out just for being a woman was really inspirational to me. I guess we just wanted a whole night where we could showcase that.

How do you get pumped up for a show?

Chrissy: Our character transformations get pretty rambunctious and then without
fail we end up singing in the lobby or in the parking lot right before we go on.

Kasey: Yes! Character transformation is Patio Talk’s jam. If it weren’t weird do to improv warm ups on stage, I think that would be a highly entertaining thing to watch Patio Talk heighten characters so far and so quickly with only four people. We also just try to connect, talk about our day, and maybe share some funny anecdotes.

Juliet: Same thing as everyone else, as well as just talk with each other.

Amy: Personally, I always try to force us to sing. I don’t know, it just works for me.

Best thing that’s happened during a show? Worst?

Chrissy: Best — one of the most fun moments was probably a series of scenes from one of our earlier shows (might have been our first) that included a family having a terrible Christmas, finding out it was because their father was Santa and then deciding to go and reconcile with their estranged father by having to wait in line and sit on Santa’s lap at the mall just to talk to him. Everyone just had such a well defined character and then all the characters got on the same page to do this thing together but never dropped their character stuff. Worst — most recently, I got gum in my hair during a “Bridgeport Correctional Facility Short Form Impromptu Skit Players” show.

Kasey: Best — realizing during the first Patio Talk show that this is something special. We were a CageMatch troupe who just wanted to do a show together because, why not? After our first show, however, we all couldn’t wait to do it again. I know it’s cheesy but there is almost this magical element when we play together that can’t really be described. It’s incredibly freeing.Worst — I think that every bad moment in improv is self inflicted. Improv lends itself to such a wonderful, supportive community who has your back no matter what. When I feel the worst is when I am being too hard on myself or judging too harshly and thus not being supportive. Improv, above all, is about having fun. It’s the worst when you suck the fun out of it for yourself.

Is there an official troupe drink?

Chrissy: If you asked Juliet she would say a “Martreuse Goose with Raspberry Gin” which is not a real drink. She can’t pronounce Moscow Mule.

Kasey: Long island ice teas!

Juliet: Both of those answers are true!

Favorite band. Bonus points if you name a song.

Chrissy: Bright Eyes. I can name almost all Bright Eyes songs, particularly the I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning album. That was my introduction to Mr. Oberst. My aim screename was WeMustStare326. LAME!

Amy: I have a Neutral Milk Hotel tattoo. My aim screenname was FunkyMonkey3013, which is not a reference to a song at all but is also lame.

Kasey: I like Jenny Lewis, I like Bright Eyes, I like Miley Cyrus, I like almost all Pop Punk, I like musicals– What I’m really saying is: this is TOO HARD. Also my first screen name was akachickenlips. It was a joke my dad made. Comedy runs in my blood.

It there a Patio Talk theme song?

Chrissy: Yes! You may have seen it in our Facebook videos. It goes: Patio, Patio, Patio Talk. P-P-P-Patio Talk, Patio Talk. And it basically just repeats that.

Favorite moment in comedy. Ever?

Chrissy: I have lots of favorites for many different reasons but I’ll boil it down to characters. I love great comedians who are also great actors and just go head first into the premise and their characters. For starters, the Vitameatavegamin Girl bit in I Love Lucy, “The Audition” sketch from Mr. Show, Maya Rudolph’s SNL sketch “Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Laughs,” Gilda Radner’s SNL Judy Miller Talk Show, Andy Daly in anything he does, Nathan Fielder, Tony Hale, the entire cast of Reno 911! Oh man, there’s so much more. I can’t keep going or else I won’t stop.

Amy: I like things that are so bad they’re good. See: The Room, Troll 2, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, and Liz Lemon’s phone sex commercial on 30 Rock. For whatever reason, that really just kills me. I think maybe because its so hard to do on purpose, so you either have to be really dumb or really smart to pull it off? Also you know what, anything on 30 Rock. These are such vague answers and I’m cheating but I don’t care. I’m obsessed with 30 Rock, its all gold. Also Molly Shannon fucking falling on top of those metal fold-up chairs as Mary Catherine Gallagher, oh my god.

Kasey: I guess I love when funny things happen when someone isn’t trying to be funny. I love when anyone breaks on SNL, I love when people use funny voices in real life, and I especially love when someone is genuinely honest about something they shouldn’t be in a reality show.

Juliet: I honestly do not have an answer. I can say though that my favorite performers are those like Will Ferrel and Amy Poehler who mesh great, devoted, character work with a class clown-level of goofiness. They do whatever they can to make sure that the people they’re playing with have fun, and I love to watch that.

Patio Talk the TV show. Discuss.

Kasey: Broad City meets 30 Rock meets Parks and Rec meets SNL meets Law and Order SVU meets Friday Night Lights meets Transformers the TV show meets the “Californians” bit from SNL meets home videos from when we were kids.

Chrissy: …meets Gilmore Girls season 3 meets Ahh! Real Monsters meets Scandal meets Clueless the TV show meets the KXAN News at 9 meets that episode of Friends, “The One Where No One’s Ready” meets Project Runway meets Amazing Race meets The Jamie Kennedy X-periment.

Amy: …meets YouTube videos of people falling down meets Mad Men meets the opening credits to Game of Thrones meets MTV’s Next meets Say Yes to the Dress meets General Hospital.

Kasey: … meets Degrassi.

Juliet: Sounds like a pretty fucking good time to me.

What would you say to someone who has thought about taking classes, but hasn’t pulled the trigger yet?

Kasey: I know everyone says this, but it will change your life. It will humble you, it will teach you to be supportive, it will free you, but most of all, it will be fun.

Chrissy: If you take an improv class you will have more fun. Then you will start asking yourself in all situations, however miniscule or monotonous, how can I have more fun right now? And that is a way more invigorating way to live. And then all of a sudden you love getting your oil changed because you’ve found the fun in sitting in that waiting room with the 3 day old USA Today’s and the vending machine filled with Grape Crush.

Juliet: It’s great and you’re great so just do it already

Amy: You’re wasting time!! Just get drunk and put money down on it so you can’t back out, that worked for me. You’ll only regret that you didn’t do it sooner.

Besides Patio Talk, who should people check out at ColdTowne Theater?

Chrissy: I always, without fail, love watching the CageMatch at 10PM on Wednesdays. I think there is such fun and fearless improv happening every week in that slot. There is better than watching other people love and have fun with each other on stage. That energy is infectious and the Cagematch feels like a high school pep rally but a pep rally that you would actually want to go too. Same with The Graduation shows.

Kasey: Every show, every night. I know this is another question I am cheating on, but there is so much amazing improv going on and you really don’t know when you’re going to catch an amazing new troupe or be inspired by an established one. It’s so essential to watch people who have a better, or even just different, grasp on improv than you.

Amy: The Frank Mills, Saturdays at 10!!!! Also check out the stupid good sketch shows that are happening all the time — Wink Planet shouldn’t be missed, go listen to all the commercials they did for the Got Your Back podcast RIGHT NOW! And Off The Wall is doing two cool shows that I want to see. They did a sketch about Nazi hunters that I saw during The People’s Sketch Show that made me cry.

Juliet: Friday night is always fun. Movie Riot at 7pm is one of the most fun group of players you can get to see, and Bad Boys are always super solid at 8:30. Also, I just saw the Bridgeport show last Saturday and it was amazing. Everyone should see that while they have a chance to (Saturdays in June at 8:30).

Favorite thing about improv?

Chrissy: The human brain is weird. I like hearing how weird we all our when we just let ourselves have fun in the moment.

Kasey: I guess when I think about answering this question, I think about my favorite thing about learning improv. I love the idea of supporting unconditionally. Going out on stage and believing that anything that comes out of anyone’s mouth is correct is so incredibly freeing and fun. You can’t fail when you play with someone who supports unconditionally and especially when you do the same. I also love to see grown adults act like goofballs.

Amy: I like shouting and climbing on top of people and I like when other people shout and climb on top of me — I love giving and also feeling the support that something like that requires.

Juliet: You can’t be good at improv unless you support, listen, and ultimately make other people look good. I love that. It sort of forces you to be a better person.


Be sure to check out BettyFest, Thursday at 8:30pm in June. Come early to enjoy Long Island Iced Teas with headlining troupe Patio Talk, stay late to enjoy cheap beers in the parking lot with headlining troupe Patio Talk.

6/26 Hosted by: Caroline Bassett With: Casscade (Cat Drago, Sarah Marie Curry) – Get Tickets

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The Church of Indeterminate Divinity

As Austin improv’s John Ratliff puts it, he came to Improv through the backdoor as one of the original musical accompanists of Girls Girls Girls. He quickly fell in love with the art form and went all in, dedicating many (if not most) of his waking hours to performing and teaching improv.

John Ratliff is a member of one of the ColdTowne Conservatory’s very first graduating classes and performs regularly with Austin improv mainstays The Glamping Trip, Ratliff and Jackson, and Dervish. He’s perhaps best known as an improv educator, having won an Austin Chronicle critic’s pick for “Best Improv Teacher” as well as several nods from the ColdTowne community for “Best Improv Teacher/Coach.”

Ratliff has coached several improv groups, but he is making his directorial debut on Sunday, April 20th at 7pm with the The Church of Indeterminate Divinity. The show weaves together improv comedy, unconventional theater, and live musical accompaniment in a full-immersion experience unlike anything else. Part tent meeting, part house concert, and part flash mob, it’s church for people who don’t go to church: real as rent and funny as hell.

So why “Church?”

It was an idea that I’d been batting around in my head for a while, but for some reason this time I submitted it. I was literally falling asleep as I wrote the pitch, so my semi-conscious state might have influenced both the description and the decision to hit Send. When the schedule came out I was like, “Oh, shit, now I have to actually do this.”

How is this show going to be different from your typical improv experience?

That’s going to change over the course of the run; it’s definitely a work in progress. The first show is kind of an exoskeleton that the show will eventually burst and shatter once it develops its own muscles.

But I think even the first show will distinguish itself from typical improv by the fact that it expresses a point of view. I was trying to convey the philosophy of the show to the cast, and Kasey Borger finally said, “So it’s basically the Church of Improv,” which sums it up perfectly. There are parts of it that are sincere, which I know will send some people out the door like kerosened cats, but it’s a great cast so at its core it’s still a very funny improv show.

And of course it has music, which will become a much bigger part of it the longer we do it. If we were to get picked up for a longer run, my ultimate goal would be to assemble a group of killer musicians who can improvise along with the players, something like Todd Stashwick’s Mayfly shows, or if Array had worked with a live band, and then let that organic stuff flow in and out of the scenes and set pieces. I only had about a month to throw the first show together, so the music is still pretty basic and more separated from the rest of the show. So far it’s mostly just Justin Soileau and Ian Townsend and me ploinking around under the singing. But at least we’ve got that piece in place.

The whole thing will continue to evolve, and probably not at all like I think it will.

Where did the seeds of this idea come from?

Oh, man, so many places. Growing up, I was always completely opposed to organized religion. Then I started going to AA, and I was like, “Oh, so this is why people go to church.” The value of it wasn’t really in whether your beliefs match up with the other people’s, because in AA they emphatically do not. But there are important, practical things that happen in these communal spaces that have nothing to do with dogma or belief. And fun things. I once interviewed a duelling-piano-bar pianist who pointed out that piano bars and church are the only places where complete strangers sing together.

So to me the parallels to improv are glaringly obvious. It’s a situation where you have to let go of your ego to become part of something much bigger than yourself — but the reward is that you’re completely supported by everyone around you, so you know you can be more open and vulnerable than you could be out in the world, because no matter what happens, you’ll be taken care of. And if enough people do that together, you can create something that couldn’t possibly have existed outside of this space.

(But remember, everybody, this show is REALLY FUNNY.)

What continues to excite you about improv?

Seeing all these incredibly talented people who keep showing up at our theater. I can sometimes go to pretty dark places agonizing about my own improv and how I’m never gonna be as good as I want to be, but one great thing about getting older is that I can finally take unrestrained pleasure in other people being awesome without comparing myself to them. It’s not a zero-sum game. I went to see the CageMatch last night (Patio Talk vs. Control Match) and I was pretty much giddy with delight for the entire show, whereas when I was younger my one thought would have been “Shit, I’m never gonna be that good.”

But as I mentioned to Jericho after the last student auditions, I’m really glad I’m already grandfathered in.

I also think we’re just now starting to scratch the surface of what improv can do. I feel like someone in 1962 who loves rock music and who can’t possibly know about The Velvet Underground or My Bloody Valentine or PJ Harvey but who senses that amazing things are possible that nobody’s gotten to yet.

As a director, what do you look for when you’re casting someone in a show like this?

Because I didn’t have time for auditions, I wanted people that I knew could play together, so I basically approached Collective Alibi and asked if any of them wanted to do it, because I knew that any possible combination of that group would be great together. Some of them couldn’t do it, but some of them (at press time: Kasey Borger, Jake Millward, Steve Moore, Ian Townsend, Javier Ungo, and Amy Wright) are going to be with the show at various points during this four-month run, and our assistant director Chrissy Shackelford will also be playing.

But we’re going to be adding to the cast, so in answer to your question: I’m looking for improvisers who are willing to put the same amount of work into an improv show that you’d put into professional scripted theater, who can play emotionally believable scenes, and who are open to exploring less conventional stuff like organic work and abstract physicality. And who love improv so much that they love working hard to get better at it. I’ve pretty much had it with improvisers who don’t want to do anything they’re not already good at.

There, that should eliminate just about everybody. Whoever’s left, get in touch with me.

The impression I get is that you’re very passionate about teaching? What drew you to being an improv teacher?

I come from a long line of teachers and preachers, so it’s not surprising that I’d wind up doing one or the other (or now both, I guess). Before I discovered improv I went through yoga teacher training, so apparently some part of me desperately wanted to tell other people how to do things I couldn’t really do myself.

Not to be fucking pious about it, but I feel like teaching is currently the best way I can serve the art of improv. I’m always trying to be a better player, and if the Devil offered me infinite performance ability in exchange for all my teaching ability, I can’t say I wouldn’t be tempted, but teaching is something I can contribute that seems to be useful to people, and that’s a privilege, really.

I know I get too wrapped up in it sometimes. When I feel like I did a bad job teaching or coaching it pretty much destroys me for the rest of the night.

But to tie all this together (and give you one more answer to an earlier question): I was teaching a class at another theater once and we were doing a bunch of organic stuff and this one student absolutely refused to participate. Worse, she wanted to argue about it. So after class we were talking and I was telling her that she had to commit even though it was uncomfortable, and she kept arguing, and I kept insisting, and finally she asked, “What do you care what I do in class?” and I just reared back and bellowed, “BECAUSE THIS IS MY CHURCH, AND YOU’RE SHITTING IN IT!”

7pm the third Sunday of every month, everybody! Pay what you want! And it’ll be funny, I promise!

Announcing the ColdTowne ShowDowne: A Tri-State Improv Tournament

ColdTowne ShowDowneOver one historic weekend, eight improv teams from three different states will descend on Austin, Texas to battle for a cash prize and the rights to call themselves Best in the Southwest. It’s like Mortal Kombat, but more intentionally funny.

We’re excited to present the ColdTowne ShowDowne: A Tri-State Improv Tournament taking place Friday February 28th and Saturday March 1st.

The First Annual ColdTowne ShowDowne will pit improv teams from Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Austin against each other in a cagematch tournament to earn the title of Best in the Southwest.

Each city will send two representative teams to ColdTowne. Over the course of two nights and eight shows, a winner will be determined based on audience and judges’ voting. The winning troupe will receive bragging rights, a one-of-a-kind framed champion poster, and a cash prize provided by ColdTowne Theater.

“I have always wanted to put together a cagematch tournament that was larger than a single improv scene,” said Cody Dearing, ColdTowne Theater’s Artistic Director. “I have been working with directors from other theaters for several months now to organize tournaments in their home cities to quality two entrants to travel to Austin for the finals. We have some of the best improv teams from surrounding states coming to compete for the title of Best in the Southwest.”

BYOB

Tickets are $7 online or $10 at the door. Seating is very limited.

SCHEDULE
Friday – February 28th
8pm   (BUY TICKETS) – Nice Astronaut (AUS) vs Joey Fatone (DAL)
9pm   (BUY TICKETS) – You, Me, & Michael (PHX) vs Skutch (AUS)
10pm (BUY TICKETS) – Adult Bakery (PHX) vs Petty Zoo (DAL)
11pm (BUY TICKETS) – Ctrl+Alt+Dlt (AUS) vs The Academy (AUS)

Saturday – March 1st
8pm   (BUY TICKETS) – Winner Fri 8pm vs Winner Fri 9pm
9pm   (BUY TICKETS) – Winner Fri 10pm vs Winner Fri 11pm
10pm (BUY TICKETS) – Back From The Dead Round (6 groups that have been eliminated)
11pm (BUY TICKETS) – Finalist 1 vs Finalist 2 vs Back From The Dead Winner

Back to School Improv with Bad Boys and the Ladies

Lace up your Reebok Pumps, stuff your Lisa Frank notebook into your Trapper Keeper, and hold onto your butts because ColdTowne is taking you back to school.

Each Friday in September, Bad Boys will be welcoming special guests The Ladies to celebrate the beginning of another school year. Why? Because the childrens is our future.

Each show will begin with improv sets from both Bad Boys and The Ladies. They will then combine forces to perform comedic scenes based off their true childhood stories.

Hear tales of youthful indiscretion (like when one young Lady nearly found herself ejected from Disney World) and embarrassment (like when one young Bad Boy asked “What is the hymen?” on national television), and watch a cast of some of Austin’s finest improvisers bring those tales to life.

Shows are each Friday at 8:30 pm in September. BYOB but Mom’s bringing complimentary Gushers (for real). Tickets are $7 or $5 with any student ID.

Like Bad Boys and The Ladies on Facebook for exclusive discount codes.

Pre-order tickets:
Sept. 6
Sept. 13
Sept. 20
Sept. 27

 

Bad Boys have garnered acclaim as one of the best improv ensembles working in Austin. They perform with a style that is both fierce and highly intelligent, like velociraptors. Playing to sold out houses across the city, they’ve inspired audiences to rave “everyone in the ‘Bad Boys’ troupe wears glasses. They were also hilarious,” and “I mean, they’re weird, sure, but it’s funny.” They recently received a nomination for a B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Work in Improvisational Theater as well as the judges’ prize from NYCs Iron Mule Short Comedy Screening Series for their video sketch, The Prostitute.

Formed in late 2011 as an avenue for all-female physical comedy, The Ladies were voted Best New Troupe at ColdTowne in 2012. They have competed in numerous Austin-area cagematches and showdowns, as they refuse to back down from a challenge. The Ladies are known for wearing pearls at every performance, creating memorable absurd characters, and showing off their stage combat training.

Fall Cage Match Schedule Announced!

Once a week, ColdTowne throws two teams of comic gladiators into the pit and gives each of them exactly 20 minutes to claw their way into your heart. Desperation never smelled so sweet.

This is the improv show where your vote counts. For only five bucks, you can come make life-or-death rulings on the future of these doughty warriors! You’ll be drunk with power, and you know you like that.

The Cagematch has returned to its tournaments structure: Eight teams, seven weeks, and, as always, one winner! This fall’s tournament is called Pretty Pretty Ponies of Death, cause why not? Keep reading for the schedule! Continue Reading

Bad Boys Present: Sin

Thursdays at 8:30pm in August, join Bad Boys as they mine sin for all of the laughs it can yield.  What causes people to commit adultery? Overeat? Cut you off in traffic when you’re late to a movie? Bad Boys will get to the root of these daily transgressions and then blow them out of proportion to discover the laughter in what truly causes people to be awful to each other. You’ll wish all comedy could be this divine.

Continue Reading