Missed Connections ATX: Mining Local Personal Ads for Comedy Gold

Have you pondered the existence of love at first sight? Are you hoping to meet-cute the partner of your dreams? Do you still consider yourself a hopeless romantic in an age of dating apps and matchmaking sites? If your answer to any of these questions is remotely close to “maybe,” then Missed Connections ATX opening February 3rd at ColdTowne is a must-see.

Back following a sold-out run of shows in 2017 (including during Out of Bounds Comedy Festival), the show features Austin improvisors Nathan Sowell, Ronnita Miller (Damn Gina), Sanjay Rao (Midnight Society), Shane Gannaway, Kelly Campbell, and Tyler Groce. The fully improvised show also adds the talents of Allison Webber, Katie Stone (Naughty Bits), Frank Sanchez, and Dave Buckman (The Frank Mills) to the cast.

While the show itself is entirely improvised, the cast draws inspiration from missed connections ads posted on the websiteCraigslist.com. “Missed Connections ATX takes the lost opportunities of fellow Austinites and allows us to have fun with the looming conclusion that we’ll all be alone forever,” said veteran cast member, Tyler Groce.

The audience will hear personal ads read aloud for the first time along with the cast, adding an exciting element of discovery. “You very much see Austin keeping it weird,” cast member Kelly Campbell said in regard to the ads used in last year’s shows and in rehearsal.

From the Puritanically tame to lewd, crude, and naughty, Missed Connections ATX is guaranteed to feature pieces that run the gamut of lovesick, anonymous personal ads. “When you get an ad that starts off with ‘man for woman at junkyard,’ that’s when you know you’ve struck gold!” Groce said.

“The show is, in a way, its own lovingly crafted ad to the city of its inspiration,” said cast member Shane Ganaway. “Audiences will delight in the uniquely Austin voice a lot of these missed connections carry.”

The show lovingly pokes fun at the lengths we’ll go to find love or affection without being cruel or disparaging toward the post authors. “We take these missed connections as an opportunity to connect,” explained Groce. He went on to add that, of course, “we have a little fun along the way.”

Opening February 3rd at 8:30pm, the show runs every Saturday through March 24th, with a special Valentine’s Day show on Wednesday, February 14th. Filled with music and mayhem, Missed Connections ATX is a not a show you want to ghost. And if last year’s run is any indication, buy your tickets ahead of time before they sell out. Who knows? You just might make your own missed connection at Missed Connections ATX.

Get tickets in advance: bit.ly/2n5K9Bt

Contest4Improv4Humans takes over ColdTowne ThrowDowne

Contest4Improv4Humans is back at ColdTowne this year starting this week. After last year when we sent our Beloved Victrola! to the national finals, we’re excited to have an amazing lineup of performers competing against 15+ other theaters around the country. 

We heard from two of the competition’s contestants who you can happen to find on the ColdTowne stage on the reg.

Ronnie Miller of Missed Connections ATX (Feb. 2018): Contest4Improv4Humans allowed me to play out my fantasies of sitting at a table with a microphone pointed at my face in the safety and comfort of my home theater. I used to listen to podcasts and think, “Hey I can do that!” Now I don’t listen to podcasts but I totally did one with some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life! Top that.

Danielle Gonzalez of Midnight Society and Say Uncle: I remember listening to Matt Besser’s contest announcement on his podcast – he specifically told theaters he didn’t want students or novices playing in this competition. When Say Uncle was accepted, a novice student group, I felt like it reflected so much on the theater’s values. We were given an opportunity despite our lack of experience and it led to the creation of my favorite troupe. My entire experience with the contest reminded me of ColdTowne’s commitment to supporting all improvisors. It was also just, ~super fun~.

Contest4improv4humans is a nationwide improv competition that will take place at participating comedy theaters across the US and ColdTowne Theater has, once again, been selected as the regional representative for Austin, Texas. contest4improv4humans runs Wednesdays, January 17 through February 7 at 8:30pm at ColdTowne Theater (4803 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751).

Starting January 17, ColdTowne Theater will be holding qualifying rounds for teams to do their best set in the style of Matt Besser’s (Upright Citizens Brigade) podcast improv4humans. In front of a live audience, teams of up to 4 improvisers will do their best 20-minute set in the style of improv4humans, using one-word suggestions from the audience to inspire scenes.

The best 3 teams will be selected, by a panel of judges, and return to have a final performance (judged by the audience and a panel of judges) on February 7 to determine the ultimate winner from the Austin community. The winners will represent Austin in a final, nationwide round (to be judged by the improv4humans staff) – and one winning team will be flown to New York City to perform with Matt Besser at the 20th annual Del Close Marathon.

Matt Besser is one of the founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and is one of the foremost improvisers in the word. He is one of the authors of the UCB Comedy Improv Manual (Buy it at the UCB Store or Amazon) and host of the Improv4Humans podcast that has featured the likes of Jason Mantzoukas, Andy Daly, Zeke Nicholson, D’Arcy Carden, Colton Dunn, Lauren Lapkus and Mary Holland. You can subscribe and listen to Improv4Humans on Earwolf, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts  or where ever you get your podcasts!


Schedule – Preliminary Round – January 17th


Victrola!, Loverboy and Perenium compete in the first round of Contest4Improv4Humans at ColdTowne Theater on Jan. 17


  • Cortnie Jones
  • Lance Gilstrap
  • Bryan Roberts
  • Molly Moore


  • Dylan Garsee
  • Cambria Sobolewski
  • Ronnie Miller
  • Brian May


  • Laura de la Fuente
  • Maria Pond
  • Kim Lowery
  • Taylor Stewart

Preliminary Round – January 24th



  • Chelsea Bunn
  • Patrick Creamer
  • Alex Walker
  • Quinn Buckner

Dark Caves

  • Molly Moore
  • Carlos LaRotta
  • Mia Iseman
  • Lance Gilstrap


  • Devon Coleman
  • Erica Lies
  • Chris McKeever
  • Kyle Romero

Preliminary Round – January 31st



  • Javier Ungo
  • Jake Milward
  • Jared Robertson
  • Sanjay Rao


  • Emma Holder
  • Kyle Romero
  • Kristen Samuelsen
  • Will Sitters

Honey Mustard

  • Linzy Beltran
  • James Fernandez
  • Stephanie Ard
  • Laura de la Fuente

Finals – February 7th


For more information contact coldtowne@coldtownetheater.com or (512) 814-8696. Tickets and more details at www.coldtownetheater.com.

The (Just For) Tonight Show! Turns Two!

The (Just For) Tonight Show! is a completely improvised late night talk show based on audience suggestions that features a rotating cast of Austin’s best sketch and improv actors bringing to life guests such as Cul-de-sac Donna, Larry Jenkins (Full-time mortician / part-time magician) and Donald Trump’s best friend “Ronald Grump”. With past special guests that include James Adomian from Comedy Bang Bang and Katie Rich of SNL, The (Just For) Tonight Show has showcased some of the most memorable moments on the ColdTowne stage from the last two years.

The (Just For) Tonight Show! 2 Year Anniversary Show is on December 30th and features a cavalcade of special guests, including performances by Allison Webster, Brian May, Carlos LaRotta, Chloe Ingram, Chris McKeever, Christian Payne, Christina Parrish, Conor Sullivan, Dalton C Allen, Danielle Gonzalez, Devon Coleman, Dylan Garsee, Griffin May, Jericho Thorp, Jonah Yohana, Josephh Stahlman, Katie Kohler, Katie Moore, Katie Stone, Kyle Romero, Lane Ingram, Mac Blake, Maria Pond, Mason Pitluk, Matt Needles, Michael Jastroch, Michael Perkins, Nathan Sowell, Nicole Russell, Peter Parsons, Will Cleveland, Yamina Khouane, and Yola Lu. GET TICKETS HERE!

We spoke to Austin Sketch Fest Producer AJ McKeon about his journey to Austin and 2 Years of the (Just For) Tonight Show!

You moved here not THAT long ago, relatively speaking. What brought you to Austin in general and ColdTowne specifically? What were you thinking? I moved to Austin with my then fiancé now wife for work. She got a job down here, and I had never lived anywhere but NYC. I figured it was time for a change and to take a chance and it has really been one of the best experiences of my life. Before moving one of my main concerns was what the comedy scene was like. With the UCB in New York, the opportunities were endless there, but the scene here is even better. I looked at all the theater options to see what their “Improv Philosophies” were, and ColdTowne’s aligned the closest with UCB, so that is where I checked out first. I went to a few shows and auditions and got put in a show and it really took off from there. I owe a lot to Will Cleveland (the Sidekick on The (Just For) Tonight Show! and fellow UCBNY alum) for reaching out and pulling me in to the community.

There’s suddenly a lot of UCB ex-pats floating around ColdTowne. What are the differences in the scenes? NY is soooooooo big, but the concentration is around mainly the UCB. Down here, we are also big, with 5 theaters, but there are specific camps. You can kind of pick a lane and do whatever you really want. The coolest thing about CT vs UCB is if you want to put a show up, just submit it and if it’s cool you’ll get a slot.

Two years of the Just for Tonight Show, huh? What was the genesis of the show? I am a huge fan of The Chris Gethard Show from it’s days on NYC public access. Each year on the show, they would do an episode called the Crowd Sourced Character Contest where fans would submit names of a character and nothing else. Then, performers would have to do them on the show. I’m also a big fan of Comedy Bang Bang, where extremely talented performers come in as characters, and the host Scott Aukerman has to deal with them and be the perfect straight man. I loved Conan growing up and am a fan of how weird Late Night would get at times. Specifically, the Brian Stacks bits on the show were the inspiration for the interruption section of The (Just For) Tonight Show!.

How has the show evolved or changed over the last two years? We originally started more along the lines of the crowd sourced character contest where the audience would submit characters they wanted to see and then at random I would call them out and perfumers would come on and be them. We switched over to performers coming in with characters they wanted to play, so there was more ownership and we could get to a game faster. Will and I still have no idea what the character are going to be other than their names, and maybe occupation so we are still able to find things to explore and play with as they come up. We also for a time had improvised musical guests but have moved away from that since it’s a really unique skill.

Any memorable moments or stories? There are a bunch that stick out to me. This show has given me the chance to perform with some of my idols, James Adomian and Katie Rich just to name a few, not to mention so many talented people in Austin. Other highlights: Ryan Darbonne playing the Rock but not knowing anything about the Rock’s wrestling career. Jared Robertson playing Joe Pesci as a musical guest preforming a song titled “Butt stuff” that lead to multiple people walking out. In our very first show Conor Sullivan came in with panty hose over his face and a gun, so that was a great way to kick off the run.
Really anything that Will Cleveland would interject with, he is the perfect sidekick / co-host and I love him dearly. Chrissy and Carlos’ Universal Studio Employees who worked on the Jurassic Park ride but knew nothing about any other movies and just loved fidget spinners was so fun. Having a full band for our festival shows with Jonah Yohana, Stephanie Thoreson, Jared Robertson and Chris McKeever there is always awesome!

And then of course Ray Jay McKeon. Ray Jay was a character that Michael Perkins did on a show at ColdTowne and he brought the house down! It is one of the funniest performances I have ever been a part of and then we brought him back a few more time including our show at OOB last year with James Adomian and he killed it again. He brought me a birthday cake (it wasn’t by birthday) with the number 69 on it for no reason. Michael Perkins is the best!

What are you looking forward to – creatively speaking – in 2018? Creatively, the biggest thing I am looking forward to in 2018 is creating a baby, due February 6th, but I am also going to try and figure out what the next iteration of The (Just For) Tonight Show! is as I shift my focus to fatherhood and see if we can keep the show going in some way shape or form!

Girls Girls Girls Holiday Spectacular!

Girls Girls Girls celebrates 15 years as an improv troupe this year and is performing their last show of 2017 5:00PM Saturday, December 9 at Coldtowne. Bring your funny holiday story and laugh along as GGG turns it into a mini-musical! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE.

Beginning as Austin’s only all-female improv group, GGG soon added improvised singing and dancing to become Austin’s only musical improv troupe. From there, they started Ladies Are Funny Festival in 2007, the first comedy festival in Austin featuring only female comics and performers.

In many ways, GGG paved the way for all the talented, all-female groups, musical improv groups, and women thriving in the Austin Comedy scene.

“Being an all-girl group used to be quite the novelty act. No longer! Now there’s a ton of all-female groups all over Austin. I like to think we had something to do with that,” says founding troupe member Shana Merlin.

“It’s like Survivor. GGG has outlasted so many tests and treacheries of life to stay together continuously. It helps that we rehearse weekly and have seen each other through marriages, divorces, online dating, health scares, and the births of 6 babies during our time together. We aren’t just performers anymore. We are a tight-knit sisterhood with all that comes with that,” says troupe member Cynthia Oelkers.

“We do it because we love stepping outside of our daily lives and just PLAYING. And it wouldn’t work if we didn’t support the hell out of each other. One performance note we often get is about how well we support each other on stage. It’s because we support each other like that in real life. We babysit for each other, listen when someone is struggling, call to check in, and drop off groceries if needed. We call each other out and hold high expectations of ourselves and our troupe mates. We expect everyone to bring themselves fully to the process, do their troupe jobs, and show up every week. We also respect each other’s limits. Sometimes you can’t make rehearsal because you were up until 2 am with a sick baby or you have a huge project at work or your in-laws are in town. We have a running phrase: ‘I’ll allow it.’ We each have blanket permission from the group to do what we need to do to make it work,” says Amy Averett.

GGG has performed in many theaters around Austin: Salvage Vanguard (rest in peace), The City Theatre, State Theater, The Paramount, Dougherty Arts, The Hideout, The Institution, The Spiderhouse Ballroom, The New Movement, ColdTowne, and ZACH, among others.

“We have loved working with so many iconic Austin theaters – headlining at cozy improv theaters, performing between runs at the City Theatre, and singing at the historic State Theater with the Out of Bounds Festival,” says Sarah Doering.

Girls Girls Girls Improvised Musicals has been an artistic collective since September 2002. They have performed in festivals in New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, Honolulu, Atlanta, Dallas and, of course, our home of Austin, Texas. GGG is the 2012 recipient of the B. Iden Payne “Excellence in Improvisational Theater” award.

Austinites Receive Gift of Improv Class. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next…

There’s just under one week left to take advantage of ColdTowne Theater’s annual holiday sale (aka the Holiday Class Pass!). $99 buys you or your loved one an eight week improv experience (over 50% off), along with a tee shirt and a printable gift certificate to stick under the tree, along with the knowledge that you didn’t phone in your gift this year!

Check out what some of our students have to say about their level 1 improv experiences!

Purchase the pass!


“A little over a year ago, I was hanging with a new friend who happened to be an improviser. She insisted that I’d like improv and should take classes. A few days later, she texted me the link to the baller $99 holiday special.Santa/my mom gives me a $100 limit for Christmas presents these days, so I swiftly forwarded said link to The North Pole.

Cut to today as I’m writing this during my Sunday night intern shift at the Coldtowne box office. I’m currently in my second level of classes, my level two showcase is in two days, and I’m pumped to start level 3 in January.

If you’re considering taking classes, do it. Really. I find myself feeling more focused, challenged, and present than really any other activity I’ve tried recently. Well, maybe spin class, but I know better than to try to convince a bunch of strangers to start spinning. So try it out! Buy one for a friend! And if they/you don’t dig it, you can get your money back in approximately 48 business hours.”

-Caitlin Gorman, Level 2

“I received the Holiday Pass as a Christmas gift last year from my girlfriend. I always talked about taking improv classes but never committed, and this gift was the kickstart I needed. It was terrifying at first, but as I grew trust in the process and trust everyone in class, that terrifying feeling was quickly squashed by an overwhelming feeling of love.

One class in particular sticks with me. I was having an anxiety spell and almost walked out of class. I just reminded myself to trust what was going on and to calm down. I ended up not leaving class and having a great day in class. Haven’t missed a class yet!

I am currently in Level 4 and my class consists of the same great group of people I started this journey with. We are not performing outside of the class shows, but we have started the process of getting more involved with getting stage time.

If there is one thing I can take away from all of this, it’s that the ColdTowne community is so welcoming. I currently intern at the theater and I’ve met so many awesome people in the process.”

– Joseph Juarez, Level 4

“At the time I got the holiday pass, I was getting a bit bored and wanted to take up a new hobby. I had taken a few classes and felt bored with them, and then my friend suggested improv. He took it up at Dallas Comedy House and loved it. So I started looking into classes here.

My experience in level one was amazing. It felt weird at first, but it was structured in a way that it eases you into being comfortable. I felt a good and safe connection with my class instantly (which basically went on to be the Loverboy we all know and love). To me, being in this class started to help me realize what I was really missing out on in my life, and why I had been getting bored. This class made me realize oh god I miss doing creative things.

I am still performing, and now I have a few troupes that play regularly and a sketch show that has a monthly slot. What I got out of the experience is more than I ever could have imagined. I was rock climbing for a few months and thought, “Oh, this community is friendly and supportive.” But the improv community is 20x as supportive. I’ve made hundreds of new friends, and I’ve laughed harder than I thought was possible.

Taking the class has literally changed my life, and I can not recommend it more. The $99 deal is way too good to not try. Sure improv isn’t for everybody, but when it sinks in oooo baby does it feel good.”

– Brian May, Graduate