After Wednesday favorites Patio Talk moved to NYC to further their comedy careers in 2014, audiences wondered: who will move into the Wednesday night slot? Who could deliver that much energy, talent and delight week after week? Given the long shadow and packed houses that Patio Talk had built over the course of their residency, the expectations were sky high.
Enter Loverboy, a troupe of six graduates from ColdTowne (Cené Hale, Kim Lowery, Maria Pond, Chelsea Bunn, Stephanie Thoreson and Taylor Stewart). Deftly taking the baton from Patio Talk, they’ve proven their mettle week after week, with hilarious shows centered around the dating stories of a guest monologist. Beginning in January 2017, they will move to Friday nights at 8:30pm, taking over from the beloved and critically acclaimed Bad Boys.
We chatted Loverboy up over the internets about their origin story (hint: there was no nuclear accident), favorite show moments and what comes next.
How did Loverboy form?
Original cast of Loverboy (from left Cené, Kim, Stephanie, Taylor, Maria and Chelsea)
I formed Loverboy because nobody had asked me to be in a troupe yet and the people had had the most fun with in class just happened to be ladies! – TS
I’m actually not an original member. I had been asked by Taylor if I was interested in being in a troupe that she was forming but I was so green and shy and intimidated, I didn’t even get back to her at the time. Then I sat in with them on maybe their second or third show and afterwards all I could think was, “Please ask me to join, please ask me to join, please ask me to join”, and luckily, they did. It was love at first show for me. -ST
Where is the name from?
I came up with the name Loverboy because it seemed to fit in with our format (dating and relationship stories) and I liked the nod to the 80s Canadian rock band. I think both groups are lovably dorky but still really fun and good at what they do! – TS
How did you come up with your form? How would you describe it?
Loverboy performs at Out of Bounds in the State Theater, 2016.
The format is our variation on “The Armando.” We discovered through rehearsals that we like a rapid-fire pace and we’ve tried to play to that strength. Our format starts with short “vignettes” after each story, then we revisit the scenes/ideas that we liked the most, and end our show with a fast-paced, no-holds-barred run-out. -CB
I wanted the hook of hearing a different monologist’s story every week. It brings a new energy to every single show, which keeps things fresh for us and for the audience. We refined our version of The Armando over time. Several quick, unrelated 3-5 line scenes, followed by longer scenes and a second story. The last half of the show takes inspiration from the new story as well as everything that has happened since the show began, increasing the speed and blending worlds, revisiting characters, playing those games hard and looking for that killer “blackout joke”. – TS
What are some memorable show moments?
People have shared some amazing stories with us. One of my favorites was a guy who was asked to impregnate his date– it was their first date. He escaped by crawling out of the restaurant’s bathroom window. It was just like a sitcom! I’ve also enjoyed learning more about ethical polyamory, pansexuality, asexuality and other lifestyles. Love is love! -CB
We’ve had the full spectrum of memorable stories, from touching, to heartbreaking, to oh-my-god-I-can’t-breathe-because-I’m-laughing-so-hard. My favorite was when our long-time teacher and ColdTowne Theater co-owner Dave Buckman told stories from his time at BOOM Chicago in Amsterdam for our 4/20 performance. In Amsterdam he directed some now-famous comedians like Seth Meyers and Jordan Peele and he showed the audience a slideshow of photos from that time. It’s extra special now because orginal Loverboy cast member Cene Hale is now performing with BOOM Chicago. Full circle! – TS
My most memorable Loverboy moments usually happen before the show. Like when we had a sing off which ended in Cené down on one knee proposing to Maria, or the first time we performed together, we promised we wouldn’t let anyone “cook” onstage. I didn’t know what that meant in improv terms, and I thought, “Oh cool, yeah. Cause we’re women… so we don’t want to do a bunch of stereotypical cooking scenes…..” They corrected me. – KL
Many of my favorite show memories are more visceral, like the memory of the way a moment on stage made me feel as opposed to the actual specifics of said moment. For example, there was this one time Taylor and I came out on stage together and it was clear neither of us had an initiation so we just mirrored each other acting like wrestlers and found the game organically, together. I can’t remember what in the world the scene evolved into, but I remember feeling so connected to her. I was buzzing. Because when you’re really in the moment with someone(s) and it’s working, it feels like magic. -ST
It’s hard to think of one moment, but I enjoy most when we make each other laugh. – MP
If you could have one local celebrity as a monologist, who would it be?
Wendy Davis. -CB
Elijah Wood, but I want the DJ version. – TS
Wendy Davis. (Amy Poehler would be my ultimate choice if we expand beyond local, and I hear she likes Austin!) – KL
Loverboy with monologist Kyle Houston Moore.
Joss Whedon! “Shocking.” – said no one ever. -ST
Is it cliché to say Matthew McConaughey? – MP
You guys have this incredible playful energy. Where do you think that comes from?
We’re friends IRL and I think that plays into it a lot. Also, we know how to make each other laugh and we don’t hold back! -CB
Yes, we’re definitely real life BFFs! To get us going, we start our pre-show warm ups with a high energy check in, and we try to keep that up throughout the show. Truth be told, sometimes those warm ups are even more special to me than the show itself! – KL
Our sincere love for each other. And yes, we work hard to check in with one another. – MP
Tell us about the tattoos.
Some of us had been considering a Loverboy tattoo for a while, and when we were in NYC for the Del Close Marathon, Stephanie drew up a concept that represents what we chant each week before our shows, “Less Fear, More Love”. This sincerely stands for what I’ve learned from working with these women, and it has changed my life in incredible ways. – KL
I took this workshop with the amazing Rachel Madorsky called “Let the Love In” and the underlying theme boiled down to less fear, more love (also that improv will certainly make you cry and feel feelings and examine your existential thoughts on existence and humanism, like a lot, but anyways, haha).This idea really struck a chord with me. It was such a succinct way to think about being in the moment on stage with yourself and other people that you care for and trust. It’s also just a great way to think about being, like in the world, period. Eventually it became our mantra. Less fear! More love! -ST
Give us a sneak peek of Fridays in 2017. What should an audience expect? Why would they come?
Our fast-paced improv show will continue to be inspired by your love stories, but expect to see some changes to our programming (and lineup) in the next year… -CB
There’s obviously no replacing Cene. But, who is replacing Cene?
We agree that Cene is irreplaceable, which is why we aren’t replacing her. If and when we add new member(s), they will be asked based on their skills and talents. -CB
Psh, she’s easily replaced. I mean all we gotta do is find somebody who is as amazing, talented, funny, smart, kind, caring, sings like an angel….wait…hold on, I’m crying… – TS
Wait, Cené is just on vacation right. She’s coming back right?!? -KL
I’ll be the one in the corner, weeping. Please excuse. -ST
I don’t get it. Cené said she was going to the store to grab milk. – MP
It’s a tongue, duh.
Your logo: Is it a tongue or a wang?
NOT A WANG!!! We worked with a female artist who helped us establish our logo/brand. We were drawn to lips because they are playful, feminine, and play to the fact that people are telling stories. Plus they’re sexy. (There, I said it.) -CB
I sort of love that people think it’s a wang. I never saw it that way until someone was asked to take our poster down at work because it was inappropriate. – KL
Ew. – MP
What troupes or players are coming up that you are fans of?
Lady Parts, for sure. I’ve also really enjoyed the QueerTowne jam– lots of talent within that community! I think I speak for all of us when I say that we adore Kenah Benefield, who is a wonderful performer AND we are #blessed to have him running our tech every week. KENAH IF YOU’RE READING THIS, NEVER LEAVE US! -CB
Basketball Dog is so dang funny. – TS
Lady Parts on and off stage all the way! I’m a huge fan of Will Dwyer’s and Michael Perkins’ writing and improv, and even though they’re not exactly “coming up”, I’m a nut for Damn Gina.-KL
Yes! Agreed on all accounts! We’re gonna need a deeper bench! -ST