Classic TV Meets Classic DC

This November, Austin’s home for improv and sketch comedy ColdTowne Theater is excited to present Barney Miller Dark Knight – a theatrical event that is exactly what it sounds like. Part classic ‘70s sitcom and part gritty DC Comic, Barney Miller Dark Knight threads storylines from the caped crusader and the 12th Precinct.

Barney Miller Dark Knight was conceived of and created by ColdTowne Theater’s Executive Producer Dave Buckman. We spoke with Dave about his inspiration, classic sitcoms of the 70s and his plans for the midterm elections.

Barney Miller Dark Knight runs Saturdays at 7pm at ColdTowne Theater.

What was the inspiration to mix Barney Miller with the world of Batman?
I had to look and search in my email to see when the first time “Barney Miller” came back into my consciousness. It was December 2011. I wrote my step-brother-in-law an email thanking him for a Secret Santa gift. I casually mentioned “I am working on writing a stage show that is a Dark Knight version of Barney Miller.” Three weeks later I ordered Season 3 off o Amazon in hopes finding what the internet told me was the best episode of the series, S3E6: “Werewolf”. I couldn’t tell you how that combination jumped into my mind, but it’s been there for six years. And then one night in 2015, I ran into Leng Wong at SpiderHouse. It was night time, but she was wearing aviator sunglasses and wearing a maroon leather jacket. I thought to myself, “Holy shit! That’s [Jack Soo’s character] Nick Yemana… right there in front of me.” I went home and finished the first draft that weekend and started the process anew, adding a few more storylines, exchanges and jokes from other episodes. We’ve been improvising on top of that script, sprinkling in Batman and Gotham references ever since.

What’s the attraction to classic sitcoms?
I have always loved sitcoms. Another dream show of mine is putting up staged versions of the classic ABC line up: Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Three’s Company using the same reparatory cast for all three shows. Like someone would play Fonzie, Squiggy and Mr. Roper in the same night. I love those three in combination, because they represent three very different types of comedy: realtionship-based, pure physical and bedroom farce. Some of those old shows hold up 30-40 years later. Welcome Back, Kotter does not hold up so much. Mork & Mindy is not a strong as I remember. But Barney Miller, Soap and Golden Girls are still killer, because they had really good writing and really good actors. Not comedians, actors. Also shout out to Sgt. Bilko/Phil Silvers show. One of the few black and white sitcoms that is better than anything on TV today.

Any concerns adapting pre existing properties? What do you do to make it fresh?
I hope to god we get a cease and desist letter. That would be great. So no concerns at all. As I was combing through episodes (thank you Sundance channel!) there was a lot of misogynistic, homophobic and semi-racist jokes and storylines that were allowed on television 40 years ago, but that would make my stomach (and yours) turn watching them now. So excising and rewriting those things were necessary for making it palatable and presentable in 2017. I hope this show launches a national revival of Barney Miller, the way The Annoyance Theater launched the Brady Bunch revival in the 90’s.

What are you looking forward to – creatively speaking – in 2018?
I’m going to direct an original sketch revue with Second City’s style of writing/improvising for a few months to get to some sketches and songs for ColdTowne next May. It will be about the 2018 mid-terms. I am hoping to cast some of ColdTowne’s best firebrands and flamethrowers to write it with me. It’s working title is Kill Rightey. My wife Rachel Madorsky came up with that title a few years ago, and I’ve always wanted to use it for a political sketch show. Next year, I get to.

TICKETS ON SALE NOW

Top 5 Reasons to see One Hour Til Air

Our current Mainstage show follows the excitement, creativity and drama backstage at a late night talk show. What are the top 5 list of reasons to see their latest production?

  1. Um, it’s a ColdTowne Mainstage.

The Mainstage slots (7 and 8:30 Saturdays) at ColdTowne are tightly curated – they take the biggest and best ideas from our stable of performers and put them through intense rehearsal and production process to make sure they are the best comedy you will see for $10/BYOB/free parking, BAYBEEE. (Yes, the parking/BYOB thing is always true, but it’s an extra relief on a Saturday night.)

  1. 30 Rock has left Netflix.

I KNOW, we are bummed too! We love the comedy-behind-the-comedy format of shows like 30 Rock and the Larry Sanders Show. That’s why we made One Hour Til Air! Late night host Katie Stone navigates the big personalities of performers, varied skills of her crew of writers, and personal feelings of her friends on the crew, much like a Liz-Lemon-meets-Larry-Sanders type.

  1. There should really be more women in Late Night, ya know?

This show isn’t just for those who are actively interested in women’s equality, but also, shouldn’t you be? We imagine a world where there’s a nightly talk show hosted by a woman, and no one even questions it. She just gets to, um, perform comedy? Radical. Truly radical.

  1. Live. Austin. Musicians.

We live in the Live Music Capital, and yet seldom do music and comedy collide! Whether musician-improvisers like Arielle LaGuette, or local favorite singer-songwriters like Sam Ehrnstein and Daisy O’Connor, One Hour Til Air has invited fantastic musicians to perform live every week.

  1. This freakin’ cast, man.

If you’re not a local comedy NUT like us, you may not recognize the names of our cast members, but you may recognize their projects. Our performers are staples on Austin favorites like Fuck This Week, Naughty Bits, and the Iden B Payne Award Nominated ColdTowne Mainstage Latinauts. Director Chris McKeever has over a decade of improv experience, and ColdTowne’s own Artistic Director Will Cleveland serves as Katie’s eccentric boss to round out this fantastic crew.

One Hour Til Air’s final show is Oct 14 at 8:30 PM. Don’t miss out on this fantastic show!

Interview with Michael Jastroch of Victrola

Victrola is a weekly comedy podcast produced by ColdTowne founder and senior faculty member, Michael Jastroch, who recently appeared in the 2017 SxSW comedy lineup. In this post, we discuss Victrola’s start, the cast and their selection as finalists in the first annual Improv4humans/Earwolf competition.

How did you get started with Victrola?

Funny. I just had a facebook memory come up for this. Bryan Roberts posted in 2013 the phrase “Car Bits, Seriously.” It refers to a road trip we took to OKC along with Josh Krilov and Steve Donovan to perform sketch. The way there and back, we improvised dumb audio bits for seven straight hours – basically pretending to prank call us and it was maybe the hardest I’ve ever laughed.

Josh, Bryan and I started getting together to record audio bits from time to time with the intention of turning it into something –  a podcast or a stage show – but nothing ever came from it. Mostly because of lack of know how and proper equipment.

I have a few recordings from that time, and I may release some of them someday as curios. There’s a bit – unedited – we did that I eventually cut up into an audio add for ColdTowne. I can’t find the finished version, but the unedited clip is pretty solid.

A few years ago, I got fed up with doing shows and having no record of my work or “product” to sell. A decade of shows, and the only thing to point to was some vague memories. The kicker was one night doing a show one night with Irene White that may have been the best thing I’ve ever been involved with and realizing that even though 50 people saw it, it’d be forgotten in two months.

Film is challenging, because you need a lot of people to make it happen and having relied on goodwill and favors for most of my creative life, I knew it’d be difficult to put stuff out consistently. With podcasting, at the end of the day, if it doesn’t happen, I’ve only myself to blame.

So I bit the bullet, dropped $500 on audio equipment and podcast hosting, taught myself some basics, and made myself a rule. I’d never miss a deadline, even if I put out crap, I’d put something out. Recording sessions are deliberately kept fun and casual, so people never have to feel like a dick for not making it  – although everyone in the cast makes 9 out of 10 sessions. And here we are.

My only regret is Krilov moved so he can’t bit out with us.

Bryan Roberts, Jericho Thorp, Dalton Allen

Recording: Bryan Roberts, Jericho Thorp, Dalton Allen

What do you think each of the cast members brings?

I casted the thing mostly based on a history of hanging out and doing bits. How easy does this person play and get what makes something funny? So they all have that in common. Plus, they all have a few voices up their sleeve. We all make each other laugh, and that’s important.

Lance Gilstrap – the perfect straight man. Very few people can maintain that much anger on stage and keep the ball rolling. It’s a skill I envy.

Molly Moore – such great character work. You never know what’s going to come out of her mouth, completely sincerely, as whatever nutball she’s playing.

Bryan Roberts – perfect timing and delivery. He could make a phone book funny. He’s also great at constructing actual jokes on the spot.

Bob McNichol – plays three dimensional chess while the rest of us are playing checkers. He doesn’t say the most, but everything that comes out of his mouth is funny on another level. Plus, he’s got that amazing dry delivery that sounds so sweet on podcast.

Cortnie Jones – is such a great character actress and she swings for the fences with

Molly Moore

Recording over a weekend retreat in west Texas: Molly Moore (foreground). Michael Jastroch and Bob McNichol (background).

whatever she’s doing. If Molly plays the affable loons, Cortnie plays all the sociopaths.

Jericho Thorp – One of the best character improvisers in the city. Such a great listener and so wonderful at making even the nuttiest stuff grounded in truth.

Me – I don’t know anymore.

Also, Dalton Allen, who helps with the editing and is unofficially now in the cast has a wonderful dry wit.

What do you think is the biggest deal about Victrola as a comedy podcast?

The great thing about podcasts is they are so easy to start. The horrible thing is they are so easy to start. Meaning, it’s real easy to assume you’re charming enough to carry on unscripted comedy – scenic or banter. But the truth is, that’s not only difficult to do, if you’re not a known quantity, no one gives a shit.

I didn’t want to do another four dudes talking around a microphone podcast. That niche is filled. So what makes us a big deal is when we put stuff out, the extra effort has been put in to make it as funny as it can be every time. Otherwise there’s literally no point in us existing.

If you could have one special guest superstar, who would it be?

All of Superego, who are huge inspirations. We were doing these bits and thinking about releasing this before we heard Superego, but they showed us the way forward.

What’s up with Improv4Humans and Earwolf?

Yeah! We are among the top three finalists in the Improv4Humans Contest4Humans. Which is awesome, because locally and nationally we were up against some heavy hitters. It’s a real honor and very validating to make it this far.

We’re recording a set on Tuesday the 28th. If we win, we get flown to the Del Close Marathon in NYC to record with Matt Besser. Which, given that we’re laboring in obscurity far away from industry or celebrity, would be very validating and hopefully expose us to a wider audience.  We don’t do this to be famous, but so much work goes into the thing, audience is nice.

How many sandwiches have you eaten at once.

More than 2, less than 6.

What do you have strong opinions about?

Everything. It makes me a better teacher and director, but occasionally paralyses me as a performer.

On the podcasting tip, one thing I hear all the time is how awesome Victrola sounds. Which to me is nuts, because I literally have no idea what I am doing and basically watched two youtube videos.

Which means if your podcast sounds like shit, you don’t care enough to watch two youtube videos. If you’re going to phone it in, isn’t there a better way for you to spend your time?

Recording: Lance Gilstrap and Molly Moore.

Recording: Lance Gilstrap and Molly Moore.

ALSO – I support crowd funding thing as a concept, but I think we’ve gone too far. What happened to – you know – paying your dues. I’m annoyed by people who have never made anything asking for handouts for friends and family. Make a few things on your own dime before you start begging for funds. You’ll learn more.

If Victrola wins and gets to go to DCM, what are you going to do to celebrate?

Go to New York on Matt Besser’s dime is all the improv reward I need. Maybe finally get one of those fancy VIP DCM wristbands so I don’t have to wait in line 6 hours to watch shows I used to be able to just pop into back in 2005.

Victrola records for the Improv4Humans finals tonight at ColdTowne at 10pm.  Check out the Facebook event here. Even better, subscribe to the podcast for weekly goodness.

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.

Express Yourself is a Wrap!

The ‘Powerz That Be’ at ColdTowne Theater have asked the cast and directors of ‘Express Yourself’ to write some sad-sack sappy shit about the show. What follows is said sad-sack sappy shit.

 

Linzy-optLinzy Beltran:

‘Express Yourself’ is THE most meaningful show I’ve ever done. Not only was I able to improvise with some of the most talented and supportive comedians in Austin, but we collaborated to speak honestly about issues that truly mattered to each of us conveying true moments and emotions that often made us feel our most vulnerable.

 

I joined because there was going to be another Salvadorian in the cast and I wanted to brag about it to my mom. The result was creating a show that made all others seem like they were missing something.

 

Kenah-optKenah Benefield:

‘Express yourself’ was a show where I could make fun of all of my peers in high school while also talking about real issues that affect us all.

 

Ryan-optRyan Darbonne:

A wise, and totally stacked, man named Ryan Darbonne M.D. once said, “The revolution will not be televised but rather hidden under the guise of a dick joke” Ok, fine. It’s some dumb shit I made up but it’s a sentiment that I firmly believe in. Comedy, as an art form, has always been an important tool to address sociopolitical issues in an all-inclusive way. If you’re laughing with someone a ‘message’ or unique point of view is much easier to digest than the bullshit didacticism found in drama (‘Do the Right Thing’ vs. ‘Crash’ anyone?). When Frank asked me to help co-direct ‘Express Yourself’ I was elated. An opportunity to work closely with an improviser/director I have an immense amount of respect for? Fuck yeah! A chance to subvert racial stereotypes and make a live, predominately white, studio audience uncomfortable with some comedic real talk? Frank, you had me at ‘Hello Kunta’ (btw please stop calling me that. It was funny the first time…).

 

From the get-go the show felt like something special. Once the groundwork was laid out, the tone set and the cast assembled I knew we had something great. Every week our cast of insanely talented players pushed themselves and managed to tackle serious topics (some more heartbreaking than others) with a comedic professionalism that never belittled the subject matter. They forced themselves to be vulnerable, played deplorable characters and fucking killed every single (sold out) performance. ‘Express Yourself’ would NOT have been what it was without them. I’m insanely proud to have been a part of it.

 

Will-optWill Cleveland:

I’m going to remember this show for a long time. This cast was so open, warm, and funny. There should be more comedy shows that take these kinds of risks.

 

 

Abby-optAbby Lincoln:

The show was a dream come true for me; I mean who doesn’t want to work a demanding fulltime job then spend the weekend pretending to do that same exact thing in front of a room full of strangers? In all seriousness though, ‘Express Yourself’ was a dream come true for me as an educator. It was very refreshing to use my first love, acting/performing, to explore and improve my second love, educating low-income students. I’m very proud of the work that our cast was able to accomplish and excited at the prospect that the show broadened some minds and opened some hearts.

 

Laura-optLaura de La Fuente:

Deb and I are two twin bastion baked beans in a bean pod, which is to say that Deb is what my heart looks like. I think it’s like that for most of the players in the show. Each of the characters we played were personal extensions of ourselves. Deb is basically my heart with legs, a Boston accent, and a Red Sox baseball cap. I think ultimately what I learned from the show is that the feelings of adolescence – the angst, the pain, the confusion, the heartache, the yearning – never really go away. Check the internet sometime y’all. It’s filled with inspirational quotes aimed at adults on self-doubt and soul-searching… those “adolescent feelings” are really just human feelings. I still wish I could go back in time and tell my adolescent self “it’s ok – you are not your emotions. You’re bigger than them, and you’ll learn what that means some day. Please be kind to yourself.”

 

‘Express Yourself’ taught me how important it is to bring awareness to what matters to you. You don’t need to be perfectly articulate. Just be brave and talk about it from your heart. Just talk.

 

Oh my gawuhd I miss this show so hard already.

 

Love,

Laura/Deb

 

Lilli-optLilli Lopez:

As an improviser, this show pushed me to create goals beyond getting laughs. Being funny almost became irrelevant. Performing in a show that ignites conversation around topics I deeply care about felt like a responsibility. As a person of color it was empowering. We were able to evoke emotion through scenes touching on topics that, too often, hit home personally but may never cross the minds of many of our audience members. That was truly cathartic for me.

 

Maggie-optMaggie Maye:

‘Express Yourself’ was an interesting and fulfilling experience for me. Every show we dealt with subject matters that weren’t inherently funny (sometimes they were downright tragic) while still being able to put on a hilarious show. I enjoyed working with and learning from the cast members and directors, as well as opening my mind as a performer and as a human who lives in a world riddled with the issues we addressed.

 

Nat-optNat Miller:

‘Express Yourself’ was one of the most challenging and rewarding improv shows I’ve done and featured an incredibly smart and talented cast of players. We didn’t go too deep into the issues on every show but when we did you could feel its impact on the audience. I’m grateful to Frank and Ryan for having the courage to do this show and I hope it inspires more work like it in the Austin improv community.

 

Ronnie-optRonnie Miller:

My whole reason for getting into improv was to have an outlet for self-expression. So when the opportunity to be in a show called ‘Express Yourself’ came up it seemed like a no-brainer. After all, performing for an audience of people who are at least somewhat interested in what you have to say is a lot healthier than getting into arguments with random strangers in the comments sections of Austin American Statesman articles. In everything I do I try to approach it from a place of truth and love…this show was no different. In particular, ‘Express Yourself’ forced me to get out of my comfort zone of quick wit and banter and required me to really dig deep and be more vulnerable on stage. I also had to quiet my inner contrarian. Instead of just vocalizing an opposing viewpoint I really had to strive to show or understand how that viewpoint came to be. I think that is where the impact comes from and why the show has been so popular. It has allowed people to experience points of views they don’t regularly get to see.

 

Frank-optFrank Netscher:

‘Express Yourself’ has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Going into it, I was terrified. Coming out of it, I don’t know how I’m ever going to improvise again. First of all, I’ve never had a co-director like Ryan Darbonne. In any improv project, I’m the one who’s always way too committed to putting effort into the show. Ryan was right there with me, excited and exhausted. He’s smart and playful and just a comedy genius. But, so was everyone on the cast (Suck it, Ryan!). I have never directed a cast that was so willing to meet the high standards that I set for them. For the show to work, they had to be completely vulnerable about their identities for seven weeks straight. The bar was really high, and they went way over it. Nobody involved was just looking for stage time; they all wanted the show to be really good. When you have so many people committed to making a good show, it’s hard for me to accept any credit. It just felt so much bigger than me.

 

Sanjay-optSanjay Rao:

‘Express Yourself’ was such a fun and exciting show. I loved the polish the directors push so hard for. I loved the characters we got to create. I loved the subject matter we tackled. I loved how the show wasn’t afraid to “go there”. I loved the moments of vulnerability that people had. I loved the wild, crazy, and silly moments that were earned. I just loved this show and will always remember it as something unique.

 

Kim-optKim Tran

Racism, police brutality, gentrification, etc – these are topics that we should all learn and talk about more but don’t because it can be uncomfortable. The show gave audiences, and myself, a way to explore a hard topic while making it personal, palatable and funny at the same time. And people liked it. There are probably elements of this show that could be used in real-life conversations to discuss these issues. ‘Express Yourself’ was special to me because it was the first time I wasn’t one of the few brown people on stage. In a way, and maybe just for me, it was relieving to not have to feel the burden of representation and be among players who, in some form or fashion, take part in the shared experience of being a minority. We just came to have fun, be real and express ourselves.

 

Javi-optJavi Ungo:

This has absolutely been one the most gratifying experiences I have had in improv. To play with a cast that was primarily people of color and to tackle difficult topics was enormously rewarding. The fact that I was able to get on stage and make jokes about pupusas (Google it and then go get you some) was so rewarding in the sense that I was able to bring so much of my own identity to the stage in a way I had never been able to.

Letters from the Garden – Gardenalia Opens Tomorrow!

Arian Brumby Dear Matilda,

gwendolynI’m so glad to hear that your husband was hospitalized for exhaustion! He’s been a thorn in your side for too long. Perhaps now you’ll have more time to play the rain stick. The Garden Party is this Saturday and I’m hoping to make a special connection with Ruby. She and I were very friendly in school. Very friendly… But I digress. The business is doing splendidly. I’ve cured three cats of schizophrenia and a fourth of sad thoughts. Hoping you can bring Muffins by soon. I miss you both terribly. Toodaloo, Gwendolyn

Kim Lowery Dear Diary,

DorthyI’m counting down the days until the Garden Party. Vivian is hosting this year, and I simply can’t wait to see what the girls will be wearing. Oh Diary, I cannot admit to anyone else how aroused I am by the thought of all the possibilities. I feel the electricity in the air as the day nears when our spirits will coalesce. Oh, I promise I’ve been good all year long. I’ve followed the rules and done what was asked of me, but now it’s almost that time when I can finally find my freedom again. Yours truly, Dorthy

Kristen Samuelsen Dear Journal,

MillieHarry Houdini died today. I’m extraordinarily shaken up about it. Growing up, he was the one person I could count on to defy the constrains of life as we know it — to make the impossible possible, if you will. When I was a little girl, Isaw his act when he escaped from a milk can filled with water. It mesmerized and excited me. If he could escape death, perhaps I could, too! Now that he’s passed, the impossible seems impossible again. I am filled with woe. I don’t know how I’ll be able to go on. Oh, there’s that Garden Party this weekend. Perhaps that will lift my spirits. Here’s hoping. Until next time, Millie

Emma Holder Dear Lenoire,

VivianI hope sea bathing in Greece is the cure all we hoped it would be for you. That Psoriasis will clear up in no time, I’m sure! The Garden party is this Saturday and it won’t be the same without you, but we must carry on. It will be nice to see all of the ladies. I see Millie and Frankie quite regularly but I haven’t seen Georgia since her New Year’s Eve party. Hopefully no one will bring up the champagne fountain incident. I do wish you would be there to help me stay grounded but I am afraid in your absence I may just have to get wild! Your Sister of Dionysus, Vivian

Lindsey Moringy Dear Diary,

GeorgiaWhy why why wasn’t I chosen for the lead role in our community theater’s rendition of “Showboat.” It doesn’t make any sense. I am the gem of this town. Everyone knows my name. Why. In response to the foolish director’s protesting of my destiny, I will be counter-protesting at each showing of “Showboat.” I will march with signs, sing songs of my own, and I expect the entire community to join in my noble cause. I’ve already thought of several chants: “SHOWBOAT, NO BOAT – WE WANT GEORGIA!”


Find TicketsGardenalia_Poster-opt

Directed by Kristin Henn/Produced by Kristin Henn & Erika May McNichol

Gardenalia is a Bachanalian garden party. A yearly ritual clandestinely celebrated by women for over 3000 years. Secrets revealed, powers unleashed, patterns observed. A garden party in the 1920’s where the “rituals” heighten to absurdity and release. An experiential comedic and weird experience about the small, strange things people do to navigate the world and the hidden practices of the people you think you know.

Find Tickets

A Brief History of Magic

Returning to the ColdTowne mainstage on the heels of their sold-out 2015 run, sketch team Comedy Bazaar is back in February with A Brief History of Magic.

Exploring everything from wizards and enchanters to the supernatural and the occult, the new show is sure to delight those who like magical themes as much as those who simply enjoy tightly-written sketch comedy.

ABHOMagic_poster_400x600We asked Comedy Bazaar to answer some questions about the new show.

What inspired the magical theme?

CB: “We like a theme that’s narrow enough to focus our writing but broad enough to go in a lot of directions and carry a lot of possible interpretations. Magic seemed like such a fun and natural choice.

With magic, you have the usual tropes of sorcery and knights and dragons—and those are great, of course. But then you have hypnotism, the occult, paganism and wiccanism, trickery, deception, conspiracies, and how people control and deceive each other. It’s quite interesting, when you dig into it.”

What makes this show different than previous ones?

CB: “We found ourselves writing shorter, punchier material this time. So, we embraced that and ended up with 15 sketches in the span of a 45 minute show. Expect a faster show, with many sketches clocking in at 1 or 2 minutes. Plus a few longer ones.”

What makes Comedy Bazaar itself different?

CB: “We definitely have a style. It’s a mix of zany and silly alongside cerebral and intelligent. You could say we embrace high-minded cultural satire as much as we embrace giant animal costumes and throwing food on stage. We’ve always thrived on a mix.

We’re also huge fans of the editing process. We take every sketch draft and mold it, until it reaches a higher potential. Working with a group writer’s mind—where everyone makes a sketch incrementally better with a cut here or a new phrase there—is one of our strong points.”

Thanks, Comedy Bazaar! It sounds spellbinding. Be sure to join Comedy Bazaar at 7pm on Saturdays in February.

BONUS: Want to win tickets to see the show? Plus some great magical swag from Half Price Books, including a $10 gift certificate and a 15% off coupon?

Enter the ticket giveaway by Friday Feb. 13 to win. Thanks to Half Price Books for sponsoring!

Comedy Bazaar is Alejandro Garcia, Alex Baia, Ella Gale, Matt Needles, and Nicole Beckley. Directed by Eric Rutherford.

Saturdays in June, The Beach Boys Solve a Mystery!

ColdTowne Theater, Austin’s home for live comedy 7 nights a week, proudly announces its
June 2015 Mainstage show –
beach boys revision 5.14.15

The Beach Boys borrow a page from the Hardy Boys as they fight crime in the secret underbelly of the seediest beach town you know (think Galveston, but prettier and with more crack cocaine).

This improvised comedy features a live surf rock band, improvised performances by the Beach Boys and giveaways from Half-Price Books!

Can “America’s Band” defend their beloved hometown from the degenerates of Surf City while resisting the urge to experiment in 1960’s counterculture?

Every Saturday in June @ 8:30 pm. $5 online/$8 at the door. BYOB.

6/6 Tickets 6/13 Tickets 6/20 Tickets 6/27 Tickets

The ColdTowne 2015 Mainstage Season

2015 ColdTowne Mainstage Season

ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s only entertainment option with improv, sketch and stand up shows seven nights a week.

We’re excited to announce our 2015 Mainstage Season – a collection of shows featuring unique concepts and high production value.

JANUARY
Church of Indeterminate Divinity
Directed by John Ratliff

Each service, some of the best improvisers in Austin perform with live musical accompaniment to create an event that’s part tent meeting, part house concert, part campfire singalong, and part barn burning. Real as rent and funny as hell, it’s unlike any improv show you’ve ever seen.

FEBRUARY
A Brief History of Murder
Sketch Comedy by Comedy Bazaar

Enjoy a deep red soak in these expertly-carved, acid-laced comedy sketches that explore the darker side of human nature. Laugh long into the abyss, and let the abyss laugh long into you…

MARCH
TGIS
Produced by Nathan Sowell

Sometimes a sitcom is so ahead of its time, it barely lasts four episodes. Jeannie and Sabrina have nothing on the type of high concept sitcoms created by ColdTowne Studios. Tune in for a month of Fantastic Buddies, Step Dad Djinns, and enough pop to wet at least three separate beds.

APRIL
Smash Hits
Directed by Curtis Luciani & Courtney Sevener

Join us at the top of the charts for this improvised comedy game show about and inspired by the biggest blockbusters in the history of recorded music.

MAY
The Ultimate Sketchprov Project
Directed by Dave Buckman

Dave Buckman draws on his two decades of comedy training (The Second City, Boom Chicago) to direct a cast of the city’s best multi-hyphenated writer/improviser/actors to develop a sexy and professional sketch revue created entirely through improvisation.

JUNE
The Beach Boys Solve a Mystery
Directed by Frank Netscher

The sleepy town of Surf City, California has been struck by another gruesome murder, and the Beach Boys are on the case! Along the way, they’ll get help from some of their pals, Dick Dale, Charles Manson, Janis Joplin, and others. They’ll solve the mystery in no time, even if they have to surf, cruise, and croon their way across California!

JULY
Improv Fantasy League

Our signature Summer event returns. Veteran comedic talent will be drafted alongside our improv students to compete against each other in a month long improv tournament that features live commentary, free agents and pre-show tailgating.

AUGUST
The Presidents of Comedy Tour
with The USA

A group of America’s hottttest and brighttttest comedians make a stop in Austin as part of their national tour. Together they’ll interview historians about America’s vibrant past to inspire their own brand of red, white, & blue collar comedy.

SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER
Sgt. Preppers – An Improvised Preppers Musical
Directed by Erika McNichol

What if Infowars and Ty Segall had a baby? No really. Think about it.
ColdTowne explores prepper culture through a garage rock musical in this new work.

NOVEMBER
Your Redneck Neighbors
Directed by Will Cleveland

Everyone’s got one or maybe you are one. Either way, this show is for you. Come laugh with some of Austin’s best improvisers in this show inspired by true tales of yard cars, gun racks, and turkey fires.

DECEMBER
The 8 Plays of Addison
Written & Directed by Addison Billingsly

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.

ColdTowne 8th Anniversary Lock-In Weekend

ColdTowne Theater celebrates its 8th anniversary with a lock-in weekend, featuring a marathon run of shows this Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.  Each evening following our amazing regularly-scheduled shows, come back and enjoy as much comedy as you can handle — a $5 ticket will get you access to a night full of reunion shows, odds bits and mystery shenanigans.  Tickets are only available at the door.  

Thursday 10/23

  • 10:00pm – Array
  • 10:30pm – RUSH
  • 11:00pm – I Gotta Be Honest
  • 11:15pm – The Poster
  • 11:30pm – Improv Royale Finally Graduates

Array: Arthur Simone, Naomi Perryman, John Brewster, Matt Needles and guests.

RUSH: Luke Wallens, Steve Moore, Juliet Prather, Tevis Paxton, Matt Vaught, Jon Bolden, Kim Dilling, Matt Stoner, Emily McDonald and Ricky Oliphant.

I Gotta Be Honest: Justin Soileau and Ian Townsend.

The Poster: Matt Needles, Sanjay Rao, Ian Townsend, Eli Eidson, KC Harvey-Taylor, Matt Stoner and Alejandro Garcia.

Improv Royale Finally Graduates: John Ratliff, Jericho Thorp, Cody Dearing, Lubu Roberts, Brett Tribe and Lance Gilstrap.

Friday 10/24

  • 11:30pm – Big Marinara
  • 11:45pm – Because I Said So
  • 12:00am – This Really Happened To Lance & Jericho
  • 12:15am – Sorry For Your Loss
  • 12:30am – SpareFoot Presents The SpareFoot All-Star Players *Presented by SpareFoot
  • 12:45am – Matt and Sarah Present a Compliment PowerPoint
  • 1:00am – Mirage Machine
  • 1:15am – Ctrl-Skutch-Delete
  • 1:30am – Improvised Warp Speed Sarah Coker Show
  • 1:45am – Brothers (Recreate the Movie Speed)

Big Marinara: Tre Fuentes, Frank Netscher, Katie Thornton, Carlos LaRotta, David Jara, Ed Reed, Emma Holder and Curtis Luciani.

Because I Said So: Joseph Dailey, Margot Evelyn and Charlotte Evelyn.

This Really Happened To Lance & Jericho: Lance Nealy and Jericho Thorp.

Sorry For Your Loss: Stewart Chow, Kim Lowery, Lance Nealy, Brian O’Neill and Benjamin Babcock.

SpareFoot Presents The SpareFoot All-Star Players Presented by SpareFoot: Nathan Sowell, Jake Millward, Chris McKeever, Quinn Gaunt, Tevis Paxton and Brett Tribe.

Matt and Sarah Present a Compliment Power Point: Matt Stoner and Sarah Coker.

Mirage Machine: Theo Daley, David Fruchter, Chance Garcia, Kenny Madison.

Ctrl-Skutch-Delete: Jessica Marpe, Nathan Sowell, Cody Dearing, Carlos LaRotta, Naomi Perryman.

Improvised Warp Speed Sarah Coker Show:  Frank Netscher, Sarah Coker, Matt Stoner and Julet Prather.

Brothers: Byron Brown, Kirk Johnson, Sam Eidson, Eli Eidson and Carlos LaRotta.

Saturday 10/25

  • 11:00pm – ColdTowne
  • 11:15pm – You Okay?
  • 11:30pm – Bring It Jones
  • 11:45pm – Channel 69 Nightly News with Peverly Brothers
  • 12:00am – The Founding Fathers
  • 12:15am – Improv vs. Sitcom Laugh Track
  • 12:30am – Old Stever
  • 12:45am – Tequila
  • 1:00am – Mustache Reunion Show
  • 1:15am – Ratliff and Eric Smoke Cigarettes Out at the Picnic Tables
  • 1:30am – Two Man Adam Sandler Movie
  • 1:45am – Where Are They Now? (Improvised Scenes as People Who Have Moved Away)

ColdTowne: Justin York, Michael Jastroch and Arthur Simone.

You Okay? Courtney Sevener, Nathan Sowell, David Hess, Ben Bazen, Carlos LaRotta and Juliet Prather.

Bring It Jones: Lots and lots of ladies from the AIC.

Channel 69 Nightly News with the Peverly Brothers: Drew Wesely, Eli Eidson and Sarah Coker.

The Founding Fathers: Jericho Thorp, Michael Jastroch, Lance Gilstrap, Bob Nichols, Arthur Simone and John Ratliff.

Improv vs. Sitcom Laugh Track: Sanjay Rao, Steve Moore, Eric Rutherford and KC Harvey-Taylor.

Old Stever: Drew Wesley, Caitlin Baumgartner, Kristin Henn, Amy Carpenter, Arian Brumby, Kenah Benefield, Steve Scott, Luke Wallens and Adam Oestrich.

Tequila: Ian Townsend, Jared Robertson, Steve Wright, Amy Wright, Javier Ungo.

Mustache Reunion Show: Ed Melendez, Josh Gill, Frank Netscher, Kristin Henn and Shea Scott.

Ratliff and Eric Smoke Cigarettes Out at the Picnic Tables: John Ratliff and Eric Rutherford.

Two Man Adam Sandler Movie: Ian Townsend and Alejandro Garcia.

Where Are They Now: Cody Dearing and Guests.

Slam Team Six – FINAL SHOW!

Imagine: a Saturday morning cartoon gone wrong, where a fantastic foursome of America’s most beloved professional wrestling superstars use their athletic prowess and “powers” outside of the ring to fight crime, help children, and protect the environment. At least they mean to.

Each Saturday in April at 8:30pm, Slam Team Six (professional wrestling heroes Pyschobilly, Prince Craig, Lady Liberty, and Tesla “the Dad Scientist” Maxwell) will take an audience suggestion of a problem threatening the youth and set out to help a child overcome that issue under the watchful eye of their caretaker, Bosworth. Along the way, they will face nefarious plots from villainous evil wrestlers and do their best to resist the temptations that all professional wrestlers face. Will they save the day? Or will the twisted depths of their souls ruin a young boy or girl’s life?

“It’s like the attitude era of the WWF combined with that Saturday morning cartoon show from the 90’s, PRO-STARS, where Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky are superstar athletes for their day job, but crime fighting secret government agents in their spare time,” says the show’s producer Cody Dearing.

WARNING: THIS SHOW LIKELY WILL NOT BE SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN

CAST: Jericho Thorp, Joseph Dailey, Mia Iseman, Alex Baia, Sanjay Rao, Michael James Williams, Meredith Mae Roberts, Heidi Noelle, Will Casto, Benjamin G Bazan, and Andrew M. Basile as Referee Sammy Slade.

Directed by Lance Gilstrap
Produced by Cody Dearing

 

Oscar Bait! Saturdays in November!

In 1928, Hollywood movie studios created the Academy Awards to bestow trophies on themselves in order to “establish the industry in the public’s mind as a respectable institution.” In other words, The Oscars.

Now, over 80 years later, films tackling social, political, environmental, or cultural issues are dumped by Hollywood studios into the last two months of the year to pander to an organization that they invented for awards that they created in a self-satisfying loop of pleasure seeking in the form of status and reputation.

A king with a stutter. An obese teenager carrying her father’s child. Sandra Bullock teaching a different obese teenager how to play football. These are the over-dramatic, over-acted movies that Hollywood releases in the winter months leading up to award season. In other words, Oscar Bait.

Every Saturday at 8:30 in November, an all star cast of improvisers will take the stage at ColdTowne for an improvised Oscar-caliber performance. The audience will choose a movie that hasn’t yet been released , and – based on the trailer for that film – our cast will perform their artful interpretation of these sure-to-be classics. In other words, Oscar Bait.

Our cast of improvisers have trained at not only Austin’s finest comedy theaters but the finest comedy institutions across the country (iO, Second City, UCB). Their credits include Master Pancake, Stag Comedy, Midnight Society, Stool Pigeon, The Team, and Girls Girls Girls. Watch them craft a completely improvised, live action movie before your very eyes- for you and cinema enthusiasts alike.

We guarantee our versions of these movies will have more stuttering, more obesity and more Sandra Bullock.* In other words, they will be funnier.

CAST:
Addison Billingsley
Cody Dearing
Lance Gilstrap
Madeline Malka
Kyle Sweeney
Nathan Sowell
Katie Thornton
TICKETS HERE.

* Sandra Bullock not a guarantee.

Making Bad Movies Worse!

What’s the worst thing about a bad movie? You could sight poor lighting, production values or the cheap ass special effects. But really, the thing that makes a bad movie unwatchable is the terrible script, bad acting and shitty soundtrack!

Once again, ColdTowne Theater has come to the rescue. Every Saturday night at 8:30 in September and October, we will be replacing a movie’s original terrible dialogue and music with our own slightly less terrible (and infinitely more funny) improvised dialogue and music. We’re flipping the script, making the movies worse and in the process creating improv comedy GOLD –  all based on suggestions from the audience.

This Saturday we will be debuting our show with the classic shit show Santa Clause Vs. the Martians. Each week, we’ll be picking a new movie for your consideration.

TICKETS HERE