Martini Ranch’s 2nd Full Length Revue Debuts This Weekend!

Following a sold out Austin run this past spring, ColdTowne’s mostly queer sketch comedy group, Martini Ranch, returns with a new revue, Queer & Now. A light-hearted blend of social commentary and silly giggles, the must-see show features original songs, brand-new sketches, and a whole lot of glitter.

We caught up with Martini Ranch director Keith Horvath to get some insight into the process and to hear his thoughts on the deteriorating state of the world (our words, not his).

Queer and Now debuts Saturday, November 4th at 8:30pm! TICKETS HERE.

This is Martini Ranch’s SECOND full length sketch revue in Austin. How did the first show came about? What can we expect with this second revue? It is! I can’t believe in less than a year we’ve created two shows. The talent in Martini Ranch is incredible.

For This is (Not) the Gayest Show You’ll Ever See I had it in my mind that I wanted to create a group that would stick together and write multiple revues. I don’t expect everyone to stay forever, but I wanted to get a group and a brand established. I don’t think any of the cast knew that was my intention, though. After they were cast, I revealed that I wanted to do multiple revues. I hoped everyone would want to as well. Good news: they did.

Our process is very Second City driven, as that is where I got the majority of my training. However, with everything I do, I incorporate my own style and blend other aspects of theater that I have learned over the course of my career. A general rehearsal will start with me getting titles for scene pitches, and then I go away for about 20-30 minutes while the group discusses their pitch (I don’t want to get ideas about where I want the scene to go before I see what the writer intended in the first place).

When I come back, we will either improvise through those scenes, or we will read a written script. After I give notes, the group goes home to edit, and we make adjustments along the way. It’s a very collaborative environment, too. I’m the director and technically have the most experience, but like any good sketch director, I trust the instincts and ideas of my ensemble (otherwise what is the point of having them write the show?).

Often, we will have group discussions and everyone will throw out their ideas, like a writers’ room. I make the final decisions, but the ensemble has permission to interject their ideas.

This allows for us to have a strong creative and collaborative group. The shows feel like we all own them. Even though each scene usually has one specific writer – multiple if they’re improvising it – we all have a say and all our voices are heard.

The first revue was just us getting our feet wet. A few of the ensemble had never written or performed sketch before, and I was blown away with their natural talent and writing ability.

We were informed, via a review, that our political material was not the strongest in our first show, so for Queer and Now, we decided to focus on having fun and being silly. I don’t want to give away too much, but this will feel very different from the last revue. I wanted to show how nothing is as it seems right now, and there are several layers to everything. I want the audience to kind of be mind-fucked while they are watching it.

It’s fast paced, and if anyone knows sketch comedy/big-time directors, they will see a lot of Mick Napier’s style. If you don’t know Mick Napier, look up The Annoyance and read his books. He’s brilliant, and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

It seems like everyone in Martini Ranch really bonded. Is that unusual? I don’t know if it’s unusual or not, but I pride myself on creating cohesive groups. It’s one of my strong-suits as a teacher and director. I think the fact that we are all queer (except Katie, who is an incredible ally) and have a mutual understanding of the struggles we go through helped us to create such a tight-knit group as well.

Right now we are actually working on filming some of the scenes we’ve done and want to start having an internet video presence. We will also be writing another revue for next summer, so come see it! Tell your friends!

How does working on a revue like this in Austin compare to Chicago? In Chicago, there is a LOT more sketch and writing in general. I think part of that comes from it being a bigger city and having more opportunities – there are over 200 theaters in Chicago – and part of it comes from the fact that if you want to get on SNL or get picked up for Late Night, you’re more often than not a writer. All of the people I know who are working in mainstream entertainment/comedy are writers. Even if they are acting, they still write. Writing is the key to getting a professional job in this industry, and even if you don’t want to be a writer, writing every day will help you to articulate your ideas, and help you break down scripts as an actor.

Additionally, I feel many people down here aren’t used to longer rehearsals. Most are usually 2 hours, and Martini Ranch rehearses from 10a-1p every Sunday during our process. It may seem like a lot to some people, but there are days I wish we had another hour.

2017 America is a hellscape. True or False? True, but I also think a lot of this comes from Social Media. So much gets blown out of proportion, or is sensationalized, and too few people check a variety of sources. I’m sure we all know that person who shares a meme about x, y, or z and it has information that upsets us. But if we were to verify the facts, we would find it’s partially true, or not at all. Everyone is suddenly an expert at everything, and everyone is looking for someone else to blame and be a victim. I hate it so much.

For me, I always tell myself that things will get better, and things will change soon. There are two quotes that have always stuck with me. The first is from Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher who said: “No same man could walk through the same river twice, as the man and the river have since changed.” So no matter how dark things may get, there will always be hope down the road. We just need to look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Knowing that comforts me.

The other quote – and this one is something I personally always need to work on, because I’ve found myself getting so irritated and mad at everything recently – is a quote from the Buddha. I may be paraphrasing a bit, but he said: “holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; in the end you get burned.” I think this is accurate and poignant. When we are angry, we hold onto negative feelings. We no longer are as productive as we usually are,  and are distracted from the things that make us happy. An old friend of mine had further put this into perspective for me by saying: “Whenever I feel anxious, or depressed, or angry, I rationalize my emotions. I name them. I remind myself that I’ve been through this before, it hasn’t killed me, and I’ll get through it this time.” I find rationalizing emotions, particularly negative ones, helps me process so I can move on.

One other thing. I don’t think many people think about this, but no one can make you feel anything other than you. If I’m walking down the street and a stranger says I’m a dumb piece of shit, I don’t care. If my husband does that, I’d feel devastated. Yes, we have a strong bond, but I’ve allowed his words to affect me. Conversely, if I let that stranger upset me, then I’ll be upset because I allowed it to affect me.

Overall, my husband is the glue that holds me together right now. Without his love and support, I don’t know where I’d be.

Robotic Improv Invades Long Center!

A mashup of Battlebots and Whose Line is it Anyway?, Bot Party 3.0 features integrated teams of humans and robots competing in comedic challenges based off of audience suggestions. Originally produced in 2015 as a Machine Shop series through Austin’s Fusebox Festival, ColdTowne co-founder Arthur Simone founded the group as a nonprofit theater organization. Collaborating with Red Sky Robotics and social roboticists from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Texas & MIT’s Media Lab, Bot Party’s robots have been featured in SXSW Create, Austin Maker Faire & East Austin Studio Tour.

Bot Party 3.0 is presented in association with ColdTowne Theater, Fusebox Festival and IEEE Central Texas from November 3-5. We spoke with mastermind Arthur Simone about the genesis of the show.

What drew you to working with Robots and AI in comedy? I had been doing improv with my dog Robin Goodfellow on a dare, anthropomorphizing his every move and endowing him as silent partner characters for scenes. Robin’s programming was pretty easy – food, water, cheese nibble resets in between scenes and bits. After that, I went through a Fusebox Festival Machine Shop program developing robotic characters for short form games, and I’ve relied on an entire community of roboticists, engineers and makers to build [Bot Party Robot] Annabelle.

What’s been some notable, weird, or incredible on-stage performance moments working with robots (or Dogs for that matter). If the battery’s weak or the network is slow the timing can really hit or miss, but convention floor events like SXCreate and Maker Faire have been great for a wide range of ages. The best interactions have been simple “Hey there’s” while dodging otherwise uninterested or too-interested groups of people. A subtle robot is a triumphant robot.

I’m surprised by the broader world of engineers and scientists you’ve become involved with. What kind of interesting advances have you learned about, and have you brought any of that knowledge into your other creative pursuits? I’ve always been interested in minimal theater and building from scratch. Here’s a ball! Call it a robot, why not? Where is the robot? Is it the ball or the machine system tracking the ball? Who makes decisions for this ball? Is it Big Brother or Skynet or Deep Blue? Maybe Etsy, is Etsy a robot? Speaking of, please visit my Etsy store or view my abstract expressionist oil paintings during the East Austin Studio Tour (I’ll be stop #31). Annabelle will be there too!

What’s your prognosis for Austin’s cultural climate moving forward? We’re f*cked! support local artists.

You’re also extremely politically active. What can working with robots teach us about politics, and what can politicians learn from robots? Robots have been in politics for some time already, right? Think about prerecorded, even heavily edited, robocalls to voters from easily-recognized public figures. At least some robots are capable of learning history!

I AM TX Film Sheds Light on Rarely Heard Perspective

Filmmaker and ColdTowne Graduate, Ryan Darbonne’s love for film has run deep since his first job as an usher at Regal Westgate movie theater in South Austin. After moving to Denton to attend the University of North Texas Film School, Darbonne returned to Austin where he has since made his mark in the comedy, film and music scenes.

Now after wearing several hats including co-founder of Cinema41, Film Department Director at Austin Film Festival and original member of hip-hop group, SPACE CAMP Death Squad, he is in pre-production for his next big project, a narrative short film called “I AM TX.”

We sat down with Darbonne to learn more about I AM TX and why he is raising money to fund the project.

Tell us more about who you are… as a filmmaker.
I am Ryan Darbonne. I’m an Austin-based filmmaker with over a decade’s worth of experience in production. I have written and directed a number projects that have been featured on Noisey, OVRLD and other online publications. In 2011, I co-founded Cinema41: An award winning (Austin Chronicle ‘Best Of’ 2012) community arts organization dedicated to hosting free screenings of independent films with diverse themes and served as the Film Department Director at Austin Film Festival in 2013.

What are you up to outside of film?
In addition to my film work, I have written, directed and produced several successful live shows at ColdTowne Theater, and I’m a member of the award winning all black improv troupe Sugar, Water, Purple.

I AM TX is a narrative short film about a fictitious black hardcore punk band, comprised of members Charlie, Sonny and Otis, on their last leg of tour. Told over the course of one day, we follow the group from the desert roads of El Paso, TX to a popular music venue in Austin.  Throughout the film, each character is forced to contend with cops, insufferable fans, and an ever persistent “woke” music blogger who all serve to reinforce the band’s position as outsiders in a mad, mad world.  

Inspired by personal experiences, I wrote this film to showcase the frustration, anxiety and often humorous/painfully ignorant interactions that go along with being a “cultural mulatto.”

So you mentioned before that the cast is made up of actual musicians, who are they?
The film stars three key figures from Austin’s music scene: Audrey Campbell of Pleasure Venom, Jonathan Horstmann of BLXPLTN, and Greg Williams of Chief and the DoomsDayDevice. We’ve been rehearsing for weeks and they’re an amazing group, who all have personal stakes in what the film is trying to convey.

What is your goal with this film?
The film is a DIY project made by and starring punks of color. Hollywood has come a LONG way in its portrayal of people of color, but there has yet to be an accurate portrayal of what it’s like to be black and alternative; to straddle two sides of a cultural track.

Why should people support and back this project?
This is a chance to support and help nurture diverse voices on film. Those wanting to back the project have until Nov. 10 to donate on Indiegogo at indiegogo.com/projects/i-am-tx#/

If you don’t have the means to donate, please share our campaign page and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Instagram and Facebook: @iamtxfilm

 

 

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!

ColdTowne Graduate Premieres Short Film Series

ColdTowne Graduate premieres short film series with the help of Issa Rae

Austin filmmaker and ColdTowne Graduate B.B. Araya moved to Austin about two years ago and immersed herself in the filmmaking, improv and comedy scenes. Shot over summer 2017, her six-part short film series We Are  is a genuine, humorous glimpse into the lives of seven young women of color navigating their way through friendships, self-doubt, and quarter-life crises. The series premiered last month to standing ovations at the North Door and was subsequently picked up by Issa Rae’s Youtube channel for distribution.

Araya is a member of several ColdTowne Theater improv troupes, including Best of Austin Nominee Loverboy (Fridays at 8:30) and the all-women cast of LadyParts. New episodes of We Are premiere on Sundays through November 5.  

We had a chance to talk with Araya about improv, the creative process and We Are.

Hey! We don’t know each other that well, so I have to ask some basic questions. Like, how and why did you get into filmmaking? What brought you to improv?

I’m really glad you ask about improv, because it is something so dear to me that I don’t get to talk about often enough. When I moved to Austin about two years ago, I was checking out I LUV VIDEO one Saturday night and thought the place next door looked tight. I went home and googled the shit out of it to learn it was a comedy theater. A few days later, I drew up the courage to come back for a free class (mind you, I had very severe social anxiety at the time – still do – but improv has helped tremendously) and then went on to sign up for Level 1. I had never planned on doing improv until I literally did improv – something just kept pulling me back. I’m so grateful because I ended up meeting some of my closest friends and collaborators at ColdTowne. Improv has also heavily informed my writing process – which is to just keep going – and is the reason I started writing comedy (everything I’d written before improv was melodramatic AF)! Improv has absolutely changed my life in ways I can’t even begin to describe.

Regarding filmmaking, I’ve always had an undying love for cinema. It stems from my dad who is a videographer and total movie junkie. He would take my sister and I to the movies every single Sunday and was always encouraging us to watch movies with intention and really immerse ourselves in the worlds created by filmmakers. People went to church; we went to the movies.  As I got older, I started wondering why there weren’t more narratives with women and POC. After doing a few years of solid research on filmmaking and writing, I decided to take a stab at it and made my first short in my actual backyard about three years ago. Then I made another one and another one and I couldn’t stop.

Tell me a little bit about the “We Are” Film Series. What was the genesis of this project? What was the collaborative process like?

The project was born out of me and [producer Tamar’s desire to make something aimed toward women who look like us in a city that – although very liberal/progressive – is not always reflective of us. We brought a team of wonderfully talented folks together, and it was a beautiful collaborative experience. Films were co-written with actors, so we built these characters together. I wanted everyone to feel like they were telling their version of the truth and a piece of them is in the work.

Any fun, amusing or weird “making of” stories from production?

On our last day of filming, we had about 30 extras and were shooting in a place with no AC. In June. In Texas. It was pretty hot to say the least. About halfway through the day, we tripped the breaker (whoops!) and the venue owner notified us that we we had to stop filming until it was fixed. Typically, that would stress me out, but the heat ate up my energy so I was like “Bet, we can take a break now”.

Everyone was like “what’s going on, what’s happening, why aren’t we shooting?” and Jess, Tamar, and I were just like “Oh, nothing!” Thankfully, it was fixed so we powered through the rest of the day. We were all pretty delirious by that point.

We Are is debuting on Issa Rae’s youtube channel this month. That’s exciting. How did that come about?

Earlier this year, I submitted a film I made called BETA (starring Ronnie Miller in her debut acting performance!) to a series they do called #shortfilmsundays in which they showcase films by creatives of color the first Sunday of each month. We were in the very early stages of working on We Are (I think we had just solidified our cast) when BETA was selected as a part of the series and that triumph definitely gave us a validating push. I went to LA this year and got to meet the team in person and told them about We Are, and they told me to send it when it’s done. They saw it and wanted to showcase it. It’s been a dream come true to be able to share all the work of our cast, crew, and artists/musicians here in ATX on such a large platform.

What was it like getting a standing ovation at the premiere?

I’m still processing that, to be honest. When it happened, I thought everyone just stood up because they had to pee after the film, but then they didn’t move. Then everyone turned around and looked at us (cast/crew) while clapping,and I was like “ohhh, i see what’s happening here.” At that point I left my body. It was deeply gratifying to receive a standing ovation because it validated that the project resonated with the people we made it for – which were the women in that room, particularly the women of color. It’s something I’ll never ever forget.

You perform with Loverboy. What was it like joining an already established troupe? How did they ask you? Are they all jerks?

Yes! They asked me and Laura de la Fuente to join the cast after Cené moved to Amsterdam to join the cast of Boom Chicago. It was pretty sweet; we had been sitting in with them for a few weeks prior to them asking, and then in December, they asked us to join them for drinks after the show and popped the question! It was the sweetest moment, and I had been a huge fan of Loverboy long before I joined the troupe, because of how inclusive and welcoming they were to me and my friends when we were new to the theater, plus the improv was always tight, not to mention Cené was literally my first muse and trusted me enough to work with me so early in my filmmaking journey. They also had me sit in with them when I was wee little Level 3 baby and it was quite the honor to bestow upon a newbie.

Loverboy got a bunch of Best of Austin and B. Idea Payne nominations. How does it feel to be crushing it? And can I have a job when you’re famous?

The recognition is honestly in my periphery. The true honor comes from getting to play with such brilliant women each week. Regarding the job, probably, sure.

Araya’s work features a number of ColdTowne Theater graduates and performers including Ronnita L. Miller of Damn Gina, Ryan Darbonne of Sugar, Water, Purple, Xaria J. Coleman of Damn Gina, Michael Jastroch of The Frank Mills and Cene Hale, formerly of Damn Gina and Loverboy. You can catch her latest project, the We Are Film Series premiering new episodes weekly as part of #ShortFilmSundasys at Issa Rae Productions on Youtube. Want to be part of #ShortFilmSundays? Submit your film to submit@issarae.com.

Take a look at ColdTowne Theater’s improv and sketch comedy classes. The new session begins mid-October, so sign up now.  

ColdTowne’s Victrola Debuts Album

ColdTowne Theater’s sketch and improv comedy podcast, Victrola, debuts album

ColdTowne Theater’s sketch and improv comedy podcast Victrola’s debut album, Virtual Aurality, is due out on Austin label Sure Thing Records October 5th.

Victrola is a monthly smorgasbord of sketches written and performed by some of Austin, Texas’s best improv comedy talent – Michael Jastroch, Bob McNichol, Bryan Roberts, Lance Gilstrap, Cortnie Jones, Jericho Thorp and Molly Moore. As regular performers at ColdTowne Theater, the cast of Victrola have been performing with one another for over a decade.

Splitsider called Victrola “Plucky” and “delightful” and “painstakingly edited.” Another dope on the internet said Victrola was his favorite podcast. Recently, Victrola was a national finalist in the popular Earwolf improv podcast Improv4Human’s Contest4Humans and produced a podcast pilot for Audible.com. So, people are talking.

Recorded in the middle of nowhere over a long weekend in February of 2017, Virtual Aurality employs the technique Victrola uses for their podcasts. Namely, recording hours and hours of improv and cutting out the parts that aren’t funny. The end result is hilarious and chaotic, and captures the spontaneity of a live improv show without all the awkward bits.

Virtual Aurality will be available on online retailers (iTunes, surethingrecords.com,victrolapod.com) starting October 5th and is available for pre order and sampling right now.

We sat down with some Victrola cast members to to discuss the upcoming release.

Courtesy of An Indoor Lady

What was the recording process like for the album?

Jericho: We recorded at my cabin in west Texas. It’s near an old Union fort where they stationed Buffalo Soldiers. The cabin is on the San Saba River, not too far from Menard, TX. It’s beautiful, quiet, and peaceful out there. The perfect place for a bunch of comedy nerds to get intensely liquored up and laugh loudly around a fire.

Lance: A lot of the sessions ran really long and we would often start the day a little slowly, holding back ideas because we were just getting warmed up. By the time a two hour or more session was almost over, we would get very ridiculous. To the point where I don’t think anyone was afraid to say anything and we supported it all.

Bob: We spent Friday night hanging out and talking about ideas we had, and put them all on the huge piece of paper. We went through all of those ideas and more over the course of recording on Saturday and Sunday. We had fires going outside for alot of the weekend, and it was so far away from big cities that you can see so many more stars than usual. Like 10 or 20 more stars. Insane.

Molly: Someone brought a very fancy telescope, but I got there late and everybody had already had their telescope fun so I went out alone. The trek to the ‘scope was cold and spooky and dark and no doubt filled with lurking snakes and once I got there, I couldn’t figure out how to work it so instead I just looked up with my own two (20/20, bragging) eyes and invited the cosmos right in. Another cozy moment happened around the fire as we listened to a playlist curated by soundhound Bob that was heavy on deepcut soul, funk, and reggae — all very warm music. As each song began, there would be an identical fifteen-second pause before Dalton would say “hey, this is great. What is this?” and Bob and the rest of the guys would geek out about the song.

Cortnie: My favorite part was Dalton, who brought a stick of cinnamon. We never used it, I have no idea why he brought it but it sat on the counter. I also saw a hat at the cabin that I assumed came with the cabin. A week or so later I saw Dalton wearing it and thought he stole it. Turns out, it was just his hat. It was really fun to stand in front of mics and just fuck around with what was funny about each sketch idea. Michael is really good coming up with usable premises. Bob’s understated straight man paired with Lance’s crazed straight man is always hilarious. Lubu brings the jokes and Molly and Jericho’s voices and game ridden bits are over the top hilarious. I think I almost peed myself twice during recording. Two days of recording sketch comedy is pretty tiring, but I was pretty proud of us for all getting along and still having fun and coming up with some really good sketches and jokes in the end. I’m really proud of the work we’ve all put into the album, especial Michael, who has worked endlessly on editing out all our thirty hours of bullshit material into one hilarious album.

Courtesy of An Indoor Lady

What sketch from Victrola – album or podcast – did you have the most fun recording?

Molly: We entered some strange time vortex during the recording of Smorgasborg and emerged – no joke – an hour later sweaty, disoriented, and newly registered with Discover. It was JAZZ, my man! It’s also always fun meeting up with grumpy old Mr. Peters and ragging on the guy.

Bob: We did one recently with Juliet and Aly sitting in where we were in a Target dressing room. I could not stop laughing during it. I’d say Jastroch and Dalton cut maybe 60% of it out, and rightfully so.

Jericho: I love any sketch that devolves into the characters and world succumbing to some ultimate evil. I mean, just in general. One of my non-evil favorite moments is when I brought my horse to a dog training class and insisted it was just a really big dog.

We make each other laugh constantly. I’m always surprised/pleased when a moment where we all are laughing makes it into the final product. People do this sort of laugh/word vomit thing to get out their line before they bend over and try to laugh as quietly as possible off the mic. When we’re all doing that together, it’s pretty great. I think people seeing that from the outside without any context would assume we were all having some kind of fit.

Courtesy of An Indoor Lady

Any moments from sketches that you wish weren’t cut out?

Cortnie: There was a moment with special guests Kasey Borger where we were at a swimming pool, we were lifeguards and I said, “Tweet!” thinking Jastroch would cut it out and replace it with a whistle, but Kasey asked why I said that, so I explained and the whole thing made it into the episode. It’s pretty funny, but I wish I had just made a better whistle noise. We are improvising, so it’s nice when those little reminders pop into episodes.

Bob: Cortnie and I played these bumbling cops early on in the first season.  It was super-fun and super long. It was eventually released as like 6 minutes, but I’m pretty sure we went on for like 30 minutes as these cops.

Molly: There have been a few moments that I have felt personally attacked for being left on the floor (one about mixing up the name for Netflix comes to mind). Whenever this happens, I confront Dalton who says something to the tune of, “I think it played better to the room than it would in an episode.” Very polite but also VERY RUDE.

Lance: I do remember Molly doing some kind of counting thing once that got cut and when I heard the episode, I thought to myself “why would that not be in the episode? I was literally on the floor, laughing when she did that! But I don’t remember the specifics and I’m sure there was a good reason. Maybe you had to be there.

Jericho: Jastroch, Dalton, and anyone else that helps with editing/recording do a pretty great job of picking the most perfect cherries to put into the episodes/album. I pretty much trust them at this point to make me sound way more witty, quick, and amazing than I do in real life. They left in a bit where I gradually reveal that not only am I James Taylor, but also a ghost hovering outside a man’s window, giving him life advice. Not sure what else I could want.

Courtesy of An Indoor Lady

What’s been a favorite Victrola memory ?

Cortnie: I love our live shows. My favorite is when we went to Dallas and did a show for three people, Dalton being one of them. The lobby was so loud we could hear them during our entire set. It’s those times we have the most fun.

Molly: We did a SXSW show this year. The setup was two big chairs in front of a mic and a small couch with a mic. Cortnie and I took the chairs while the guys squeezed onto the couch, a reality I didn’t realize or appreciate until a photo surfaced. I do remember watching the guys struggle to pass the mic around on their tiny little couch while I sat cross-legged on my giant chair in front of my very own mic and felt at peace. QUEEN ALERT!!

Jericho: Improv is usually a very in-the-moment, “you had to be there” form of comedy. Writing the show on the fly with some of the funniest people I’ve ever met in my life has been such a great experience. These people are not only my creative partners, they’re my friends. It’s kind of amazing to have something like this together. We meet once a week, walk into a tiny room together, and have the best time. Then that’s distilled into something that’s genuinely funny and of which I am very proud.

Lance: My favorite part is always getting lost in recording a sketch. One where we are all cracking each other up and then we end it and we’re like “we were recording that ONE sketch for forty five minutes.”

Bob: I just love how easy it is to get together on Mondays and record. It’s low pressure and everyone’s open to whatever ideas we bring in. I don’t know if it’s a favorite memory, but we’re frequently listening for practicing drummers or trumpet players who live in the same building as Jastroch and Cortnie. I’m sure it’s tough to edit around, but it makes me laugh when i start hearing trumpet scales bleeding into some scene in our headphones.

Courtesy of An Indoor Lady

 

Musical Improv with Andel Sudik

ColdTowne is thrilled to present a musical improv workshop taught by one of the acknowledged masters of the form.

Anděl Sudik was born and raised in Santa Clarita, California and spent her winters and summers on her family’s farm in Nebraska near Wahoo, before moving to Chicago right after high school.

Sudik has performed all over the US with The Second City Touring Company and all over Europe with Boom Chicago and was a member of the legendary ensembles Baby Wants Candy and The Deltones and comes to Austin October 22nd!

We had the opportunity to chat with Sudik in advance of her visit.

Hey! What brings you to Austin? I came to Austin for the first time for OoB two years ago and died from joy. The weather was fuxking gross, so I knew it was true love. I also got to see one of my oldest friends who lives in Austin now, and I realized that if I was ever going to do cool stuff like catch up with my friends and visit cool places, I would have to do that for myself. So I booked the flight and then figured the rest out.

You spent a few years in Amsterdam at Boom Chicago. What was that experience like? Boom was the most amazing and hardest experience of my life. I moved there when I was 24 and had never even been out of the country before. I got to travel to places I had only ever dreamt of, give my family a reason to visit Europe, all while living in a town that looks like a story book and drinking and doing drugs as though I was a 300 pound man (Which is kind of how I see myself, comedically).

European audiences are awesome. They like to heckle (esp. British ones, who will also tell you how they don’t find “American humor” funny), and they find it equally enjoyable for you to shut them down. It’s like an acceptable game you play and very freeing as a performer. You learn how to take care of yourself, while also getting laughs. Pop culture doesn’t fly out there, which is great for me because I have no retention of that sort of info.

We got to play big and bold and wear a lot of wigs, so I was basically in heaven. Though there’s a decent amount of culture shock. There’s a thing called “Dutch honesty,” which is basically like talking to a kind of shitty 9 year old: you are delighted that they don’t have a filter and still occasionally hurt by “truths” they so freely spout. One of favorites was a guy on his way out of the theater upon seeing me, declared, “Oh hey! You are just like a person but smaller.” So that was pretty in line with the typical show non-compliments you’d get (and one of the tamer things said to me as a woman).

I found it more challenging as a single straight woman both within the Boom Culture and also in Amsterdam in general. I think the experience helped to harden me in a way that forced me to protect myself too hard and too aggressively after I left, but I found similar battles as a woman in the stateside theaters I’ve worked in. Which is part of why I started directing and teaching more. But the experience was well worth it, the people I got to know and the friends I made and worked with are family.

You’ve also toured a lot with the Second City. Any fun stories? I love getting paid to go places I would never choose to go on my own (Eureka Springs, Arkansas anyone?) After touring, I got to do some theatrical gigs which were city specific shows, so you’d settle in a city for a month or two and live like a local, and I just thought that was the best.

I loved Cincinnati and La Jolla equally. Tucson was a dream (except for the meth and occasionally getting bottles thrown at me on my walk home). I fucking LOATHED Phoenix (except the place we were living was called Zazu Pannee and there was a gay bar called Plasma ATTACHED to it which was so wonderful).

I also worked on cruise ships on and off for a thousand years. I loved the safety of having a reason to talk to a bunch of people from a bunch of places (they saw me onstage) and also knowing that they would all be gone after a week, so no pressure. I love performing for people.

On one of my very first tours with Second City (I was like 20), at the very end of the show we were playing freeze, and I was an oscar statue and the gal tipped me back and forth and let me go and I fell, landing straight onto my face. Everybody gasped, so I – with my head trauma logic – thought “I better laugh to let them know I’m ok.” So I did, then one of the cast members asked  “Are you ok?” I lifted my head, and as I did, said “I’m bleeding. From my face.”

The lights went out, I was rushed off stage, the lights came back up on Ithamar Enriquez who said “Good night Dubuque!” and waved to stunned silence. There was a doctor in the house who came back and checked me out as I sat in front of the mirror looking at the gaping hole in my forehead and apologizing profusely for ruining the show, sure that I would be fired. Instead, I was taken to a plastic surgeon who sewed it all up, and I had an e-mail sent the the producers from an audience member framed that read “It really was a shame because up to that point it was such a great show. I hope the young lady is alright.”

You’ve been part of some legendary musical improv groups, including Baby Wants Candy and the Deltones. What are the unique challenges to doing musical improv? Can any improviser learn how to do it, or does it take a special skill set? Confidence and commitment. Some of my favorite musical improvisers are not technically trained. The more you do it, the better you get at it, and the more fun you let it be. When you’re first learning (like any skill) there are some mechanics that make it easier, but the trick is getting to know that stuff internally so you don’t have to think about it. Thinking is the enemy of improv, if you ask me.

What are you looking forward to in the next year, career-wise? I feel like, for myself, the election paralysis just wore off, so I resurfaced as a creative body in the last couple months. I’m starting/picking up work on some of my own projects (writing a farce, directing Man of La Mancha, working the structure of a solo improv piece, doing Stand Up) and becoming re-inspired to be a bit more proactive in fostering comedic POV in the unbelievably talented comedy community in Chicago (workshops, putting up a sketch show with the most talented people I can get my hands on).

I just got back from John Waters Sleep Away camp. (Yes. It was a thing. And Yes. It was spectacular.) And I watched his movie Female Trouble which was too subversive for me when I first saw it in HS (my delicate suburban sensibilities could only handle Crybaby), but this time I was ready. And damn, he nailed it. It inspired me to push farther, and make a little trouble.

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Live at ColdTowne 7th Anniversary

Your favorite standup comedy show, Live at ColdTowne, is celebrating its 7th anniversary with a Lucky 7 show on 7-7-17. ColdTowne has been the shows home since birth, so we’re pretty proud to help throw this party. We talked to the show’s amazingly talented host, Carina Magyar, who is also celebrating 7 years as an Austin standup. The whole event is perfect timing.

19114057_10213351853339476_5871513082504877850_n.jpg-oh=0335581c561ce9acc04873a5bcb08c34&oe=59C9A9BDMagyar has seen the Austin comedy scene grow almost as rapidly as the city’s population. She says Live at ColdTowne is a great show for oddballs and drop-ins. “Just last week we had Matt Ingebretson (Comedy Central) and Nick Rutherford (SNL). Every week, there’s a small but real chance that a big-time comedian will show up and do a set in an intimate venue,” Magyar says.

The anniversary is particularly special, as many Austin-based comics who’ve performed at “Live” over the years have since taken their acts to bigger stages across the U.S.

“It’s a great place for a performer to feel their material is alive, to encounter new responses to it,” Magyar said of the ColdTowne stage, which lives underneath the second floor of I Luv Video. “The audiences are always engaged because of the nature of the room and the beauty of our time slot.”

18835605_1364182306991816_8625556161600311567_n.jpg-oh=8067f98c91df98136f322c1af577f14b&oe=5A11F13918447376_10158638995305075_6411762103374165823_n.jpg-oh=df5bedf93c7ff68393336b35c469ddd9&oe=59D7C8FBOn July 7, the show will feature comics who are all 27 years of age including Austin comic, Allen Butt and singer/songwriter, Arielle LaGuette.

Celebrate the birth of our baby, Live at ColdTowne. Friday, July 7. ColdTowne Theater. 10 p.m.

ColdTowne featured on KLRU with Stand Up Empire (June 26th)

The comedy scene in Austin is exploding. With eight comedy theaters (and counting), and hundreds of improvisors, stand ups and sketch comedy performers, Austin is quickly producing talent that competes easily with comedians from larger markets, such as Chicago, LA and NYC. To chronicle the exploding comedy scene in ATX, creators Mike Wilson and Brently Heilbron developed Stand Up Empire, which is produced by local PBS affiliate KLRU.

Directed and produced by Chris Shea, Stand Up Empire chronicles the comedy scene in Austin, with a distinct focus on the top-notch stand up scene.  We were recently featured on the fourth episode, with interviews with Executive Producer Dave Buckman, Managing Director Erika May McNichol and Loverboy’s Stephanie Thoreson.

We were delighted to have Stand Up Empire recognize ColdTowne as a hotbed of comedic talent across all the comedy types, and to be featured alongside Live at ColdTowne regular Martin Urbano and Avery Moore.

Check the whole thing out, and watch for the segment on ColdTowne around 21:40.

You like? Check out Live at ColdTowne Fridays at 10pm and Loverboy on Wednesday nights at 8:30pm.

 

 

Austin Sketch Fest Is Here!

Lovers of comedy, one of the best weeks in Austin is here. The 2016 Austin Sketch Comedy Festival––7 days of the best scripted comedy from Austin and beyond. All this week we have multiple shows each night featuring sketch, stand-up, and more starting at ColdTowne Theater, stopping by the Hideout Theater, and then concluding with three nights at the Spiderhouse Ballroom.

Our headlining shows this year includes an all-new, original Seinfeld episode performed by Bellevue, from NYC’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. From UCB’s LA Theater, we have the amazing group Nephew who’ll be performing Friday. Austin Sketch Fest was also lucky enough to get one of our favorite comedy duos NYC’s Girls With Brown Hair, back for a third straight year.

We also have a murderer’s row of hilarious Austin-based performers, including Vanessa Gonzalez, Your Terrific Neighbors, Master Pancake Theater, and more.

This year’s ASF will also play host to a live stand-up album recording from Eric Krug, who’ll be recording his comedy debut for Sure Thing Records. We’ll also have Sketch Fest editions of popular shows like Naughty Bits, the hit comedy & sex advice show. And somehow, somebody also managed to sneak in some improv.

For tickets, show information, and a complete schedule visit atxsketchfest.com

Me vs. Game: A Love Story

by John Ratliff

During the first few years I was doing improv, I developed a reputation as someone who hated game. (As in “the game of the scene.”) I didn’t hate it, really; I just thought it ran counter to the two things I really wanted to do, which were (a) grounded, realistic scenework and (b) mind-blowing trippy organic stuff. (Which aren’t as different as they might seem, but that’s a different blog post.)

To my way of thinking, game was at best a crutch and at worst a severe limitation. I wanted to be free to do anything, to be completely in the moment. How could I do that if I was busy trying to follow the rules of some stupid game?

I still feel this way about some forms of game play. I’ve never liked any kind of improv in which there can be a “wrong” move, and in the narrowest version of game, it’s possible to screw it up by doing it wrong. (I say I don’t like that style of play because improv is about unconditional support, but to be honest, it terrifies me, because one of my biggest fears is that everybody else except me knows what’s going on.)

So I kept hacking away at learning how to do grounded, emotionally realistic scenework, which I do not regret. And … I started noticing some things along the way.

First, although I was getting better at playing realistic scenes, they often felt a little slack and wander-y. Huh, I thought, maybe there’s some way to give these scenes more of a sense of purpose and momentum.

Second, I noticed that a lot of my friends who had been working on game were getting really good at improv in general.

Third, I kept taking workshops and classes about game, and my understanding of it gradually expanded. In particular, I remember taking a workshop with Brandon Gardner (from UCB NYC) in which he discussed the stem-and-petals analogy: the game isn’t the flower, it’s the stem of the flower, and the scene is whatever grows off that main stem. Once you know what the game of the scene is, you can go in any direction; if you really know what the game is, you’ll eventually get back to it.

Suddenly, game seemed much more open and promising. I had been thinking of it as a grinding reduction of the scene down to one idea. But this was different; this was a platform you could launch off of in any direction. And it was also something that you could incorporate into a larger scene, regardless of whether the larger scene was about the game (no matter what Matt Besser says). Even if you’re just using it as one of many tools, it’s one of the most useful and universal of those tools. At the very least, you need to be familiar with it.

Improvisers who are initially drawn to fast and gamey play often start wanting to play more grounded, realistic scenes after a few years. I went in the opposite direction: for a while now, I’ve been trying to find opportunities to get better at game. As in, for instance, workshops like the ones Brandon will be teaching May 8th. I also auditioned for Stool Pigeon, which is all about premise-based game play, so I could rehearse it on a weekly basis. And now I’m playing in a group that does The Deconstruction, so I have to think about game-based scenes for at least part of the show.

In short: I’ve learned to love game. And if I can learn to love it, anyone can.


John Ratliff is the Conservatory Director at ColdTowne Theater, where he was voted Best Teacher or Coach in 2015. He has studied improv at ColdTowne and at iO and The Annoyance in Chicago.

Make It About The Relationship

TJ & Dave

TJ & Dave

By Sanjay Rao

“Make it about the relationship”. You probably get this note in class and rehearsal all the time. It’s one of those golden rules of improv. When in doubt focus on the relationship. Say you’re in a tag out run and you’ve tagged in with your hilarious quip. It gets that big laugh but no one tags you out or edits the scene. Or you’re in a scene and so much craziness is going on you don’t know what to do. Now what? Focus on the relationship!

The relationship between scene partners tends to be the most compelling aspect in any scene regardless of style or format. It’s also something that you can always go back to. That weird, quirky way you mispronounced a funny word has only so much fuel behind it but a good, believable relationship can power an hour long show (just ask TJ and Dave). But how do you make it about the relationship especially if you’re already confused or in your head?

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 12.23.48 PM

Digging a ditch

So how do you focus on the relationship? One very simple and useful way is to call out your scene partner’s behavior. This doesn’t necessarily mean what they are physically doing. Let’s take an example. My scene partner has grabbed their mimed shovel and starts digging an improvised ditch. The scene is not about digging a ditch. HOW are they digging the ditch? Are they happy about it? Are they sad about it? Are they being lazy about it? Are they perfectly content? These are all behaviors that you can call out. It’s the “how” that fuels all of it. Once you know how your scene partner is behaving then we can explore how that makes you feel. Going back to the last example, your scene partner is digging a ditch and he’s angry about it. Better yet something more specific like it makes you feel proud of them. Anything is valid here, just let yourself feel something!

After we have that established we can fill in the gaps of where we are, who we are, why we’re here, what do we want, etc. Now you know how you feel about one another in relation to this activity that is happening RIGHT NOW. We’ve developed a relationship! An added bonus is that since we started with an activity (in this case digging a ditch) the scene is more active and engaging. Once an audience is truly engaged the jokes will come out more naturally and land harder. All the little games you find along the way, like mispronouncing a word, will mean more because they will be built on top of a relationship that serves as a foundation for the scene. But getting an audience to be engaged isn’t as simple as that. You have to do all this stuff well. How do you do it well? Practice!

A very basic exercise to build these muscles is to have one scene partner come in and start an activity and add an emotional element. After a beat a second person enters the scene and calls out what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Going back to the previous example, if the first person starts digging a ditch happily the second person will call out “You’re digging a ditch happily!” and then he or she will make a choice about how they feel about that. After letting that sink in, the first person can then call out their behavior, “You’re happy too!” From here we begin the scene by responding to the last thing and we can fill in the blanks like who, what, and where. This exercise will help you read behavior as well as starting scenes more physically and emotionally active.

Sanford Meisner

Sanford Meisner

If you want to go deeper you can study the Meisner exercise that actors have been using for ages to learn to read and explore behavior. It’s a fantastically simple yet endlessly complicated exercise that a single paragraph of a blogpost would not do it justice. There are, however, several acting teachers both in the improv community and in the Austin acting community that can help. I’ve provided some helpful links and videos below. I can personally attest that doing this type of work has helped my performances tremendously and I sincerely hope it helps you too!

Information about the Meisner Technique:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meisner_technique

http://esperstudio.com/about-2/library/an-interview-with-william-esper/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP1Nkr1kc5o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBszDobYD8w

Acting Teachers in Austin:

http://www.inthemomentacting.com

http://www.ckmcfarland.com/classes.htm

Helpful Improv Workshops Coming Soon:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1111192518931315/

Learn Some History You Bums:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konstantin_Stanislavsky


Sanjay Rao is a writer, actor, and comedian based out of Austin, TX. You can catch him around Austin, TX performing improv, sketch, and stand-up and has played on stages around the state of Texas in addition to New Orleans, Phoenix, and New York City. You can also see him in various films, series and short videos on the web.

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.

Hill Jones Worshops and Show!

Hill-Jones-Improv-Los-Angeles-Left-Matt-Jones-of-Breaking-Bad-1Hill Jones are heading to ColdTowne for workshops and and a live show! Catch them along with Brain Trust, on Wednesday, October 28 at 11pm. Tickets are available now!

ColdTowne Theater is proud two offer two workshops with the amazing Hill Jones. Both workshops feature the Driver’s Seat with  Matt Jones and Dave Hill. Then you’ll continue on with either Matt or Dave for a solo workshop.

WORKSHOPS ARE SOLD OUT
Please e-mail buckprov@yahoo.com t0 get on the waiting list.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1 – 2pm – 5pm @ ColdTowne Conservatory, 6929 Airport Blvd. #131, ATX

Driver’s Seat 2:00-3:30 w/Hill Jones

Too often, the improv “rules” get in the way of enjoying ourselves on stage.  “Don’t” becomes “can’t” and it kills the fun!  In this workshop, Dave Hill and Matt Jones (“Hill Jones”) will tag-team teach the principles that guide them in their work together to get you past the rules and back into the driver’s seat of improv!

And then you have the choice of either:

Milking the Relationship 3:30-5:00 w/Matt Jones
The basis of every scene is the relationship between it’s characters. Learn how to recognize that relationship and all it can do for the scene. Then, milk that relationship for all it’s worth!

or

Just The Facts 3:30-5:00 w/Dave Hill
Do you find yourself lost in improv scenes? Not sure which pieces of information are important and which aren’t? Tired of ending your scenes grasping for anything and leaving scenes feeling like they were about nothing? “Just the Facts” will help you develop the ability to zero in on what is most important in your scenes so that you can enjoy the fun that is possible in every scene.

NOTE: Do not sign up for both workshop unless you own a time turner as they both happen at the same time.

WORKSHOPS ARE SOLD OUT
Please e-mail buckprov@yahoo.com t0 get on the waiting list.


HILL JONES
Since they first performed together (and won) the 2007 iO West Duo Competition, Hill Jones has performed regularly around LA at the UCB, Second City and their usual home, the iO West.  In the time since, they have traveled the country performing in multiple cities and festivals including San Francisco SketchFest and the Out Of Bounds Fest.  Playing with a high-energy and character-driven style, Dave Hill and Matt Jones have created shows about everything from a zombie apocalypse to a ninja quest to the recording of a blues legend’s last album.  Sometimes inhabiting multiple characters in the same scene they employ genres and old-fashioned storytelling in an attempt to create weird, wonderful worlds full of unique people in every show they perform.

davehill-200x278DAVE HILL
Dave Hill is an actor, improviser and writer from Chicago where he trained at the iO and Second City.  Now in LA he improvises with Hill Jones, King Ten and The Armando Show. His work can be seen in the Hulu original series QUICK DRAW and the Comedy Central classic RENO 911.  His voice has been heard on such animated series as SQUIDBILLIES, AMERICAN DAD and BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD as well as numerous video games.  He co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in the up-coming feature film THE NIGHT IS YOUNG.

mattjones-200x278MATT JONES
Matt Jones has performed improv and sketch comedy since the age of 17 all over LA as well as with the famous BOOM! Chicago theatre in Amsterdam.  Since his return to LA he has been seen in the recurring role of ‘Badger’ on AMC’s BREAKING BAD and is now a series regular on the CBS sitcom MOM.  He can be seen in the films COOTIES, RED STATE and HIGH ROAD as well as the upcoming THE NIGHT IS YOUNG; which he co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred.  Jones has voiced the characters for animated series like KICK BUTTOWSKI, ADVENTURE TIME, THE CLEVELAND SHOW, SANJAY AND CRAIG, BEWARE OF THE BATMAN, and many more.

The 6th Annual Austin Sketch Fest is Here!

ColdTowne Theater presents the 2015 Austin Sketch Comedy Festival. Headlining this year’s Fest are brilliant comedians Brent Weinbach on Friday (Comedians of Comedy, Adult Swim, Conan) and Joe Wengert on Saturday (Comedy Bang! Bang!, Kroll Show) Trust me, you’ll definitely say you saw these guys when questioned by the comedy angel at the moment of your death!

Plus, hilarious acts from New York, LA, Chicago, Austin, and more. (Girls With Brown Hair, OSFUG, and Vanessa Gonzalez just to name a few!) With very special shows like; Stand-Up Bryan Guttman’s album recording, Master Pancake Theater, The Show of One-Person Shows, and So Juiced (Comedy + Party). That’s a shit-load of comedy gold!

ASF is happening May 18th-24th at ColdTowne Theater and (starting Thursday the 21st) Spider House Ballroom.

For a full schedule, tickets and more visit at atxsketchfest.com. Or just click on the ColdTowne calendar right here. Thanks!

Thank God It’s Saturday Returns!

Thank God It’s Saturday returns! A night of improvised television presented to you, our live audience. Once again, the entertainment professionals at ColdTowne Studios are presenting lost episodes of our favorite forgotten sitcoms. This time, we have a particularly bewitching set of shows lined up:

In “Fantastic Buddies,” three hip roomates share an apartment complex with elves, mermaids, and centaurs, all while trying to pay rent on time.

Stay tuned after that for “My Stepdad’s a Genie,” the show where everyone’s favorite all-powerful superbeing finds himself married into a mortal family, and even he ends up learning something.

Whether it’s “Thank God It’s Saturday” or “Two Great Improvised Sitcoms,” every Saturday in March at 8:30, you’ll say, “T.G.I.S.!”

TICKETS ON SALE NOW

A Brief History of Murder

Beware and behold!

ColdTowne’s own Comedy Bazaar proudly presents A Brief History of Murder, every Saturday in February at 8:30 PM.

Enjoy a deep red soak in our newest mainstage sketch show, an expertly-carved, acid-laced comedy production that explores the dark side of human nature.

Comedy Bazaar will shock and amaze as they present a killer new sitcom from NBC, put the orange back into Clockwork Orange, debate the nitty gritty details of Satanism, and put a new twist on the classic train mystery.

Comedy Bazaar writers and performers recently sat down with the master of spoken word eclecticism, Slappy Pinchbottom of Austin’s KOOP radio to discuss the show. Here’s an excerpt…

Slappy: So, what are some of your favorite murders from the distant land known as history?

Matt: I always enjoyed the death of the emperor Valerian who was flayed and his skin was stuffed and hung on the wall of the Persian king’s court.

Slappy: Flayed and stuffed?

Matt: Totally flayed, yeah.

Slappy: That’s a fantastic murder.

Alex: Yeah, the murders of royalty and high emperors. It’s sort of like, well, maybe they need to be taken down a peg.

Slappy: That’s a big peg.

Comedy Bazaar

Comedy Bazaar

Alex: The Archduke Franz Ferdinand holds an interesting philosophical place because people say that his assassination was the cause of a world war.

Slappy: With Ferdinand, somehow murder was a force multiplier on the persons around him… Please don’t take that too seriously, listeners. I’m so afraid that I just said that to the wrong person out there in radio land.

Alejandro: I’ve always been fascinated by the Zodiac killer. It’s such a weird tale. It seems like fantasy. This guy had the entire city of San Francisco on Lockdown and people fearing to go out at night… There’s something intriguing about these people that have such power and break all the rules. That’s sort of the impetus for the show… murder is a part of humanity, unfortunately.

Nicole: There are weird grey areas where sometimes we’re okay with exploring certain things and sometimes we’re completely against them… it’s fascinating and frightening.

Catch Slappy’s Odd Preoccupation, on KOOP 91.7 FM, Sunday February 1st at 4:30pm.

And then catch A Brief History of Murder every Saturday in February.

Laugh long into the abyss… and let the abyss laugh long into you!

Claim your tickets here before it’s too late.

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

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.

ColdTowne 7th Anniversary Comedy Marathon!

homcoming.webIn terms of cognitive development, seven year olds typically show an increased variety of fine motor skills, a stronger grasp mathematical concepts and an increased ability to engage cooperatively in play. As ColdTowne Theater, Austin’s home for alternative comedy, turns seven, we’re taking stock. Our math skills are still questionable. We still suck at sports. But we’ve nailed the whole play well with others thing. One out of three ain’t bad.

For four days in October, the ColdTowne Theater community is coming together from far and wide to celebrate what we’re best at with over 60 sketch, stand up and improv shows from Austin’s funniest performers.

The weekend kicks off Thursday, October 17th at 7:30 and continues through Sunday, October 20th. During that time, there’s going to be some special reunion shows featuring out of town returning guests, including sets from ColdTowne and Sarah 7, an All-Star Live at ColdTowne stand up show, as well as a Saturday Night Sketch show from Stag Comedy. Additionally, Friday and Saturday nights, we’ll be hosting a special late night Lock-In featuring all the silly chaotic bits too insane for prime time. The whole weekend will be capped off with two special Sunday night Stool Pigeons followed by the annual ColdTowne award show and after party. (Keep reading for full schedule.)

All shows will be marathon style, meaning one low price will get you in for the full weekend of shows OR another, even lower price will get you into an single night of shows. Sunday night’s shows will be completely FREE.  Passes will be available to purchase at the box office the night of the shows, but if you would like to guarantee entry we have made a very limited number of pre-sale passes available.

 

BUY PASSES:
Full Weekend ($20)
Thursday ($10)
Friday ($10)
Saturday ($10)

 

SCHEDULE
Thursday, October 17th
7:30pm PIZZA PARTY KICK OFF!
8:15-9:15 Duran and Johnson Political Satire
As entertainers and celebrities, Duran & Johnson have an obligation to tell the world their opinions on the most important issues of the day. This week’s topic: sexual politics.

9:15 – 10:00 House Troupe Reunions w/ Look Cookie and Murphy
Look Cookie and Murphy were the first two house troupes cast from ColdTowne’s Improv Conservatory way back in 2006. Members of both troupes can be seen all over austin performing and teaching improv!

10:00 – 11:00 The Mission Storytelling Show, ColdTowne Edition
The Mission is our monthly story telling show. This month, it’s all ColdTowne people spining yarns and doing bits.

11:00 – 12:15 Graduation Show Reunions w/ Powerball, Mustache Moleface and JC’s BM
Three of our old Graduation classes reunite to present their original improv formats, including our very first class, JC’s BM — Bryan Roberts (Ghetto Sketch Warlock), Cody Dearing (ColdTowne Artistic Director), Joel Keith (Hungry Todd Rungy, Midnight Society) and Michael Williams (Midnight Society).

Friday, October 18th
7:00pm Movie Vs. Movie Vs. Movie w/ Men in Chrissy’s Life, Rush and the Academy
Movie Vs. Movie is a weekly show, wherein two troupes compete against each other doing an improvised movie format. This week, it’s a tripple bill featuring RUSH (current level 5 students), the Men in Chrissy’s Life (a powerhouse of ColdTowne Improv talent) and the Academy (featuring members of the Team, Midnight Society, and more!)

8:30 – 10:00pm ColdTowne Reunion, Sarah 7 Reunion, Bad Boys
ColdTowne Theater founders reunite for a special, rare show along side Sarah 7 (our all female powerhouse) and regular Friday night headliners Bad Boys. This show will be a fast paced evening of improvised hilarity.

10:00 – 11:15 All-Star Live at ColdTowne
Live at ColdTowne debuted as the first alternative stand up shows outside of the normal club circuit in town. This week’s show features some heavy hitters from the Austin comedy scene.

11:30 – 12:15 Patton and Seth: The Unfinished Project, Escape Hatch
Patton and Seth met during the earliest days of Coldtowne’s Live at ColdTowne show, quickly wed, sought couples counseling even quicker, and then wrote brief scenes documenting the rise and collapse of their marriage as a way to understand what went wrong. Unfortunately, they have painfully conflicting accounts of just who’s to blame. Escape hatch is a classic lineup of ColdTowne Improv royalty returning for one last heist.

12:15 – Till Late Night Lock-In
The Late Night Lock-In is an annual tradition, wherein members of the ColdTowne improv community come together to perform all the stupid bits we don’t let them get away with the rest of the year. This will be an unpredictable ride that goes late into the evening and guarentees more than one WTF experience.
w/ Improv Royale, The ArtMando, Lisa Jackson Lip Sincs to Prince Songs, Xaria and Friends: In the Hole, A Prospector, William Powell, Old-Timey Radio, Announcer, and Katherine Hepburn walk into a Crime Scene, First United Methodist Church of Plano Youth Group Improv, COACHception, Chicken Magician, Damned Avalanche, Chrissy and Carlos Stay Up Late

Saturday, October 19th
6:00 – 7:00pm The Ladies, Boy Toy, Cheap Date
Improv from three ColdTowne house troupes, including a set from all-female super troupe The Ladies, a reunion of our erstwhile Harold group Boy Toy and one of our best up and coming improv house troupes Cheap Date.

7:00pm – 8:30pm Bless This Mess, BBW, Miller and Purselley, Oh, Science
Bless This Mess was one of our favorite cage match troupes, reunited for one night only. They are opening up for Big Beautiful Warlock, who do character driven improv that focuses on absurd relationships. Miller and Purselly and Oh, Science are our Wednesday Night and Sunday night headliners, respectively.

8:30pm – 10:00pm STAB Comedy (Sketch)
Austin sketch comedy titan STAG Comedy returns to ColdTowne Theater this October for STAB Comedy, a bone-chilling collection of macabre mayhem. STAB is guaranteed to deliver a haunted orphanage’s worth of chuckles to your face skulls. What does that mean? Don’t ask me, I’ve been dead this whole time! TWIST! STAG Comedy has performed at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, SXSW, Austin Sketch Fest, Seattle SketchFest, Geek Week Boston, and more.

10:00 – 11:15 Bear Derby, Frank Mills, Midnight Society
If you want to know what this improv thing is all about, you couldn’t do better than the Frank Mills and Midnight Society, two multiple-time B. Iden Payne nominated improv troupes who have been holding down our prime time slot for years. For this special weekend, we’re resurrecting an old tradition of having our newest student troupe– Bear Derby– open up for their teachers.

11:15 – 12:30 Northshore Local, Glamping Trip, Nice Astronaut, The Team
Four of our best improv troupes, rounding out the night. Northshore Local is reuniting for one night only. The Glamping trip and Nice Astronaut are inviting a legion of ex-troupe mates back to perform with them. The Team, well they’re just amazing.

12:30 – Til?? LATE NIGHT LOCK-IN w/ Founding Fathers, Coveted Office Time, Magician Vs. Clown , Bad Boys Present Breaking Bad Men, ColdTowne Squares (20 Min), Stuck in the Middle With You, Glamazon Slumber Party, Creep No More, Coach Bon Bon/ Love Advice Hour, Gordon Ramsey’s Improv Nightmares

Sunday, October 20th
6:30 Celebrity Stool Pigeon
Stool Pigeon is our monologue driven, all-star improv show. Scenes are inspired by true stories from some of our favorite local celebrities. The cast is made up of a who’s who of Austin improv talent. Who’s it going to be?
7:30 Celebrity Stool Pigeon
8:30 ColdTowne Awards Show and Afterparty

Out of Bounds Comedy Fest at ColdTowne!

Austin’s 12th annual Out of Bounds Comedy Festival is approaching in just under six days. If you’re keeping track, that’s seven days, seven venues, 500 performers, and 120 shows all around Labor Day. And ColdTowne Theater is right in the thick of it, with marathon-style programming at the theater and our improv and sketch comedy troupes performing all over Austin all weekend long.

ColdTowne is an official venue for OOB Friday and Saturday (August 30th and 31st). The programming at ColdTowne will be marathon style (one ticket price gets you all the BYOB comedy you can stomach) with groupd from Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Kansas City, Houston, Dallas and right here in Austin! (See Friday and Saturday night schedules).

You can also see your favorite ColdTowne performers all around Austin, including Midnight Society, The Frank Mills, Mike and Irene, Miller and Purselley, Bad Boys,  Oh Science!, Braised in Texas, Ratliff and Jackson, Scout, Array, Cheap Date, Big Beautiful Warlock, Boss, Ghetto Sketch Warlock, Nice Astronaut, Galactic, What’s the Story Steve, Magician Versus Clown, Boss, STAG Comedy, The Team, Jorak and Jorak, ColdTowne Rap Tigers, and Stool Pigeon featuring special guest monologist Richard Garriott!

 

ColdTowne’s Newest Student Improv Troupe Debuts in August.

Look Cookie. Midnight Society. Murphy. Unfurled. Oh, Science. The names of ColdTowne Theater’s student troupes echo off the walls of our hallowed, seven year old Austin institution. Some have survived the test of time, others shined so bright that they went super nova.

Our latest student group — Bear Derby — is in its final trimester, ready to be unleashed upon a cold an unsuspecting world. Thursdays at 8:30pm in August, Bear Derby will be performing the classic improv format, Close Quarters.

In Close Quarters, the performers treat the stage as if it’s a real space and honor the physical reality of the world they create. The scenes take place semi-simultaneously, centered around a specific point in space and time. As the show progresses, characters and situations collide into one another, creating a self referential comedic universe, not unlike an episode of Arrested Development. Also, improv comedy.

We’ve assembled some of the brightest shining stars from our improv conservatory to put on this show. The cast includes Sarah Coker, XJ Coleman, Sanjay Rao, Juliet Prathe,Ashley Seibels, Dustin Finkelstein, Austin Davidson, Benjamin Bazan, Timothy Traini, and Matthew Stoner! The show is directed by ColdTowne Theater founder Michael Jastroch.

TICKETS HERE.

Stunts! Explosions! Blood! Comedy!

Fedora wearing archaeologists exploring ancient ruins! Bloody battles against our nation’s enemies! Romantic rescues that involve swinging in on a whip!

Indy Movies is a part scripted / part improvised full length play that combines the thrill of your favorite action movie with the gore of your favorite slasher flick.

Crazed 1940’s director Wade Wood’s adventure movies have it all. Unfortunately the director’s insatiable desire for cutting edge special effects, along with his willingness to risk the lives of his cast while filming dangerous explosive stunt sequences has studio executives threatening to cut off his funding. See what lengths Wade Wood might go to in order to make his cinematic vision a reality.

The hilarious cast of talented improvisers includes Kyle Sweeney, Lance Gilstrap, Chrissy Shackelford, Tim Honker, Maitland Lederer, Jake Millward, Seth Johnson, Nathan Sowell, Daniel Erving, Katie Moore, Steve Moore, Eli Eidson, Drew Wesely, Will Casto, Naomi Perryman, and Calan Lambert

INDY MOVIES: The Filmmaking Misadventures Of Wade Wood shows at 8:30pm every Saturday in August and September, beginning August 3rd and running through September 28th at ColdTowne Theater, except the weekend of Out Of Bounds (8/31).

Tickets for the show may be purchased ahead of time here.

IFL 2013: There’s No Crying In Improv

The thunder is coming, Austin. Saturday nights in July, ColdTowne Theater’s signature Summer shrimp comedy improv event, the Improv Fantasy League, returns for it’s fourth season! Nine teams will enter. Eight will burn.

Since nothing’s more hilarious than people striving to achieve, only to have their hopes and dreams abandoned on a huge pile of skulls (see poster),  we’re combining our love of arbitrary competition into a month of no holds bared, improv comedy death matches.

Our most recent level 6 class has drafted teams made up of students and performers from across Austin. Each week, teams will duke it out for audience approval. At the top of each show, the audience will have the opportunity to bid actual money on free agents for their favorite teams. At the end of each show, the audience will vote for their favorite team who will then move on to the next round.

Tickets for each show are $10 and can be purchased here. Keep reading for full lineups and brackets! Continue Reading

Legendary Improv Format Debuts in Austin

15 of the bravest, most fearless comedy improvisers in Austin, Texas have been assembled to work with Dave Buckman, Cody Dearing and Improv Legend Craig Cackowski in mounting a new run of the legendary long form improv format JTS BROWN at ColdTowne Theater. Collectively, they are known as Arkay.

Developed in Chicago in the summer of 1999 by a legendary cast of improvisors in Chicago with direction from Improv Gurus Mick Napier (Annoyance) and Craig Cackowski (Community, Dasariski), the assembled troupe came together for a nine month rehearsal process to develop JTS BROWN: one of the most challenging, and most freeing, longform improv structures you can learn. Or perhaps “structure” is not the right way to put it: a dreamlike montage of free-flowing scenes that bleed into each other, new edits, new scenes structures and a new paradigm in what is possible in long form. JTS Brown is the ultimate in large ensemble trust and support.

For the last 6 weeks a murderer’s row of Austin Improvisational Talent have been learning and rehearsing with Dave Buckman (The Frank Mills, The Second City) and Cody Dearing (ColdTowne Artistic Director) as well as a special workshop from original JTS Brown Director Craig Cackowski to bring this very special performance piece to Austin audiences at ColdTowne Theater for a Month of Thursdays at 8:30pm in May. Continue Reading

Live BBQ. Delicious Comedy.

A Texas debutante desperate for redemption. Ruthless army wives. The wizened cajun. The hard-partying brothers. Who has what it takes in the categories of chicken, ribs, pork and brisket to take home the coveted Grand Champion title?

Inspired by works such as Christopher Guest’s Best in Show, cult documentary Hands on a Hard Body and Coen brothers whimsy, Braised in Texas is an improvised comedy show that follows a day in the life of competitors, judges and bystanders at a barbecue competition in Central Texas.

The cast includes Arthur Simone, Jericho Thorp, Cortnie Jones, Calan Lambert, Taylor Overstreet, Valerie Ward, Carlos LaRotta, Andrew Buck, Emma Holder, Nicole McCracken, Katie Thornton and John Ratliff as The Narrator.

Braised in Texas shows at 8:30pm every Saturday in May and June, beginning May 4th and running through June 29th at ColdTowne Theater, except the weekend of Sketch Fest.

GET TICKETS HERE.

Austin Sketch Fest Tickets Are LIVE!

Achtung! Austin comedy nerds! Tickets are now live for the 2013 Austin Sketch Fest, Austin’s ONLY festival! We’re hard at work getting our act together, but we can say that without a doubt, this is going to be awesome.

Our early bird passes sold out very quickly. We’re releasing a limited number of ALL-FESTIVAL passes, good for every single one of these amazing shows.

TICKET LINKS:
The Hustle Show, Every Girl’s Annual, Tastemakers
WEDNESDAY, MAY 22nd — 8:00pm
ColdTowne Theater, $7

Austin Comedy Hour, P! Company
WEDNESDAY, MAY 22nd — 10:00pm
ColdTowne Theater, $7

Stag Comedy! There’s Waldo
THURSDAY, MAY 23rd — 8:00pm
Spider House Ballroom, $10

Master Pancake
THURSDAY, MAY 23rd — 10:00pm
Spider House Ballroom, $10

Superego w/ Paul F. Tompkins
2 SHOWS! FRIDAY, MAY 24th — 8:00pm, 10:00pm
Spider House Ballroom — $25

Rabbit Rabbit, Your Terrific Neighbors
SATURDAY, MAY 25th — 7:00pm
Spider House Ballroom — $15

Ennis and Kaye, Supereasy
SATURDAY, MAY 25th — 8:30pm
Spider House Ballroom — $15

Beige, LanceLife
SATURDAY, MAY 25th — 10:00pm
Spider House Ballroom — $15

An Historic Evening w/ Brendan K. O’Grady
SUNDAY, MAY 26th — 7:00pm
Spider House Ballroom — $10

Unsuspectingly Sponsored By, Old Fashioned
SUNDAY, MAY 26th — 8:00pm
Spider House Ballroom — $10

Laugh, Dammit!
SUNDAY, MAY 26th — 10:00pm
Spider House Ballroom — $10

April Fools’ Day Stand Up Comedy Show and Sketch Workshop!

The origins of April Fools day are lost to the fog of history. Cultural precursors of April Fools’ Day include the Roman festival of Hilaria, held March 25, and the Medieval Feast of Fools, held December 28,  which is still a day that pranks are played in Spanish-speaking countries.

Nevertheless, ColdTowne is soldering on and invading the Spiderhouse Ballroom Monday, April 1st for an evening of sketch comedy workshops and stand up comedy shows.

APRIL FOOLS STAND UP
Monday, April 1st, 9:00pm – Til — $2
We’re bringing some of our favorite stand up comedians together for an evening of comedy, conveniently located near the UT campus. Join (FPIA Winner) Ramin Nazer, Lucas Molandez, Kat Ramzinski, Ryan Cownie, and Cody Hustak. Also, there will be amazing sex raps from MC Sex.

DROP IN SKETCH WORKSHOP
Monday, April 1st 6:30-8:30pm
 SIGN UP OR PAY IN ADVANCE HERE.
We will look at the whole spectrum of sketch making, from generating ideas and pitching scenes, to creating viable characters. We will discuss the use of improvisation to generate material, and the importance of a solid running order. We will also examine different styles: what makes them different and what makes them all fundamentally the same.

This will be an ongoing bimonthly drop-in workshop that will meet on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 6:30-8:30pm. It is open to anyone, from the sketch comedy beginner to the sketch pro, to the fan who just wants to learn a little more about the process.

ERIC RUTHERFORD is a seasoned veteran of the sketch comedy and improv world. He has written, performed and directed in Chicago, Los Angeles and Austin. He’s an alumni of the Second City, iO and the Annoyance theaters. He was the director of the acclaimed sketch troupe “Germans”. He currently teaches sketch and performs at ColdTowne Theater.

ATX Sketch Fest Early Bird Passes and Lineup!

Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching, and that means that the 4th annual Austin Sketch Fest is only three months away. We’ve got some more lineup announcements to make, and we’re not going to lie: we’re pretty pumped about these shows.

We’ve already announced our headliners, Superego (w/ special guest Paul F. Tompkins). We’re also excited to be bringing down Ennis & Kaye, Matt Kaye and John Ennis’s (Mr. Show writer/performer) sketch project.

Joining us from NYC is Beige, a UCB Maude Team. (see Video). From Portland, comes self-help guru Lance Life, who’s one man Ted Talk-inspired lectures will change your life.

The Austin Sketch Festival raison d’etre is to bring together the very best of the Austin comedy community. Master PancakeYour Terrific NeighborsStag ComedyTastemakersEvery Girl’s AnnualUnsuspectingly Sponsored ByLaugh DammitAustin Comedy Hour, An Historic Evening w/ Brendan K. ‘Grady and the Hustle Show will all be featured.

As confirmations roll in, we’ll have even more out of town guests and locals to announce. In the meantime, we’re releasing a second round of discounted Early Bird Passes good for all shows (PURCHASE THEM HERE). The first round sold out in minutes, so jump on this!

The Festival will take place at the Spider House Ballroom and at ColdTowne Theater. The full schedule and tickets for individual shows will be released soon.

The Austin Sketch Fest is produced by ColdTowne Theater, Austin’s home for live comedy, featuring more sketch, improv and stand up per square foot than any other venue in Texas.

Thursday Night Camp-In — Improv Comedy!

In March, start your weekend off right by packing up your favorite pillow (in your mind), leaving the big city (of your mind), and checking into ColdTowne’s Thursday Night Camp-Inn – and then ease yourself into a night full of sugary foods (in your body) and high energy improv.

Every Thursday in March at 8:30pm, improv troupes Precious Dads and Journey to the Big Water will greet you in the lobby with snacks and soda before the show. Between their individual sets, PD and JTTBW will join together on stage to get nostalgic with some vintage campfire improv games.

Journey to the Big Water will take you on an improvised camping trip, performing scenes based on intimate stories from around the campfire.

Precious Dads will fire up the ol’ projector and perform improvised scenes based off of YouTube video suggestions provided by the audience.

So come get s’more laughs in March, at 8:30pm on Thursdays. Tickets are $5 for general admission, and will be available to purchase in advance here.

TGIS — 90s Sitcoms Saturdays in March!

Are you experiencing Full House withdrawal? Did the loss of Mr.Cooper leave you feeling helpless and alone? Well, it’s time to dust off those over-sized overalls (with one strap hanging down of course) and hang those WHAM! posters back up because this spring, ColdTowne’s TGIS Lineup is taking over Saturday nights with a double feature of Improvised 90’s Sitcomedy!

Come be a part of a live studio audience at COLDTOWNE STUDIOS for these two back-to-back improvised sitcoms straight out of the 1990’s! Complete with applause sign, canned laughter, and even some special guest cameos, ColdTowne’s TGIS Lineup seeks to honor the spirit of your favorite prime time TV shows from the past.

Each week begins with an entirely new and entirely improvised episode of Boy Greets World, complete with all of the awkward high school growing pains, and the kind of timid teenage love that a Disney-owned network would feel good about piping into suburban living rooms.

 

 

Then stay tuned for an episode of Buddies Austin! Based off of an audience suggestion of “the one where,” the cast and weekly special guests will improvise an all new episode of farcical occurrences and awww-shucksical misunderstandings.

 

This is the fourth season of a show that previously helped launch a scene in Dallas in May of 2010. The newly opened (and still righteous) Dallas Comedy House was the first home of Buddies where instructors of the theater put together a show based on their mutual love of the now-classic sitcoms on the 80’s and 90’s. Cody Dearing spearheaded the efforts, drawing heavily from a late night show called “Guy Friends” he had seen while training at IO in Chicago. “Buddies!” became a long running hit in Dallas that itself inspired spin-offs of the buddy cop and college years variety.

Now living in Austin, Dearing is at it again, this time enlisting the help of Eric Rutherford who previously worked with the cast of Guy Friends Chicago to help shape their show. Dearing is also pairing with director Courtney Sevener to bring her loving homage of a show entitled Boy Greets World to life. BGW tips, nay, gives its hat to the timeless elements of a certain show following a certain curly haired boy and his friends through their adolescence. Ever a lover of all things 90’s, Sevener & Dearing are teaming up to bring audiences a Saturday Night Line-up that will have even those who aren’t at times overwhelmed with nostalgia for the 90’s (or perhaps even appropriately religious) thanking God for Saturday nights.

Join the fun in March & April at ColdTowne Theater, 8:30pm on Saturdays. Tickets are $7 for general admission, and will be available to purchase in advance HERE.

 

ATX Sketch Fest Presents: 24 Hour Austin Sketch Comedy Challenge!

So many things come in groups of 24: two cartons of eggs, twelve pairs of socks, three packs of hotdogs. But hours? Who would string together 24 hours of anything, let alone the hardest part of comedy: writing it.

In a bold move, the brains at Austin’s ColdTowne Theater and the Austin Sketch Festival have devised a way to string together 24 consecutive hours of sketch comedy mayhem. When have this many hours ever been utilized for such a single-minded purpose? If anybody’s done it, we haven’t heard from them. That’s how dangerous it is.

Competitors in the 24-hour Sketch Challenge will meet at the theater on Saturday, February 9th before Sci-Fi Saturdays. At precisely 7:00pm, 5 teams will get a string of suggestions and guidelines to ensure that their show has not been previously written or worked on.

The following evening, February 10th, starting at 6pm, teams will perform their shows. The winner will be determined by a combination of audience votes and judge feedback.

When our enormous 24-hour hourglasses run dry at precisely 6pm on Sunday, February 10th, the Brawl will begin and the victor(s) will be spoiled with naps. The losers will… probably have naps too. Having overcome both space and time, the victors will then commence bragging.

We’ll be celebrating the Austin Sketch Festival — happening this Memorial Day weekend!

THIS SHOW IS PAY WHAT YOU WANT! Keep reading for the full list of competitors and the schedule. You can come for part of or the entire two and a half hour show! Continue Reading

Live Comedy and Bad Romance

Austin comedy stalwarts, ColdTowne Theater wants to make love happen the way God* meant it to – with a game show!

Each Thursday in February ColdTowne will be hosting its own live version of the Dating Game show. We’re taking the classic structure of three suitors vying for the love of a bachelorette and pumping it full of love gunk.

In addition to the bachelorette asking naughty, naughty, “no sir” questions to the suitors, she’ll be forcing them to get gnarly with their nasties and deal with a buncha boner-blockers.

But we also want you to find love**. While watching the show, you might get a lucky chance to pull your piece out and win some other schmuck’s heart. Everyone deserves a warm body and soul to form a mutually monogamous relationship agreement with, right? I’m a robot.

Are you a lonely guy looking for his soul mate? A girl on the rebound who wants to get some strange? A couple looking to get freaky deeky by mixing it up with a third (fourth, fifth, dog)? We’ll try to make it happen. By the power in our nuts and bras, we’ll try to make it happen.

If this show doesn’t result in at least one unplanned pregnancy, we will have failed. If it does, the baby must be named Kanye West.

TICKETS HERE!

*Tyler Perry
**Get your butt touched

Sci Fi Comedy This February!

To celebrate entering into the future year of 2013, ColdTowne Theater is launching the comedy event of the new year with Sci-Fi Saturdays – a double header of improvised comedy with a science fiction twist.

Every Saturday in February the cast of Sci-Fi Saturdays will perform not one but two amazing back to back improv sets based on the infinity of your imagination – Robots, Time Travel, Alien Invasion, Parallel Universes, Artificial Intelligence, Atomic Created Monsters, Black Holes, and much much more!!!

Bring your antennae, there will be moody lighting and a classic Sci-fi video pre-show until showtime. Then Sci-Fi Saturdays launches into orbit when amiable host — the undeniably hilarious J.K. Sweeney — sets the evening’s tone with a short set of hijinks and introductions for our interstellar comedy acts.

Then the “outstanding” begins with two deep-dish sets of conceptually-hearty and physically-demanding improvised long-form comedy from a who’s who of Austin, TX’s best improv comedians.

First up is Super Apocalypse an intense, fun, improvised look at the end of days. Watch as humanity finds its footing amiss a crumbling society, epic monsters, and a technology which they don’t yet understand.

Then prepare for Star Force – an improvised space adventure show pulled straight from your television box. Join the captain and his crew of intergalactic riff-raff as they travel through time and space exploring the cosmos, discovering new uncharted worlds and meeting new and bizarre civilizations. Set phasers to Comedy Gold!!!

In an improvised world, where anything can happen – Science fiction reigns supreme.

SUPEREGO w/ Paul F. Tompkins Headlines Austin Sketch Fest!

Achtung! Austin comedy nerds! We are excited to announce that our favorite podcast, SUPEREGO, will be headlining the Austin Sketch Fest this Memorial Day weekend w/ special guest Paul F. Tompkins.

We’re still working booking acts and completing the schedule for the Festival, which will take place Memorial Day Weekend. In the meantime, there are a limited number of early-bird all access FESTIVAL PASSES available that include tickets to the SUPEREGO show. Get them here.

If you’re interested coming to Austin to perform for the 2013 Austin Sketch Fest over Memorial Day Weekend – May 22nd through May 27th – follow this link. Deadline is February 1st ($15 payable via Paypal). If you have any questions, you can email us at info@atxsketchfest.com.

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The 2013 ColdTowne Mainstage Season!

According to the Mayan Calendar, the Austin comedy world is going to end in a few short days. We decided to use this opportunity to announce ambitious plans for 2013, because we won’t end up actually having to follow through on any of this. It’s the perfect crime! We look good. The world ends. And then we don’t actually have to put in any work to entertain you.

You can buy tickets for these shows in advance, or if you’re feeling lucky you can purchase a 2013 GOLDEN TICKET, which puts you on a special list to get into any show all year long. GOLDEN TICKET holders can show up to any regular show all year long and get VIP treatment (a bag of delicious popcorn).* GOLDEN TICKETS stop going on sale January 15th, and there’s a limited number.

ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s only entertainment option, with improv, sketch and stand up shows seven nights a week, featuring local Emmy award wining talent, the hardest working moms in show business.

More below the cut… Continue Reading

Comedy Classes — The Best Laziest Gift That Keeps On Giving

Are you in Austin? Are you looking for a fun and unique gift to give your loved one this year? Too lazy to go to the mall? Might we suggest giving the gift of improv comedy?

Improv and sketch classes change lives. It’s also ridiculously easy. All you have to do is REGISTER FOR CLASSES. Include a note or contact the conservatory. Let us know who the gift is for. If you sign up before DECEMBER 18th, we’ll print up a nice little certificate suitable for  unwrapping.

Some of our most talented performers were pimped into this by a family member for a birthday/holiday! And nothing says “holiday” like forcing a loved one out of their comfort zone.

The ColdTowne Conservatory is Austin’s premier long form improv and sketch comedy training center. In fact, we’re so confident in ourselves that we’re offering you a money back guarantee. If you don’t have fun in our level 1 classes, we’ll refund your money with no questions asked.
Whether you’re an aspiring comedian or just looking for something new and wildly entertaining to do, our classes will help. You will boost your confidence, improve your public speaking, increase your spontaneity, and foster your creativity.

November Workshops! Winter Classes!

Austin! The holidays are just around the corner, and that means that it’s time for winter improv comedy classes! You’re about to be hit by a deluge of ads trying to separate you from your hard earned money. Consider this the first such ad.

We’ve just set the schedule for our winter session of classes. Might we suggest that improv and sketch classes make a fantastic gift? Not to sound creepy, but improv changes lives. If you want to read more about it, you can go here. Or, if you just want to skip ahead and register, click here.

In the meantime, we’re excited to be bringing our good friend and stalwart of the national improv scene, Bill Binder, to do some workshops in November!

Higher Forms of Agreement
Saturday, November 17th (3:15-5:15)
REGISTER HERE
Saying “Yes and” is more than agreement to the facts of the scene. True support relies on saying yes to every level of the scene. Making the leap to great shows requires going beyond simple listening skills and learning to be aware of all the spoken and unspoken gifts all around you. This workshop teaches ways to listen beyond the spoken word, to truly support your partner and the scene even if it means uttering the forbidden word “no”.

The Math of Improv
Saturday, November 17th (5:30-7:30)
REGISTER HERE
Left-brained thinking is great for analytical, logical, critical thinking. But it can also be a bit judgmental, which is why beginning performers turn it off for a while so they can learn to embrace the imaginative, creative parts of their brains without self-doubt. Once that creative part of the brain learns to thrive, however, most of us never allow the left brain to come out to play. That’s only playing with half the tools available to you. Improv – like any art – is filled with beautiful patterns and symmetries; volume, stage position, and status – they’re all variables which can be toyed with in a beautiful equation. This workshop teaches players not to be ashamed of their analytical gifts, but to learn how to apply them in all of their work to build stronger more cohesive shows.

Bill Binder began performing in Michigan in 1994 where he performed for six years before moving to Phoenix, AZ. Bill helped organize the first Phoenix Improv Festival in 2002, spent two years training at iO West in Los Angeles and was one of the founding members of The Torch Theatre.

ColdTowne Theater Invades the State Theatre This Friday Night!

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. This FRIDAY NIGHT at the STATE THEATRE, 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 playing around with the classic shit show The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. Get your tickets for this show here.

Classes Start Next Week! Advanced Improv w/ Dave Buckman!

Our final session of 2012 is starting next week! Now’s your chance to get in on Austin’s most popular improv classes before the world ends.

Our instructors have decades of professional comedy experience — touring and working with some of the biggest comedy institutions in the world — and have trained hundreds of Austin’s best improv talent. One of them was even voted BEST IMPROV INSTRUCTOR by the Austin Chronicle.

If that isn’t enough for you, this session we’re offering a money back guarantee. If you don’t love your class and have a great time, we’ll write you a damned refund check. Read more about our classes or just go ahead and register. Our classes always sell out, and there are limited spaces remaining!

This session, the unimpeachable Dave Buckman is offering up his graduate-level improv class! Keep reading, yeoman!

ADVANCED IMPROV WORKSHOP w/ DAVE BUCKMAN
TUESDAYS 6-8p AND SATURDAYS 1p-3p
(Starts November 17th)
$100/4 classes or $200/8 classes
REGISTER FOR 4 CLASSES
REGISTER FOR 8 CLASSES

Description: You may have noticed, kind improviser, there are a significant number of improvisers in town these days. Many experienced upper level of performers don’t have opportunities to take workshops or get notes any more. This may be you. You are in a rut and haven’t felt like you have had a “good show” in months.

This class is specifically designed for experienced improvisers, graduates of Austin’s Improv Training Centers and Improv instructors. Take an honest and supportive look at your own scene work, get some good feedback and receive notes that are fair and honest, try out some new exercises and leave you feeling re-energized, focused and proud of your scene work.

You’ll see a leap in your performance abilities and tour confidence that first month; Step up your game. Hone your craft. Play with people with different levels and backgrounds with the common goal of getting better and doing something you love.

This 4 week Intensive is designed to Strengthen the skills needed by the participants of the class.

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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

Live Storytelling with Austin’s Funniest!

The Mission is a playful project in storytelling at ColdTowne Theater. Centered around a monthly theme, two performers from Austin’s wide community of talented artists will each share an autobiographical piece, while a variety of other storytelling forms are experimented with throughout.

This month’s theme is Sophomore Effort and features performances from Kristen Henn, Joe Hafkey, Bob Khosravi along side slam poet Isaac Harigle, musical guest Duncan Carson and expressionist Adam Shumate!

red envelope Comedy Variety Show Premier!

Red envelope is a monthly choose your own comedy adventure variety show where audience votes determine the course of the show. We hand pick the finest and funniest Austin performers and have them do, well, whatever you want! Performances are the first Thursday of every month at 10 PM at ColdTowne Theater. Red envelope is hosted by Courtney Sevener & Elizabeth Osterwisch.

This month is the pilot episode! Be a part of history by witnessing: Bad Boys wrecking shop with sketch or stand up (totes up to you), the Nesting Dolls murdering improv, and many more surprises!

Fall Classes and Workshops!

What do actors, comedians, musicians, lawyers, software engineers and soccer moms have in common? They’ve all taken our comedy improv classes and can be seen headlining improv shows all over Austin and around the country.

If Austin were the Star Wars universe, ColdTowne Theater would be the Jedi Academy. Except we have more than one Yoda. Also, for this metaphor to work we’d have to assume that improvisers have the force.

In any case, our instructors have taught and directed shows at the country’s biggest comedy institutions and one of them was named Austin’s Best Improv Teacher by the Chronicle.

Read more about our classes here. Or just skip right ahead and register. Or, if you’re an experienced improviser, just keep on reading to learn about our upcoming Master classes and workshops!

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#IFL2012!

Mom’s apple pie. The Lincoln Memorial. Making out. None of these things are nearly as quintessentially American as a good old fashioned football. The old gridiron. The pigskin. Two teams of hot sinewy dudes matching wits on a field of battle. And nothing’s more quintessentially hilarious than people fantasizing about playing football.

With that in mind, Austin’s ColdTowne Theater has decided to combine it’s love of sports, arbitrary competition and hilarity into a month of football-style improv comedy competition, replete with drafts, free agents, referees and tailgating.

For the first three Friday nights in August at 8:30pm, three teams made up of ColdTowne Theater performers and students will compete to advance in a tournament style competition. At the top of each show, the audience will have the opportunity to bid actual money on free agents for their favorite teams. At the end of each show, the audience will vote for their favorite team who will then move on to the next round. The semi finals and finals will happen on August 18th, and will be followed by a ticker tape parade. (We’re not kidding.)

Preliminary Round 1 Tickets
Preliminary Round 2 Tickets
Preliminary Round 3 Tickets
Semi-final Round 1 Tickets
Semi-final Round 2 Tickets
IFL FINAL Tickets

SOLID GOLD HUSTLE

ColdTowne Theater’s smash hit comedy variety show, is coming back for a month-long victory lap. Every Saturday in July at 8:30 PM, The Hustle Show will perform a solid hour of their very best material. This ain’t the weak shit, son.

Brought to you by the finest gathering of Austin’s comedic minds this side of I-35, the Hustle Show cast features ColdTowne veterans, FPIA finalists, and members of Stag Comedy, Mascot Wedding, and Your Terrific Neighbors. Expect interpretive boogying, southern millionaires, the afterlife, and more. Come for the sweet laffs, stay because you’re too embarrassed to stand-up. I see you.

Featuring: Courtney Sevener, Jeff Whitaker, Curtis Luciani (July 21 & 28), Scott Raney, Tre Fuentes, Ann Potter, and Ximena Estrada. Hosted by Mac Blake and David Jara.

Tickets:
Saturday, July 7th at 8:30pm
Saturday, July 14th at 8:30pm
Saturday, July 21st at 8:30pm
Saturday, July 28th at 8:30pm

ATX Sketch Fest — All Fest Passes Added!

We are three weeks and a day out from Austin’s ONLY Festival — The ATX Sketch Fest! We’ve released a very limited number of All Fest Passes to the event, good for any shows save Paul F. Tompkins Crying & Driving Tour . Good news, however, because it’s entirely possible to purchase pass upgrades with tickets to the Paul F. Tompkins Shows!

The festival kicks off at ColdTowne Theater on May 23rd, with performances from the Encyclopedia Show, the Hustle Show and There’s Waldo. We continue May 24th and 25th at the Hyde Park Theatre with shows from the P! Company, Spirit Desire, Stag!, Ghetto Sketch Warlock, One Across, Astronaut Theatre (NYC), and Fantasy Sex Picnic (LA).

The weekend will be capped off at the 29th Street Ballroom with two performances from Paul F. Tompkins and a special appearance by last year’s festival darlings, LA’s Delicious Moments and Austin’s own Your Terrific Neighbors.

Buy Passes and Tickets

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Saturdays in May! Mike and Irene and Miller and Purselley!

If the creative history of the 20th century has taught us anything, it’s that great ensembles come in groups of four. Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Laverne, Shirley, Lenny and Squiggy.

ColdTowne Theater is continuing that tradition in May. Two improv comedy duos are teaming up every Saturday night at 8:30 to bring you half hour long manic tableaux of characters and absurd situations that have never been seen before and will likely never be seen again. It’s ColdTowne, so anything can happen.

Mike and Irene (Michael Jastroch and Irene White) are two veteran improvisers who have appeared in countless sitcoms and movies. More accurately, Irene has appeared in countless sitcoms and movies and Mike was in a commercial once. Mike and Irene perform character driven improvised comedy pieces, focusing on the absurdity of small moments, and the banality of the big ones.

Miller and Purselley (Nat Miller and Pierce Purselley) is a two person improv group that looks to tell a story. They explore the narratives of everyday life, concentrating on the intricacies and nuance of grounded characters and the truth of those lives in the moment. They seek the story that’s already happening on stage and follow it.

Sketch Night at the Drafthouse!

It’s no secret the Austin comedy scene is blowing up. Like awaken-a-sleeping- monster-with-atomic-breath-blowing-up. Like buy-stock-in-it-now-and-then-retire-in-3-years blowing up. Like you-don’t-need-a-third-example-because-you-get-it blowing up.

The proof is in the pudding and you can find a ton of that delicious pudding* at the Third Annual Austin Sketch Fest, a four-day festival bringing you the best in local and national sketch comedy this Memorial Day weekend. Want a preview? On April 22, come to the Alamo Ritz for a one-night only sneak peak. Austin Sketch Fest and ColdTowne Theater bring you Sketch Comedy Night at the Alamo. One stage. Multiple groups.

Featuring
Stag Comedy
Your Terrific Neighbors
Beef and Sage
P! Company
There’s Waldo
Spirit Desire
Ghetto Sketch Warlock
Hot Property

*No actual pudding, unless you’re a baby about it, in which case I’ll get you some pudding.

Fall Cage Match Schedule Announced!

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

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

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

ColdTowne Theater During Out Of Bounds!

The Out of Bounds Comedy Fest is nigh! In just about seven days, 500 comedians from across the country will begin flocking to Austin to participate in the largest comedy festival in the south. From August 31st to September 5th, seven different venues will host improv, stand up and sketch comedy shows from New York, LA, Chicago, Canada and right here in Austin, TX!

Once again, ColdTowne Theater is participating by opening our doors for the third annual Out of Bounds ColdTowne Marathon! $10 – $12 gets you in for as much comedy as you can stand Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Tickets will be available at the door. Come early and stay all night! As always, we are BYOB!

Keep reading to find out when you’re favorite ColdTowne Theater troupes and performers are playing in Out of Bounds… Continue Reading

IFL Week 1 Recap, One Week Late!

Week 1 of the 43rd year of IFL had was a hard fought battle fought with bits. Bits welded by Goths, Yuppies and the elderly who try to keep trim by walking indoors.

During free agency at the top of the show, The Highland Mall Walkers and their supporters outbid the Greenbelt Gentrifieds and 66Sixth Street for the services of improv veteran and  Your Terrific Neighbors ensemble member, Curtis Luciani. The second deepest set of pockets belonged to the sullen cast of 66Sixth Street (and their parents), who successfully bid for the services of improv veteran/beagle mix Robin Goodfellow. Though the Greenbelt Gentrifieds added to their bid with a cold bottle of Shiner, too much of their liquid cash had been spent on sub-zero refrigerators and hybrid vehicles in their up-and-coming neighborhood, so they were saddled with mystery guest/Improv Royale cast member/former professional wrestler, Psycho Billy. Continue Reading

Mainstage Sketch Show Has a Name, September Debut!

Murderers and con artists. White collar fraud and suicide bombers. Bernie Madoff and Rupert Murdoch. There’s a crime wave sweeping the nation, and it has absolutely nothing to do with any of those things.

The real crimes against humanity are being perpetrated every day by the very people that birthed you. Your parents are guilty of turning you into a neurotic, self-obsessed basket case with commitment issues, and you will do the same to your kids in a never ending mobious strip of dysfunction. Never fear! ColdTowne Theater is on the case.

After School Special Victims Unit blends the manic, primary-colors of children’s programing with existential sadness of parenthood to create a comedic blend of sketch comedy, music and satiric nihilism. Featuring a kids show written by phobic parents, grossly inappropriate puppets and more terrible career advice than you can shake a stick at, After School Special Victims Unit promises at least several uncomfortable moments with your mother and father. Continue Reading

The Radio Smoking Jacket Comedy Hour debuts Thursday, August 18th!

Greetings and salutations, stout yeomen and consumers of infotainment! In bold defiance of scripture, ColdTowne Theater and McCormick Lint Seed Oils proudly present a gluttonous buffet of comedy bits, recorded live for the slothful pleasures of the housebound and the lustful indulgences of widows! (Also: wrath! envy! greed!)

Each month, The Radio Smoking Jacket Comedy Hour will present a full hour of comedy sketches, comedy jokes, and comedy comedy along side interviews and musicians of local and world (but mostly local) renown. Huzzah!

This month’s special guests include sketch comedians Your Terrific Neighbors, Bryan “Lubu” Roberts, and stand up extraordinaire Ramin Nazer!
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Yo, Austin! Fall Comedy Preview at ColdTowne

Hey guys, now’s as good a time as any to go ahead and formally announce some big-time schedule changes happening at ColdTowne Theater. Austin comedy nerds rejoice! We’re moving to seven nights a week of live comedy as well as offering a broader range of special events and runs of shows with better production values. We’re also using this opportunity to institute a PAY WHAT YOU WANT pricing structure for our off night shows.

Don’t panic! You can totally get in for free if you’re super broke and we totally won’t guilt you or anything. Asking for a dollar or two from the people who can afford it will enable us to produce better shows and more of them!

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Bad Boys Present: Sin

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

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