“To thine own self be true!” Shakespeare wrote it and our Kevin McShane is testing its limits. On the website Cartoon Kevin you can find one picture of Kevin and one HUNDRED interpretive drawings of that picture. Each one is an homage to a great animator and yet each one remains Kevin’s… own self. It’s true!
Here I am with the lovely Danielle Weeks challenging cupcakes to a taste test against fiber cereal…
When I was a kid I used to hallucinate bugs in the bed. My mom would come into my room and I’d have torn everything off the bed down to the mattress, insisting there were bugs in the bed. I must have known this would happen some day; Last night I saw a huge roach in our bedroom. We stared each other down for a split second and I thought, “Slipper! Sneaker! Saucepan!” In my moment of incoherent hesitation it ran under the bedside table. I tried trapping it there but somehow it got out. I knew it had to have gone under the bed so I started taking everything out. (It’s totally packed with under-the-bed-storage boxes.) I saw him, he ran, I lost him. I got everything out from under the bed and he was nowhere. I shone the flashlight under everything.
My husband and I live with our baby in a one bedroom apartment. The baby, I should mention, slept soundly through everything, including my 20 minutes of stage-whispering on all fours, “you mother f**ker! I’m gonna kill you mother f**ker! You piece of s**t, where are you?”
I’m a good mom.
So now there was a roach in the room with us and the baby. My plan was to never sleep again.
I eventually talked myself down enough to go to bed but soon realized I’d forgotten to take my vitamins. I got up, shining my cell as a flashlight and there he was, running towards the changing table! I yelled, “YES!” Threw my under-the-bed storage box of christmas ornaments on him, went to get the cast iron pot (to overturn on him so my husband could kill him later of course), and when I got back and lifted the box of ornaments? GONE. He was back under the bed. So I just sat there waiting for him to come out again. Holding the pot. In my glider. It’s actually Johnny A’s glider. He and his lovely wife, Natasha, were kind enough to lend us theirs when we had a baby.
As I waited I wrote a panicked email to my Trophy Wives (wouldn’t you?) and the response I got from Johnny A was one for the books. Well, the blogs:
Let me know where and when I should report to jump that roach in the dark and beat him.
When Michael was a few months old, I woke up one morning and told Natasha about a dream I had had that night. There was a cockroach in Michael’s bassinette. I grabbed it with my bare hand and smashed it against the wall. I dragged my hand down the wall until the roach was obliterated. Then I went back to bed (without washing my hand!).
Natasha response? That wasn’t a dream.
USS Rock N Roll and Trophy Wife have teamed up to bring you a power hour of comedy. We call it the Wednesday Night Improv Experience and it’s been going strong since January. In addition to our fabulous Trophy Wife podcast, our shows are now STREAMING LIVE every Wednesday at 9 (pst) from www.improvexperience.com
Our first promotional material, you may recall, was a poster, which proclaimed, “Admit it. Your nipples just got hard.” Now, we don’t like to get pigeonholed when it comes to promotional material. So here’s a little something from the opposite end of the spectrum: Cute dogs! Who, let’s admit, probably have hard nipples.
The following is a lovely blog posted by Derek Miller on 07/29/10
I have never felt compelled to write about specific Improv shows. Perhaps because of its ephemeral nature or maybe because I feel like it’s an individual experience, as no two people will ever see it the same. My 17 years of witnessing stand-out shows will never translate to anyone but myself (believe me, I’ve tried) and I try to teach with the same prejudice, what you think is funny or topical is REAL… to you… but, through emotion, can be ciphered to even the most daft audience…
That said, I think the good fight was fought tonight in terms of creating improv from whence we came— perhaps without the improvisers’ cognizance… which is when this stuff gets really unapproachable to other art.
Though the members of Trophy Wife (in confidence) shrugged off as a “preamble” to DHT’s final show— they quite adeptly managed to put up a biting satire of America’s love affair with media. To open the show they graced the capacity crowd with promotional items from the soon to be released “Dinner With Schmucks.” How and why this occurred was a mystery to me and I was glad I didn’t know why (as I pull the “DFS” bottle opener from my pocket). They handed the gifts out with equal parts glee and disdain, which unknowingly(?) served as half their opening.
Their delicious take on the venerable “cocktail party” opening birthed sharp characters and a pace that is enviable by the taught-est of improvisers. Zabeth’s Grandmother’s love of the telly tubbies was an excellent companion to Kevin’s Doctor who had been so MOVED by the American remake of Dinner for Schmucks he couldn’t “perform” surgery or get to Thanksgiving on time. His heavy-handed-unabashed love for this yet-to-be-released yet still vital part of pop-culture was as much a fuck you as it was a necessary evil. The entire cast worked seamlessly to “stick it to the man” whilst nodding to us that there is something bigger here that we have to (even begrudgingly) respect.
Which was… A PERFECT MATCH to DHT’s final show…
I wish I could to speak to DHT’s storied 6 year history with authority, but I can’t. I have seen them in many incarnations over the years and I (much like the current cast) couldn’t give you a precise rundown of their evolution. Notwithstanding, their ire for being pre-maturely cut from iOWest’s mainstage roster was the suggestion— though the audience suggestion “forever” was ironically implemented, the vindication of their ousting was never far from reach.
DHT opened the show with a heartfelt slideshow which spoke to every actor in the audience who performs “for love of the game” and more importantly, the people they share the stage with. The video warranted an outpouring of audience support (I was told to please keep it down by Herb) and rightfully so. When can you ever start a show with that level of empathy? But it wasn’t needed. This show was to be grand and it was played as such.
The show struck an early uncomfortably note when the Elephant in the Room was quickly brought to light in the embodiment of the “faceless man”— who was in charge of time and was erasing this group from existence…DHT had a moment of apprehension (not to bite the hand that feeds?) but quickly adopted the entity as a beautiful critique of the theatre’s decision to make them obsolete. Their own personal fears and in-group obligations were gently masked to cover this bitter pill.
The first three scenes of the show was subtle nods to “corporations” and “higher ups” making impenetrable decisions. It was well crafted but smacked of disdain…which was precisely executed and never felt pushed or acerbic. Overall it was a gracefull release…and at the end even singing their way angelically out of danger.
Despite a missed light cue to hit a shaper ending, they plugged away compounding their frustration into something uncomfortable and real. Making this farewell a show to be talked about for years to come. It’s late and I could be more specific but this was an excellent hour of Improv.
I said a lot of things tonight which could be perceived as naive, like “Del would be proud”…. but honestly, this art form was always presented to me as a revolution and anti-authority and you can’t get more anti-authority than sarcastically promoting the summer’s biggest comedy (with one of Improv’s biggest alums) and then blatantly criticizing the theatre that bore you.
I was proud of this night and I really think this is important. We live in tenuous times, the internet threatens the death of cogent journalism – we are loosing the truth. It’s time to be angry. So many of my students loose their zeal by the time they hit levels 6 or 7. But that is the opposite reaction. We need to bite harder as we become better improvisers.
Improv has bloomed into a business, guys, it’s not a revolution, and the stupidist/best thing I said tonight as I left was “This is the diving board…not the pool” And don’t get me wrong…it’s a beautiful board.
Thank you all for an amazing night and reminding me why I should love this as much as I do.
This Wednesday is a very special Trophy Wife show. Nobody’s going to prison or admitting to addiction or meeting a long lost sibling. But we ARE being sponsored by Paramount Pictures (read: free movie swag!) to do a Dinner For Schmucks show.
Come on down to the iOWest on Wednesday night at 9. You could win lots of cool prizes like a Dinner for Schmucks hat or even FREE PASSES TO SEE THE MOVIE AT THE ARCLIGHT THE NEXT NIGHT!!! WHAT??? See you there!
The lovely and adorable Kellog Crew from 94.7 WMAS interviewed me and Brian Huskey about our Swagger Wagon rap video. Take a listen:
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