I’ve been watching and covering improv troupes for many a long day, but AH, OK, is the first one I’ve known to use a morning show as their angle (a show called Good Morning Tonight), and that’s awesome. I also knew going in that the duo of AH, OK, Adam Fullerton and Heather McKinney are also awesome having covered them as part of Watermelon.
Speaking of awesome, I got Enyclopedia Moronica on the virtual horn to answer AH, OK’s questions. They also have a one-of-a-kind to them format, which you might recall from my piece on them. It was one of the most enjoyable practices I’ve crashed so far.
Here’s what they had to say.
AH, OK: How did you settle on your format? Did you try different ones first?
ENYCLOPEDIA MORONICA: Our first format was to take a historical moment and show what “Really happened”. While a super-fun idea that I would love to do, what ended up happening was that we became so fixated on telling a historical tale that we lost sight of all of the things that makes improv fun. We spent a lot of time talking about our vision for the troupe and how we can pull fun ideas from history and still make them fun for both improviser and audience. We realized we needed to be looser in our historical associations to have fun scenes, so we worked together to come up with our “Professor” format. I think it’s really important to have a vision for what you want to accomplish with your troupe, and to do things organically and as a group.
AO: What are your pre-show routines/rituals?
EM: The most important thing before a show is to start laughing and build our energy and comradeship so we hit the ground running. We’re constantly talking and joking while warming up. Our final warm-up staple is doing historical mind-melds, and getting into a shared mental space. We also like to get out as much of our sexual humor as we can so we can do something more creative during the show.
AO: What was your worst show? What made it so bad?
EM: It’s hard to say what show was the “worst” after over 2 ½ years, but we know why our shows were often rocky in the beginning. Our worst moments always come because we get too in our heads (largely about history), trying to come up with a clever historical tie-in that we lose sight of all of the spontaneity and fun that comes out of improv. Our best shows are when we get out of our head and have fun with each other.
AO: You form together like Ultron/MegaZord. What body part is everyone?
Ryan is the backbone who spawned the rest of the parts and the person who provides the foundation of historical knowledge that each show relies on. Sean is the brain who thinks of clever subjects to address and smart ways to attack them. Dawn is the heart because she builds relationships in scenes and brings real emotion to everything we do. Drew is the arms because he has a wonderful range of motion and often swings for the fences. Glenn is the feet because he is the one that will move a show forward with an initiation or bring things full circle with a callback. Kyle is the eyes because he watches scenes looking for the one thing that scenes need. Paul is the secret weapon, the Adamantium claws, whose razor wit slays audiences and foes alike. They are summoned by opening a mysterious history book and assembled by a figure only known as the Professor.
AO: What is your strategy in an intra-troupe fight to the death?
EM: Form up into a Macedonian Phalanx, keeping my flanks flexible to avoid cavalry encirclements.
You can catch AH, OK next 11/9 at 8P when they do battle in the their King Of The Year quarterfinal. Enyclopedia Moronica is up next two days after that on Saturday, 11/11 at 7:30P.
Kevin Beane graduated from the DCH improv program in 2016 and is in the DCH troupe Preschool Fight Club. He also cohosts Quizprov, with occasional DCH shows, and performs in the Dallas-area troupe Autocomplete.He likes sports, eating, sleeping, board games, poker, euchre, and procrastinating. He hails from Akron, Ohio.