[Photo Credit: Kaspars Skels]
Cancel your plans for Saturday! CANCEL THEM. Party Already In Progress is set to debut at the Dallas Comedy House and you’re not going to want to miss it. The show is a sequel to their 2016 sketch revue The Wrong Party and this installment will, among many other things, forever change the way you think about a certain McDonald’s commercial. I sat down, aka I corresponded over email, with Julia Cotton, Paulos Feerow, Jade Smith and De De Theriot to find out just how this wonderful production came together (Editor’s Note: The fantastic Nick Fields is also in this show, but I did not receive his responses before press.).
Creating a sketch show is an emotional rollercoaster. How are you feeling right now?
Julia Cotton (JC): Mostly just very ready to do the show. I am both anxious and exhausted, but that is also typically just my constant state of being.
Jade Smith (JS): I’m good! I’m excited for everyone to see this show. I could use a nap though. At any given moment, I’m probably tired. I'm envious of Kevin Gates' sleep habits, or lack thereof.
Paulos Feerow (PF): The same way I feel about every sketch show I've been apart of, "Can we just be at the end?" I mainly want to know where it ends up.
De De Theriot (DDT): Terrified but cautiously optimistic. I’ve never done sketch or a lot of collaborative writing before so this was a crash course for me. I just hope the crowd enjoys it and gets where we’re coming from. Stand-up and satirical prose (which I’m more used to) are worlds apart from group sketch writing. So I’m glad I was able to get such a golden opportunity to be a part of a sketch group of DCH instructors who all are so good at what they do. I guess I feel lucky af right now.
Nick Fields (NF):
This is the second show created by FCC. Can you provide a background of how the group came to be?
JC: Paulos came up to me after he, Jade and Jerrell had been talking about creating an all black troupe. I invited everyone to my house to have dinner, and we just talked and laughed for hours about things that we never said out loud to other people that we'd been doing comedy with. It was a wonderful release and a bonding experience that I'll never forget.
This show is titled Party Already In Progress. Why did you settle on that name for this show?
JS: The title encompasses a feeling we’ve all faced. It’s hard to describe, but I’m going to attempt to: It’s like when the “media” (i.e. the Today Show and Good Morning America) discovered what twerking was and thought Miley Cyrus was its originator (lololololol). BUT IN REALITY, twerking had BEEN a thing for a while, but people outside the community didn’t know about it. Just because a thing is new to you, doesn’t mean it’s new. Sometimes you’re joining --- a party already in progress. (jafeeeeel?)
JC: So, our first show was The Wrong Party which was sort of built to the theme of feeling out of place and trying to find your place. With Party Already in Progress, the idea is that we are at the "party" and made a place for ourselves, but are now questioning why we wanted to be at the party so much in the first place.
Oftentimes when a group creates two shows, there is an expectation that they will create a third to make the series into a trilogy. Without having created this hypothetical third show, what would you title it? (Editor’s Note: I’m asking this question so I can print a poster and will this show into existence.)
JC: It is not so “hypothetical” my friend, as we already have some material and direction for a third show. We do have a title that I won't share just yet, but it's probably safe to assume that "party" is somewhere in the title.
DDT: So there kinda is a 3rd show “already in progress”. We wrote so much awesome stuff for this show that we had plenty for a third. If I had to give it a name it would be “A Party Most Fowl” (spelled “fowl” as a pun of course) as it’s shaping up to be way more over the top and absurd than previous revues. I can’t wait to see how it takes shape.
JS: Who TOLD you? You read our collective minds. We do have a third show in the works! If I had it my way, it’d be called Paw-ty Time and we’d add dogs to the cast. But APPARENTLY, I dream too big.
NF: I’m not gonna say anything about our third show!
FCC has undergone some casting adjustments since The Wrong Party. How has the loss of Jerrell “Hollywood” Curry and the additions of Nick Fields and De De Theriot affected the creative process?
JC: There is no replacing the hot sauce that Jerrell brings to the table. However, if you're gonna try, finding two very quick-witted, very unique stand-up comedy voices is probably the best way to go. De De brings a rawness that adds a level to the group that we didn't have before. She is also the one to suggest that we bring in Nick, who I did not know at all. At the first rehearsal he showed up to he made one of the best most ridiculous puns (that is definitely in the show now) and I couldn't believe we didn't have him in the group already. This show is definitely deeper and stronger than it would have been if we didn't have them both.
JS: The beauty of working with a cast with different comedic backgrounds is having different voices. In our second show, we also call ourselves out on our BS and turn the lens back on ourselves and expose some of our own vulnerabilities as a community in the process.
PF: Jerrell is still very much apart of this although he unfortunately isn't going to be performing w/ us. I've always loved DDT as a comic and a person and she was a natural fit. Nick and I didn't know each other but I always enjoyed his comedic presence and he's a joy to work with. He and I are coming out w/ a mixtape.
Not to give too much away, but Party Already In Progress mines a lot of hilarious material from a certain McDonald’s commercial from the 90s. How did you focus in on that specific ad?JC: It is an ad that was very prominent in our communities in the 90s and the content of the ad is pretty ridiculous to all of us. The direction of our entire show changed completely after a random tangent conversation about a McDonald's commercial.
DDT: We were going a completely different route with our running sketch but we had a “moment” just riffing and it snowballed into this really funny incredibly layered, reference heavy narrative.
These sorts of shows evolve significantly through their development. What was your favorite joke/character/scene that you had to cut along the way?
JS: THE CHICKENS.
PF: A lot of stuff that was "cut", will probably resurface in another project. But there is was this reference to Kafka.... *Julia motions to shut up* I am being told that I have already said too much.
DDT: Man… we had so many. I think my favorite sketch that we dropped was one that Jade came up with that was a parody of Skip & Shannon Undisputed where all the panelists had terrible lisps. So it was Shannon Sharpe, Michael Strahan, Daffy Duck, an actual snake and a dude who’d just been stung in the mouth by bees. Naturally during the discourse comic hilarity ensued. When we did the table read and we all had to imitate the characters’ voices, I was inconsolable.
NF: My interview answers.
Describe your show in one word.Creating a sketch show is an emotional rollercoaster. How are you feeling right now?
JS: Fearless. 🔥🔥🔥 (you didn’t say anything about using emojis)
Party In Progress opens this Saturday at 8. For information about this or any other show at DCH, please visit www.dallascomedyhouse.com.