In watching troupes I was previously unfamiliar with, there’s two surprises I find more pleasant than others: when someone makes a Garfield reference (that cat sure loves lasagna and hates Mondays!), and when performers I admire team up unbeknownst to me.
That is definitely the case for Hot Swap. I mean, check out this lineup: Greg Smith! Paco Giurfa! Jay Jacoby! Melanie Gotz! Emily Gee! Shayne Philibert! Billy Dechert! Brittany Mason!
That has the makings of a super group sort of like, well, the 1995 Chicago Bulls. Hey, look at that! That’s who Hot Swap had questions for! The 1995 Chicago Bulls, as if you didn’t know, are Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, ... Jason Hensel, Ryan Goldsberry, Jua Holt, Andrew Plock, Jon Patrick, and Cesar Villa.
Special shout-out to them for submitting their questions and answers in a motherlovin’ spreadsheet, making things super easy for me. Onto the copy and pasting!
Hot Swap: If you were a flavor, what would the flavor be?
Jua: Golden Oreo.
Ryan: A pickled carrot (also, one of my picks for a top 5 all-time sandwich topping).
Hot Swap: What is the biggest struggle you have being in such a format driven troupe?
Jua: Remembering the combinations and knowing that I need to edit the scene but not having an idea for a scene to go to.
Cesar: With our specific format, no tap outs or walk-ons. We get around it a little with side support, but it’s weird to me when the side support doesn’t come early in the scene.
Jason: My biggest struggle is finding new ways to initiate a variety of scenes with strong emotion and character traits so that they easily stand out from the other scenes. If they stand out, it makes them easier to jump back into later.
JP: It feels like a different “type” of improv. I go through phases where I feel like I haven’t done normal improv in ages and have gotten awful at it.
Hot Swap: Who touches the most butts?
Jason: We respect each other’s personal boundaries and refrain from any inappropriate touching.
Ryan: We respect each other’s personal boundaries and refrain from any inappropriate touching.
Jua: Jason? He at least talks about it the most. Also, we respect each other’s personal boundaries and refrain from any inappropriate touching.
JP: Plock is a butt’s rights activist.
Hot Swap: Then specifically for whoever touches the most butts, who's is the most firm?
Cesar: Cesar probably.
Jason: I wouldn’t know, because I respect everyone’s personal boundaries and refrain from any inappropriate touching.
Ryan: The gummy bears’.
Plock: I think Jon Patrick’s is a law firm?
JP: All of our butts will be flabby once the robots take all the jobs.
Hot Swap: What are the most effective ways to create distinct scenes in a show?
Cesar: Discovering a personal connection to the scene and driving the scene through that. It makes it so easy and specific.
Jason: Begin with a big emotion and/or a distinct character trait.
Plock: Big physicality and characters. Give the audience anchor points.
JP: Take a chance with a big action. Also look for unconventional ways to add layers to the scene. Not all five people in a scene need to have speaking roles and a point of view.
Hot Swap: How do you deal with inter-troupe romances?
Jua: You pick who you love more, easy peasy.
Jason: If you remind yourself that love is free, man, you won’t find yourself in the jealousy box.
Plock: Shed our societal restraints on polygamy. Cesar is our husband.
JP: Bet on the potential outcomes.
Hot swap: Who would have to pee first on a road trip?
Jason: I wait to pee in the shower.
Ryan: Probably me. I drink way too much coffee.
Hot Swap: How do you keep growing as improvisers?
Jua: I dunno. I stopped growing around the age of 16. Hit me with some of those magic beans if ya got em. (In reality, by trying things I don’t think I’m good at. Always be a student.)
Cesar: Be humble. Don’t be too cool to take a class or get coached. Visit a festival and sign up for workshops.
Ryan: Don’t so overload yourself with commitments that comedy becomes a chore. The moment you feel burnt out or like you don’t want to be at a practice/show, your progress as a performer can plateau. Find that ~balance~ so you keep wanting to come back and grow more.
You can catch Hot Swap next on December 28th at 10:30P, and the 1995 Chicago Bulls will be up to bat again on Saturday, December 15th at 9P.
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.