Performer of the Month: Bonnie Criss

Bonnie Criss in the sketch revue Suspect: A True Crimedy  Kaspars Skels

Bonnie Criss in the sketch revue Suspect: A True Crimedy
Kaspars Skels

Each month, Dallas Comedy House highlights an individual nominated by their peers as Performer Of The Month. To cast your vote for a performer, simply fill out this form.

The recipient this month is Bonnie Criss, a versatile performer that can play any type of character. She has the range to embody someone with high status, low status, smart, dumb, young, old, in the middle, whatever! Beyond the stage, she’s a kind person who is full of support.

Here are a few words from the individual that nominated Bonnie for Performer Of The Month:

“Bonnie? More like Swiss Army Knife! Bonnie can do. it. ALL. And she's always willing to help a fellow performer in need.”

I asked Bonnie a few questions to better get to know this delightful person.

As many people know, you’re a huge fan of Barbara Streisand. If you had to sum up your DCH experience with one Babs song, which one would you choose?
Bonnie: I would sum up my DCH experience with Barbra’s, “Dont Rain on My Parade”!

What was your first exposure to Dallas Comedy House?
Bonnie: I was introduced to DCH through a friend (Tyler Johnston) and I came to see his level one showcase and after watching it and meeting everyone, I thought, I’ve found my thing!

Who were some of the performers that helped you out early on?
Bonnie: Performers that helped me out early on were Ben Pfeifer, Mike Maiella, Lindsey Power, Nikki Gasparo, Cesar Villa - they were like big brothers and sisters that took me under their wings!

How have these performers influenced you (both onstage and off).
Bonnie: I’ve always looked up to each of these performers because there is something different about every one of them that I wish I could take and put in me to make one giant perfect improviser. Ben has amazing physicality on stage, Mike has a way of making anything he says sound hilarious, Lindsey makes powerful moves and doesn’t let anyone walk over her in a scene, Cesar always has an idea for something and a way to heighten a scene and Nikki is a dance party- she lives in the moment on stage.

Bonnie (top) and the cast of A Very Carol Christmas  Maggie Rieth Austin

Bonnie (top) and the cast of A Very Carol Christmas
Maggie Rieth Austin

You have years of experience with both sketch and improv. How has sketch affected your improv work?
Bonnie: Sketch has helped me with heightening and finding the game in scenes or picking out the weird, funny thing and focusing on that.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about performance?
Bonnie: I have heard a lot of great advice over the years, but one thing I remember is in improv or sketch, find a connection to the scene and it will take your scene further.

You’ve long been an advocate of the cause “Justice For Corn.” Has this vegetable enjoyed a comeback because of your efforts?
Bonnie: Justice for Corn is actually about a sketch idea I had in level 2 that was thrown in the trash due to its inability to play on stage. I’ve always wanted to somehow make it happen, but i just don’t know if I ever will. But I do also just love corn and elotes!

Bonnie and her love  Stolen from Bonnie’s Facebook

Bonnie and her love
Stolen from Bonnie’s Facebook

Bonnie Criss can currently be seen in A Very Carol Christmas, The Improvised Christmas Movie, Impractical Magic, Pretty People With Problems, The Midnight Society, and The Rift.

David Allison is writer and performer at the Dallas Comedy House, who can currently be seen in The Improvised Christmas Movie, Ballast Point, David & Terry, Gerald and The Rift.