Each month, Dallas Comedy House highlights an individual nominated by their peers as Performer Of The Month. To cast your vote for next month’s Performer of the Month, simply fill out this form.
The January 2019 Performer of the Month is none other than the talented Kate Grogan!
Here are a few words from the individual that nominated Kate for Performer Of The Month:
“Kate is someone who truly embodies the spirit of DCH. She's spunky, spirited, and a ball of light. She runs the jam and has stepped into her own as a performer. Kate appreciates the weird and always finds the fun. “
Let’s get to know Kate a little better.
A lot of people know you as a host of the Tuesday improv jam. What has been your most memorable jam moment?
There are so many to name but I think two specific ones come to mind. The first is one of my sister's first jams she ever attended. She had barely started classes and was nervous to get on stage or be in a scene. I finally convinced her to at least just get on the stage. She eventually wound up in a scene and while she didn't say anything and just mimed eating a raw onion, I was so proud of her! The second one, and the main reason why I love the jams so much, was back on Valentine's Day in 2017. I was living in Oklahoma at the time and felt really disconnected from DCH. I went to a jam to just see if I could get myself on stage for the first time in about a year and I ran into Logan Romero. He sat with me the whole night, made me feel comfortable, introduced me to new people, and was not only excited to see my but basically convinced me to quit a terrible job and come home. And that's exactly how I see the jam: it's a place where anyone can come no matter how they're feeling and find a group of people that will support them, no questions asked.
What was your first exposure to Dallas Comedy House?
I actually went to see my friend's sketch troupe from Austin, Bad Example, perform at the Dallas Comedy Festival in 2015 back at the Commerce Street location. I had done improv in college and didn't realize there was a place to take classes and perform in Dallas until then. So the next day, I decided to sign up for level one.
Who were some of the performers that helped you out early on, and how have they influenced you?
I think my biggest mentor at DCH has been Kyle Austin. He was my level one teacher and has been such a positive, encouraging person in my life and improv journey. I remember sitting by myself after my level one showcase really upset because none of my family or friends came out to support me. Kyle sat down with me and told me to continue through with classes and basically made me promise him that I would take sketch to learn how to write. He's also found me crying in random corners of DCH and has given me big hugs and just listened to me as I processed through everything going on in my life. I always know that I can turn to him with any questions or advice and he'll be there for me, which means the world to me.
You're a jack of all trades when it comes to comedy. Which do you prefer, improv, or sketch?
Oh my gosh that's so strange to feel like I'm a jack of all trades! I still feel like I have so much to learn and so much growth left on my comedy journey! Deep down, I think I prefer sketch to improv, only because I feel much more confident in my acting and memorizing skills than I do in my ability to make up funny things on the spot. I've been acting since I was young so sketch feels almost natural to me, though the writing portion pushes me in a way I'm still not fully comfortable with yet. Don't get me wrong, I still love improv! I think both are challenging and learning one can help you understand the other better. At least it did for me! (did that make sense? lol if not, feel free to edit that so it does cuz my brain is weird)
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about performance?
I think it was Terry that told me to go into every scene with an emotion. That means not only reacting with an emotion, but walking into a scene with an emotion already clear from your body language and facial expressions so that your scene partner knows how to talk/react to you. I think having those big emotions right from the get go changed the way I improvise for the better. I also recently saw a quote from Nick Kroll that I love that says, "I think you earn the supercrazy gross, whoa-what-the-fuck-did-they-just-do stuff by having the honest, emotional moments." I used to think that being the absurd to someone else's straight was the only way to be funny but I've since learned that being the grounded, honest emotional character can be just as funny as the absurd.
I (Maggie) found an old photo of one of the first classes at our location at 3025 Main Street and saw your beautiful face sitting in one of the chairs! What do you think are the biggest changes you've gone through as a performer since class day one?
Ahhh no way! We were the first to go through all the levels at the Main Street location! I feel like I've changed so much as a person since 2015 and that has directly affected my performances. I've worked on my mental health and have found that I feel more confident with myself and my performances when I feel healthier. I've met so many people that I have gotten to watch and learned so much from! Seriously, watching shows is one of the easiest and best ways to learn how to improvise. And I think, lastly, I feel like I've finally met my people/my community and feel so comfortable walking into DCH and being able to strike up a conversation with anyone or go on stage at the jam and perform with anyone (another reason why I love the jams! I love playing with new people and making new friends)! I will forever be grateful for the people this community has brought into my life and I think I'm an infinitely happier and a better person than I ever thought I could be back in 2015.
Catch Kate Grogan hosting the free improv jam every Tuesday at 8pm. You can also see her in the new sketch revue, Fake It Til You Break It, opening January 12th (Saturdays at 8pm). She is also in improv troupes, Ha’Flings and Round 4.
Don’t forget to nominate your favorite performer as a future Performer of the Month!