The act I'm most excited to see at the Dallas Comedy Festival is Heel Turn. This Oklahoma City-based troupe was formed in 2013 by members Ann-Lisette Caveny, Kellen Hodgeson, Tim Huckeby, and Kelly Lawson out of "a shared sense of humor and a love of sports entertainment." As a lover of all things sports-entertainment, AKA pro-wrestling, I enjoy seeing it influence other art forms. The members of Heel Turn took the time last week to speak as one voice about great sketch, the virtues of patience, and Ric Flair. - Ryan Is your troupe named after the popular pro-wrestling form of betrayal? YES! YES! YES!
What are the similarities between pro-wrestling and improv? Pro-wrestling and improv both take a lot of showmanship. There is also a unique give and take relationship between the performers and the audience. Pro-wrestlers, like improvisers, have to take care of their fellow performers, make them look good, and always be prepared to lose.
Who would be the Four Horsemen of Comedy? We'll give the Four Horsemen of Comedy title to the guys working late night: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers.
Who influenced you growing up? Who excites you now? Growing up we were all big fans of sketch comedy like SNL, MadTV, The State, Kids in the Hall, even All That. Right now we're really loving how much great sketch is on television. We're very inspired by Key and Peele, Kroll Show, Portlandia and Comedy Bang! Bang!
Do you thrive off the energy at a festival? Oooohh yeeeaaahhh! There's nothing like the feeling of performing at a festival. It's a very exciting atmosphere, everyone is jacked. It's like our version of a WWE Pay-Per-View.
What's the best comedy lesson you learned recently? Patience is key. We love to play fast. We also love when improv captivates an audience with slower play and high emotional stakes. We've been working on a happy mix of the two. You know you want to see Hulk Hogan hit that big leg drop, brother. But its so much better to see him get beat down then battle back to overcome the odds with the help of the Hulkamaniacs. Then that leg drop means something.
How is the sketch show coming along? Our sketch show is a work in progress. We're writing scripts based on scenes we've improvised in shows and rehearsals. There isn't much sketch comedy happening in OKC right now, so we're excited to bring it to the stage later this year.
You can form an improv troupe of pro wrestlers and comedians from all eras. Who is in this troupe? What is the troupe's name? This troupe would be insane. We'd go with Chris Jericho, Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Dolph Ziggler, and CM Punk teaming up with Steve Carell, Amy Poehler, Will Forte, Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert. They'd be called WrestleBrainia.
See Heel Turn perform at The Dallas Comedy Festival on Friday, March 21st at 7:00PM. Get your tickets here.