The 2015 Dallas Comedy Festival is rapidly approaching, and my schedule for that week is rapidly filling up with fun, new acts that I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing before. One of those acts is I Am The Show, a one-man show delivered by Chris George in the style of Mystery Science Theater 3000 or RiffTrax. The audience chooses a movie or TV show and Chris makes a show out of it, providing all the sound effects, dialogue, and music.
How did you come up with the idea to do a take on Mystery Science Theater?
I think anyone who ever watched MST3K thought to themselves, "I can do that," especially if you ever watched a really bad movie with your friends. I used to work as a projectionist, and I would catch myself periodically making up lines of dialogue if I poked my head into the view box up in the booth. I guess the show more recently was a "break glass in case of emergency" show in case I ever showed up at the theater and my team couldn't make it. After six months of keeping it in my back pocket and kicking it around, I decided just to do it.
Is there a movie or TV show that you’ve done a show based on that sticks out as your favorite?
I don't know about favorite, but I did 400 Blows, which is a black-and-white foreign film that is still in my "to watch" list someday. I like that I can do mainstream and art-house movies.
Would you rather have something in your eye for the rest of your life or need to sneeze but never be able to?
Oh, I am saving this question to ask someone else one day. I'm going to go with sneeze. People would look at me and think I was always just about to say something.
How do you think the way media is evolving is affecting comedy?
It's definitely affected the immediacy. When I was growing up, I loved listening to Weird Al, but his new record last year was his first release in years. I think that's primarily because it's so easy for so many people to do parody music and music videos. The Internet is like a huge writer's room now. You could get together with your buddies and put together a short that can get a million views in a weekend, and it costs you almost nothing. The flip side is that it also forces us to assess the value of what we do as improvisers. Our work can be so much more intimate and communal than a TV show, so we need to be aware of that and capitalize on what live comedy can do that filmed cannot. And as an improv instructor, I find students play faster, wryer, and more stylized. None of these are necessarily bad things. You just need to figure out how to play to your strengths in any medium.
What is your favorite piece of pop culture comedy out there right now (any favorite movies/TV shows/Web series/comics)?
I'm really into Arrow (on the CW) right now, but it's definitely not comedy. James Spader is doing some drolly funny stuff on The Blacklist, but that's about the only truly interesting thing about that show. I just watched the first episode of The Last Man on Earth last night, which I enjoyed, but it may be too early to say if that's a favorite. A comedy I'm watching and really enjoying is Brooklyn 99. They're doing an exceptional job with some really funny characters.
I Am The Show performs on Thursday, March 26, at 7 p.m. at the Dallas Comedy Festival. Tickets are on sale now.
Jessica Dorrell is a graduate of the DCH improv program, and is currently enrolled in the sketch writing program. Her one wish is that some day she can have a Mogwai as a pet. You can see her perform every Thursday at 9:30 p.m. in the current Ewing show.