I feel like the most appropriate introduction for Oklahoma City improve troupe, Zoom! would be a silent one, but since that’s not how the Internet works, please keep reading. Zoom! is a silent improve troupe that uses physical comedy to put on a unique show for the audience. As they put it, “It’s Mr. Bean meets The Matrix” and we will be lucky enough to experience them here at Dallas Comedy Festival. I spoke to Zoom! member Ben Davis.
What inspired the Zoom! format?
We started out playing around with clowning and going for a big, cartoon-style spectacle, then finding trouble in that setting. So, a lot of Looney Tunes and Mr. Bean-esque stuff. We gradually discovered if we didn't say anything, like Mr. Bean, the audience was actually MORE involved.
How difficult is it to perform silently, when so much of improv training is based on dialogue?
I wouldn't term it difficult but it is a skill set we've had to develop—listening to each other for us means watching and picking up on facial cues, gestures, etc. It's actually a pretty forgiving form. You may interpret my actions totally different than what I intended, but your brain fills in the gaps, so it makes sense.
Would you rather be able to visit 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
One hundred years in the past. It'd be fun to tell people all the crazy technology headed their way.
Who’s on your improv dream team?
Everyone in the Improvised Shakespeare Co., Kyle Austin and Chad Haught for OBVIOUS REASONS, and Susan Messing. And Craig Cackowski.
What’s your favorite silent, physical piece of comedy?
There is a sequence in the movie Rat Race where Seth Green and another actor's vehicle is pulled into the air by the radar on top of an air traffic control tower. Essentially nothing is said except screams, but I die laughing every. single. time.
Zoom! performs on Thursday, March 26, at 8:30 p.m. at the Dallas Comedy Festival with Duck Duck Pants and The Rift. 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.