Heyyo comedy party people! It’s about that time again. Yep, it’s time to reimagine Dallas Comedy House (DCH) troupes as something completely different. We’ve previously re-imagined troupes as iconic professional wrestlers and super pawesome dog breeds, so you’re probably wondering what’s in store this time. In this edition, we’ll get a little nostalgic and head back to the pre- Netflix/Hulu/DVR days of the 1990s, when TV was teaming with an excess of Day-Glo and flannel and subversive cartoons. It’s the decade that introduced us to the Fresh Prince, Zack Morris, and Stefan Urquelle (a.k.a. Urkel’s smooth talkin’ alter ego that dresses a little douchier and isn’t quite as obsessed with cheese). So slip on a pair of bike shorts and Air Max runners as we jog down memory lane to combine the best of DCH improv and 90s TV.
Hold on to your butts, we’re doin’ this thing!
Spinning hilarious campfire urban legends from a single audience suggestion, The Midnight Society is totally Are You Afraid of the Dark?...or at the very least I'm pretty sure that's where their troupe name is derived from. Exploring a gang of badass bandana-clad teens (you know a bandana means butt-kicking-ain’t-afraid-of-nothing business) swapping scary stories, Are You Afraid of the Dark? fueled the nightmares of countless 1990s kids. The Midnight Society’s brand of improv is equally thrilling and spine-chilling. Full of kooky characters and crazy plot twists, probably a demon summoning or a séance or two, and plenty of comedic shenanigans along the way, The Midnight Society brings both the fun and the spooky to the DCH stage. It’s improv that would make Gary (Are You Afraid of the Dark?’s fearless storytelling leader) and baby Ryan Gosling (who once made an appearance on the show's “The Tale of Station 109.1”) both super proud and pee their pants due both to lots of lolz and lots of scares.
If there's a '90s show that spoke most to your brooding and awkward teenage soul, it was probably My So-Called Life, which featured some of the most memorable, relatable, and Jared Leto-filled teen angst TV moments. And, if there’s a DCH troupe that also lets you relive those same melodramatic high school feels, it’d undoubtedly be Pretty People with Problems. Pretty People take all the angst and the teen stereotypes and add in a dash of their improv magic to create wonderfully vibrant and hilarious teen dramas. Pretty People will make you laugh your butt off and then want to go home and write some pissed off poetry about how nobody gets you, because "sometimes it feels like we're all living in some kind of prison" and "the whole conversation thing is like totally overrated." You do you Pretty People.
Encyclopedia Moronica is obviously DCH's Quantum Leap. If you weren't a huge sci-fi nerd during the early '90s, allow me to briefly explain the show's premise. Scott Bakula, a.k.a. Dr. Sam Beckett, is trapped in a time-travel conundrum, travelling across history by leaping into the bodies of historical figures and people of the past, creating zany and altered realities. Quantum Leap explored everything from JFK's assassination to the Watergate scandal to Michael Jackson learning some sick dance moves, brah (that's right, there is a show in which Scott Bakula teaches a young MJ how to moonwalk). Like Quantum Leap, Encyclopedia Moronica isn't afraid to mix the educational and historical factoids with gamey bits and playful scenes. A little drama, a little history, and whole lot of comedy, Encyclopedia Moronica is learning done fun!
The Adventures of Pete and Pete was one of the dopest kid shows of the 1990s, following the adventures of Big Pete and Little Pete. Likewise, Release the Hounds is one of the dopest two-man troupes at DCH. If you want a dope improv show with a bunch of wacky characters, endearingly strange worlds, and a whole lot of heart to it, then Release the Hounds is a troupe you need to check out stat! Like The Adventures of Pete and Pete, the gentlemen of Release the Hounds celebrate goofy worldviews, supportive play, and brotherly love. Intelligent and surreal, Pete and Pete were the real MVPs of early Nickelodeon programming. Release the Hounds keeps on bringing the spirit of the two Petes to DCH, and for that the fictional people of Wellsville and all of us real life two-man comedy lovers thank them. As Little Pete would say, don't be a jerkweed and go watch Release the Hounds.
Liquid Television may have been one of the greatest things to come out of MTV during the 1990s or possibly ever (I suppose that's up for debate). The cult series showcased original animated cartoons, the intermittent music video, and lots and lots of other miscellaneous, stupid weird stuff. Heck, the animated music video for They Might Be Giant's "Istanbul" premiered on Liquid Television, and that's like the most weirdly fun song about Istanbul ever! Right?! Big Stupid Fun, a group of former Ewingites who love a good call back and lots of side support, is equal parts stupid cartoon-like fun and witty sensibility. When this crew comes to play, they play hard, with lots of sass and bold characters. And, just as Beavis and Butt-Head, two of America's most nacho and bunghole loving individuals, first appeared on Liquid Television, the two have also been known to make an appearance in a Big Stupid Fun performance. Ain't no show like a Big Stupid Fun show, cause with a Big Stupid Fun show there may or not be references to Cornholio.
Feel free to post your suggestions for other DCH troupe reimagining or just say hi to me in the comments below! Peace out, girl scouts!
Lauren Levine is currently a Level 5 improv and Sketch 2 student at DCH. When she is not trying to come up with witty things for this blog, she is a freelance writer and editor, an amateur photographer, a Zumba-enthusiast, a dog lover, and an 80s movie nerd. In addition, she enjoys all things Muppet-related, the smell after a rainstorm, and people with soft hands.