Madeleine Burkart is a Dallas Comedy House (DCH) graduate who now lives in New York. When she lived here, I had the pleasure of performing with her on stage and in a Harlem Shake video (classic meme, right?). She's been keeping busy in the big city by acting (Girls), writing (Reductress), and performing comedy. We're happy she' returning to the DCH stage for the Dallas Comedy Festival with a very talented troupe called Shannon?
What's the story of your troupe name? Specially, why the question mark?
After pitching the usual improv group names consisting of an adjective+noun, we threw out the playbook entirely. Shannon felt right, but it needed something more. Shannon? is meant to be pronounced as if a valley girl has never heard the name before and she is meeting someone named Shannon for the first time. Shaaaanonnnn? Try it.
What's your format, and how has it evolved over time?
We started out doing montage, but eventually decided to focus on monoscenes. I like that it gives you a chance to develop your character and build a world together.
How did all of you come together to form the troupe?
We all met through classes at Upright Citizens Brigade. I don't want to brag or anything, but I hand selected each member of this elite group.
What is the role of comedy in your daily life?
Living in New York is often gross, so you need a sense of humor to get through it all.
What are some of your favorite memories of past Dallas Comedy Festivals?
Dallas Comedy Festival is a fun and crazy experiment when Dallas sees how many comedians it can fit before the city bursts at the seams. I am glad that it is growing each year. Who knows, this might just be the year it pops! My favorite memory was hanging out in the garage/outdoor living room with all of the volunteers and performers after DCF2013.
Finally, which Girls character do you most identify with and why?
I identify with Hannah, because I am the leading lady in my life. That and my daily existential crisis leading me to wonder ,why I am in New York? Am I talented enough to make it? Why is this subway seat so wet? What is that smell? Was that blob a sandwich at some point?
Shannon? performs on Thursday, March 26, at 10 p.m. at the Dallas Comedy Festival with Samurai Drunk and LYLAS: Girl on Girl Comedy. Tickets are on sale now.