I don’t know how to say farewell to this place, but I have to try.
So I think this is about moving on, right?
My name is Raye Maddox and I’ve worn a few hats here at Dallas Comedy House over the past three years: Patron, student, Night Intern, House Manager, tech, performer, general busybody, writer, Teaching Assistant, Block Party Host, Intern Coordinator, Assistant to the Training Center Director, Pin Entrepreneur, Bartender, Server, and Cook, in chronological order. I’ve been on one House Improv team (still going) and two House Sketch teams, and I’m still sure I am leaving out a few credits.
I have seen, I have done, I have felt.
When I was asked to write a reflection on our home at 3025 Main Street, I wrestled. How do I sum it up in one concise fashion in a way? How can I do this den justice? Thankfully, I have an idea. Stick with me on this.
This is not my first Dallas Comedy House.
It may not be yours either. Maybe you came along at the Commerce Street, or maybe you go farther back when Dallas Comedy House did not have physical walls, or maybe you are joining just now for the first time before our home changes. No matter when you arrived, I want to assure you that you are right on time. Take off your coat and let’s sit for a bit by the fire. I want to tell you about three people.
I remember sitting in the rows of chairs for a 2016 Dallas Comedy Festival show in the Pavlov’s Dog’s Theater and David Allison sat next to me. At the time I was in my last few classes of improv, a Friday night House Manager, and just learning how to tech shows. Over the course of the past three weeks I had seen the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane three times in the theater, and, with a hand on my chin, I discussed the movie with him. I do not remember the extent of our conversation, but I do remember it being one of the first actual conversations I had with David Allison. This was also my first Dallas Comedy Festival I could call my own.
Flash forward to the 2018 Superbowl when The Cloverfield Paradox suddenly had an ad spot during commercials and a surprise release on Netflix the same night. I texted David as he texted me. We were in the same room, and somewhere we were at the 2016 DCF.
But let’s go back to the actual beginning.
My story at Dallas Comedy House began in the first days of 2014 on January 9th. I was invited to My First Ever Improv Show by a dear friend from middle school, Carolyn. This was back at the Commerce Street location; the show being Dairy Based and RAM. For months after this, I would scope the show schedule for every time Dairy Based performed (sorry RAM). I would trek into Dallas frequently, skirt into the shows, watch, and then skirt out, a stranger. Then one day, in the back of Twilite Lounge, a performer in Dairy Based talked to me after I struck around. I don’t remember the extent of this conversation, but I do remember it being one of the first actual conversations I had with Ashley Bright.
Flash-forward to February 2019, last month, and I stood in Ashley’s apartment, casually chatting before we hosted a movie night together. She was in her PJs, I made a joke, and she laughed, and somewhere in 2014 I was laughing at a move she made on stage.
And let’s take it back, one more time.
I was watching a Tuesday Night jam in the fall of 2015, a fledgling student in Level 2, and this guy takes the stage. I hadn’t seen him at a jam before this, and I got the sense he was new to DCH. He’s young, brown hair, looks about my age (24 at the time), has these black thick framed glasses, and he’s funny, almost naturally so. I was, frankly, intimated by the guy, and didn’t want to talk to him or be around him. But, somehow, I kept being forced into situations with him. Flash-forward to the following January, we would train as techs together. Flash-forward to the spring, we ran in similar circles of friends, so we were constantly at the same hangouts and parties together. And yet I never gave the guy many words between us! Even later still, flash-forward, in the summer of 2016, I went on a beach trip with friends and there he was! So, I decided to let go of my own personal junk and give the guy a shot. That evening, as the sun set on the beach, we walked the shoreline together and talked for a long time. I don’t remember the extent of this conversation, but I do remember it being one of the first actual conversations I had with Danny Neely.
Flash-forward to any week of 2019 so far, where I sit with Danny at a bar somewhere, talking together. He’s my best friend, and we’ve shared so much in three years: I’ve helped him move, he’s graciously come with me to support me as I get tattoos, I’ve been to his wedding, and he’s listened to me when I was full of heartbreak. Anytime we’re together, I feel like I’m on that beach in 2016.
And these are just three of my stories. Thinking about anyone at Dallas Comedy House, I could span similar yarns, and, over the years, I’ve witnessed and heard similar stories from fellow students and performers. Dallas Comedy House is about these complex relationships that start at one place and end somewhere else, whether that’s a physical location or an emotional one. Some of them start with friendship but end in loss. Others start with love but end in animosity. Many more still start good and end good, don’t get me wrong. But people move, people arrive, people hurt us, and people help us. Every person at Dallas Comedy House has these webs and are full of whole universes of narratives.
So how do we handle all of these bonds, whether good or bad, and how do they matter? What’s the purpose of those relationships? What’s the point of me writing this? How does this connect with moving buildings?
Well to understand that we need to understand a little thing called “the hit ABC television show LOST”-
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 2.
Please do not yell at Raye Maddox. He is a performer in Midnight Passion, Kill Me Please, Gerald, and other troupes. You can see him do sketch comedy on Thursdays at 8pm, and, again, please do not yell at him. His only achievement at Dallas Comedy House is being voted Best Tech of 2016, do not yell at him.