Age Appropriate

How Do You Pick the Right Show Based Off Name Alone?

Photobomb My co-workers know that I spend a lot of time at Dallas Comedy House watching great comedy. They will ask me, “What show you seeing tonight?” And I will respond by saying Roadside Couch, .f.a.c.e., or Duck Duck Pants. Most people just nod and say, “Cool,” even though those words mean nothing to them but mean everything to me.   

When I encourage them to attend, they usually say, “That sounds fun, which show should I attend?" I will direct them to DallasComedyHouse.com and tell them to pick. That’s when the discussions start in—“Photobomb, do I need to bring a camera” or “Age appropriate, can I bring my kids?”

Which gets me back to the question: How do you pick the right show based off name alone? My advice is always go with a name that intrigues you. The first time I saw the name Franzia appearing on a poster, I knew I had to go. Because I love Fanzia and if I could watch a show with people who obviously share my desire to drink $7 gallon of wine, I am in. Same goes for Local Honey (which I try to purchase all the time), Manick (which took me two years to realize that was a combination of Amanda and Nick), and the 1995 Chicago Bulls. Side note on that one, when I first heard the 1995 Bulls were performing, I went to my closet and broke out my Luc Longley autographed Fosters can with the hope that he would drink the 19-year-old beer with me. Boy was I let down.

Be bold, pick a name, see a show. You will not be let down.

Ghost Watcher is a regular, DCH audience member.

(Image: Jason Hensel)

Bigger, Badder, ImprovMania

I would like to preface this blog post, by stating upfront, that I don’t really know anything about professional wrestling, WrestleMania, WWE/WWF, or any other bits of wrestling-related trivia. Now that that’s off my chest, and I’ve hopefully prevented misguiding any of you fine readers, this post can officially commence. The little I do know about professional wrestling, though, is a few of its more iconic characters, and that in some ways wrestling is a little bit like improv and sketch comedy. What do pro-wrestling, sketch, and improv have in common? It’s that their foundations all lie in storytelling, using clearly defined characters, raised stakes, and heightened emotions. While the best improv or sketch scenes might not be filled with dramatic chair shots and elbow drops (or maybe they are...), what makes those scenes run like a hijinks-filled WWE match is that they probably involve instances where the performers make bold character choices and filter their scene motivations and emotional reactions through their characters.

Because WrestleMania 32 took place in Arlington, Texas, last weekend, and because one of my awesome Ewing teammates made a wrestling themed poster for our show this past week, and also because my Facebook newsfeed in general seemed to have exploded with a bunch of wrestling posts, the topic has been on my mind. So, I thought what better way to combine my love of Dallas Comedy House (DCH) with this sudden inundation of pro-wrestling in the brain space than to determine which iconic pro-wrestlers some of my favorite DCH troupes embody.

If you want me to continue this blog post with my reimagining of DCH troupes as iconic wrestling characters, just gimme a “hell yeah!” (Or don’t because I’m going to do it anyway.)

Trish StrausTrish Stratus is Local Honey

Like the ladies of Local Honey, Trish Stratus is an all-around badass babe. She’s funny, she’s female empowering, and she’s got glutes muscles the size of basketballs that could easily destroy anybody who gets in her way. She’s also Canadian, which means that, like the gals in Local Honey, she’s generally easygoing and polite and would probably be down for nomming on some Tim Hortons.

Dude Love“Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Dude Love is Age Appropriate

When two very different individuals come together to perform, sometimes both improv and wrestling magic can be created. Like the somewhat odd, yet endearing, tag-team of Stone Cold and Dude Love, Age Appropriate has just the right balance of fun-loving, party-time spirit and serious performance chops. Together the gents of Age Appropriate come together like yin and yang, kicking comedy butt. Also, lots of object work. Mind-blowing object work, that’s the bottom line, because Age Appropriate said so!

The RockThe Rock is Photobomb

Like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Photobomb, awarded “best troupe” at DCH, is the people’s champ. Charismatic, full of fun catchphrases, and literally the only dude to pull off a complete chains-on-turtleneck-with-a-fanny-pack-on-mom-jeans ensemble, The Rock has won over the hearts and minds of many a WWE fan. With brains, beauty, and custom t-shirts, it’s also easy to see how Photobomb has won over the hearts and minds of DCH fans.

Jericho ShowJeri-Show is David & Terry

Full of quick wit, spontaneity, animated performances, vibrant reactions, and lots of shenanigans, David & Terry are much like the tag team of Chris Jericho and Big Show. When paired in the ring, Jericho and Show just seemed to click. Always supportive and able to deliver some great comedic punches, David & Terry click, too. They’re just a couple of cool dudes who can put on an equally cool show. They’re awesome. DCH has mad love for David & Terry. In some ways, DCH... is...David & Terry!

Hulk HoganHulk Hogan is Cupcake

Just as Hulk Hogan was one of the first wrestlers I ever learned about (and not just because he had a brief VH1 reality show, although that helped), Cupcake was one of the first troupes I watched/learned about at DCH. Hogan is an American classic—a man with a feather boa and a mustache as big and strong as his personality. Cupcake too is full of strong personalities. For both Hulkamania and Cupcakeamania, a central feature involves making and adhering to bold character choices. I've yet to see a Cupcake show where the character choices weren't bold and zesty like evenly coated nacho cheese Doritos. In addition, like the Hulkster, the members of cupcake would probably all look fabulous wearing various shades of red and yellow.

Macho Man Randy Savage“Macho Man” Randy Savage is On-Time Delivery

If I had to sum up “Macho Man” Randy Savage in one word, I would say Slim Jim. If I was allowed to use a few other words in my summarization, I would include charismatic, fun, high energy, consistently entertaining, a not-so-good rap album, and also Slim Jim. Most of these words could easily be applied to a description of DCH troupe On-Time Delivery. On-Time Delivery, like the late great Macho Man, seems to have it all: Brilliant stage presence, unique points of view, beef-stick endorsement abilities, and a sick set of performance skillz. Ohhh yeahhh!

I would keep going, but that’s all the wrestlers and catchphrases I know.

Feel free to post your thoughts, WWE trivia, or your own reimagining’s of DCH troupes as pro-wrestlers in the comments below.

Lauren Levine is currently a Level 4 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.

Troupe Talk: Age Appropriate

Age Appropriate Sometimes I wish that there were two universes you could step in and out of: one where, sure, fine, you have to behave age appropriate. I mean, everyone loves a little bit of stability and habit. You have to go to work, wash your socks, and pay the milkman for his delivery. But then there is another universe where work means WERK (AMMIRIGHT?), washing socks only happens if you are playing in a sweet, sweet rain storm, and you're paying the milkman, sure, but not for that kind of delivery. *wink*. (...Did that just get weird?)

Soooooo, unfortunately, this week's troupe talk doesn’t have two universes for you. (Or a milkman.) But what we do have is something better. We’ve got the two, solidly funny fellows from the two-man improv show, Age Appropriate. #youareeeeeewelcome

So go ahead, give us the cutesy, tootsy story of how you two met! How long have you been a thang?

Mike: Well, it's a fairly crazy story. Ben and I took classes together at the Dallas Comedy House (DCH). I think a couple months after finishing the program in 2012, we started practicing together for a two-person show. Like I said, a crazy story. Ben: Mike and I met in our Level 3 class at DCH. We went through the program and have been improvising together for almost four years. It is oddly similar to the movie Sleepless in Seattle, only it takes place in Dallas and we are both heavy sleepers.

Why do you like improvising with each other? (*awkwardly dances while hoping you actually do…*)

Mike: I love improvising with Ben, because I think we're different improvisers in some ways. We both have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, Ben does awesome stuff with environment and space work that I would just never think of. We're also just different people outside of improv with different interests and perspectives that we bring to our scenes. I just typed the word "different" four times. Ben: Without a doubt, improvising with Mike is one of my favorite activities in my week. He plays exceptional characters and makes really fun choices on stage that leads us to wonderful discoveries during a show. Truthfully, we are very different individuals, and without improv I very much doubt we would have met each other. Thanks to DCH I have a fantastic improv partner and friend I get to see and perform with every week.

What do you think makes a really good scene in improv?

Mike: Shouting, touching, going for a laugh at the expense of the scene, ignoring your partner, and references to pop culture. These are guaranteed to make for a really good improv scene. Ben: Even if you aren’t “following” the rules of improv in your scene, if you are having fun onstage, so is the audience.

What's the difference between playing in a group of two as opposed to say, six?

Mike: A lot. I think playing with just one other person is more challenging, but it can also be more rewarding in a way. It's just the two of you out there, so you know there's no one coming in to edit or walk on or tap out or whatever. I think a two-person show also forces you to just deal with what's in front of you a bit more than in a group. You can go for just the joke, but that scene is going to be over fast. You're kind of forced to deal with relationship to make the scene work, or it's just going to be a bad show. Ben: In Age Appropriate, I’m responsible for 50 percent of the show. In my mind, I am obligated and expected to do more in a two-person show because there is no cavalry coming to support the scene. With an ensemble, sometimes you can have a secondary role that evening because the show dictates it and your other players are the primary characters within the show. In a two-person show, that is never an option. All we have is each other when we walk on stage.

The world would be a better place if everyone followed the _____rule of improv.

Mike: "Slow down, listen, and have an honest reaction" rule. Ben: Make your partner look better than yourself. Generally, we live in a self-absorbed and a me-first society. If everyone looked out for each other and put others before themselves, without a doubt the world would be a more harmonious place (jumps off soapbox).

Please name three things that ARE age appropriate and three things that ARE NOT.

Mike:

Age appropriate: 1) A 34-year-old man drinking a beer 2) a 34-year-old man crying while watching It's a Wonderful Life 3) a 34-year-old man listening to Merle Haggard

NOT age appropriate: 1) a 34-year-old man drinking a glass of milk 2) a 34-year-old man watching any cartoons 3) a 34-year-old man listening to any teenager sing

Ben:

Age appropriate: 1) Ron Howard 2) M&M’s 3) Bob Saget, pre 1995

NOT age appropriate: 1) Ron Jeremy 2) Eminem 3) Bob Saget, post 1995

Age Appropriate performs at the Dallas Comedy House on August 14

Tori Oman is a Level Five student at DCH. She’s trained and performed with the Second City and iO in L.A. and Chicago. Favorite pastimes include being irrationally competitive at Monopoly, eating an apple in every country she’s traveled to, and being the sole person on this planet that thinks Necco Wafers are a delicious candy choice.