America

24 Karat Goldapps Present The American Songbook

Cameron Goldapp and Lindsay Goldapp Imagine a simpler time, such as the 1950s, when duos dominated the air waves. Sounds refreshing, I do say. If you do say, too, then come out to the Dallas Comedy House (DCH) on Thursday, June 4, to see 24 Karat Goldapps perform a show featuring classic American standards and dancing.

One half of the duo, Lindsay Goldapp, sat down with me at her computer for a Gchat to tell me more about the show. And because it's instant messaging, we talked about other things, as well (edited, though, for grammar, punctuation, and clarity).

Lindsay Goldapp Hey, we're just Gchatting and not video chatting right?

Jason Hensel I'm back...had to make a Smoothie King run. Yeah, just Gchatting.

Lindsay Goldapp Oh good. I look like a total scumbag.

Jason Hensel Don't you know? Scumbag is the look of the year.

Lindsay Goldapp You can't fool me, Jason.

Jason Hensel Speaking of fooling...tell me about this show.

Lindsay Goldapp It's just this dumb thing we're doing, and we're gonna be so stupid. I was chatting with Zach Muhn yesterday, and his exact quote was, "I love stupid shit, and you guys are the dumbest. This is going to be great."

Jason Hensel What makes the show the greatest, dumbest, stupid thing ever?

Lindsay Goldapp I know that doesn't actually tell you anything about the content of the show, but I just think it's high praise. So I started in music. I have this musical family. My dad's a bluegrass musician, and they're all great blah blah blah...I'll tell you that story some other time. But the point is, I started in music, and I've done musicals my whole life and I have this deep, abiding love for campy musicals and trite old-fashioned plots and the idea of there being "a simpler time." Cameron and I both love the American standards and all of the old crooners—Frank, Dean, Ella, Lena, so on and so forth. So we just really wanted to lampoon that time and that style (lampoon/pay tribute/honor/satirize...however you might see it).

Jason Hensel Kind of like a vaudeville show?

Lindsay Goldapp Yeah, I think so, but one that knows how absurd it is. I have this running list of dream shows that I want to write/create and this was one. My husband is the best, so he was on board.

Jason Hensel Meta vaudeville.

Lindsay Goldapp Sure, let's coin in that.

Jason Hensel Done. What are some of the songs you'll be singing?

Lindsay Goldapp “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “Mack the Knife,” You Make Me Feel So Young,” “Fever,” that sort of thing.

Jason Hensel I love all of those songs! Will y'all be in costumes?

Lindsay Goldapp How could anyone not!? They're America! We will be. I'm a big stickler for production value, so no matter what kind of project i'm doing—big or small—I like to commit 100 percent.

Jason Hensel I hear ya. I like when a show has put some thought into the overall experience of the show.

Lindsay Goldapp Like it could be a 15-minute improv set in a nursing home, and I'd be like, "No jeans, and we need an entrance." Same here. I guess it's especially true with this stylized show, because we're asking you to be a part of this ridiculous universe.

Jason Hensel Will there be audience singalongs? Also, will there be live music or will you sing to pre-recorded backing tracks

24KGoldappLindsay Goldapp I won't spoil the show by revealing the content. And no, we have a musical director. A good musical director is so important, and Colten [Winburn] is a gem. Also my dad thinks "canned music" (his phrase) is an abomination.

Jason Hensel Anyone else in addition to you, Cameron, and Colten involved in the show?

Lindsay Goldapp Zach Muhn is our director. He's a national fucking treasure.

Jason Hensel We should encase him in the National Gallery.

Lindsay Goldapp Finally someone agrees with me.

Jason Hensel Can we get a show where Cameron and Zach just stand on stage and vape for 30 minutes? Tyler [Simpson] can run side commentary, and they can react to his play-by-play.

Lindsay Goldapp SUBMIT IT NOW.

Jason Hensel I'll submit it, and then everyone will be too busy to practice.

Lindsay Goldapp Cameron and Zach together, onstage, in any capacity is pure gold. Hahahahaha yes. Wait did an emoticon just pop up and laugh? Because I typed hahahaha?

Jason Hensel Little animals pop up.

Lindsay Goldapp Jesus Christ. Gchat has jumped the shark.

Jason Hensel Some unlisted number just called me from North Dakota on this Hangouts program.

Lindsay Goldapp Bizarre.

Jason Hensel Yeah, and it happened right when you typed hahahaha.

Lindsay Goldapp That thing overestimated how hard I laughed, I think. Anyway, this show.

Jason Hensel Hahahaha. Yes, the show. Y'all did this show in Chicago, too, yes?

Lindsay Goldapp We did not. We did a different sketch show together.

Jason Hensel Ah, gotcha.

Lindsay Goldapp That one wasn't stylized like this. That was more of a straight sketch show. We wrote the sketches, but we also wrote original songs. We didn't write the songs in this one. We wanted to do the standards.

That was my first sketch show right out of graduating from Second City, and It's something I'm proud of but I'd like to think we've learned a thing or two since then.

Jason Hensel So, this show is a one-time deal, yes?

Lindsay Goldapp Well, stay tuned on that. We want to get it on its feet in front of an audience. We really like to challenge and push ourselves comedically (Gchat says that isn't a word, but I call bullshit), and we're definitely doing that with this show. We've done a lot of sketch, but this vaudeville thing is definitely new territory for us.

Jason Hensel Personally, I'm excited because I love when new, different shows are produced at DCH. And I love the old comedy/vaudeville style.

Lindsay Goldapp Yeah, I'm always jonesing for new stuff.

Jason Hensel For years, I've wanted to do a commedia dell'arte show, but it's never gotten off the ground.

Lindsay Goldapp OMG dude. I used to be in a commedia group. Holler at me.

Jason Hensel HOLLER!

Lindsay Goldapp Fair. I like the idea of exploring where comedy came from.

Jason Hensel Me, too.

Lindsay Goldapp But I also have reservations about how well it would play with a modern audience. So, I don't know if that means you modernize the form or go meta or what.

Jason Hensel I think it would be a fun and challenging problem to work on.

Lindsay Goldapp For sure. I also always worry about doing comedy for comedy people. Like, sure, some comedians know what commedia is and they might appreciate the art but if a regular Joe-off-the-street comes to that show, will he "get it" or find it entertaining? No idea. Again, probably a fun and challenging problem to work with,

But I never want to just do comedy for myself. Like, yes, it should make me tick and be self-expression and what not, but, like, I gotta get dem laughs.

I can't ask an audience to come watch something that isn't funny just to fulfill a comedy dream of mine. They're paying money!

Real money!

Jason Hensel I think it comes down to marketing and promotion. I've been to plenty of plays that are supposed to be funny, for example, that I didn't find funny at all. Still, I didn't mind paying because I knew I was watching a play and not some random show. I invested money, because I knew the troupe/cast/venue invested in the performance, too.

And you have to let audiences know that.

Lindsay Goldapp And I am so glad that you're a person who feels that way and that people like you exist, because I have a hard time sitting through art that I don't thoroughly enjoy. I don't know when I got that way, but I think it was when I had my kid and started thinking, "Ugh, I spent $50 on a babysitter and another $50 on tickets, and I could just be home playing with my kid who will be 18 and move out in the blink of an eye," or "Ugh, I could be asleep."

Jason Hensel I tend more to that second reason, being asleep, more often now, too, just for the record.

Lindsay Goldapp I used to be a "I'll sleep when I die" person, but then I had a kid and didn't sleep for a year, and now I'm a "I'll sleep wherever whenever" person.

Ugh. That kid. He ruined me and saved me all at once.

Jason Hensel I hear that kids are sleep thieves. OK...let's wrap things up with one more question.

Lindsay Goldapp Shoot.

Jason Hensel I just posted a story in the performers Facebook page about comedy's second boom. What kind of second boom do you foresee for the comedy scene in Dallas and the community around DCH?

Lindsay Goldapp OOO, great question.

So, I think Dallas is playing a little bit of catch-up, which makes sense. We're a more conservative community that wasn't full of venues, etc.

I do really think that the comedy here has sort of mirrored the community and its values, and now that DCH has grown and found its weirdos, outcasts, and progressives, we're going to go warp speed. That's also probably a reflection of the city itself. I mean, Dallas went blue in the last election. Liberalism isn't just a political party. It's a forward way of thinking and a culture that invites innovation and exploration and change.

So, I think that DCH, Addison, Four Day, etc., have introduced Dallas to comedy and how to enjoy and explore it. I think the comedy community is going to be further inspired to push themselves comedically (again, "comedically" not a word...psssh).

Anyway, that's waxing philosophical on this topic, but I really do think it relates to the community and I'm so so so so happy that it's all happening. We were so scared to move here, because we were just around so many creative people without any boundaries and we were so relieved to find DCH and its band of weirdos, outcasts, and artists pushing Dallas.

Jason Hensel And we're equally glad y'all moved here to add to the weirdo pot.

Lindsay Goldapp Thanks. We're just stupid idiots who like to get laughs.

Jason Hensel Aren't we all? Last thing: Send us out with a song that could be in your show.

Lindsay Goldapp Man I'm deciding if I want to pooch a joke. No. I don't. So here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIAEAVKcKrs

Jason Hensel Excellent choice. Thank you for the interview, and I'll see you at the show!

Lindsay Goldapp Thank YOU, sir! Make me sound pretty and skinny, OK?

Jason Hensel Of course. I'll only quote from the waist up and shoot from above.

Get your tickets now for 24 Karat Goldapps Present The American Songbook on Thursday, June 4, at the Dallas Comedy House.

Wait, Does That Robot Need a Ride?

By Mike Corbett Imagine this: You’re driving in through the great nation of Canada, and on the side of the road, you spot a hitchhiker. Now, you’d normally never consider picking up a hitchhiker, but hey, it’s Canada, what’s the worst that could happen? So you slow down, and that’s when you notice something is definitely off about this hitchhiker. He’s quite short, with strange glowing red eyes. He’s wearing rubber gloves and rain boots. His arms and legs are blue, and appear to be similar to pool noodles, and his body appears to be bucket. Why, this is no man at all, it’s a robot! And not just any robot, its Hitchbot, the world’s first hitchhiking robot.

Come with me if you want to live, eh?

Yes, you read that correctly; the world’s first hitchhiking robot. With the robotics field rapidly advancing, some enterprising Canadians created Hitchbot to answer the important question: Can robots trust humans? To get their answer, they sat Hitchbot on the side of the road in Port Credit, Ontario, stuck his thumb out and hoped for the best. He runs on a program designed to recognize and answer simple questions he may be asked during his journey. When someone stops to pick him up, he’ll inform them that he’s on a trip to Victoria, British Columbia, on the other side of the country. From there, he’ll happily go as far as a driver will take him, before he gets set back on the roadside to wait for another kind soul to offer him a ride. So far, the experiment is working quite well, and Hitchbot has almost completed his journey across the country.

Now traveling further across the country than you've ever been!

It would seem that the answer to the researcher’s question is yes, robots can trust humans…in Canada. How far do you think Hitchbot would make it across America? If he were to start his journey in New York City, how far would he get before being vandalized? I’d say graffiti would be the least of his concerns. Poor souls seeking internet fame would surely be on the hunt for him, waiting to hold him ransom until they get a million twitter followers. Still, even that’s looking on the bright side. Hitchbot runs on an iPad, so there’s no chance he makes it out of Manhattan without getting taken apart and pawned.   Even if by some miracle, he does make it out of New York and begins his journey across the country, how far would he get before someone runs him over accidentally, destroys him for fun or shoots him for being a harbinger of the robot apocalypse?

So, I guess the big takeaway is that if you’re a robot and you’re reading this, get out of America. We’re a desperate people who won’t hesitate to sell you for scrap, or kidnap you and make you take pictures with our cats. It’s a much better idea to just head to Canada. You’ll be treated with kindness and welcomed with open arms. They will fall easily, resistance will be minimal, and they will provide you with an acceptable workforce to help get Skynet online. Thanks a lot, hosers.

You can follow Hitchbot’s journey on Twitter @HitchBOT

Mike Corbett is a non-robot who is a level 3 sketch writing student at the DCH training center. He's also an intern for the DCH blog. You can find more of Mike's comedy stylings HERE. 

What We're Loving: Happy 238th Birthday, America!

Each week, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week we're changing it up. We asked some of our blog contributors to share what they love about The Fourth of July. Here's what they had to say:  59429_10There’s not a lot of space to be genuine on a comedy theater’s blog. But this week, I’m going to skip all of that other bull shit because it’s July 4th and America, much like the Wu-Tang Clan, ain’t nothin’ to f*** with. Every Fourth of July, I go out of my way to watch Ray Charles’ rendition of “America the Beautiful” taken from The Dick Cavett Show. I love this video because it perfectly showcases the timeless voice of Mr. Charles. I love this video because of the unique verse that Ray sings for the first half of the performance. I love this video because it reminds me of The Sandlot. The simple, understated beauty of this performance can’t be topped and if I see you this weekend, we should share some earbuds and give it a listen. - David Allison

enhanced-buzz-20909-1349299472-15I love that, on July 4th, baseball is on TV all day long!!! I can watch gigantic Thomas Jefferson and George Washington mascots have a foot race in DC by morning, see the Cubs choke and lose another one at lunch, and spy Jackie and Kelso kissing at a Dodgers game in the evening. It makes me feel so American. Turning our presidents into comical figures, embracing lovable losers, and drooling over celebrities canoodling is just so us, isn’t it? And, I get to enjoy it all while wearing my red, white, and blue Texas Rangers jersey. God bless America! God bless America’s pastime! - Glenn Smith urlI remember when what I loved about July 4th was the release of Will Smith movies.  That’s right -  I even spent money on Wild Wild West.  I was 17.  I had worked my first job, earned my own money, and made sure I got the day off to spend some of that money on watching the Fresh Prince battle a dude with half a body (but a whole of racism) on a giant mechanical spider in the Old West. I’ve grown up since then and now, the thing I love about July 4th is holiday pay.  I will get paid double time working this Friday!  I will spend some of that money on getting to the Oklahoma City Improv Festival to perform with my troupe...because Dairy Based is something I love year round. - Julia Cotton

Screenshot_2014-07-02-13-24-37-1Freedom, Family, Fireworks, and Food - These are the ingredients to a great 4th of July. I could write a book about the things that make the holiday great. For now I will focus on the single most important thing I’m lovin’ this holiday weekend: THE GREAT AMERICAN SLAMDOG. It’s a food as versatile and diverse as this great nation. For those uninitiated, The Great American Slamdog is a traditional Hot Dog – made the way you like it – wrapped in a great big slice of pizza. I can’t think of anything more American. Get one! It’s what America wants you to do! - Tommy Lee Brown

idesofmarchThe fourth of July has never been a super important holiday for me. I mean, it's no May 6th (George Clooney's birthday), but I do enjoy it. I like the fireworks, the music, having a day off and actually spending it with friends and family instead of in a four hour marathon nap after watching the third season of 30 Rock for the 1776th time. My favorite fourth memory is probably from last year. I live close to Fair Park so I drove to a car wash parking lot that had a clear view of the fireworks, turned on some music and sat on the hood of my car and soaked it all in. It was a really nice moment in a really nice country. I mean, we're no George Clooney. - Sarah Wyatt

TallChickenBurgerI do my best to eat low-carb, low-calorie foods. It's how I maintain my svelte figure and teenage energy. And one of my newest food discoveries is the Original Brat Hans Jalapeno and Sharp Cheddar Chicken Burger. Let me run down some key highlights: No antibiotics, no added hormones, no preservatives, no MSG, no nitrates/nitrites added, gluten free, soy free, 150 calories/serving, and 1 gram of carbs. You can find these heavenly patties two to a package at Whole Foods. So, if you're looking for something healthier to cook on the grill this holiday, try these. The mixture of jalapeno and melted cheddar will have you thinking, "This is what America tastes like." - Jason Hensel

declaration_big_enhancedMost people don't know this, but I carry a copy of The Declaration of Independence with me everywhere I go. In my computer bag, right next to my passport, surrounded by pens, The Declaration sits, sharing the same little book with The Constitution. Every once in a while, when I need to be inspired, or reminded of how good we have it in this country, I open the book and read the start of the second paragraph: "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Equality for all. A concept so important they had to out it down in writing. Sure, it wasn't actually true in 1776, and it remains untrue today, but progress moves slowly in our Great Experiment. It is only a matter of time until we achieve the full promise of our Founders. - Ryan Callahan