Christian Hughes

First Look at Our Newest DCH Student Short Film

Exciting news for aspiring film makers at the Dallas Comedy House! We are now offering a Sketch for Screen class and our students' first short is now streaming. The program is taught by our very own Grant Redmond and Michael Bruner. Redmond is a graduate of the sketch program and provides the writing curriculum, while Bruner is a graduate of the improv program and, since he works in the film industry every day, is able to provide insight as to how video production works. The Sketch for Screen program consists of three levels and spots are limited. So sign up soon!

Our first class consisted of Christian Hughes, Mark Jacob, Susie Falcone, Jon Patrick, Tyler Simpson, and Nkechi Chibueze. Their first sketch "Name In Vein" is below. Check it out! (NSFW)

Name In Vein from Dallas Comedy House on Vimeo.

ChuChu’s Choices: Hot Chocolate w/ RumChata

DCH drink1 In this first installment of ChuChu’s Choices, I want to take you on a rich, creamy ride toward a special winter buzz drinking DCH’s spiked Hot Chocolate with RumChata. This drink is a great remedy for whatever ails you. Take three parts creamy Swiss Miss hot chocolate, one part of that delicious horchata-con-rum beverage, RumChata, serve it in a mug with whipped cream and POW! ... You’ve got a first-class ticket on Deliciousness Airlines. The flavor is sublime. It’s  complex, yet simple in preparation.

We’ve all had our fair share of spiked hot chocolate. Peppermint schnapps is good but played out. Baileys in hot chocolate? Who are you, my mom? Whiskey in hot chocolate? Easy there, Hunter S. Thompson. Trust me, friends, I have seen the future and it tastes amazing.

This drink has yet to be named, so I will throw a few at the wall and see if they stick.

  1. Hot Chata
  2. Rum Choca
  3. The Future
  4. Future x Drake
  5. Choc-line Bling

Look, I don’t know if any of those names will catch on, but what I do know is that this drink is the next big thing. Get on board now before it's gone.

This drink is a certified ChuChu Choice.

Troupe Talk: Law & Order: The SVUsical

Law and Order "In the Criminal Justice System, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories."

….those are the opening lines for Law and Order SVU (you know, the TV show).

"At the Dallas Comedy House, the Criminal Justice System is represented by seven separate, yet equally funny people. The Amanda who directs the crime and the comedians who prosecute the audience and make them laugh. These are their stories."

….those are the opening lines (that I just made up because I can, because I blog and stuff) for Law & Order: The SVUsical (you know, the MUSICAL. The musical that you would be a dummy for not catching THIS FRIDAY--and running every Friday and Saturday through August 29 [except Aug. 14-15]--at Dallas Comedy House).

What was the inspiration for writing Law and Order: The SVUsical?

Grant: It was originally pitched by Lauren Davis for an assignment in our Leve 3 sketch class. The assignment was to pair up two things that don't usually go together. She came in with Law and Order: The Musical. After writing and performing a 10-minute version of it, we decided that we needed to elaborate on the idea and make it a full-length show. Susie: What Grant said. Christian: Lauren pitched L&O: The Musical for our sketch 3 show back in April, and we loved it. We did a compressed version in our sketch show and when we were through with that we all said, "Let's make this a real thing!" Now three months later, here we are. Paulos: In our last sketch revue, Fraud City, Lauren Davis wrote a sketch called Law and Order the Musical. It was a big hit, everyone enjoyed it and still brought it up. We knew before we ended that run in March that we were going to do a full-length version. Sean: We really wanted to do a buddy-cop show in the vein of Turner and Hooch, so we came up with the idea to write a musical about Mr. Law and his dog Order. Lauren: Law and Order: The Musical was a sketch I wrote for our sketch 3 class. Amanda: It was a pitch from Level 3. I asked them to pitch two pop culture paradigms that don't normally co-exist. Lauren pitched Law and Order the Musical. It almost didn't make the cut, but it did. They had so much fun with it during the sketch 3 review, Fraud City, we decided to make it a full length musical.

Tell us about the writing process.

Grant: We watched musicals and episodes of Law and Order while writing down patterns that we noticed so that we could exploit them in our musical. After getting a list of characters and beats we knew we wanted to hit, we assigned scenes to everybody and met up the next week to pitch. I remember the first week that we all showed up with songs, and each one was so funny. Once enough songs were written, we just had to write the scenes to connect all of them. We still haven't stopped writing. People add lines here and there every time we run through the script. It's making for a show that is very dense with jokes. Christian: The writing process was much different for this than with sketch. We had to do a lot more conforming to a central story with this, so it took more time to craft that. We had a general story that we outlined our first meeting and then we all took it and kind of ran with it. Paulos: Writing with this group has always been the most frustrating...so much fun and but sometimes frustrating. It's cool, everyone is super talented, and most of the times we were just doing bits and laughing for hours. As far as the script and songs, it was very collaborative. We all edited or punched up everything. Sean: Everyone in this group is a strong writer, and we all trust each other to create great content. At the start of the process, we'd piece apart the different things we needed to write and assign them to different people, and then we'd bring them back to the group and help punch up each other's stuff. This is a group that really fires on all cylinders when it's working together, and we're most in our element when we're creating things with each other. Susie: There's a lot more pressure when writing for a group vs. writing for yourself. Write, edit, write, edit...edit, edit, edit. In fact, I think we kept writing and editing up until last week. Lauren: Like the painting of the Golden Gate Bridge, it is apparently never ending. Amanda: I think it's still going on...

Let's go behind the scenes. What did a typical rehearsal look like?

Grant: We'd all be outside on the stoop in our jean jackets. Drinking 40s and smoking drugs. Amanda would walk up and as she would unlock the door, we'd throw paper airplanes at her back and high-five each other for making such good paper airplanes. She'd shake her head and know that deep down, we did it out of love. After taking a couple hours to sober up, we'd go over notes from the previous week and run any scenes that had recent changes or trouble areas. Then a full run through with costumes and props, followed by more notes. After cleaning up, we'd go back to the stoop out front and pick up where we left off with our drugs and alcohols. Christian: Rehearsals changed over time as the musical came together. First is was just us trying to block the thing, then trying to remember lines and blocking, and now it's kind of honing and refining everything so it looks good for the show. Paulos: We had some pretty intense rehearsals. Typically groups meet up three hours a week. There were times were meeting up six hours two or three times a week. We're all very committed and also need your approval so we wanted to make something really special. Sean: Early on, it was just all of us sitting around a table coming up with great "what-if" ideas. I'm pretty sure there's about three great sketch shows' worth of content that got left on the cutting room floor. As the songs and scenes got finalized, we started rehearsing on the stage, blocking out the acts, and singing the songs with music. Susie: Six-to-10 hours of nonstop fun! We laugh and joke around a lot. Bits, bits, more bits, and then Amanda steps in and gets us to rehearse. Lauren: Depends on the day. Sometimes we focused on choreography, sometimes running transitions, writing songs, etc. Amanda: The first two months were writing sessions. Super fun. These bozos are really smart. Then we started blocking it in June, and in July we went to twice weekly practices then upped the game to three times a week. We had several rehearsals that were seven-hours long. They were productive, just long. There's a lot to consider with blocking/transitions/choreography/music/props when it comes to a musical, on top of memorizing the content and songs. Honestly, I've seen a lot of drama in theater in the past, but this group was so committed to making this show really fun for the audience, so any time there was tension, we nipped it in the bud pretty quickly. Usually with queso. Or beer. Or hugs.

Favorite memory of the production process?

Grant: Going out to take pictures for our posters was a lot of fun. Getting to see everyone in costume for the first time on top of a high-rise in Dallas. That's not a bad way to spend an evening with your friends. Christian: My favorite part of the whole process was pitching songs at the beginning. I had never written a song for a musical before, so it was a ton of fun writing out the lyrics and performing them in front of everyone at our writers meeting. Paulos: There are a lot to choose from. We've practically lived together for a couple of months writing this. Listening to the songs for the first time was so much fun, and I cried laughing a lot. One night recently, however, we had a pretty long rehearsal and everyone was beat up and tired and we had a group message going where everyone got home and got really excited at like 2 a.m. It was a cool thing, because we were tired but still so much more excited than tired. Sean: Oh, there's so many. One that comes to mind happened a couple of weeks ago. I had been out of town for a week, so I missed some rehearsal time. I came back, and at the next practice, during the run, the whole group did this super intense elaborate choreography that didn't exist before I left...I won't spoil anything, but I was dying. So that was pretty funny. Also, anytime Lauren's giggle box breaks. It's so fun to have someone who takes the show super seriously laughing uncontrollably because of a poop joke. Susie: My memory is shot from all the drinking and rehearsing. I wish we made a documentary of this: "Making of Law & Order: the SVUsical" (because I'm not creative with titles, apparently). We've been in over our heads since day one, but Amanda has always been there to guide us and pick up the pieces. Through the power of friendship, you can do anything! Lauren: Either hearing most of the songs for the first time or the time Amanda ordered us free pizza. Amanda: Honestly, and please don't tell them this, I'm sad I won't be spending all of my Sundays (and Mondays and Wednesdays and Saturdays with these boners). They're all so fun. I love them all equally in different ways. They're really smart, and I love being part of a project where everyone is just so dedicated to putting up good work. The amount of time they've put into this show is kind of unbelievable. I can't wait for it to open and everyone see all of their hard work. It's been an honor to direct them.

Law & Order: The SVUsical runs every Friday and Saturday through August 29 (except Aug. 14-15). 

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.

Comedian In Bars Drinking Alcohol

This weekly blog series features interviews taking place at the Dallas Comedy House (DCH) open mic with me and some of the funniest stand-up comedians in the area, most of whom just happen to be my best friends! Read to learn about your favorite local funny people and about the curious emotional makeup of people who like to go onstage alone every night to get laughed at. Christian Hughes: Stand-Up Guy

Christian Hughes wears many hats. Not only is he a funny and respected member of the Dallas-Fort Worth stand-up scene, he also runs the Dallas Comedy House open mic with his friend and frequent collaborator, Grant Redmond. Hughes's comedic timing, innate-like ability, and infectious energy serve him not only in stand-up, but in sketch, as well. His compelling stage presence and remarkable gift for mimicry make him one of the most talented and versatile performers I know. Hughes's predilection for Civil War history and love of the South are common themes in his writing and give his comedy a unique, slightly nerdy voice that is all his own—no one else is telling jokes about Millard Fillmore or Confederate DJs. I sat down with my friend and Fraud City costar, and we talked about the importance of community in comedy, the ups and downs of running an open mic, and his role as host of the stand-up portion of the upcoming Dallas Comedy Festival—all filmed by cinematic wunderkind Sean Alexander.

Lauren Davis is an improviser and stand-up comedian from Dallas, Texas. Currently a student at the DCH Training Center, she can be seen weekly performing improv with her troupes LYLAS: Girl on Girl Comedy and Please Like Us, as well as doing her stand-up act at clubs around the area.

What We're Loving: Comeback Stories, Little Lord Legs, Michael McDonald Deep Cuts, DCF14

DCH_what we're loving_3_14_14Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week Julia Cotton speaks to the self-loathing narcissist in us all, Ashley Bright needs tiny legs, David Allison makes a That's My Bush reference, and Ryan Callahan shamelessly plugs his own work. 369Dan Harmon is the genius that introduced me to the love of my life, Donald Glover, by creating an awesome show called Community. Around Season 2, I found myself listening to every interview he did and then consuming everything he’d ever created. I could tell that he was a person who absolutely cared about humanity, honesty, harmony, and 'Harmon’. He was clearly a narcissist while simultaneously being very self loathing. It’s a personality combination that can lead one to often feel very isolated, often be misunderstood, and often get fired.

When he was fired from Community, I was heartbroken. I’d become so dependent on his voice that I felt a little more lonely and weirdly… rejected. It was like whoever fired him had also fired me.

Luckily, he began the Harmontown podcast. It is premised as a town hall meeting to plan the founding of a colony of like minded misfits. The question is ‘What do we need to form a functional society?’ The podcast features some improv, made up songs, and freestyle raps (that are clearly performed by a white dude in his 40s that is NOT named Eminem). There are many special guests (Bobcat Goldthwait, Robin Williams, Jon Oliver, Mitchell Hurwitz, frequently Kumail Nanjiani). Around episode 6, it was decided that each show would culminate with a game of Dungeons and Dragons (see Community S2:14). In that episode we are introduced to Spencer Crittenden - an audience member randomly chosen to be Dungeon Master.

Harmontown went on the road and was filmed. It documents Dan’s journey which ultimately leads him right back into the arms of his lost love (Community season 5!). It also chronicles him and his girlfriend going through relationship woes and eventually becoming engaged. Harmon suggests that perhaps the most interesting story is that of Dungeon Master Spencer as he takes an unexpected journey into celebrity.

The documentary really highlights Dan Harmon’s effect on the people who call ourselves “Harmenians”. What we have in common is this feeling of never quite “fitting in” and often feeling misunderstood and rejected. Dan Harmon has shown us how to take those feelings, and fuse them into creativity.

You can check out the trailer here. - Julia Cotton

Nigel-Lindsay-as-Shrek-and-Nigel-Harman-as-Lord-Farquaad-in-Shrek-The-Musical.-Photo-by-Brinkhoff-MögenburgI've had one of those go-go-go weeks, where I didn't make adequate media absorption time for myself. I did watch the True Detective finale, but so did everyone else and their dog. Dogs love Rust Cohle. I watched some more Sopranos, but I dabbled on that topic last week. I did have a Gilmore Girls watching evening with Mr. Terry Catlett. No, I won't be sharing the joys of Stars Hollow with you. In fact, I'm going to use this forum to ask you to share something with me. Let me explain. You may not know this, but TC (Terry Catlett for some of this entry) is a big fan of musicals. After watching Rory move into her dorm at Yale, we watched Shrek on Broadway on Netflix. I can't lie; I didn't really dig it, although there were some very inspiring stage setups. Here's what I did love: TC was absolutely tickled by Lord Farquaad's tiny legs. I had a giggle fit just watching him have a giggle fit. I've tried searching for more big bodies with tiny leg gags, and I've come up with nothing except for some unfortunate real-life body disfigurement. I saw some stuff I can't unsee. So, first, I'm asking for any videos of a similar tiny leg gag so that we can all continue giggling. Be careful on your search; I'm telling you there is stuff out there that will burn onto your eyes. Second, and more importantly, can someone help me make some tiny legs for Terry? I can provide materials and I'll do the legwork (pun!), but I need some help figuring out how to make them functional with bending knees. I should note that I cannot sew. I'm not sure if that's important. - Ashley Bright south-park-the-movie-back-cover-98981I love alliteration! In celebration of that fact, I’m creating “Movie Soundtrack March” to showcase great comedy soundtracks that go underappreciated. The only rule for my weekly pick is that the soundtrack has to mostly be comprised of original music.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are geniuses. You know that. The problem is that they’ve created so many amazing things (South Park, Team America: World Police, Cannibal, Orgazmo, BASEketball, Book of Mormon) people tend to lose track of things. Heck, just by attempting to create a list of their work, I’m sure that I’ll get critiqued because I forgot something random, like That’s my Bush. It happens when two people create such a consistent collection. Because of that, I’m going to highlight my favorite piece that they did, a soundtrack that they don’t get nearly enough respect for; South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.

The movie was the first time that South Park began to receive acclaim as something more than a show that gets by on the shock value of kids not acting like kids and the quality of each musical number was a big reason. For starters, you’ve got “La Resistance” and “Up There,” which are fantastic parodies of “Do you hear the people sing?” (Les Miserables) and “Part of your world” (Little Mermaid) respectively. Next, check out Big Gay Al’s one man show stopper “I’m super” and be reminded that people used to shop at Mervyn’s (And reference it in song!). Still not convinced? Well let me remind you that MICHAEL MCDONALD CREATED AN ORIGINAL SONG FOR THE ALBUM. Midway through the track, he just starts advertising his friend Keith’s car detailing business. Yes, not every track on the album is great, but there are so many gems that it is well worth revisiting. - David Allison

14517_10152631209974056_1575422524_nI'm loving many things the week: The Daniel Bryan angle on RAW Monday, learning that Night Hawk is a non-fictional producer of Salisbury steaks, watching my girlfriend watch Game of Thrones, (What!), but most of all I'm loving the anticipation for The Dallas Comedy Festival. This is my first festival and my first experience with the heightened intensity, the crackling energy in the air, the camaraderie as the DCH team hustles together to get ready. I'd call it the Super Bowl of Comedy, but that would probably get me sued, so I'll call it the SuperWrestlemaniaFinalsCup in Memory of David Von Erich of Comedy to be safe. Man, it really feels like the SuperWrestlemaniaFinalsCup in Memory of David Von Eric of COmedy around here this week! There's so much going on.

The Dallas Observer wrote about out "pretty killer" lineup, (quotes means you aren't bragging,) while the Dallas Voice was struck by the strong bonds formed at DCH.

Jason Hensel and I had the opportunity to speak with some of the talented men and women who will be performing at the festival. If you're a comedy nerd you'll appreciate the many discussions on craft and technique. If you're not a comedy nerd you are clearly in the wrong place and horribly confused. Take a deep breath and back away from your computer.

Comedy nerds, get to know some folks a little better:

- Executive Branch - Saffy Herndon - Gramt Redmond - Christian Hughes - Rob Christemsem - ZOOM! - Susan Messing - And more to come next week!

By the way, I'm still loving Rick Ross. Guys, it might be serious. - Ryan Callahan

DCF14: Christian Hughes

1704428Christian Hughes has been killing it all over Texas for the past few years. He's opened for people like Tone Bell and Jay Chandrasekhar. At the Festival he'll open for Rory Scovel, and have another show on Wednesday. Christian took the time recently to answer some questions about motivation, peanut brittle, and the dangers of peanut brittle.  What drove you to create comedy?

I guess the ability to make someone laugh has always been something I've respected more than any other trait. As a kid, I didn't look up to pop culture icons or sports figures or anyone like that. I looked up to comedians. Not everyone cares about good looks or how good you can throw a ball, but everyone likes to laugh. That universal enjoyment was really appealing to me and I really wanted to be one of the guys in on that action.

Who were your influences growing up, and who influences you now? Whose work excites you?

My parents were pretty cool about letting me watch comedy as a kid. I loved the mid 90's casts of SNL growing up, and I was one of the few kids in my grade whose parents let them stay up late and watch it. I didn't always get the jokes but I got a lot of insight on comedic timing and stuff like that. I'd always watch the show and then act it out the sketches in front of my friends at recess.

As far as comedians that I'm really into right now: Pretty much anyone who has been on Pete Holmes' podcast, You Made It Weird. There's a huge group of comics who I follow and pay attention to and most of them have been on that podcast at some point. I'm really excited to open for Rory Scovel at DCF too, he's easily one of the best guys out there right now and it's awesome to be on the same show as him. I'm also really digging the gal's from Broad City. That show has really been a breath of fresh air.

Do you have a motto? If not, for the purposes of this question can you make one up?

Right now my motto comes from a note I wrote to myself while half asleep a couple weeks ago that said " 25 year old Christian thinks 24 year old Christian is full of shit." It's kind of a succinct way of saying that you can always do better than last year. Either that, or my sub-conscious really hated me last year. Could be both, who knows.

What do you want an audience to feel when your show ends?

I'd like the audience to feel like I do after eating a nice peanut brittle. There's a happy feeling of the experience itself, then you have just a little bit left stuck to your teeth that reminds you about how great it was the rest of the day. If someone in the audience has a nut allergy, take a hike.

What's the best comedy lesson you learned?

The best comedy lesson I learned has probably been patience. There's been several times that I've been frustrated about material or whatever and it's always good to step back and realize that it's not a race. Everything comes in time if you keep working at it. Also, don't bring peanut brittle on stage due to the possibility of someone's nut allergy(Sorry, Chris.)

What makes the Dallas Comedy Festival Great?

DCF is amazing because it's a great slice of local comedy for D/FW. You won't find a better showcase of local talent anywhere else in the area. The people that are on the festival are really, really talented and I'm really excited to be a part of it.

Who would play you in a movie about your best friend? Who would play your best friend? Finally, what is the name of this movie.

I'd like to see Alan Rickman play me in a movie about my best friend. My best friend would be played by Daniel Day Lewis, just so we could rack up during awards season. Working title for this film would be "Dances with Wolves 2: Lost in New York".

Christian Hughes opens for Rory Scovel on Tuesday, March 18th. You can see him again on Wednesday, March 19th at 7PM.