Daniel Matthews

Jason: A Campy Musical

Jason A Campy Musical(Fade in. A cool October evening in Deep Ellum, at the Dallas Comedy House's Training Center. A nervous young woman clutches her phone and a notepad, shifting in a rickety wheelie chair. Three men sit opposite her, equally nervous and shifty-eyed. Every creak of the building is exaggerated in the silence before the Jason: A Campy Musical interview.) Me: Could you guys talk a little bit so I can see where to put the mic?

Jason: Yes. Colten's man-spreading.

Colten: I have stopped man-spreading because now I'm self-conscious about it.

Daniel: Um, you're still man-spreading a bit.

Colten: Really?

Me: OK, there we go. You might just need to talk a little bit louder...

Colten: (Very quietly) I can do that.

Me: So, with me, I have Jason Hackett, Colten Winburn, and Daniel Matthews.

(David Allison could not be there, so I've inserted his responses where appropriate.)

Daniel: Just to clarify, Colten is spelled with an “E-N,” not an “O-N.” It's a common mistake.

Jason: And his middle name is “Man-Spread.” Just let the record indicate that the man lives up to the name.

Me: If possible, I'll draw a picture. (It was possible. See below. I felt bad that only Colten had a nickname so I took the liberty of giving one to everybody.)

Jason Musical

Me: First of all, congratulations. Opening night was awesome, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Would you guys like to start off talking about the show's inception, how you started getting everything together?

(Everyone looks at Daniel.)

Daniel: Uh...oh boy. Well, I got the idea last September, and it did not start out as me saying, “I want to write a musical.” It started out because there was nothing good on the radio during a drive, so I turned it off and started trying to make up lyrics to a song.

Me: Like you do.

Daniel: Haha, yeah, like you do. Colten and I work on improvising songs together from time to time, and we had been doing that, so I just started making up words. And, I got the line, “You can't make a horse drink when you lead him to water / You can't hand me a knife and expect me to slaughter.” And I really liked that line and thought, “What the hell kind of a song would that fit into?” And so, it was kind of just like, yeah, Jason Voorhees, if he didn't want to kill for some reason. And then, I talked with Colten, and we made it into a full song, got with David, learned our parts, separated the music out, and did a Block Party last October.

Jason: Which I hosted.

(Block Party, by the way, is a great little running program at the Dallas Comedy House (DCH), which is now hosted by Sallie Bowen. If you have 10 minutes worth of a show idea, submit to Block Party. It might even be picked for a longer running show. Anything goes!)

Daniel: We liked it so much that we did an encore performance of it on Halloween.

Colten: Was that after my thing?

Daniel: Yes, actually, it was part of Colten's Stage Fright sketch show last Halloween. And then, Amanda Austin said, “If you can make that into a full show, you can do it next year.” And it was just like, “Oh yeah. We're gonna do a musical...This is a very storied history. This is going on Twitter, right?

Me: Yes. I'll upload it piece by piece.

Daniel: Then David and I started working in earnest – I want to say in April or May. We started by watching the first three movies in the series, because honestly, I had never seen any one of them all the way through.

Me: Really?

Daniel: Really. I don't have a particular affinity for the franchise or the character. It all started because of, “Yeah, he might sing that line about the horse.” I also watched Jason Takes Manhattan because it had a ridiculous title.

Me: Doesn't he go to space at some point?

Daniel: Yes. That's Jason X. It's the 10th movie in the franchise and takes place 200 years in the future when a group of scientists decide to re-animate DNA, and it turns out to be Jason Voorhees.

(Colten laughs.)

Me: My brain hurts. So does my heart...Once you started writing seriously, was there a process to determine who would be suited for this musical? Did you just think of people you knew around DCH?

Daniel: The casting choices didn't come until much later in the process. We had the script almost finalized, and – well. The script was in a good place.

Jason: I mean, is it finalized yet?

Daniel: No. It's a living document. We had it in a good place, though, and Colten and I diddled out a few songs.

Colten: Most of the songs were diddled out.

Daniel: It's an industry term. Rogers and Hammerstein were proficient diddlers. But anyway – we didn't really have anyone in mind other than David and myself. We were going to play the main characters because we deserved it.

Me: Haha, fair enough.

Daniel: We just sat down and hammered out who we wanted to see. Who we knew around the club that might fit into each type of role. And David introduced the idea where – it was very important to him to include some of the performers who might not have as much experience. He didn't just want all the old dogs on stage, which I think is a wonderful choice because that's – we got Houston Hardaway, Darcy Armstrong, Emily Gee, those graduates – we wanted people who would be very excited to be in the show.

(There's a sudden jingling at the door. A face gazes in, stained with blood and wild-eyed – oh. Wait. It's just Wes Davis and the Saturday night intern crew, coming in clutch to clean the Training Center. Thanks ya'll! Don't worry, Daniel was nice and let them in.)

Jason: Around this time, they brought me into the process. Before this point, I wasn't involved at all. Hey Daniel, do you want to talk about bringing me into the process?

Daniel: I've talked enough. Let's hear your perspective.

Jason: Well – they asked me. That was my perspective. They asked if I wanted to direct it. I've never directed anything before. I was also unsure whether they knew that I very publicly dislike musicals, and of course, they were aware, and that did not seem to be an issue for them. So I was like, “I've never directed anything, I'll definitely give this a shot.” They brought me into the process. We started figuring out who to bring in for various roles. We auditioned people – that was the first time I'd ever been on that side of an audition table, so all in all it's been very interesting.

Me: Do you still dislike musicals?

Jason: Yes. I like this one. But you will not find me watching any musicals.

Jason Musical

Me: People don't usually think of horror and comedy together, so how did you work to combine the two?

Daniel: Oh yes they do. Scary Movie?

Jason: Yeah! I'd say they have a history. For me at least, I think there's a lot of similarity in the reactions people have. Laughter and fear are pretty closely tied in that they are uncontrollable experiences. I'll laugh if I've been startled.

Colten: (gazing off into the distance) All comedy is derived from fear.

(The lights flicker. Wes Davis drops his mop.)

Jason: Not to dismiss your initial premise.

Me: Oh no, I asked that question so you would say that. I already agree -

Daniel: Is this just a game to you?

Jason: Are you the Jigsaw in this...Saw...interview? I don't know where that bit was going.

Daniel: Well yeah. If you look at being scared and laughing, they both have this element of surprise to them, where laughter comes from the unexpected, and so does being startled. Both have a build up of tension and a release, a catharsis. But then, in terms of doing comedy from horror, it works so well because horror takes itself so seriously. If you've ever tried to parody something that's already funny, you can't because [the humor] is already there. But with horror, when everything is played so dramatically -

Me: Oh it's very pompous.

Daniel: Very pompous – but there's no intentional humor in the standard horror film. If you go back and watch the Friday the 13th  movies, they're pretty funny now because they're...campy, badum-ts. Joke. See title of show. But they're absurd just because they're bad.

Me: This is a very prop-heavy show. Were there any memorable workarounds, things you had to MacGyver to work right?

Colten: That's more David.

Jason: Yeah, David took charge of making all of those. When I read the script, particularly the [redacted] that gets pulled apart...well. I don't want to reveal anything. Oooh, wait, can this be redacted?

Me: The whole thing? Sure.

Daniel: Also, redact the part where I say [redacted].

Jason: I read that, and I thought, “Well, we'll have to get a whole [redacted],” but the next time we came in, “Oh...David did it.” I was very impressed.

David's response after the fact: "I just find props so fun to build. One of my favorite writing drills is, 'What can't we do on stage?' and then talking through how we can pull it off. Prop construction was really satisfying, and I'm very proud of how they turned out."

Me: Colten. You're very quiet. This next question's just for you...

Colten: Yay!

Jason: I'll take this one.

Daniel: Let me just say...

(All laugh.)

Me: When Daniel and David came to you with song ideas – what was the process there?

Colten: Daniel covered the lyric side. He'd come to me with song lyrics, sometimes melodies, usually both – and a lot of times, I'd say, “What do you want that melody to be?” And he'd sing it, and I'd try to pick it out, put chords to it, flesh it out...We'd brainstorm, once over Skype. Like, “'Flee' is a good word. How can we work it in?”...So yeah, very collaboratively with Daniel.

Daniel: One of the things that – I'm gonna compliment you right now, Colten -

Colten: Um, redacted.

Daniel: One of the things that Colten is so good at...If I didn't know the melody but knew the feeling I needed, I could explain that [feeling] to him in these weird terms... "I want it to be sad in a folksy way, like if Peter, Paul, and Mary wrote a dirge.” And Colten goes, “Hm...How's this?” and played exactly what I needed. That happened so many times...three seconds. And it was perfect.

Colten: Aw. Thanks!

Me: Dang! That was beautiful. Do y'all have a favorite memory from practicing?

Colten: I don't know...first time seeing Houston do his hosting song was really memorable.

Jason: Oh yeah! From the moment he came in, it was amazing.

Daniel: He did a great job of understanding that character and putting his on spin on it.

Jason: Mine would be my only contribution to the script, which would be Darcy's guitar solos. When I actually saw it in action, I was like, “Yeah. I made the right choice. I'm glad I added that.” That was the only thing I added out of whole cloth.

Me: I especially liked it because it gave a whole corniness to the whole thing...like a 90s sitcom.

Jason: Now that you say that, I want to add [redacted]...oh. Um, redact that.

Me: The whole thing?

Daniel: Yes. Let's just start over.

Colten: Second to that would be me playing "Ghostbusters" before the show. And then they asked me to play it again and again...

David's response after the fact: "Damn it, I was gonna say the first time Houston did the song! Um, maybe the time that the water pole fell out during a really emotional scene. The loud "THUD" juxtaposed against a tender moment in the middle of a stressed rehearsal was just so funny."

Me: Awesome. If there is a train going from Kansas City to Dallas at 60 miles per hour, who really killed Jason Voorhees?

Jason:...Those seem...unrelated.

Daniel: I want to hear what Colten says.

Jason: Yeah.

Colten: Hm...that throws everything off that I knew about Jason.

Daniel: Yeah, it only works if you're leaving from Dallas to Kansas.

Me: OK, then let's say that. What's your theory?

(Jason giggles.)

Jason: Is it a train or the band train?

Daniel: Oooh! How fast is it and/or they traveling?

All: Sixty miles an hour.

Colten: That's pretty slow for a train.

Daniel: I don't know... I mean, technically, the lake killed him.

Colten: But he's not dead.

Daniel: Yeah, so...nothing's killed him, though the lake did it temporarily...water.

Colten: The lake.

Me: Water or the lake?

Colten: The train.

Jason: Train water.

Me: That works. I'll accept that.

Daniel: That bit didn't go well. Redact it.

Colten: Just include my part about the band Train.

Me: Will do. Also, I think that's it...

Daniel: That's it?

Me: Unless you'd like to answer my other standard sketch question.

Jason: What is it?

Me: If this group was a vegetable, what would it be?

Colten: A pumpkin.

Daniel: 'Cause it's spooky.

(Jason laughs.)

Me: OooOOoohh! SpOOooky!

Colten: It's well carved.

Me: Is that a machete joke?

Colten: Um...yeah. Halloween, machete, it's anything you want it to be.

Daniel: It's a really gourd cast.

Me: Oh, [redacted] you.

Daniel: That can stay in.

Jason: Uh...pumpkins. They're not vegetables, are they?

Me: Oh, no. They're fruit. They have seeds.

Daniel: What's the most pumpkin-y fruit?

Colten: An eggplant!

(Why does everyone always want to be an eggplant? I'll never understand.)

Me: Oh, the FCC was already an eggplant. I apologize.

Colten: A carved eggplant?

Me: Doesn't count.

Jason: Um...Spaghetti squash.

Daniel: 'Cause it looks like brains?

Jason: Yeah, yeah!

Daniel: We're confident in our answer.

All: Spaghetti squash.

David's response after the fact: "That works for me because I love spaghetti squash and I love this show!"

(Fade out. A machete speared through a rubber chicken fades in. The credits roll:

Jason: A Campy Musical involves the talents of David Allison, Darcy Armstrong, Joseph Delgado, Emily Gee, Jason Hackett, Houston Hardaway, Daniel Matthews, Tyler Simpson, and the musical talents of Colten Winburn. The show is teched by Doug Caravella. If you'd like to see the show, it's running every Friday for the rest of October at the world famous Dallas Comedy House. Get your tickets while they're hot!)

A final comment from David: "[The cast and crew] were all a dream to work with. Seriously. Educated performers that have a detailed eye and are willing to speak up. And their work ethics!" 

(I'm sure they were, David. I'm sure they were.)

Jason Musical

Emily Baudot is a DCH graduate and sketch student. When she isn’t at the theater, she’s drinking at one of the bars down the street and trying to justify ordering dessert for dinner.  Or, she’s on her computer pretending she’s a banished orc maiden, whichever one sounds healthier to you. If her crippling addiction to sugar and caffeine doesn’t kill her, she can be seen on stage with the soon to be world famous Wild Strawberry and the already-Internet famous Wiki-Tikki-Tabby (just kidding, they do go online a lot though). She’s also a Pisces because that means something.

(Poster: Houston Hardaway. Drawings: Emily Baudot. Photo: Jason Hensel)

Troupe Talk: Photobomb

Photobomb It’s baaaack!

The moment you’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. That’s right; ladies and gentlemen, the Dallas Comedy House (DCH) blog is bringing back Troupe Talk. This is the somewhat-semi-bi-weekly series, in which one lucky blogger sits down with one of your favorite DCH troupes to discuss performing, life philosophies, who they’d want to take a selfie with, and other deep/important questions about the universe.

For Troupe Talk’s first re-installment, we ‘re kicking things off by bringing you the best of the best, DCH’s newly awarded “Best Troupe,” Photobomb. Photobomb (Sarah Adams, Maggie Rieth Austin, Ryan Goldsberry, Ben Pfeiffer, Daniel Matthews, and Colten Winburn) pretty much has it all: beauty, brains, and perfect comedic timing. Though, when they’re not busy inserting themselves into audience members’ treasured memories or winning fancy DCH awards, Photobomb wants you to remember that they’re just like everyone else, except better and more good-looking.

Congratulations on winning this year's "Best Troupe" at the first annual DCH awards, Photobomb! Because you're winners and winners obviously know a lot about being the best at things, what qualities do you think make a troupe a "best” troupe?

Maggie: I think, for everyone who voted, they probably had different reasons for the troupes they picked. I hope people who voted for us did so because we're supportive of one another, have fun, and consistently put on a decent show. But, most people probably voted for us because we are really attractive.

Sarah: First thing is to have a "Colten"—then mix it with a "Daniel and a Ben," a dash of a 'Ryan," a healthy sprinkle of a "Maggie," and a touch of a "Sarah," and then BOOM, you’re a best troupe...but really what Maggie said, you just need to be really attractive.

Daniel: If there’s one thing I know about comedy, it’s that it is an objective, measurable competition. So clearly, Photobomb earned enough points in the “comedories” (comedy categories) to qualify us. Also, Ben can play an inanimate object like nobody’s business.

Ben: Relentless support of one another on and off the stage. We also give away shirts at the end of our show. We have no objections to bribery, in order to win votes.

Ryan: I guess liking each other helps, as does all having different and complementary playing styles, but I think it’s more about the gift baskets we sent to all the academy voters.  

Colten: Firstly, I can tell you the qualities of Photobomb: fast paced, supportive, zany and fun. I think the qualities of a “best troupe” are slightly different: agile, strong, steadfast, and adept in multiple martial arts. We aren't quite there yet.

For people who might not be familiar with you guys, how would you describe Photobomb's performance style?

Maggie: A Photobomb show starts with an interview and ends with a laugh—with a lot of inanimate objects and absurdity in the middle.

Daniel: It’s goofy and dynamic, and then sometimes Cell Block Tango does a scene in the middle of it.

Ben: It is a premise-based improv show, in which we interview an audience member and pull fun details and themes throughout the interview. Once the interview is done, we improvise based on the information provided to us.

Colten: We attack with our ideas after bothering an audience member.

Sarah: What they said.

Photobomb

Tell us about your most memorable Photobomb scene or show.

Maggie: Dallas Comedy Festival (DCF) 2014. We were gifted with a Friday night spot and were so excited. The audience was great, our show was great, and I think it was a defining moment for us. It helped us find our voice and style.

Sarah: I know you’re asking for a scene or show, but the thing that will always be the most memorable for me are our pre-show warm-ups.  We sing, we dance, we do bad jokes, we catch each other from falling, or make each other fly...our pre-show warm-ups are hands down some of my favorite moments in life.

Daniel: I think it was DCF 2014 that we did a musical show, right? That was fun, but Maggie already covered it. There was a show recently when Ben and I were both playing Willy Wonka simultaneously. Or some take off of that. Some weird twin Willy Wonka-esque guys. That was neat.

Ben: DCF 2014 was very memorable and fun. Also, as mentioned, we give away shirts after our show. We did a show on Friday night, and I saw the person we interviewed on Saturday afternoon at Kroger wearing the Photobomb shirt. I’m telling you people LOVE free stuff. I can’t prove this, but I’m pretty sure he slept in the shirt that night.

Ryan: Real sorry I wasn’t a part of Photobomb during DCF 2014, guys.

Colten: One time, in a Photobomb practice, Maggie just straight up spit in my hand. It was memorable, because it was real spit in my hand. The scene had something to do with MacGyver.

If you could replay/relive a fun (or deep or big) moment in your life over and over, like Groundhog Day style, what would it be?

Maggie: Probably, because this is Troupe Talk, I'd relive the moment in a Photobomb practice when we all set our phone alarms to go off in the middle, grabbed sandwiches out of our backpacks and pockets, and ate them over the buzz of alarms while staring at Nick Scott (our first coach).

Sarah: I would ditto Maggie’s moment. The look on Nick’s face is worth seeing for eternity, plus the sandwiches were really good.  

Daniel: Regardless of the quality of the moment, reliving anything over and over on an endless loop would become an abject, Sisyphean hellscape. But probz DCF 2014.

Ben: That one burrito.

Ryan: Probably, the first stroke of a sharpened Ticonderoga pencil. (This answer brought to you by Ticonderoga.)

Colten: One time I coughed, and my friend asked if I was OK, and I said, “Yeah, I'm just bad at beat-boxing.” And I'm proud enough of that joke to relive it over and over. So proud.

PhotobombImagine if every time you took a selfie, the same person (celebrity or someone you know) always showed up as a Photobomber in the background. Who would you enjoy seeing crash all your face pics?

Maggie: Probz my mom.

Sarah: Um…anyone? Probably, Maggie’s Mom.

Daniel: If I had to pick...probably, Maggie’s Mom.

Ben: The Trix rabbit.

Ryan: I had a long-winded answer about how I’d choose a historical figure, because, the way I interpret the question, this person is going to be summoned into my presence every time I turn on my front-facing camera and I could interview them. But you know what they say about planning your scenes in improv, so I’ll drop my shit and yes-and the Maggie’s mom bit.

Colten: Novak Djokovic.

Now it’s time for our “best troupe” winners to pull out their improvised award acceptance speeches. Who are a few people you’d like to thank? Remember to keep it short; the orchestra will cut you off if you go over time.

Maggie: Thank you to the panel of judges who put us together at the DCH auditions back in 2012, to the members of Photobomb who have moved away, to my parents, my husband, and my “phavorite phriends” I've ever had the pleasure of playing with. What an honor.

Daniel: I’d like to thank Grace, Danielle, and Madeleine for abruptly leaving Dallas, giving the remaining members of Photobomb no choice but to add me on to the team—because they knew that deep down, I’m actually three women.

Ben: I’d like to thank the members of Photobomb. It is a delight to perform with such talented individuals on a weekly basis. It is without question one of the highlights of my week.

Ryan: The folks at DCH for making me feel welcome every time I’m there, the folks of Photobomb for inviting me to play with them a year or so ago, and the folks at the Taco Bell on Washington for always having some quick bean burritos ready in-between work and evening classes/practices.

Colten: I would like to thank Nick Scott for starting us off strong and Terry Catlett for shaping us into a stronger team. Thank you to all of the members of PB for being so supportive and professional and consistently awesome. There is one member I would like to thank especially, my favorite member. My rock, my sun, my joy of joys. Her/his name, of course, is…

Sarah: I would like to thank the Academy, for this honor I am truly humbled by. Maggie, Daniel, Ben, Ryan, and Colten, for being so much better than me. Nick and Terry for always believing and always pushing us to be better. And finally Baxter T and Lady Squirrel Adams…they know what for. GOOD NIGHT!

Catch Photobomb’s upcoming performances at DCH on January 22, January 29, and February 5. They will also co-host the free improv Jam on Tuesday, January 26. 

Lauren Levine is currently a Level 3 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: Cell Block Tango

Cell Block Tango (Sung to the tune of "Three’s Company Too") Come and knock on their door... They’ve been waiting for you.... Where the monoscene is his and his and his, Three's company too.

Come and dance on their floor... Take a tango that's new... They’ve got a loveable show and want you to go, Three's company too.

You'll see that life is a ball again, laughter is calling for you... Down at DCH (it’s true!) ... Three's company too!

Down at DCH (it’s true!)... Call Block Tango is Three's company too!

Hey Guys! Let’s kick this off by you telling me about the best show you ever had together.

Colten: We had a practice set once in which we all played bees who couldn't stop dancing. We were practicing in a field, and I know some people saw us, which is why it counts as a show. Daniel: One time we did a scene that took place on an airplane and character popped between a bunch of characters. By the end we were playing 10 or 11 characters between the three of us. Ryan: There was that time Colten ripped a door off the stage. I may be confusing “best show” with “worst I’ve ever frozen on stage.”

What is Cell Block Tango's style? Do you follow a form?

Colten: We shoot for a fun monoscene. An interesting, “behind the scenes” tidbit is that Daniel is always in charge of naming every character, including his own. Daniel: Because we have 30 minutes to do one scene, we're not afraid to go off on stupid conversational tangents. We basically spend the whole time trying make Colten break character. Ryan: Form: We perform a monoscene with no real rules other than, “Hey no edits.” 
Style: We’ve been described as “three friends hanging out together on stage,” which I’m going to hope was meant as a compliment.

Tell me your true feelings about the phrase "Three's a crowd"?

Colten: Sounds to me like whoever said that was trying to exclude a third person from their group, probably because of romantic ulterior motives, which seems passive aggressive to me. Why not just tell me what you're up to, you know? Anyway it doesn't apply to improv troupes for sure. Daniel: Crowds must make for fun improv teams. Ryan: I’m partial to “three’s pretty good if you’re all trying to fit in a sedan that has a small back seat.”

What's your favorite improv rule to apply to real life?

Colten: Just listening. I have no idea how many things I didn't hear before I started improvising, but it must have been a lot. Daniel: I've stopped using real objects all together. Everything is pantomime now. I've never been more hungry. Ryan: Stop planning and just have fun.

Famous Trios: Who would be who in--

The Three Stooges (Moe, Curly Larry) Colten: I think Daniel is Curly. And I think that Ryan is also Curly. And I'm definitely Curly. We're all Curly. Curly is my favorite. Daniel: I'm the meanest, so I'm Moe. Ryan has nice hair, so he's Larry. And Colten is Curly because he always goes NYUK NYUK NYUK WOOPWOOOPWOOOPWOOP Ryan: Curly!

Peter, Paul, and Mary (Peter, Paul, and Mary) Colten: My first question is, Mary as in Magdalen or as in the Virgin Mary? Also, I don't know that those three really constitute a trio either way, granted I'm not well versed in the Bible. Ryan: Solid Q, Colten. If we’re going biblical with this, I for sure wanna be Samson.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (...the good, the bad and the ugly) Daniel: I can’t answer this without being self-deprecating. Let’s just say that both Colten and Ryan are good. Ryan: Can we all be the Bad? Colten: I'm Bubbles, Daniel is Blossom, and Ryan is Buttercup, and we have all avoided answering this question directly.

Destiny's Child (Beyonce, Kelly, and Michelle) Daniel: Can we all be the yonce? Colten: I like Daniel's idea that we're all the yonce. I think Ryan and I are her legs, and Daniel is her upper body.

See Cell Block Tango perform at the Dallas Comedy House on July 17, August 1, and August 21.

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.

Troupe Talk: Samurai Drunk

Samurai Drunk Samurai [sam-oo-rahy] noun, plural samurai. Japanese History 1. a member of the hereditary warrior class in feudal Japan.

Drunk [druhngk] adjective 1. being in a temporary state in which one's physical and mental faculties are impaired by an excess of alcoholic drink; intoxicated.

Samurai Drunk [sam-oo-rahy druhngk] noun, plural funny dudes. Dallas Comedy House History 1. a team of seven hilarious dudes who do what they want

Want to meet them? Well, It’s your lucky day. Up this week on Troupe Talk is none other than Samurai Drunk!

Hey Guys. Thanks for bringing me a beverage to get Samurai drunk on while we talk—tell our readers what you brought me. Nathan: Brown Rice Sake…well, it’s a cup of vodka with brown rice in it. It’s really gross. Don’t drink it. Daniel: Rice wine vinegar. That’s Samurai-y right? Tommy: I brought you a Mountain Dew Baja Blast. Derek: Sake mixed with gasoline. Tim: I didn’t. You never said what you wanted, and I can’t take that kind of pressure. I brought myself a PBR and a shot of Jameson. You can have the shot if you want. Colten: Well, I brought Tim a PBR and a shot of Jameson. You can have them now, I guess. Tyler: A six pack of my current favorites (in no particular order) 1. Community's Witbier 2. Adelbert's Tripel B 3. Revolver's Blood & Honey 4. Live Oak's Hefeweizen 5. Real Ale's White 6. uh... sorry, I already drank that one on the walk over.

Thanks, dudes. Speaking of dudes, you’re an all-dude group, which is kind of like a boy band. What boy band do you most relate to? Nathan: 2ge+her. I know they’re not real, but that makes them ever more real. Daniel: Does Hall and Oates count? No? Oh. Tommy: Boyz II Men. Because we range from Derek to Tyler. Derek: I don't know why, but when I try to answer this question the only thing that comes to mind are the Ninja Turtles. And I know they aren't a boy band, and I know they don't exist. Tim: Wu-Tang Clan comes to mind. I know that if we all had microphones a lot of us would walk around the stage holding up our pants and at the right times saying things like "Yo" and "Yeah.” Colten: What do you think about the Back Street Beach Boys? It would be a cross-over cover band. Tyler: The Grateful Dead.

According to your Facebook page (yeah that’s right, I stalked you on the book), you follow The Drunk Samurai format that you invented as a group. Tell us about the elements and structure of your form. Nathan: The whole point was to NOT have structure or form and to play fast and loose. Much like a samurai, you have to adapt to what is happening in front of you, that way your first reaction is true and usually fun! Daniel: Hop on stage with some dudes and aggressively play make-believe. Tommy: What drew me to Samurai Drunk was that the format could be anything anytime. Nothing is set in stone, not even the testosterone and energy people attribute to us. Derek: It's a stretch to call it a form, because part of the charm is that our shows aren't meant to be rigid. The overriding theme is to bring energy and have fun, but beyond that we try not to limit ourselves. The most standard element is the group scene up top, then occasional organic edits throughout. Tim: I can give no other information aside from it being a blast to put up our "form.” Colten: In our form, a group scene/game becomes the heart of a yet undetermined animal. Then whatever animal it is does whatever that animal do. Tyler: It's really a "form" that leads the actors. We aren't limited by worrying about the "form." We tend to get into trouble when we stand and talk. It's something that other troupes do way too much so I strive to be active so we aren't ever comfortable.

Which accomplishment are you more proud of and why: Being the first DCH team to live stream a show to the entire world? Or winning the DCF 2013 Flip Cup championship? Nathan: Actually, I really liked our Kickstarter for the live stream event. It was well made and funny. I think it really showed off what we can do. Daniel: I wasn't in Samurai Drunk at those times. But I got the Espirit de Corps my first year in High School Marching Band. Tommy: I wasn't in Samurai Drunk at those times. But I got a certificate for being a good restaurant manager when I worked for Taco Cabana. Derek: Live-streaming was fun, but so was our massive Murder in the Dark event. One of the best weekends ever was when we performed at the Out of Bounds festival in Austin, but literally spent the majority of our time playing Murder in the Dark in a rented house (while Tyler slept). Tim: I was in Samurai at that time, and I can say that if I had to choose it would absolutely be the live-stream, otherwise, the tagline for DCH would just be "the famous Dallas Comedy House." Conversely my least proud moment is still not having our pilot finished—although we are probably a month or two away from the final thing. God fucking willing. Colten: I wasn't on the team that won the Flip Cup championship, despite being in Samurai Drunk at the time. So you leave me no choice but to choose the live-stream, which was super fun to be a part of. Tyler: I wasn't a part of either one. I'm most proud (non performance) of our Murder in the Dark past show experiment.

Samurais were the military nobility of medieval and early-modern Japan. Back in the day, what happened when they got drunk? Nathan: According to the thousands of hours of anime I watch, they usually pass out or a lady with large breasts show up and everyone gets a nose bleed. Daniel: They got even. Tommy: They would be victorious in battle or they would die in battle. There was no other option. Derek: I'm not sure if this is what you're asking, but it seems like a good segue to explain what our name means. If I remember correctly, Colten is the one who came up with the name Samurai Drunk. We were a little confused until he explained that samurai used to practice sword fighting while inebriated, so that they would be that much better when sober. That kind of crazy logic seemed perfect for us, and so it stuck. Tim: Probably a shit-ton of karaoke. Colten: They forgot about the stressful day they had and were able to relax a little. Tyler: Geishas, sake, and gambling… probably.

DON'T MISS Samurai Drunk at the Dallas Comedy House!

Tori Oman is a Level Four 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.

*Definition sources from Dictionary.com. Except for the Samurai Drunk one. I made that up.

Comedy Centerfold: Daniel Matthews

Welcome to Comedy Centerfold, where we feature a Dallas Comedy House performer and get to know him or her a little better by using questions that Playboy centerfolds are usually asked.  Daniel MatthewsDaniel Matthews is one of the most confident performers I've ever seen at the Dallas Comedy House. His commitment to characters is phenomenal. He is always a pleasure to watch on stage, and you can see him perform in several troupes: Cell Block Tango (April 25), Photobomb (April 17 and April 24), and Samurai Drunk (April 17).

Hometown? I was born in a hospital in Bedford, Texas. A suburb slightly closer to Fort Worth than it is to Dallas, but it's somewhere in between. You know on the weather reports where, in between Dallas and Fort Worth it says DFW? Right about there. I proceeded to live in Bedford for years until we moved...to the other side of Bedford.

Guilty Pleasures? When I'm driving by myself, I'm almost always singing (usually showtunes or classic rock), practicing stupid voices, or a combination of the two things. I'm sure I look like a lunatic when I drive, but I've got to get the music out somewhere, you know?

Ambitions? I'm on the precipice of establishing a community for puppeteers in the DFW Area. Oh by the way, I'm a puppeteer. I'm working on hammering out the details and writing a pilot for a puppet show that my puppet-pal and I will then pitch to Internet media distributors. And I'm also still considering taking the plunge and moving up to Chicago and doing that whole big-time improv thing. We'll see, I've still got stuff to do here in Texas before that happens.

Best Concert? Oh gosh, I'm pretty lame in that I don't go to many concerts. Loud music and crowds kind of get on my nerves, so most of the concerts I go to are fairly low key unless I remember to bring my ear plugs (protect your hearing, everyone!). The same dude I do puppets with is in a Beastie Boys tribute band called Rhymin N Stealin, and those are always fun. But I'd have to vote for the time I saw a dude hook a giant industrial spring to an amp at Three Links in Deep Ellum and wax poetic while clanging on it. I don't know if the quality was the best I've ever heard, but it's one of the most surreal experiences I've had.

Favorite Book? I'm really bad about reading, too. I need to read more. If looking like a lunatic in the car is a guilty pleasure, not reading enough is a guilty shame. I'm currently reading TJ and Dave's book, Improv at the Speed of Life, which is fantastic so far. But what do I know, I'm an unlearned knave.

Favorite Movie? Airplane! Always and forever Airplane!. It's scientifically proven to have one of the highest laughs-per-minute of any comedy movie. It's got complex wordplay and dry wit along with dumb slap stick and non sequiturs. It'd be hard for me to ever get tired of Leslie Nielsen's delivery.

Favorite TV Show? Got to give it to The Simpsons until about, I dunno, Season 13 or so? I also love Futurama (go figure), but as far as currently running series' I really dig Broad City, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and probably most of all Rick and Morty.

Pets? My family has a blue heeler/ Border Collie / etc. mix named Bailey. She's sharp as a tack and super cute. We've trained her to jump through a hula hoop. There's also a super gross cat that lives in our backyard and we feed him so he doesn't die. His name is Shadow, and I'll post pictures of him on Instagram under #nastybackyardcat

Foods I Crave? Barbecue ribs (pork or beef) and crab rangoon.

People I Admire? To be generic, people who know where they're going in life and have the drive to get there, and people who practice seemingly perpetual positivity.

To be specific, and a little cheesy, I really look up to my Cell Block Tango scene partners, Ryan Goldsberry and Colten Winburn. They're some of my best friends, and they're wonderful people, and I could probably take up the space of this whole interview writing nice things about them.

Dream Role? Dr. Teeth, the band leader of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. The band from The Muppet Show.

Favorite Song to Sing? I really like singing super cheesy songs and trying to sell the emotion in them. My favorites for karaoke are probably "Stand By Your Man" by Tammy Wynette or "Sometimes When We Touch" by Dan Hill. Alternatively, my favorite musical is Little Shop of Horrors, so most of the songs from that.

Good First Date Idea? I'm the wrong dude to ask. Maybe you didn't know, but I'm an improv comedian. I once had a girl I was talking to via online dating buy tickets with her friends to see me perform in a Samurai Drunk show, but by the time she told me that I had received a paid gig with the murder mystery dinner I perform with. So I just wasn't there. Surprisingly she still talked to me afterwards, but I'm bad with first dates.