Glenn Smith

QuizProv: Faster and Funnier

QuizProv QuizProv takes place tonight at 11:59 p.m. at the Dallas Comedy House (DCH) What is it? Why is it? How is it? Glenn Smith and Danny Gallagher have answers.

How has this version of QuizProv changed since the first performance?

Glenn: We have worked really hard to turbocharge the format to make the show shorter and quicker, but still deliver as many laughs as in the longer show. You might call us Faster and Funnier 3: Dorkeo Drift.

Danny: We really wanted to work on streamlining the whole show without sacrificing too much of what we think makes it work. As we all know, timing is the hardest part of doing any show and not just in terms of finishing on time but also finding that groove where you're not rushing and overlooking the funny stuff that we and our players come up with on the spot. We're also doing this on a much bigger stage in a brand new place, and I'm most excited about that because I take up a lot of space and I almost fell off that tiny little plot in front of the curtain on the stage at the old Commerce building.

What can the audience expect from the show?

Glenn: First off, six really talented and hysterical comedians and improvisers will be on that stage battling out it for Quizprov supremacy. They are being handed some really clever and interesting trivia games to play and the accelerated format will force them to stay on their toes. Bloodshed is not out of the question.

Danny: We've got six of the funniest people at DCH, not counting Glenn and myself, who we know are just going to knock it out of the park and Glenn also came up with something clever for them: We let our Facebook followers name their teams. One of our contestants will also win a brand new toaster. In terms of Glenn, Clarence [Murugen] and myself, we're most proud of the games we've written for them to play. We can't wait to show them off and see the puzzled looks on our contestants' faces.

How do contestants get selected?

Glenn: Most of them owe us money, generally due to gambling debts and addictions to hard candy. It makes it easy for us that funny people live really out of control lives, meaning you can exploit them for a handful of Werther’s Originals.

Danny: We hold open tryouts complete a rigorous knowledge test that covers a broad range of the knowledge we feel a contestant must possess in order to be a good competitor on the show. Then we hold a mock game with questions that are much, much harder than the questions we ask them on the show and depending on who gives us the most goods and/or services by the end of the session, we tell DCH who will be on it. Actually, we just pick people who we think would be funny and seem like the kind of people we'd invite for a typical game night, ask them if they are available, and tell them when we need them at the theater.

What is your favorite part of the show?

Glenn: The participants’ responses to the questions, for sure. First, they get that look of panic that seems to indicate “how the heck am I supposed to answer that”, but then an idea appears and their eyes get big and you know they have a comedic gem. We have received so many responses that we could have never anticipated. The whole process of watching Nikki Gasparo realize that an answer was her most hated movie of all time (Love, Actually) and exploding out of her chair in a mix of delight and disgust was priceless.

Danny: I love the writing most of all, because I've always believed that comedy and games are something I do as part of my writing living and they go so great together and they aren't utilized enough together although now that late night is filling up with game related programming, that might change soon. I also just love being the announcer, even though I may not have the right voice for it. I get to yell into a microphone and scream "CAAAAAAAAR" or "A new blender!" I actually wanted to be a TV announcer like Don Pardo or Gary Owens or Guy Smiley when I was a little kid, because they had all the best jokes and they never had to fight for the laugh. Just the thought of hearing Don Pardo speak Spanish when Jimmy Smitts hosted Saturday Night Live still makes me laugh.

Which is better: a sweet bacon dish or a savory bacon dish?

Glenn: A sweet bacon dish on top of a savory bacon dish washed down with a bacon-infused cocktail while wearing a Ron Swanson t-shirt.

Danny: It's funny you mention that because I've just written a story for CNET on that very subject. It depends on whether I'm eating a meal on a plane or if I'm on the ground. A recent study showed that the flavor of savory meals, also known by the tastebud umami, are enhanced by the decibel levels of the cabin and it also dulls foods and drinks with sweeter tastes. So that explains why airlines sell so many $7 Bloody Marys, which they should serve with a strip of bacon as garnish.

QuizProv is a free show. And while you're there to watch the show, you should really buy the Best Friend sandwich at the bar. 

DCF2015: Where'd Everybody Go?

DCH logo You may not know this, but Glenn Smith is fluent in Logo. In fact, he’s the last person alive who can speak Logo, and he’s done us a solid here by translating our own Dallas Comedy House (DCH) Logo’s memories of the Dallas Comedy Festival.

Hello? Anyone there? Kyle? Amanda? It’s me, the DCH logo backstage. I’ve got to tell you that your parents really know how to party. They bought me dozens of Jello shots Saturday night, and I got so wasted that I blacked out around 3 a.m. and I just woke up. Man, have I got some stories to tell about this year’s festival and trust me, none of this is made up.

First off, I was easily the most popular thing at the festival. So many people came to take pictures with me that I felt like Spiderman in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, except there was a little more crying here. Landon came to see me from California, and Madeleine came to visit from New York. I heard that Andre made it, too, but he was receiving too much love at the front of the house to venture on back. His loss! That’s OK, because I made other friends from out of state and they treated me famously.

That comedian, Preston Lacy, was so nice and down to earth. I can’t believe people kept saying something about him being a “Jackass.” TJ and Dave were so into me that that they allowed me to give them a suggestion to start their show Friday night. I gave them the word “me.” They must have misunderstood, however, because somehow their show ended up being about some drunk, obnoxious guy. Then, that Bangarang! troupe came by and they were totally fun. Of course, that was until that one girl started rubbing herself against me while the rest of them loudly shouted “Go, Hobo Joe, go!” over and over again. It was really weird, but I guess that’s how they all roll out in L.A.

Wow! It’s really odd that no one is here. Cesar? Maiella? Ashley? Dang, they are here like every day. Something’s up. You don’t think that Amanda was actually serious about that moving business? I thought she was just messing with me. That’s not fair! I have so many questions that I will never get answered now. Why is that word game called Electric Company when they say “Mahna Mahna” which is a Muppet thing? Czechoslovakia? If we’re going for antiquated geographical names, why not Constantinople? What is the deal with the hangers? My great grandfather was Joan Crawford’s closet and he would not have been amused in the slightest. Most of all, is Franzia really certifiably crazy?

OK, Amanda, I’m sorry for whatever I did. Please take me with you. I am going to miss the wonderful energy every day. I have always loved watching all of the people, some overcoming their stage fright, some making lifelong friends, some even getting engaged. I have seen so much, and I don’t want it to ever stop. I promise to be good. I’ll even give up Jello shots forever. OK, we know THAT will never happen, but I am willing to try. I want to be your logo and your friend forever.

Glenn Smith is a graduate of the DCH Training Program and performs regularly in the troupes Juan Direction and Shameless Pugs and is the host of QuizProv.

(Image: Michael Corbett) 

DCF2015: Stand Back Stand-Ups

Tyler Simpson As a young man growing up in Pasadena, California, I had many interests. One was trying to see much of the best stand-up comedy available play the local clubs (stop me and I will tell you about not one, but two encounters with George Lopez, one in a Yum Yum Donuts). The second was pursuing and getting to know more about the behind-the-scenes stories of how entertainment was made. Although I never got to fulfill my dream of being an extra/townsperson of Stars Hollow on Gilmore Girls (so that Lauren Graham would fall madly in love with me), I did have a wonderful opportunity to work backstage with a wonderful array of today’s best stand-up comedians at Day 2 of the Dallas Comedy Festival and get an E:True Hollywood Story perspective of what they go through before performing at a high-pressure gig. Here are the highlights:

  • Although we had a variety of comedians from all over the United States, they immediately seemed to bond, regardless of geographic origin or how long they have been doing the craft. Among topics of discussion: “Do you know this comedian?” and “Have you ever played this obscure club on the road?” It seemed like at least one person in the room could always say “yes,” and then the conversation ignited from there with connection after connection revealing itself. I was flabbergasted that there was an animated discussion about a club in this totally random, previously unknown, city in Iowa that two comedians enthusiastically hailed as “a great place to play.” Funniest truth revealed? Nick Daniels stating that he had studied at Second City and that people always ask questions of him like, ”Oh! Do you know Stacy? She went to Second City once. She has brown hair.” Like anyone could ever really know Stacy.
  • Stand-ups actually get nervous. I always thought comedians had ice in their veins, and seeing Christian Hughes and Grant Redmond perform several times, I felt like that had been confirmed. However, it appears that the Dallas Comedy Festival raises the stakes, even for those who have performed on this very stage before. One adorable local was dealing with nerves at the beginning of the night, but later came out and absolutely killed on stage, with no evidence of worry. Oops, did I just out you, Katy Evans? Sorry! You did own the crowd with that performance, however, so….no hard feelings?
  • There was a wonderful collection of off-the-wall conversations, particularly a debate over which Parent Trap movie was better, the Hayley Mills version or the one with young, undamaged Lindsay Lohan. That was the first time that comedians had mentioned Lindsay in quite a while without her being an actual punchline. Go Lindsay!
  • However, the best moment of the night was when Tyler Simpson took the stage, or should I say, had the restraint to not take the stage for almost one minute as the opening strains of Kid Rock’s “Bawitdaba” blared throughout the house. The entire cavalcade of comedians gathered backstage huddled into the alcove side stage to witness the spectacle. They collectively could hardly keep their cackles at a volume that would not be detected in the next county. I am not an expert on comedy, but when you get your peers that excited, I think you win the evening.

Well, next year I hope to have another evening backstage as amazing as this one in the new place. I look forward to meeting the next batch of upcoming comedians with the hopes that maybe Amanda will see it in her heart to turn the backstage area into another Stars Hollow and film a Gilmore Girls reunion there at this time next year.

Glenn Smith is a graduate of the DCH Training Program and performs regularly in the troupe Juan Direction.

What We're Loving Year-End Spectacular (Part Two)

We've loved many things this year - books, movies, tv shows, websites, people - but these things we loved the A-Number One Best. U-Talkin-U2-to-Me-HiIn 2014, my favorite thing in comedy was the Dallas Comedy House. No doubt about it. But since this blog belongs to them, it would make me feel like a total sell out if I just wrote about how much I love that place. AND I’M NOT A SELL OUT. I streamed a Dead Kennedy’s album this week!

What I’ve loved this year more than anything else has been the Earwolf podcast U Talkin’ U2 To Me? Somehow, I didn’t write about this show once in any of my fifty (I’m the Takashi Miike of What We’re Loving) entries into this blog in 2014. That changes today.

U Talkin’ U2 To Me? is a podcast with a simple premise; Scott (Aukerman of Comedy Bang Bang) and Scott (Adam Scott of Parks & Rec and Party Down) sit down to discuss the work of the band U2. Originally, they were going to record the show for a month or two in advance of the release of the 2014 U2 album, but when it was delayed for months they decided to keep recording. And they created some of my favorite audio I’ve ever heard.

The lesson that I’ve drawn from U Talkin’ U2 To Me? is something that I’m going to try and apply to my work even more in 2015. Their show is technically really bad. They don’t stay on point, they record in the middle of the night so they’re delusional, and with the work schedule that both of them have, they are usually exhausted. The thing that makes their show special is that you can tell they legitimately love what they’re doing. There are so many important elements to performance but they’re all pretty meaningless if you don’t have fun and enjoy it. This podcast reminded me of that and thus, was something that I truly loved this year. - David Allison

images2014 is almost over you guys! How excited are you to just end this mess and start fresh in 2015? Personally, this year has been crazy trying for me. Between family issues and life smacking the crap out of me; emotionally I am drained and January 1 cannot come fast enough. Despite it all though I’ve had some pretty fun experiences and learned some junk about myself.

So this post of “What We’re Loving in 2014” is completely about me. Yup! All me, me, me.

Growing up I was never much of talker. If I ever had to get serious about something I would just write it out in order to avoid the awkward conversation. Talking sucked. Back then writing came easy and that was my outlet. That was because I wasn't aware of the rules of writing. Honestly, I am still unaware of the rules of writing. I often joke around and ask real writers what an adverb or adjective is and I always get a good chuckle from it. But seriously, what are they? I have no clue. It is in my complete ignorance that I find myself most proud.

I didn’t start writing articles and blog pieces until this year because I was embarrassed by my lack of skill and knowledge. I just didn't want anyone to see me as not all that smart or funny. Mainly the latter. Don’t get me wrong, as a actor and a comic I’ve written plenty of things but they were and are more of a ramble than a structured piece. It wasn't until my friend DeAndre decided to start his own blog driven website that I considered writing. He asked all of my friend if we wanted to write and being the supportive person I am I said sure. Did I mention my lack of basic knowledge in the rules of writing? Well, after months of stalling and all my friends writing awesome pieces about various topics I bite the bullet and wrote a fun piece about Girl Meets World - that is sequel to Boy Meets World that follows Cory and Topanga’s daughter Riley. (By the way, the show is terrible. Save yourself and your childhood memories by not watching it) Needless to say I was extremely scared to submit that piece for fear of what the person editing my little article would say. In fact, below is the warning I placed at the beginnning of the article to absorb any potential judgement:

Hey so before you make this bleed with your red pen there are a couple things you should know. I am not a writer and I have no clue what I’m doing. I’m just a girl who is sometimes funny, hears voices in her head, and thinks it’d be interesting to write out the conversation they have. Please don’t jugde me too hard.

Yup. All that lovely insecurity came directly from me. Truth is I’m extremely insecure about everything. Why else would I want to be an actor? Submitting any sort of work for other to read or view is terrifying to me so the fact that I do this for a living is pretty scary. I don’t like talking to people after shows and I feel like I’m being a jerk imposing my thoughts and ideas on random strangers. In my heart of hearts and deep down in my cold cold heart I know that is not true but who listens to the voice of reason? Ultimately, I just want people to like me and the crazy things I have to say.

What I discovered that I love this year is my courage. Like I said, I’m terrified of everything and that one silly little article showed me that its okay actual try something and put yourself there. You see I don’t know what I’m doing and I okay with that. I think that is what makes this whole writing thing that much more fun. Since my Girl Meets World review, I’ve writing a bunch of stuff including some fun bloggy pieces for the world famous Dallas Comedy House. You may have heard of it. It’s important for me to mention a couple of things about my new found courage though

1) I will still never ride a rollercoaster. 2) Yes I’m still super insecure but at least now I can deal with it. 3) Make like Nike and Just Do it. You never know what you’re awesome at. 4) I still have no clue what an adjective is and I don’t care anymore either.

- Rachel Hall

20141125_RawGOTN_articleMy favorite thing about 2014 was Concessions Kane. I thought it was a funny idea and it made me laugh. - Mike Corbett

 

 

 

 

personalgrowthFor me, 2014 was a year of tremendous growth – of facing discomfort and stepping outside my comfort zone to grow as a person. There were plenty of tears, heartbreak, and misery in 2014 for me, as tends to the be case in life. However, there was even more laughter, joy and friendship throughout the year.

A lot of times we feel like growth has to come dramatically, from some stirring New Year's resolution to hit the gym for two  hours a day. We slink into feelings of failure when such grandiose dreams fail to come true. I’ve learned that it takes no such lofty ambitions to achieve great rewards. Seven years ago as a High School senior, I had to eat lunch in the bathroom because I was too terrified of people to actually sit in the Cafeteria. Even though I’ve come a long way, getting to know so many people at DCH was still a daunting task.

My growth came in small moments – sometimes doing something uncomfortable in improv and getting to know classmates and troupemates. More often, it came from deciding that I needed to hang around the bar at DCH and make myself talk to people, despite the utter discomfort and initial hours spent lurking in the corner trying to pretend I was texting someone on my phone. I would rather have gone home and played Assassin’s Creed from the comfort of my couch, but that wouldn’t help me grow as a person. So I stayed, endured the awkwardness, and somehow managed to not only feel comfortable around lots of people, but to make amazing friends and enjoy myself. I’m so thankful for the opportunities that were given to me, and I intend to make the most of them! I forced myself out there, and eventually....slowly....it paid off! – Ryan Vicksell

american-music-pop-music-collage-2014In the year 2014, I became a year older. My legs, my arms, my lungs, my brains, etc. all became a year older. That is no surprise, of course, but the one thing that is really shocking is that my musical taste in 2014 became much younger. So, what happened? Well, if you are like me, then the music that you were loving in 2014 was fresh and alive and brimming with……youth!

This is the year that Lenny Kravitz released a CD that never charted in the US, Green Day put out a collection of “greatest hits” that no one wanted, and U2 gave every iTunes customer a free album, which we promptly complained about and deleted from our libraries. Instead we bowed at the throne of Lorde, tickled our “Fancy” with Iggy Azalea, and were “All About That Bass” with Meghan Trainor. I literally own sweatshirts older that all of them, yet they have somehow managed to craft music that is sticking with me far better than many of the heroes of my past these days. Heck, the band whose sound that I am crushing hard on right now are the “Cool Kids” of Echosmith…….and two of them are still in HIGH SCHOOL!

It took a little getting used to, especially when I attended The Neighborhood’s show this summer and realized that I could possibly be the oldest person in attendance not chaperoning a child. Slowly but surely this year’s catchy hooks infiltrate your brain, however, and eventually grab a hold of your heart. American Authors are there to make sure I have the “Best Day of My Life. “I Wanna Get Better” thanks to Bleachers and Fall Out Boy inspires me to rise like “The Phoenix” and aspire to be known for “Centuries”. Suddenly those old limbs seem revived and able to run longer when attached to an iPod full of 2014’s glorious earworms.

I don’t know what 2015 has in store, but if it sounds anything like 2014, then I am all ears. - Glen Smith

1505644_10152390427495350_581480141263445905_nReview on Comedy Central was the best TV show I saw all year, Guardians of the Galaxy was the best movie, and Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely was my favorite read of the year, but the one thing I love over and above everything else was the Dallas Comedy House. I'm not afraid to be a sell out.

I started taking classes here at DCH in October of last year. A year ago around this time I had my Level One Showcase with a little group known as Canadian Tuxedo. Never in my life has I felt such joy. I came to DCH expecting to find a whole bunch of comedy nerds who were bitter and judgmental and mocked me for being so sweaty. Instead I found a whole bunch of cool people who were creative and fun and welcoming. Over the past year I moved through the levels of improv and sketch, joined a few improv troupes, collaborated on some sketch shows, and made some of the best friends I've ever had. For the first time in a long time I found a place were I felt like I belonged. For the first time in a long time I found a place where I could be myself.

The past few months took me away from Dallas and way from the Comedy House. I miss it every day. Right now I'm working at what is essentially my dream job. There's no way I would be here if not for DCH. There's no way I get this job without saying "Yes, and" to life. There's no way I can even do this job without the ability to dive into writing a scene or a sketch and write improvisationally. My 2014 was spent largely at DCH. I was creatively transformed; rebuilt and made better, as a writer, as a performer, and as a person.

Thanks to everyone at DCH who made this past year so wonderful. I'd thank people by name, and highlight their awesomeness, but I'd inevitably leave someone out and Mike Maiella would get mad at me. (In this scenario, Mike is the one I leave out. And we all know how he gets when he's riled up.) But I really couldn't end this without saying to the assembled members of Canadian Tuxedo, Johnny Soso, H.A.M.F.I.S.T., Chili's to Go, our Level Five Class Whose Troupe Name I Forgot, Finale, Primary Colours, Duck Duck Pants, Awkward Silence, Neapolitan, Sketch One, Sketch Two, Charles Dicken's Great! Expectations, and the assembled cast and crew of The Investment, The Theft, and Boost!, I love you all and miss you all so much. - Ryan Callahan

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

May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

ashleydoesn'tdieLast weekend, the Maestro returned to DCH. The Maestro is not a man, nor a troupe, but a competitive improv format. For those foolish enough to miss the show, Glenn Smith offers a first hand account of the battlefield. It all started innocently enough. I volunteered to play in this fun little game called “Maestro” on a Saturday night. “It’s a great opportunity to play with new people and experience a new format”, I thought. What transpired was completely different, unfortunately. Although the world of improv is generally known for its supportiveness and for getting each other’s back, I quickly realized that the Maestro I signed up for was actually a bizarre, comedic Hunger Games.

When I walked backstage, I immediately encountered an amazing array of assembled talent, all sharpening their killer instincts by flinging coat hangers at the rafters and cheering lustily when the neck of one would get stuck, as if fastened by a noose. There was the fiendishly handsome Rob Howe, the wily and witty Amanda Hahn, and the agile and fearless Jua Holt, to name a few. Each portrayed a warm inviting smile, but also a subtly sinister twinkle in their eye that suggested their desire to strike at any moment. In my head I could hear Elizabeth Banks’ voice saying “May the odds be ever in your favor” but I knew they would not. As much as I wished to be the Katniss Everdeen in this arena, I knew that I was instead going to be the poor slob from District 9, who would bend over to tie his shoe just as the games begin and get slaughtered by a Cato or Glimmer in horrifying fashion.

The Hunger Games comparison is immediately realized as we begin by being paraded in front of the unruly crowd, and then are instructed to square off in a slow-motion Samurai simulation. This incites bloodthirsty screams from surly spectators. On stage there is a blur of swords, stabbing, and then stillness. Somehow, I am still standing. “Could it be that I actually won?” I say to myself. As that last syllable escapes my lips, I am suddenly sliced from behind by the stealthy Jason Hensel, who celebrates while I slump over on to the stage. He is awarded the first point and I feel my first sting of defeat.

Next we are presented with the promise of attaining points through group scenes based on audience suggestions. The audience seems testy from the cold and rain and, despite host David Allison’s best efforts, they insist on seeing bathroom scenes and people stricken with disease. As I feared, I am not up to the task and my feeble attempt to create a marijuana farmer worthy of admiration makes me the first to be escorted from the stage, along with Jared Berger, whose only fault was simply being too nice a guy for these conditions. Depressed and dejected, I sulk off licking my wounds and prepare to watch my fellow combatants fight the elements and each other.

Jason Hensel and Ryan Callahan valiantly try to make an AIDS suggestion funny, while the audience asks Jua Holt and the sharply-dressed Sean McEwan to take selfies on the toilet. When the warm and wonderful Ashley Bright and her sharp-witted partner, Rachel Hall, are asked to play waitresses at the breastaurant, Twin Peaks, things begin to look dim, but Ashley alertly sees a silver-lining and plays a Laura Palmer angle. She then creates a “special” relationship between the two women and the masses turn in her favor. She ultimately rides this wave into the final, where she eventually wins everyone over with a clever infomercial selling light bulbs, complete with outrageous customer testimonials.

So, as midnight draws near, Ashley Bright stands atop the stage and is crowned victorious as defeated performers flock each side of her and bow with respect. The rumble of thunderous applause fills the room and for a brief moment, everyone is happy and the weather has been forgotten. I drove home and nursed the substantial wounds sustained by my fragile ego and vowed to never do something stupid like that again. Yet, as I reflect on that evening and ponder how fulfilling that moment of victory must be, a twinge of desire resurfaces. Maybe I can endure a few more shots to the heart in hopes of someday being the one leading the celebration. We are not finished yet, Maestro! Not by a long shot!

Glenn Smith is a DCH graduate, who originally hails from Disneyland. He can be seen in Juan Direction and an upcoming, secret Ewing troupe. He likes baseball, martinis, and Pawnee, Indiana.