Laurie Reaves Barnett

Troupe Talk: Franzia

Franzia Today is a big day. It’s a day when stereotypes break free from their mold. It’s a day when something usually thought of as nothing more than a cheap mind number for boozy lushes gets to step up as something bigger. Today is a day when we can raise our glasses, fill it with a generous helping of our favorite boxed wine, and know that that wine has a bigger purpose. Because today is the day that Troupe Talk talks to Franzia, one of DCH’s very own funny foursomes (individual people that make up a group of four...not boxed wine induced least not most of the time).

Tell us all the reasons you are like a fine, box of Franzia wine.

With us, you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Franzia, the box of wine, is tag lined as the “the world’s most popular wine.” What would Franzia, the improv troupe, be tag lined with?

“So so good, so so cheap.”

What makes Franzia unique or different from other improv troupes?

We rely on feeling rather than format. When it “feels like it’s time,” we start the call back crescendo.

Tell us about your most memorable Franzia scene or show.

In the Chicago Improv Festival, we had an amazing show. We had a funeral scene for a horse that was very effective. According to Tommy, the horse had helped him quit smoking. After the show, some Chi-folk said, “If that’s what you guys are doing in Dallas, keep it up.” We felt proud.

Raise your pantomimed improv glass of Franzia and make a toast to each other.

Singing loudly, “Nobody does it beetterrrr, makes me feel sad for the reeeest. Nobody does it haaalf as good as you….baby, you’re the beeeeeessttt.”

Franzia performs at the Dallas Comedy House on October 3 and October 24.

Tori Oman is a Dallas Comedy House graduate.

Troupe Talk: The Rift

The Rift This week, your favorite interviewer (Oprah and Ellen WHO) tackles some more team talk with the Dallas Comedy House home teams. Up this week is The Rift, who all wore hats to spill the beans about comedy, nerves, and each other.

You are all wearing hats for this interview! Thanks, Rift, for dressing up all fancy and wearing the hats! Describe for our readers what you’ve chosen:

David: Probably a baseball cap. Something pliable, non-descript and worn out. I picked this not because of any funny reason, but because I love realism above all else. Ashley: I've chosen a fancy lady, floppy church hat in lilac. It has a propeller atop for function. Zach: I'm wearing a boater festooned with patriotic ribbons and a "Vote for Taft!" button. Tim: A Mossy Oak camo snapback. Laurie: I am wearing a sombrero.

Congratulations on the Dallas Comedy Festival. Do you guys still get nervous when it’s time to go on stage? If so, how do you deal?

David: I tend to get stressed out for a show a couple of days or a week before it's set to happen as I fight through a mental battle of wanting to do well but also knowing that preparation of any sort leads to a terrible show. Come the day of the show, though, especially once I get in the green room and see some familiar faces, I'm good to go. Ashley: I used to get so nervous that my arms would go numb during shows. Now I just get excited without the bodily nervousness, but I do always have to pee before I go on stage. Always. Never fails. Am I allowed to say pee? Zach: Sure, I still get stage fright, every show. I just close my eyes and think of England. Tim: Yes, I get nervous. I recite the line from Dune about how fear is the mind killer, and then I remember how dumb that is and I try to get David to make me laugh. Laurie: Yes, everytime. I throw up in the shower.

The Rift is also a 2012 movie where "After radar anomalies start appearing all over the world, strange rifts are starting to form in the sky. There is something hiding behind these rifts. It's moving….” and a 1990 movie where "An experimental submarine, the Siren II, with a very experienced crew is sent to find out what happened to the Siren I, mysteriously disappeared in a submarine rift.” Are you guys also mysterious and creepy? What’s your comedy style?

David: I hope we're not mysterious and creepy! I'd like to think we're all pretty approachable. And I'd say our comedy style is just people that like each other getting together to do dumb stuff. Ashley: "An experimental submarine with a very experienced crew." I'm going to watch this movie now. I'm a fan of anything odd and unexpected. Zach: I would say our style lands somewhere between "elegant heiress with a secret" and "deranged sea captain holding a knife in his teeth.” Tim: I'm pretty creepy. I stare at people a lot. I'd call my personal comedy style "dumb" and "juvenile." I'm sure "purposely offensive" and "quasi-racist" could also apply at different times. Laurie: I have no idea what you’re talking about. So, very. Each one of us is so damn creepy. All of us together is a Hitchcock film on acid. Anything goes.

The Rift

So speaking of comedy— what are your favorite improv rules to apply in real life?

David: Actively listening. Also a fan of the conversational callback. Ashley: Actively engage in the moment and listen. Like, actually listen so hard that you can't hear your own thoughts. Zach: "Don't spit on anyone.” Tim: Repeat the last thing said to you in your head, and don't bring a preconceived notion of how things should go to a new conversation. Laurie: Stay out of your head.

The Rift took turns saying something nice about everyone in the group. Here’s what happened when I meshed together all the nice things they said about each other.

David is: a sublime and rationally wit gentleman with a warm smile that knows how to cardigan himself. His brain used to take up an entire room at MIT but has since been streamlined. Tim is: a zany, relevant, and sneaky brain. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were standing right behind me. Zach is: very present and energetic—probably an ancient god who hopped into a mortal body just to try out modern American life. He has mysterious, old world charm mixed with sexual napalm—an orgasmic waterfall for the female audience member. Cameron is: a smooth, detailed performer who plays the reality of the most absurd. He smells like fluffy pancakes, rocks a well-groomed mustache, and has all the merriment of a drunk elf, with twice the sexual prowess. Laurie is: full of brassy energy and fun to watch—hotter than a firework fuse. She would do great in a knife fight. She brings the LOLs. Rob is: A living beacon of kindness and comedy. Average height, above average personality—he's patient, a great listener, extremely smart—the strictest definition of a cool man. Ashley is: great, organic, versatile—a master of interaction betwixt humans. She makes Mother Teresa look like a fart,and has a giggle better than all the bluebonnets in Texas.

The Rift perform at the Dallas Comedy House on April 24 at 10:30 p.m. with Photobomb.

Tori Oman is a level three 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.

(Photos: Jason Hensel)

Comedy Centerfold: Laurie Reaves Barnett

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.  Laurie Reaves BarnettLaurie Reaves Barnett is Dallas Comedy House's resident bad-ass, bass-playing, momma. She's a comedic tour de force who shoots straight and leaves 'em dead with laughter. She was cool before cool was a thing. She knows where the bodies are kept, but she's not telling you. Never. Ever. Unless you have a shot of Crown waiting for her. Catch her performing with Franzia (Feb. 27, 10:30 p.m.) and The Rift (Feb. 28, 10:30 p.m.).

Hometown? Funky Town 817, or as people with no flavor call it, Fort Worth, Texas.

Guilty Pleasures? I don't have a lot of shame, honestly. I love garbage TV: Mobwives, Bridezilla, Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, An Animal #$*% My Vacation, and my all time favorite, Sex Sent Me to the ER.

Ambitions? Be someone my family can be proud of.

Best Concert? Nirvana with The Breeders and Shonen Knife seems significant. But I would also be remiss if I did not mention The Pixies, Barry Manilow, Elvis Costello, New Order, and KISS.

Favorite Book? Why Your Life Sucks and What You Can Do About It by Alan Cohen. I'm serious. It's a game changer.

Favorite Movie? Moonstruck.

Favorite TV Show? I don't have cable right now, so it's just all about the Netflix at the moment. I guess I would say Parks and Recreaton and The Walking Dead.

Pets? My beloved pit bull of 15 years died not that long ago. Chlovis Malone, aka Chloe Cone. Gone but not forgotten. Ever.

Foods I Crave? Mediterranean and Italian. All the time. Any time. Gimme that garlic.

People I Admire? Anyone that has the cajones to stand up and be themselves no matter the social pressure to think and act a certain way. Be you.

Dream Role? Marlene Dietrich in A Touch of Evil. She is bad to the bone. Oh, to deliver the line, "You're a mess, honey," to Orson Welles.

Favorite Song to Sing? Anything Wham! but especially "Wham! Rap (Enjoy What You Do)." "Give a wham, give a bam, but don't give a damn"

Good First Date Idea? Get pregnant. Then you'll have plenty to talk about on the second date.

So Says the Comedian

question marksWelcome to  “So Says the Comedian,” where your burning, non-comedy questions are answered by a comedian from the halls of Dallas Comedy House (DCH). A new comedian will answer questions every week, and you can have yours answered by submitting them to This week’s questions are answered by resident bass-playing bad ass Laurie Reaves Barnett. She's in the troupe Franzia, who will perform Friday, October 17, with Roadside Couch. Q: Best weapon in a fight if I don't want to murder someone? -- D. Allison, Dallas, TX A: Your mom.

Q: Sleep with, marry, kill: Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix. -- Rob H., Dallas, TX A: This is so strange, because only one of them is alive. But let’s pretend for the time being it’s 1969.

I would kill Vaughn (I know this makes many people want to kill ME) but “Pride and Joy”...eesh. Also, he would have been 15 in 1969, and teens are awful.

I would sleep with Jimmy Page and make "Stairway To Heaven" jokes the whole time. This may be confusing to him in 1969 since "Stairway to Heaven" was recorded in 1970. But I’m a trailblazer.

I would marry Jimi Hendrix, because I was almost named James Hendricks Reaves if I were a boy. It would make a cute story to tell all our friends, but we’d have to tell the story quickly in 1969 since he’s about to die in a year.

Q: What common fashion choice that people make annoys you the most? -- D. Allison, Dallas, TX A: Pants. No need for those suckers.

Q. If people were actually food, what would you do? -- C. Stewart, Dallas TX A: I would eat the cute ones first.

Q: Chili season is around the corner. Beans/no beans? And what about if you're entertaining? Do you cater for the bean or no bean eater? -- Allison, Waco, TX A: I like beans. I do. So, I would already have beans up in this mess. But I cater to no one.

Q: Best location for a fight? -- D. Allison, Dallas, TX A: Any-damn-where.

Q: If you could be anything for your birthday, what would you be? -- Bob, Piedmont, ND A: 21.

Q: What is your opinion on Ziploc sandwich baggies only putting male-dominated sports actions/balls on their sandwich baggies? Is this sexist? Or should girls just play soccer only from now on? -- Concerned non-feminist, Dallas, TX A: I feel like balls are for everyone. I don’t think men object to women playing with their action balls. I think girls should play with whatever balls they want.

The sandwich bag is only sexist if the sandwich put in the bag was made from a librarian.

Q: One skill that you would like to have? -- D. Allison, Dallas, TX A: Anger management.

Q: Are you ever too old to like a popular rock band? For instance, if my dad went to a Black Keys concert would that be weird? -- Glenn, Dallas, TX A: Depends on the band I guess. If your dad goes to see the Black Keys, that seems alright. If your dad went to see One Direction alone it might be suspect.

Q: Best post-fight one-liner you've ever heard in real life? -- D. Allison, Dallas, TX A: “It’s just business, dude." True story.

Please submit your questions to

(photo credit: opensourceway via photopin cc)