Mike Maiella

Troupe Talk: Age Appropriate

Age Appropriate Sometimes I wish that there were two universes you could step in and out of: one where, sure, fine, you have to behave age appropriate. I mean, everyone loves a little bit of stability and habit. You have to go to work, wash your socks, and pay the milkman for his delivery. But then there is another universe where work means WERK (AMMIRIGHT?), washing socks only happens if you are playing in a sweet, sweet rain storm, and you're paying the milkman, sure, but not for that kind of delivery. *wink*. (...Did that just get weird?)

Soooooo, unfortunately, this week's troupe talk doesn’t have two universes for you. (Or a milkman.) But what we do have is something better. We’ve got the two, solidly funny fellows from the two-man improv show, Age Appropriate. #youareeeeeewelcome

So go ahead, give us the cutesy, tootsy story of how you two met! How long have you been a thang?

Mike: Well, it's a fairly crazy story. Ben and I took classes together at the Dallas Comedy House (DCH). I think a couple months after finishing the program in 2012, we started practicing together for a two-person show. Like I said, a crazy story. Ben: Mike and I met in our Level 3 class at DCH. We went through the program and have been improvising together for almost four years. It is oddly similar to the movie Sleepless in Seattle, only it takes place in Dallas and we are both heavy sleepers.

Why do you like improvising with each other? (*awkwardly dances while hoping you actually do…*)

Mike: I love improvising with Ben, because I think we're different improvisers in some ways. We both have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, Ben does awesome stuff with environment and space work that I would just never think of. We're also just different people outside of improv with different interests and perspectives that we bring to our scenes. I just typed the word "different" four times. Ben: Without a doubt, improvising with Mike is one of my favorite activities in my week. He plays exceptional characters and makes really fun choices on stage that leads us to wonderful discoveries during a show. Truthfully, we are very different individuals, and without improv I very much doubt we would have met each other. Thanks to DCH I have a fantastic improv partner and friend I get to see and perform with every week.

What do you think makes a really good scene in improv?

Mike: Shouting, touching, going for a laugh at the expense of the scene, ignoring your partner, and references to pop culture. These are guaranteed to make for a really good improv scene. Ben: Even if you aren’t “following” the rules of improv in your scene, if you are having fun onstage, so is the audience.

What's the difference between playing in a group of two as opposed to say, six?

Mike: A lot. I think playing with just one other person is more challenging, but it can also be more rewarding in a way. It's just the two of you out there, so you know there's no one coming in to edit or walk on or tap out or whatever. I think a two-person show also forces you to just deal with what's in front of you a bit more than in a group. You can go for just the joke, but that scene is going to be over fast. You're kind of forced to deal with relationship to make the scene work, or it's just going to be a bad show. Ben: In Age Appropriate, I’m responsible for 50 percent of the show. In my mind, I am obligated and expected to do more in a two-person show because there is no cavalry coming to support the scene. With an ensemble, sometimes you can have a secondary role that evening because the show dictates it and your other players are the primary characters within the show. In a two-person show, that is never an option. All we have is each other when we walk on stage.

The world would be a better place if everyone followed the _____rule of improv.

Mike: "Slow down, listen, and have an honest reaction" rule. Ben: Make your partner look better than yourself. Generally, we live in a self-absorbed and a me-first society. If everyone looked out for each other and put others before themselves, without a doubt the world would be a more harmonious place (jumps off soapbox).

Please name three things that ARE age appropriate and three things that ARE NOT.

Mike:

Age appropriate: 1) A 34-year-old man drinking a beer 2) a 34-year-old man crying while watching It's a Wonderful Life 3) a 34-year-old man listening to Merle Haggard

NOT age appropriate: 1) a 34-year-old man drinking a glass of milk 2) a 34-year-old man watching any cartoons 3) a 34-year-old man listening to any teenager sing

Ben:

Age appropriate: 1) Ron Howard 2) M&M’s 3) Bob Saget, pre 1995

NOT age appropriate: 1) Ron Jeremy 2) Eminem 3) Bob Saget, post 1995

Age Appropriate performs at the Dallas Comedy House on August 14

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: Roadside Couch

aDSC_0578 Pop quiz. Choose a couch to learn more about your personality!

  • A “barely used” couch on Craigslist
  • A spanking new, modern couch from the oh-so-trendy C&B
  • The one in your buddie’s living room (aka your current place of residence)
  • The roadside couch…you know, the one on the side of the road

If you chose:

  • SILLY YOU. Don’t you read the news? #creepercentral
  • SILLY YOU. You paid too much #couldhavebeenbeermoney
  • SILLY YOU. Get a job. #Getajob
  • GENIUS! BRANIAC! YOU’RE SO SMART! Because Roadside Couch is actually a solidly hilarious squad of seven Dallas Comedy House veterans who just so happen to be this week’s Troupe Talk feature. #awesomesauce #evenawesomersaucestainsonthecouch

On your way here, you each picked up something on the roadside to bring me as a present! What did I get?

Kyle: A penny. A heads up penny. Amanda: Febreeze! Those couches are so gross. Nikki: A busty antique dress form. Maggie: A BOX FULL OF KITTENS! Chad: TORI! I have an old washer IN MY DRIVEWAY. Please come and take it. I have to move it around front for the trash people to get it, but it's SO HEAVY. Mike: A CD of Nickelback's No Fixed Address. No really. It's for you. Sarah: A plastic hanger.

How did Roadside Couch get together? How long have you been a thing?

Kyle: We started a while ago when a few us were sitting around saying, "Hey, let's do something..." Amanda: I'm not big into defining relationships, or whatever. But four years and three months. Nikki: Roadside started a while back. People moved away, and about two years ago the remaining members asked me and others if we would like to join in on the fun. Maggie: Probably a mythical creature came down from a cloud and anointed the original members...and then when people moved away and had babies, those members were like, "Oh, these other people are cool..." and that's how it got to where we are now. Chad: It was birthed during a golf game with Kyle and I in 2011. We also birthed a litter of kittens just off the fairway on hole 11. Mike: Oh, gosh. Years. I'm 44, so...10 years? Sarah: Roadside is an institution that knows no age. I joined in 2013, but it was already a mighty beast of 'prov power by then.

Let's do some superlatives, cause like, everyone liked high school (...?). Of Roadside Couch members who is:

Best Smile:

Nikki: Maggie. Kyle: Maggie. Amanda: Maggie. Even her stage scowl is more infectious than any of our normal smiles. Maggie: Kyle xoxoxo SMOOCHES BABE! Chad: Maggie - she does it the most. Mike: Maggie or Chad. They can fight over it with their smiles. Sarah: Maggie. She has two though. One regular, and one mischievous. I love both.

Best Dressed:

Nikki: Maggie. Kyle: Sarah/Nikki. Amanda: Chad. Two words: Denim shirt. Maggie: Nikki - when she wears those shoes that everybody hates but are actually super trendy and neat. Chad: Amanda - she's always asking if we can see her bra straps or if we can smell onion on her blouses. Mike: Amanda. Always has on deodorant. Sarah: Nikki or Amanda, those ladies be STYLIN'.

Best Athlete:

Nikki: Maggie. Kyle: (cough) Me. Amanda: Kyle. He can literally play any sport. It's so annyoning. He also throws Sarah around stage a lot. Maggie: Chad - playing a fisherman and a fish. Chad: Kyle - we should buy him a letter jacket. Mike: Kyle. The boy has some solid hamstrings. Or Nikki. The lady can jump. Sarah: Kyle. He's a basketball champ.

Clown:

Nikki: Maggie. Kyle: Chad. Amanda: Sarah. If clowns were supportive and fun and always the wild card. Oh wait. That's a clown for sure. Maggie: Sarah - she's silly. Chad: Mike or Sarah - Mike's mannerisms are the funniest thing to watch ever, but Sarah will bust out with a character or word that cause me to lose it offstage. Mike: Wyatt. She used to be in a circus, so that one is easy. Sarah: Chad Haught. Easy.

Class Drama Queen/King:

Nikki: Mike. Kyle: Amanda. Amanda: Mike because just getting him to hug you is the biggest production ever. And maybe Nikki, only because she loses her phone and keys and mind sometimes right before shows. Maggie: Amanda - because she's the queen. LONG LIVE THE QUEEN! Chad: That leaves Nikki and I. We're the oldest and have kids, too, so we're always making sure people have brushed their teeth and called their moms. Mike: Definitely me. I don't like people. Sarah: Mike. Or me. We're kind of the same person anyway.

aDSC_0663

What's the comedic style of the Couch?

Kyle: A little Art Deco mixed with free standing pottery. Amanda: US Weekly. It changes every week, and we're terrible at following trends. Nikki: Free and easy. Maggie: Mike - because he loves for people to sit on him. Chad: We're idiots. I love playing with these people. We're all so different (outside of being a bunch of white people), so it's fun to just wind each other up and let the focus shift back and forth. Mike: Ever seen a little movie called The English Patient? Sarah: Fast and Furious.

Pick someone famous to come sit on the roadside couch with you guys, and tell them something important.

Kyle: Jordan Speith. You're a Dallas dude, we're Dallas dudes...let's be friends! Amanda: Justin Timberlake. I would tell him that everyone else will be leaving the couch shortly, and we'll perform our two-man show. A show where TWO BECOME ONE! Nikki: Living or dead? Living: Peter Dinklage, Dead: Rube Goldberg. I would regale them with stories of the Texas Revolution. Maggie: Probably President Obama, and I'd say something like, "Don't be nervous - improv isn't as hard as running the country I bet," and then he'd laugh and perform with us and afterwards he'd say, "Maggie - thank you for your encouragement." Chad: Hey Ariel the Mermaid - you're important to me. I can sing all of "Part of Your World." I think you're pretty, and your red hair is beautiful. I talked to my wife and she normally doesn't let me date, but she said she's cool with it if you wanted to grab a coffee or something sometime. Mike: -------------------------------------- Sarah: Andy Daly, I love you from the bottom of my big ol' heart, please be my friend?

See Roadside Couch perform at the Dallas Comedy House on July 3, July 17, August 8, and August 29.

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.

Troupe Talk: Kool Aid

Kool Aid It's a pretty neat day at Troupe Talk! I just discovered that Kool Aid is more than a talking pitcher of liquid with a face on it or a package of powder that makes a tasty, refreshing summer drink—they are also a funny team of six that plays TONIGHT at the Dallas Comedy House (DCH)! Feeling a little shy about going to see a team you hardly know? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Check out Kool Aid in this week's installment of Troupe Talk.

I wanted to play some tunes while we chat. You’ve all brought me the first CD you ever purchased—what is it?

Mitch: The Good Burger soundtrack. Terry: Grease motion picture soundtrack. Tim: Beastie Boys - Ill Communication. Mike: Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger. Cameron: Ace of Bass. Tyler: I don’t remember, but I do remember my first music purchase was Kenny Rogers' 8-track album entitled Gideon.

Sweet tunes gang, thanks. Where are you guys from, and what’s a fun fact about that place?

Mitch: Rhonesboro, Texas, is the possum capital of the world. Terry: Garland, Texas. Walker, Texas Ranger, the famous TV series starring Chuck Norris, were filmed in this city. Tim: Garland, Texas. It was the inspiration for Arland, the town King of the Hill was set in, and it was featured by name in Zombieland. It’s also home to a superior public water system. Mike: We're from New York City. It's not actually an apple. Cameron: San Marcos is among the oldest, continually inhabited places in North America. Tyler: Denison, Texas. Birthplace of Dwight David Eisenhower. Yes, THE Dwight David Eishenower!

SO what is Kool Aid’s comedy flavor?

Mitch: Good Burgery. Terry: Equal parts organic, manic, and panic. Tim: Our flavor is very organic and tends be more thematic. Our style reminds me a lot of the type of improv you see in Chicago in that we thrive in group scenes, follow the fun, and often the show as a whole centers around a main theme. Mike: Fast and furious minus the Vin Diesel. Cameron: Ecto cooler. Tyler: Fun, organic, and unafraid.

DCH has some new digs! Why should people come check them out?

Mitch: I haven't been yet, but I'm curious—are the bathrooms bigger? I guess I haven't been sent any emails firmly declaring that one way or the other. Terry: The old place is closed. Tim: Because Kool Aid isn’t performing at the old place! Mike: The ceiling is so high! Cameron: More snacks than before. Tyler: Craft beer (finally!!!), the best improv in Dallas - Ft. Worth, and better parking choices.

So we all know the Kool-Aid man has more to say than his classic tagline, “Oh Yeah.”Finish his thought for us!

Mitch: "Look this is just a job, all right? I like other stuff. Have you see The Wire?" Terry: "I am unnecessarily destructive!" Tim: “… oh wait, wrong wall. My apologies.” *scampers off* Mike: “…Do NOT go in there!” *waves hand over nose* Cameron: “…I guess you could make me with Splenda.” Tyler: “... sorry I’m late.”

Kool Aid performs at DCH tonight, May 15. You can also see them perform May 30, June 5, and June 13. 

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.