Nick Scott

Triple Feature Horror Show

Halloween Triple FeatureOne show, three terrors. It's the Triple Feature Horror Show that opens this weekend at the Dallas Comedy House (DCH). One portion is inspired by Ghostbusters. Another by Alien. And the third by Seinfeld. To learn more about the show, I sat down with creators Michael Corbett, Ryan Goldsberry, Grant Redmond, Nick Scott, and Cody Tidmore as they were taking a well-deserved Alaskan cruise. Let’s talk about inception (not the movie, though if you want to touch on it, feel free). How did the idea for the show come about? How long did it take to produce it (write it, practice it, etc.)? And how did you choose the cast? 

Grant: Corbett, Cody, and I did a Halloween sketch show together last year and Corbett pitched the idea of doing a narrative Halloween show this year with us. But since Cody and I are too busy for our own good, I pitched the idea that we could do a triple feature in one hour. Three casts, three directors, and three sets of writers. This would ease the load on everyone involved. Corbett pitched out the idea to Ryan and Nick to be the writers for the other two stories, while Cody and I tackled ours.

Cody: I’m just going to add to what Grant said because, as our friends on social media are painfully aware, there’s nothing more obnoxious than two people saying the exact same thing. (But please like both of our statuses.) In terms of how the idea came about: Originally, we were running with a campier take on different Halloween tropes. But, at the time, we were watching a lot of Seinfeld and doing a lot of Seinfeldian bits, and it sorta just hit us how fun it would be to try to marry those two worlds. Oh, and for the record, I still have yet to see Inception. Hope that’s OK.

Michael: Inception...wow, great movie.  You know, by the end Dom had just stopped caring whether or not he was in a dream, and because of that he finally found peace. Anyways, for this show, I spoke with Grant about doing another Halloween sketch show but didn’t want it to just be another montage like Stage Fright, our 2015 Halloween sketch show. Initially, I pitched the idea of a knock-off of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, starring Grant and Cody and a cast of more contemporary movie monsters. That conversation evolved into a variety of ideas, and finally, we settled on the triple-feature format, which for me was inspired entirely by The Simpsons’ "Treehouse of Horror." I liked the idea of giving someone 15 minutes to tell a story or to make a parody of an existing property.

Grant: Cody and I wrote the "Dracula" portion. It's based on Seinfeld and was really fun to write for their voices. It didn't take us all too long since we were already fans of the show. The hard part was casting for people who could mimic these crazy characteristics that Seinfeld gave us.

Cody: Agreed. Casting was definitely the hardest (and most crucial) part because we weren’t necessarily looking for someone who can embody the mannerisms of Dracula, but who can embody Jerry Seinfeld as if he were Dracula. Although, as someone who is already covered in hair and hates everything, embodying Wolfman Costanza was a kind of natural progression.

Michael: Our initial meeting was in July, and we secured Nick and Ryan as the other directors shortly thereafter. So, we’ve been working on it since then. Of course, when I say “we” I mean Grant, Cody, Nick, and Ryan, who actually wrote the segments. I just watched from a safe distance and kept track of deadlines.

Grant: For casting, Cody and I just made a list of performers we’re fans of and chipped away at who could possibly play these roles. Eventually, we landed on our existing cast and we’re ecstatic that they all said yes. Casting our host was probably the easiest part, though. Our host, Goreticia, is played by Sallie Bowen, who is one of the best character actors I've seen at DCH. Really goes all out with makeup and costumes and it's really fun to watch.

Cody: Couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t. Our "Dracula" cast is phenomenal. And we’ve had our eye on Sallie’s character work for a long time, most notably in her rap group, Gross Bitch, which you should definitely check out. She’s embodied Goreticia so well it’s almost like she’s a fantastic weirdo in real life, too.

Michael: When it came to casting, I left it up to the directors of each segment to decide who they wanted to cast. I felt it was important to give them as much freedom as possible to ensure that each segment had its own distinct feel and matched the vision of its director. Grant, Nick, and Ryan have all taught sketch classes at DCH, so I knew they would have a lot of good ideas when it comes to casting. As for the host character, we knew we needed someone who would really elevate the role, and Sallie was an obvious choice. We gave her an overview of what we needed the host to do but wanted to give her the opportunity to craft a character of her own design. Needless to say, she did not disappoint.

Ryan: Honestly, not a fan of Inception. I thought it was beautiful to look at, but underwhelming and condescending to its audience. The premise really wasn’t that hard to grasp. We’ve all seen Nightmare on Elm Street and Ocean’s Eleven. Why did we need Ellen Page’s character asking about the mechanics every 12 seconds? Was anyone really not getting it after the initial, “Oh we go in someone’s dream and then do kind of a heist” explanation?

As for my portion, I started writing in July, finished a first draft in August, and did rewrites up until mid-September, when we started rehearsing. What I ended up doing for casting was asking people that I respect as performers and that I knew were fans of Alien. Even though our scene strayed far away from a direct adaption, I thought it would be cool if everyone involved was a fan of the original property. Couldn’t be happier with the group of people that said yes.

Nick: I dig Inception, but mostly because I love little trinkets and it was nice to see little trinkets get to shine as important plot points.

Shortly after Corbett talked to me about joining up, I was reading stuff about the new Ghostbusters online and the idea to do my segment dealing with all the blowback came to me. I pitched it to Corbett, who liked it, then I put off writing it until like three days before we were supposed to have our first meet-up. In my head, I cast the sketch before I wrote it based on performers I had seen around DCH, then wrote the parts for them, hoping they’d be able to do it. And they were (able to do it).

What is something you’ve believed incorrectly about Halloween for a long time?

Grant: That it’s meaningless once you get older because you end up becoming a guy opening the door and giving away all your candy to random kids. Now I just turn off all the lights and go to a show or party and ignore the kids. Much more fun.

Cody: For the record, two years ago we handed out candy to the kids on our block, and it was absolutely delightful. Separately, I agree with Grant: It’s silly to think Halloween is for kids. Halloween is just silly in general. If you’re like us, you should embrace it, go to a Halloween karaoke party and try to sing both parts to "A Whole New World" while dressed as Bob Ross and a Reverend.

Michael: You know that whole checking your kid’s candy to make sure it wasn’t tampered with or poisoned? There’s only one documented occurrence of that ever happening. It happened in Pasadena, Texas, and the culprit was the child’s father. It’s something to keep in mind when you read about all those creepy clown incidents. Odds are, most of them never actually happened. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be afraid of clowns, though. Remain ever vigilant.

Ryan: That next year is the year I’ll be comfortable with a sleeveless costume. Not that I have any sleeveless costume ideas (not enough hair to pull off Snake Plissken). But if I had a killer one, I know I wouldn’t be comfortable with it.

Nick: That the blood of the innocent must be shed each All Hallow’s Eve in order to keep the spirit world at bay. Boy, have I done a lot unnecessary, terrible things.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever heard about yourself that isn’t true?

Grant: That I'm a catch.

Ryan: That I’m a catch.

Michael: That I thought Grant and Ryan were catches.

Cody: That Nick doesn’t think I’m a catch.

Nick: That Cody thinks that I don’t think that he’s a catch.

What’s the most interesting opportunity you’ve gotten through DCH?

Grant: Any commercial or even audition that I've had a chance to do through DCH has been a great experience. I also pick up writing gigs here and there, which is great, because I'm poor.

Cody: The opportunity to goof around with some amazingly talented, incredibly funny people is something I truly cherish. Also Grant’s writing gigs; we’re poor.

Ryan: Getting to teach sketch has definitely been my favorite part of the last year-and-a-half. I get more nervous for my student’s sketch shows than I have for any show I’ve ever been a part of. Seeing other people get as excited about comedy as I do really is the best.

Michael: I actually ended up in my current job because the person doing the interview would frequently attend shows at DCH. It allowed me to completely gloss over my previous work experience and talk instead about a subject I was actually passionate about. Three years later and here I am doing this interview while I should be working at that very job. This isn’t getting published, right?

Nick: I actually got my current job through DCH, and I got a book published thanks in large part to the DCH community, so probably that time I got to eat a whole cake on stage with my hands.

Finally, how do you want audiences to feel when they leave the show?

Grant: That we did Seinfeld justice with our script. Although we are technically monsters, so were they.

Cody: Exactly. That, and to be slightly annoyed. This is Seinfeld we’re talking about.

Ryan: I hope we remind people that the true meaning of Halloween is in our hearts, and the real treat is the friends and family we have to share this special time of year with.

Nick: Despair that the world is a terrible place, and that there is nothing they can do about it except come back and see the show again.

Michael: Terrible sadness that the show has ended and a longing for more. I hope this feeling stays with them for the next calendar year, and they can only find peace by attending whatever version of a Halloween show we put on next October. It’s all about repeat customers.

The Triple Feature Horror Show takes place Oct. 21-22 and Oct. 28-29 at the Dallas Comedy House. Tickets on sale now.

Jason Hensel is a graduate of the DCH improv training program. He manages the DCH blog and performs with .f.a.c.e., the '95 Bulls, and Bound Together.

The Improvised Horror Movie

The American horror movie. What cinematic legacy can claim special effects mastery, emotional poignancy, and raw camp in the same breath? Scary movies have done so much good for cinema that it’s sickening. And now that we’re in the season (oh goodness HALLOWEEN I’m excited are you excited I love Halloween like no lie it’s my favorite holiday and I’ve been planning my costume for MONTHS) – Ahem. Sorry about that. As I was saying, now that we’re in season – eeek – the Dallas Comedy House (DCH) has started a month-long series of holiday-appropriate shows. As is tradition, it opened the first weekend of October with a premier of the Improvised Horror Movie. Though the show stands as a tribute to the horror genre, it also exists in memorial to Del Close, creator of the format, and Jason Chin, former director at iO Chicago who perfected the show. DCH runs the Improvised Horror Movie through the month of October as a dedication to their work. Improvised Horror MovieJust like its parent genre, the Improvised Horror Movie takes a couple different forms – forms, mind you, not scripts, because then it wouldn’t be improv, duh. Each form spins off of a particular type of horror movie. The version I had the pleasure of viewing was based off of one of my favorites: the "Slasher," wherein innocent, dumb kids fall prey to a psycho killing machine. Now that’s what I call comedy! Hooray!

The way the shindig worked in practice seemed pretty simple: At the top of the show, the audience assigned each cast member a role, all inspired by classic horror tropes. There’s a jock, a nerd, a goth, a stoner, a popular chick, and the surviving girl who will, in the end, determine who the killer is. (Spoiler alert, most of the archetypical characters die in a spectacularly funny fashion.)

Even though the roles are pre-determined and assigned at the beginning of the show, this doesn’t make things easier for the players. If anything, this is crazy hard. “Here’s a point of view, now understand it, adopt it as your own, and think up stuff to say from that point of view on the fly in front of strangers. Oh, and by the end of the show most of you have to have died and you have to be funny in the meantime.” Like, what even!?! That’s hard enough for me to do on a good day.

“Emily, you’re dumb. Those roles are pretty much stereotypes, and aren’t those at the antithesis of what good character work should be?”

Um, first, how dare you, I’m hella smart. Second, no. Just because the role’s been given to you, there’s still tons of flexibility as to what constitutes that role. Sporty jocks don’t have to be bullies, and the brainiac doesn't have to be socially awkward. For instance, the stoner in the last show (played by David Allison) was far away from being dumb and slow – instead, he was an energetic conspiracy theorist who suspected who the murderer was the whole time. (He felt the perpetrator was George W. Bush, but whether he was right or not is hardly the point here.) The popular girl (played by Maggie Rieth Austin) was ditzy, peppy, and fun – not a sexualized antithesis to the surviving girl the character is usually reduced to. Thinking with that kind of originality takes skill and quick thinking that isn’t often matched.

“Well, OK, fine, so the characters are diverse despite being typified. You still can’t bridge the gap between cinema and stage acting!”

Au contraire! You forget that critical element of improv – scene painting! It’s a heavy and, in this case, a critical show component. We already know what will happen at the end of our “movie” – the audience sticks around for the journey to that conclusion. Performers primarily conduct scene painting through a series of different “camera angles,” wherein they call out cinematic direction you’d normally only read in a script. These camera angles double as edits and is what give the audience a cinematic effect, if an imaginary one. Cast members are given close-ups, split-screens, and even aerial shots that they have to make work and incorporate seamlessly into the ongoing scene. Half of the fun lies in players giving each other impossible views to pull off. (Have you ever seen a dead man fly in circles around two women standing horizontally? Well, I did! You might see it, too, if you buy a ticket). It’s a brain and body workout, to be sure, not to mention the lighting and sound tricks that the techs execute on the fly. (Props to Raye Maddox - you done good, kiddo.)

Boy. What a ride. In short, this show is a keeper. It’s one of those shows at DCH that’s a must see. You won’t get spooked, but you’ll certainly laugh, and any student or fan of improv will also get a great lesson by simply watching the cast. Oh, before I forget – that cast includes David Allison, Amanda Austin, Sallie Bowen, Noa Gavin, Jason Hackett, Tabitha Parker, Ben Pfeiffer, Maggie Rieth Austin, and Nick Scott. The whole shebang is tech'ed by Jua Holt (Raye Maddox was the technical director for the show I saw). They all deserve a big ol’ basket of treats minus tricks, allergens, and razors. For tickets, please visit www.dallascomedyhouse.com.

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.

Podcast Rec No. 10: Sword and Laser

Sword and LaserWith hubs like Goodreads, it’s no surprise that online book clubs are becoming a thing. Speaking for myself, reading is one of my favorite things. I should not be disturbed if I have my nose in a book. I will get angry. I mean, not Hulk or She-Hulk angry. Whenever I try to get angry across, I think I’m more like an annoyed Agent Coulson—I look nice, but I can get snarky. What was I talking about? Oh, right! Since I prefer genre fiction, my go-to podcast for all things nerd lit is Sword and Laser, hosted by the Internet's very own Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. Sword and Laser's primary function is a book club, which switches out science fiction and fantasy picks monthly, but it also features publishing news, author interviews, and so much more. I guess I should also mention that they talk about Game of Thrones often. Even though I'm not a fan of the books or the show, I know plenty of you are in Season 6 mode. There are also brief discussions regarding other book-to-screen adaptations like future film Ready Player One, and SyFy’s The Magicians and The Expanse.

Recommended episode: 2011 Interview with Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind).

It’s a little hard to find a starter episode, if only because there is so much history to this show. You could possibly start with the fairly recent “Episode #251: How Veronica Tamed Tyrion,” as it kicks off the latest book of the month. However, to play it safe, I would suggest going through the archives and find an author interview that interests you. I recommended the Patrick Rothfuss interview because I believe he is very thoughtful and funny in interviews, he’s a pretty big deal with his Kingkiller Chronicles books, and I respect his charity Worldbuilders. Then again, you Game of Thrones-adoring fans might want to find the George R.R. Martin interview. Or maybe you're interested in publishing and going the InkShares route. Good news! Sword and Laser has interviews with authors who have won Sword and Laser’s Inkshares contests (Editor's Note: One such contest was won by DCH's own Nick Scott and Noa Gavin, and you can now buy their book.). If you can think of an author, they have interviewed them.

Except Neil Gaiman...they have not interviewed the ever-elusive Neil Gaiman. Curse you and your elusive brilliance, Neil Gaiman.

Running time: Approximately 20 to 45 minutes.

For more information, visit swordandlaser.com.

KC Ryan is currently a Level 5 student at DCH. An office worker by day, she spends her nights writing, improvising, recording podcasts, and having existential crises. She’s a co-host of Parsec Award-nominated podcast Anomaly Supplemental about general sci-fi and fantasy topics. Her greatest achievement so far is convincing her husband to watch Project Runway.

Troupe Talk: Wheel of Formats

Wheel of Formats Spin the wheel to watch their show. Around and around it’ll go. But where it lands, nobody knows. From Close Quarters to Dinner for Six to Make ‘Em Ups, it’s safe to say that the Dallas Comedy House (DCH) troupe Wheel of Formats (Tommy Lee Brown, Jerrell Curry, Raymond Fischer, Tab Parker, Nick Scott, and Christie Wallace) is as plentiful in improv forms as it is in steadfast support for one another’s ideas, inviting audiences to laugh at a wide range of unexpected topics. In between preparing for Dallas Comedy Festival 2016 and generating all those hilarious scenes—whether they involve discussions of terrorism, frustrated high school principals, or Jerrell’s butthole—Wheel of Formats is just your everyday group of chaos-crafting improvisers who are out to play and have some good ol’ fashioned fun with each other.

Wheel of Formats congrats on being selected to perform at Dallas Comedy Festival 2016, that’s awesome! Okay, let’s start with the basics. How did you all get together and what do you dig most about improv?

Nick: The wheel brought us all together. It called to us. IT BECAME US. The part of improv I like most is immense fame and fortune that has accompanied it.

Jerrell: Thank you! I’m super excited about it. I actually found the wheel under my bed and when I spun it, I was transported to a living room in an undisclosed location and said, “Welp, here I am.” And, the part of improv I dig the most is all of the sweet, sweet kissing scenes I’m in.

Christie: We're actually all failed Wheel of Fortune contestants. We met in a support group and decided the best way to heal was through laughter. We're all still really hurting. What I dig most about improv is being in scenes about Jerrell’s butthole.

Raymond: My ally is the Wheel, and a powerful ally it is. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Dig most about improv? It’s the one area of life where people don’t take themselves too seriously. Wait, what?

For those who might not be familiar with you, briefly describe your performance style. What might someone expect to see at Wheel of Formats show?

Nick: One time we did a Dinner for Six where one character was a perpetrator of 9/11. I feel like that about sums it up.

Jerrell: And about once or twice a show, I run into a scene screaming about my butthole. It's top notch.

Christie: Whether it's terrorists or buttholes, we're always having fun. And aren't those really the same thing anyways?

Raymond: Huh; it says here that “successful improv usually starts and ends with an angry father or exasperated high school principal character.” So, I don’t know about the rest of these jerks, but it looks like I’m nailing it.

Wheel of Formats

Of all the formats on your wheel, which is your favorite to perform and why? Which is most challenging and why?

Nick: Make ‘Em Ups is my favorite to perform. We let the audience give the name of a format that has never been performed and then come up with the rules. I think we’ve been the most beaten by The Bruise (you’re welcome).

Jerrell: I really like our Make ‘Em Up shows, for sure. Definitely my favorite of the bunch because they tend to be the craziest shows we have (except for the 9/11 Dinner for Six). And I’ll agree with The Bruise as being the most challenging, because I honestly can't remember what format that is.

Christie: Make ‘Em Ups is always super fun and has led to some of our most fun, playful, shows. Like the time we kept lighting our horses on fire and eating their meat. I'm also a big fan of Close Quarters. The Bruise always leaves a mark (you're also welcome).

Raymond: I agree that Make ‘Em Ups have led to some great shows, but I selfishly like Dinner for Six and The Harold. I’d have to agree with everyone so far: The Bruise is pretty challenging.

Many people consider the wheel to be one of man’s greatest inventions. What is something genius that man hasn’t surprisingly invented yet, but you think totally needs to/should be?

Nick: I’d like to be able to plug my brain into a computer. If not that, then cookies that make you lose weight rather than gain it.

Jerrell: It’s 2016 and there still isn't a Sandra Bullock box set. Honor your heroes when they're alive, people.

Christie: Why am I still having to drive myself everywhere? I mean I get that there's Uber, but I want to just be able to teleport myself places. So, I guess teleportation is my answer.

Raymond: It’s 2016, and I am still having to...

Wheel of Formats

You can only choose one: Wheel of Karma, Wheel of Fortune, a wheel of cheese. Which do you pick and why?

Nick: F**K: Wheel of Karma, MARRY: Wheel of Fortune, KILL: a wheel of cheese. Wait, what was the question?

Jerrell: F**K: Bradley Cooper while spinning on the Wheel of Karma, MARRY: Idris Elba inside of a wheel of cheese, which we will then f**k in, KILL: Will.I.Am on an episode of Wheel of Fortune for producing Britney Spears’ 8th album, Britney Jean.

Christie: F**K: David Beckham while playing soccer on the Wheel of Karma, MARRY: Tommy Lee Brown sitting naked in the middle of a wheel of cheese, KILL: Obvs Wheel of Fortune, since that show made a fool out of all of us

Raymond: Well, Fortuna’s Wheel is not chosen; it’s spun, and resistance is futile. (Note: If you have not read A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, you’re doing it wrong. One of the two funniest books ever written.) Also, a mini wheel of cheese was on a burger at former mall staple restaurant Bennigan’s (the Wheelhouse), yet wasn’t the best item on the menu (the Turkey O’Toole). What was the question?

Wheel of FormatsWho else are you most excited to see perform at Dallas Comedy Festival 2016?

Nick: CUPCAKE. Just some incredibly talented performers.

Jerrell: Whoever the headliners are. They're always really solid, so that’ll be fun. And, PRIMARY COLOURS. I've heard they’re like, really really good. Oh, and Cupcake.

Christie: Yeah, I've heard Cupcake is amazing. Also, Franzia and Local Honey. PC is always fun. And the headliners…..which I think is Cupcake.

Raymond: The Late 90s from Chicago are fantastic and not to be missed. They’ve been coached by one of the greatest improv minds and performers (Craig Uhlir) and are currently coached by an extremely talented and innovative performer (Alex Honnet). Highly rec. And also, there are some friendly faces in Damn, Gina and Clearance Shelf that many of us at DCH will enjoy watching. Oh, also: Obligatory Cupcake reference.

*Unfortunately Tommy Lee Brown could not be available for this interview, but the troupe members of Wheel of Formats would like it to be known that Tommy, above all else, loves tacos. Also, Tab joined after this interview took place. She also loves tacos. But not as much as Tommy.

Be sure to catch Wheel of Formats perform at Dallas Comedy Festival 2016!

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.

The First Ever But Now Annual DCH Awards 2015/HoliDAZE Extravaganza

Sallie Bowen It was a night of glitz. Of glamor. Of meatballs. Of cheese plates. Of free coffee mugs. It was the night of the Dallas Comedy House Awards/Holiday Party.

Thousands gathered (probably, we didn't count) to be merry toward each other and watch as performers re-enacted favorite DCH memories from the past year. Sarah Wyatt was once again thrown across the stage. Cell Block Tango broke the stage door. Monica and Colten (or Molten, as they are called in the DCH gossip magazines) kissed. Grant and Christian sang. Jerrell and Jason kissed. There was a lot of kissing.

There were laughs, there were tears (mostly from Mike Maiella in the bathroom after he didn't win anything). Oh, and there were awards! For the first time ever at DCH, performers, staff, and interns were deemed "The Best" by the votes of their peers. Congrats to the following people—you can now put "2015 DCH Best of Recipient" on your bios and resumes.

BEST INSTRUCTOR: Sarah Wyatt

BEST INTERN: Brian Harrington

Brian Harrington

BEST BAR STAFF: Natalie Starnes

BEST TECH: Cesar Villa

BEST TROUPE: Photobomb

BEST SKETCH SHOW: Law and Order: The SVUsical

Christian Hughes Grant Redmond

BEST STANDUP: Lauren Davis

BEST COACH: Terry Catlett

BEST TA: Paulos Feerow

Paulos Feerow

BEST SHOW POSTER: Stage Fright

BEST MALE PERFORMER: Colten Winburn

BEST FEMALE PERFORMER: Nikki Gasparo

DCH MVP: Jerrell Curry

DCH MVP: Jerrell Curry and Best Bar Staff: Natalie Starnes

Congratulations to the winners, and to everyone who has helped make it a banner year for DCH. And for those of you who didn't win an actual award, there's always next year (fingers crossed for a "BEST AWARD SHOW RECAP BLOG ENTRY" category).

You can check out more photos at this link.

Merry [insert holiday you celebrate] and a happy New Year.

Nick Scott is a performer and teacher at the Dallas Comedy House.

Troupe Talk: Manick

Manick The Dallas Comedy House is having a Hallmark moment, y'all—and we aren’t just talking about the extra bathroom space at the new theater. There’s a delightful duo celebrating a pretty big milestone and Troupe Talk wants to celebrate. Happy five-year anniversary Manick—we’re glad you are you.

Five years of Manick existence! That’s a long time! Name five other things that you’ve each done for at least five years. Nick: Hmm. Been alive? Done improv? Waited for the next Game of Thrones book? I was in school for like 17 years of my life. Does that count? Honestly, there isn’t much else I’ve done consistently for five years. This is the longest committed relationship of any kind I’ve ever had. Amanda: I’ve been married twice. I have four kids now. And I’m still scared of standard poodles. I’m kidding about the poodles. Like Nick, this is by far the longest committed relationship of any kind I’ve ever had.

How does five years of doing a two-man show with someone feel? Nick: Doing a two-man show with someone is weirdly intimate yet somehow also not intimate at all. Doing it for five years doesn’t change that. I think it was Joe Bill that told us one time that there are multiple stages in the evolution and growth of a two-man show, one of which is where the two improvisers have played together so long and know each other’s tendencies so well that they just start trying to surprise one another. It’s nice to be at that point with someone and know that you can do that and still put on a good show. Amanda: It’s fun. And challenging. We are really different people off stage, but we really get along on stage. At least we do now. Someone asked a couple of years ago after a show (I think it was Terry Catlett) if we were friends. That sounded so ridiculous to me. Of COURSE we were friends. But he said it didn’t seem like we were on stage. I think that changed our show quite a bit when we made a conscious effort to remember we are friends off stage, so we can be friends on stage, too.

manickWhat do you appreciate about each other as improvisers? Nick: As an improviser, I feel I’m much better at playing with other people’s ideas than I am at coming up with my own. Amanda is constantly feeding me fun stuff to play with. She also puts up with me trying to be more dramatic on stage or trying non-comedic ideas and is willing to go along with them. And, she’s always willing to have fun. Also, she’s really good at staying on her side of the stage. Amanda: I think Nick and I often play the straight man in our other troupes. I think that’s why our shows were shaky the first year. Neither of us were used to being the “move makers” in a show, because we were always there to ground others and set them up for the laughs. But I know Nick very well now, and I trust him 110 percent with whatever move he makes on stage. I love seeing him play absurd and getting to support those characters he plays that you wouldn’t normally see him play in another troupe. And I’m always so thankful when he supports me playing absurd roles. I think I get to play the most absurd, f’d up characters when I’m with Nick. If you’re reading this from space, Nick...THANK YOU!

What famous duo do you most relate to? Why? Amanda: Option A: The Cat in the Hat. Cats and hats don’t really make sense together, but people still tolerate them and celebrate their weirdness. Also, once we’re about halfway through those bottles of champagne during our shows this weekend, we might wreak havoc on stage like Thing One and Thing Two. Option 2: The Good Guys with Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks. Great show, it just never really got the credit it deserved. Nick: This is a tough one. Maybe the raccoon and the alligator from that picture of a raccoon riding an alligator that was going around the Internet like a week ago? Because whatever fame they had was fleeting, and ultimately they will only be remembered in the backs of the minds of a very few. But people enjoyed seeing them in that moment.

Thank each other for five years of awesomeness in only song lyrics. Nick: I think 2 Chainz said it best:

Mustard on the beat, ho! I'm different, yeah I'm different I'm different, yeah I'm different I'm different, yeah I'm different Pull up to the scene with my ceiling missing Pull up to the scene with my ceiling missing Pull up to the scene with my ceiling missing Pull up to the scene with my ceiling missing Middle finger up to my competition I'm different, yeah I'm different I'm different, yeah I'm different I'm different, yeah I'm different Pull up to the scene with my ceiling missing

Amanda: To the tune of “Salute Your Shorts”

We sit. We talk. We laugh and play. We go on make believe trips. We play the same five characters without any real scripts. I'm so thankful that on stage you never did really fart, But if you did you hid it well and that really warms my heart.

Now all of a sudden we have five years of fun show memories, And we've made them in three or four different cities. (IDK, you do the math) Nick it's okay if you have gas and you think you have to fart, I'll just make it part of the show somehow and now a rhyming word let's try TART!

Manick

Come celebrate Manick's fifth anniversary on Saturday, June 27. Also see them perform July 3, July 10, and August 22. All shows 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.