Photobomb

How Do You Pick the Right Show Based Off Name Alone?

Photobomb My co-workers know that I spend a lot of time at Dallas Comedy House watching great comedy. They will ask me, “What show you seeing tonight?” And I will respond by saying Roadside Couch, .f.a.c.e., or Duck Duck Pants. Most people just nod and say, “Cool,” even though those words mean nothing to them but mean everything to me.   

When I encourage them to attend, they usually say, “That sounds fun, which show should I attend?" I will direct them to DallasComedyHouse.com and tell them to pick. That’s when the discussions start in—“Photobomb, do I need to bring a camera” or “Age appropriate, can I bring my kids?”

Which gets me back to the question: How do you pick the right show based off name alone? My advice is always go with a name that intrigues you. The first time I saw the name Franzia appearing on a poster, I knew I had to go. Because I love Fanzia and if I could watch a show with people who obviously share my desire to drink $7 gallon of wine, I am in. Same goes for Local Honey (which I try to purchase all the time), Manick (which took me two years to realize that was a combination of Amanda and Nick), and the 1995 Chicago Bulls. Side note on that one, when I first heard the 1995 Bulls were performing, I went to my closet and broke out my Luc Longley autographed Fosters can with the hope that he would drink the 19-year-old beer with me. Boy was I let down.

Be bold, pick a name, see a show. You will not be let down.

Ghost Watcher is a regular, DCH audience member.

(Image: Jason Hensel)

Podcasting 101: Choosing Your Format

Podcasting 101 Do you want to build a podcast? C’mon let’s go and—sorry, sorry, dated joke, I’m done.

But seriously, do you want to make a podcast? You should. There are a few Dallas Comedy House (DCH) alums that have podcasts of their own and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t either. Plus, I need more podcasts to put in my feed.

However, the easiest thing to get side-tracked by is the overwhelming information of what equipment to buy, how you’re going to release it, is it possible to monetize it or at least pay for hosting, etc. One thing at a time buddy! I’m going to break down the steps of how to build your own podcast.

First, you need an idea. More importantly, you need to choose a format.

Just like what sort of format is used for shows, picking a format and sticking with it is just as important for podcasting. This would be solo or co-hosted, interviews or self-hosted conversations, informational/educational or entertainment. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on the primary curriculum of DCH—sketch and improv.

OK, starting with the sketch kids: Scripted podcasts are starting to gain a little more traction these days. The Thrilling Adventure Hour, Wormwood, and, the most popular of scripted podcasts, Welcome to Night Vale. First and foremost, all hail the glow cloud. Second of all,  it started as a solo show with weird bits and pieces, eventually extending into a fuller cast with a developed world and over-arching story. However, Night Vale still keeps to its radio show format for the most part. Quick obvious note: Scripted formats are the only time you can have one person behind the microphone. However, I still highly suggest a writing team because stress makes for bad and infrequent episodes. (Which is typically why the worst Doctor Who episodes come from the showrunners, but I digress with opinions…)

In terms of improv podcasts, I'm going to use Spontaneanation with Paul F. Tompkins as my prime example. What I enjoy about this format is that it spends the first 15 minutes as an interview piece. This is pretty typical with DCH troupes like Photobomb, Pavlov's Dogs, and Manick, who will choose an audience member and ask a few questions that will build their shows. However, the interview format is VERY popular in the podcasting world. Nerdist, Marc Maron, Joe Rogan, Tim Ferriss—every one of them is interviewing somebody. So what Paul F. Tompkins does with Spontaneanation is use this interview time to build a personal rapport with his guest, and then the whole of that interview is fodder for the improvised section. Another great improv podcast is Victrola!, an Austin-based group that I interviewed for this year's Dallas Comedy Festival

Now, once you have your basic format, you can spice it up however you like. Do you watch and/or read the news too much? Use that as your platform and get a group of improvisers to discuss and then riff. Are you a nerd that likes to play D&D with your improv friends? Either record your game as it happens while inhabiting your characters, or write out your most recent campaign and have your performer buddies read the script. Have you got a better idea? Then do that! You’re an adult, I assume. I believe in you.

In two weeks time, I'll discuss recording and what equipment might suit your needs as a fledgling podcaster. And yes, that’s the post in which I will discuss how much money you might be spending. Dun dun dun!

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.

Bigger, Badder, ImprovMania

I would like to preface this blog post, by stating upfront, that I don’t really know anything about professional wrestling, WrestleMania, WWE/WWF, or any other bits of wrestling-related trivia. Now that that’s off my chest, and I’ve hopefully prevented misguiding any of you fine readers, this post can officially commence. The little I do know about professional wrestling, though, is a few of its more iconic characters, and that in some ways wrestling is a little bit like improv and sketch comedy. What do pro-wrestling, sketch, and improv have in common? It’s that their foundations all lie in storytelling, using clearly defined characters, raised stakes, and heightened emotions. While the best improv or sketch scenes might not be filled with dramatic chair shots and elbow drops (or maybe they are...), what makes those scenes run like a hijinks-filled WWE match is that they probably involve instances where the performers make bold character choices and filter their scene motivations and emotional reactions through their characters.

Because WrestleMania 32 took place in Arlington, Texas, last weekend, and because one of my awesome Ewing teammates made a wrestling themed poster for our show this past week, and also because my Facebook newsfeed in general seemed to have exploded with a bunch of wrestling posts, the topic has been on my mind. So, I thought what better way to combine my love of Dallas Comedy House (DCH) with this sudden inundation of pro-wrestling in the brain space than to determine which iconic pro-wrestlers some of my favorite DCH troupes embody.

If you want me to continue this blog post with my reimagining of DCH troupes as iconic wrestling characters, just gimme a “hell yeah!” (Or don’t because I’m going to do it anyway.)

Trish StrausTrish Stratus is Local Honey

Like the ladies of Local Honey, Trish Stratus is an all-around badass babe. She’s funny, she’s female empowering, and she’s got glutes muscles the size of basketballs that could easily destroy anybody who gets in her way. She’s also Canadian, which means that, like the gals in Local Honey, she’s generally easygoing and polite and would probably be down for nomming on some Tim Hortons.

Dude Love“Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Dude Love is Age Appropriate

When two very different individuals come together to perform, sometimes both improv and wrestling magic can be created. Like the somewhat odd, yet endearing, tag-team of Stone Cold and Dude Love, Age Appropriate has just the right balance of fun-loving, party-time spirit and serious performance chops. Together the gents of Age Appropriate come together like yin and yang, kicking comedy butt. Also, lots of object work. Mind-blowing object work, that’s the bottom line, because Age Appropriate said so!

The RockThe Rock is Photobomb

Like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Photobomb, awarded “best troupe” at DCH, is the people’s champ. Charismatic, full of fun catchphrases, and literally the only dude to pull off a complete chains-on-turtleneck-with-a-fanny-pack-on-mom-jeans ensemble, The Rock has won over the hearts and minds of many a WWE fan. With brains, beauty, and custom t-shirts, it’s also easy to see how Photobomb has won over the hearts and minds of DCH fans.

Jericho ShowJeri-Show is David & Terry

Full of quick wit, spontaneity, animated performances, vibrant reactions, and lots of shenanigans, David & Terry are much like the tag team of Chris Jericho and Big Show. When paired in the ring, Jericho and Show just seemed to click. Always supportive and able to deliver some great comedic punches, David & Terry click, too. They’re just a couple of cool dudes who can put on an equally cool show. They’re awesome. DCH has mad love for David & Terry. In some ways, DCH... is...David & Terry!

Hulk HoganHulk Hogan is Cupcake

Just as Hulk Hogan was one of the first wrestlers I ever learned about (and not just because he had a brief VH1 reality show, although that helped), Cupcake was one of the first troupes I watched/learned about at DCH. Hogan is an American classic—a man with a feather boa and a mustache as big and strong as his personality. Cupcake too is full of strong personalities. For both Hulkamania and Cupcakeamania, a central feature involves making and adhering to bold character choices. I've yet to see a Cupcake show where the character choices weren't bold and zesty like evenly coated nacho cheese Doritos. In addition, like the Hulkster, the members of cupcake would probably all look fabulous wearing various shades of red and yellow.

Macho Man Randy Savage“Macho Man” Randy Savage is On-Time Delivery

If I had to sum up “Macho Man” Randy Savage in one word, I would say Slim Jim. If I was allowed to use a few other words in my summarization, I would include charismatic, fun, high energy, consistently entertaining, a not-so-good rap album, and also Slim Jim. Most of these words could easily be applied to a description of DCH troupe On-Time Delivery. On-Time Delivery, like the late great Macho Man, seems to have it all: Brilliant stage presence, unique points of view, beef-stick endorsement abilities, and a sick set of performance skillz. Ohhh yeahhh!

I would keep going, but that’s all the wrestlers and catchphrases I know.

Feel free to post your thoughts, WWE trivia, or your own reimagining’s of DCH troupes as pro-wrestlers in the comments below.

Lauren Levine is currently a Level 4 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.

Comedy Centerfold: Ryan Goldsberry

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.  Ryan GoldsberryHere's one thing you need to know about Ryan Goldsberry: equation

Another thing you need to know: Despite having the word "gold" in his name, he's not related to the famous Goldschläger cartel or the infamous Goldapps clan. These are mistakes often made about him.

You might also be interested to know that he takes his whiskey neat, he's as smart AF, and he once stole a taco off of Chuck Norris' tray at Taco Bell when he wasn't looking.

Hometown? We moved around a bit when I was younger, but eventually landed in a small town in East Texas called Rusk when I was in elementary school and never left.

Guilty Pleasures? Baths and potato chips. Which, typing the two next to each other makes me wonder why I’ve never eaten potato chips in a bathtub.

Ambitions? Eat better, exercise more, finish writing even a third of the projects I start.

Best Concert? I don’t like live shows very much, honestly, but I’m trying to be less like Larry David so I won’t make this a vehicle for those complaints. One time at Warped Tour I went to see August Burns Red at the end of the day and fell asleep on the lawn in the back. That was kinda fun.

Favorite Book? This question was hard. I think the one I go back to the most is Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives. Anytime I read it, I feel inspired to write something, which I guess is a mark of a good book.

Favorite Movie? If I want to be pretentious, Synecdoche, New York is the only movie to make me full-on cry. Watch it twice. I think it’s really moving and it cemented Charlie Kaufman as my favorite screenwriter.

If I don’t, Alien and The Road Warrior are pretty great.

Favorite TV Show? I watch a lot of TV. Please start a conversation with me about a show you really like. Some favorites: Jeopardy!, Fringe, The Simpsons, Adventure Time, The Sopranos, House Hunters, Rick and Morty, Veep, and The X-Files.

Pets? I have a one-eyed cat named Bean. She’s great. I point out that she has one eye not because that’s the trait that defines her, but because I’m superficial and that’s what initially got me to go meet her at the shelter.

Foods I Crave? Popcorn, the nachos from Spiral Diner, salt-and-vinegar chips.

People I Admire? In my personal life: My girlfriend, Kim, for being funnier and better at expressing emotions than me, my parents for being as supportive and hard-working as they are, and every animal I’ve ever met for bringing joy to my life.

Celebrity-wise: Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V Gordon, Maria Bamford, Hannibal Buress, Pendleton Ward, and Tina Fey have all inspired me or impacted how I approach comedy in some way.

Dream Role? I find myself naturally furrowing my brow a lot, so I think I'd be OK in a made-for-TV Wentworth Miller or Michael Shannon biopic.

Favorite Song to Sing? Anything loud, fuzzy, and emotional. "Come Back Home" by Japanther and "Y Control" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs come to mind.

Good First Date Idea? Lay on a couch reading Onion headlines to each other while watching Love It Or List It. If you had fun, you can probably continue dating.

Catch Ryan playing with The 1995 Chicago Bulls, Cell Block Tango, CLR, and Photobomb at the Dallas Comedy House.

Friday, April 1 - Cell Block Tango @ 9 p.m. Thursday, April 7 - The 1995 Chicago Bulls @ 8 p.m. and CLR @ 9 p.m. Friday, April 8 - Photobomb @ 9 p.m. Saturday, April 9 - Cell Block Tango @ 8 p.m. Friday, April 15 - Photobomb @ 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 20 - Bulls @ 8 p.m. Friday, April 22 - Photobomb @ 9 p.m. Saturday, April 23 - Cell Block Tango @ 9 p.m. Friday, April 29 - Cell Block Tango @ 9 p.m. and Photobomb @ 10 p.m.

Troupe Talk: Photobomb

Photobomb It’s baaaack!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah: What they said.

Photobomb

Tell us about your most memorable Photobomb scene or show.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ben: That one burrito.

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

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

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

Maggie: Probz my mom.

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

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

Ben: The Trix rabbit.

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

Colten: Novak Djokovic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lauren Levine is currently a Level 3 student at DCH. When she is not trying to come up with witty things for this blog, she is a freelance writer and editor, an amateur photographer, a Zumba-enthusiast, a dog lover, and an 80s movie nerd. In addition, she enjoys all things Muppet-related, the smell after a rainstorm, and people with soft hands.

Lady Town is coming to OUR TOWN!

Sometimes, you just get lucky. You find  five dollars in your hoodie from last winter. Or your apartment complex is passing out sausage biscuits when you leave for work on Friday morning. Or maybe, just maybe, three of your favorite improvisors agree to come back to Dallas for a weekend of workshops and shows. Ladytown comes to town August 1st and 2nd!

If you didn't find  $5 (or you're not wearing a hoodie today because it's freeeezzzzzing) or you're rich and live in a house where you can make your own sausage biscuits, that's okay. Because we here at DCH have snagged LADY TOWN for you for one hot weekend.

Maribeth Monroe (Workaholics), Jaime Moyer (Jennifer Falls), and Kate Duffy (Second City) are making an appearance here in Dallas August 1st and 2nd. Workshops and show tickets are on sale now! These ladies are all favorites of DCH, but they've never been here at the same time. And this is going to be amazing. Their shows sold-out quickly in the past, so get tickets and register for workshops while you can.

SEE THE LADY TOWN SHOW! Saturday, August 2nd @ 10:30PM CLICK HERE FOR ADVANCE TICKETS!

 

REGISTER FOR WORKSHOPS! 

Brush Up Workshop w/Jaime Moyer  Friday, August 1st  4-7PM CLICK HERE TO REGISTER 

What the %&*#% Are You? w/Kate Duffy  Friday, August 1st 4-7PM CLICK HERE TO REGISTER 

Ladies Love Cool Improv w/ Jaime Moyer Saturday, August 2nd 11-12PM CLICK HERE TO REGISTER 

Throw Out the Rules w/Kate Duffy Saturday, August 2nd 11-2PM CLICK HERE TO REGISTER