Pittsburgh

Troupe Talk: Primary Colours

Primary Colours Fun fact for you from the Primary Colours interview editing “room”:

I’m editing this interview from the airport at the bar (because airports are for beer) drinking an IPA (because airports are for beer), and eating edamame. Edamame (for those that don’t know) is green. (…And airports are for beer.)

Interesting fact I learned interviewing Primary Colours about green: Yellow, red, and blue are the primary colors. And green. Because something about light.

Second fun fact for you from the Primary Colours interview editing “room”: I’m headed to my (unofficial) sweet home Chicago.

Interesting fact that relates to that, that I learned by interviewing Primary Colours: They are headed to Pittsburgh (soon) for the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival! And Ashley’s Grandma will be there!

Fun fact for you from the Primary Colours interview editing “room”: There is a really sweet looking Grandma sitting at a table nearby at the TGI Fridays

Totally unrelated fact that sort of has to do with my interview with Primary Colours: I really hope that is Ashley’s Grandma so I can rub it in all of their faces that I met her (and fed her a pierogi) first.

Friends, I happily present to you: Primary Colours!

Congrats on your acceptance to the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival! What are you most stoked about?

Ash: I'm stoked about us all [except Rob :(]  being on the same plane. Those poor other passengers. Also stoked about pierogies. And wedding soup. And hanging out with my grandma.

Tim: I’m stoked about meeting Ashley’s grandma and hand-feeding her a pierogi. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I’ve read Pittsburgh is a pretty romantic city, so we’ll see what develops.

Sarah: I’m stoked about meeting Ashley’s grandma and holding her hand while gazing at the merging of the rivers. And going balls out with some of my best friends. And finally finding out what exactly Jerrell’s morning beauty routine is.

Jerrell: Thank you! I’m stoked about meeting Ashley’s grandma, all the food, and the actual plane ride. I loveeee plane rides. Or like, just the idea of plane rides. They make me feel accomplished.

Lindsay: I'm stoked about meeting Ashley's grandma and taking her to the observatory to gaze at the stars. And having a break from mom responsibilities. Unless someone needs a mom...

Rob: I’ve met one of Ashley’s grandma’s before, it was lovely. She snickered at dirty jokes. I’ve also heard that Pittsburgh is a city of romance, bridges, and silent H’s, so hopefully we’ll all get some of that. Sarah has a silent H, so that’s a neat coincidence.

Colten: I’m stoked about flying back all together with Ashley’s grandma. I love plane rides and grandmas.

Tell us about the form Primary Colours follows. What’s your style?

Ash: Form - the Harold. Style - Shenanigans.

Tim: I think Ashley said it all. However, I always think of our style as being pretty esoteric, as in, only really funny to us. I’m always a bit confused when people laugh at our shows, because I typically don’t expect people to find our ridiculous shit funny.

Sarah: I think Ashley and Tim said it all. Plus a lot of singing.

Lindsay: I think Ashley, Tim, and Sarah said it all. Plus a ton of support, no matter how crazy it gets.

Jerrell: It’s all been said, plus a lot of smiling and fart noises.

Rob: I think it’s all been covered except my favorite part of the show, which is when someone who’s never seen improv before leans over to the friend who brought them and says, “What’s happening?” loud enough for me to hear.

Colten: I think Harold had the best answer. He covered it all. It’s a Harold, that’s what we do. This is our style.

In Pittsburgh you’ll probably run into improvisers from other cities. What would you tell them is unique about the Dallas Comedy House?

Ash: I'd ask them if they've ever played hangers, but then I'd remember it no longer exists, so I'd mumble something about Tommy and tacos and amble away.

Tim: I’d tell them it’s an incredibly supportive and welcoming community, especially now that I’ve left.

Sarah: Ditto what Tim said. And we should bring back hangers.

Lindsay: I'll tell them that I still feel left out, because I never got to play hangers.

Jerrell: I would tell them all about hangers because it went off. And yeah, just how supportive our community is. It’s wonderful.

Rob: I’d probably corner Aubrey Plaza and spit some mad game for our coach, Tyler Via. I’m actually not going to Pittsburgh, but I can imagine it going something like this, “Hey, **head nod**” She’ll get the picture.

Colten: I’m going to make Tyler Via and Aubrey Plaza play hangers together, so he can explain to her that it was invented in Dallas.

Name something you love that’s the color of each of the three primary colors.

Ash: Well, PC East member Andre lectured us many times that green is a primary color of light (along with red and blue) and that red, yellow, and blue are primary colors of pigment. So, I just go with an overlapping four. But to answer your question: Blue - a nice, semi-cloudy night sky. Yellow - candied ginger. Red - a big, raw cut ruby I saw once and haven't forgotten. Green - dank memes.

Tim: Possibly the smartest, funniest person I’ve ever met pointed out that green is only a primary color in terms of light, and that pigment is different. So, I just want to be clear where I’m coming from and that I’m choosing the colors of fragmented light. But, to get to the point - blue - Amanda Austin’s eye shadow. Red - a scratch from a lil kitty cat. Green - dank memes.

Sarah: Dre-dre all day. Blue - a dark, blue suit that my dude wears that makes him look hella fine; Ashley’s light blue eyes; red - my DCH intern shirt; yellow - that one yellow shirt that Tim wears that is pretty much sheer; green - the tip of this onion that I let just grow outside my apartment for a few months, it was pretty scary but fascinating.

Lindsay: Blue - The New England Patriots uniforms. Yellow - The leaves in the fall in New England. Red - My first car, a Jetta that I drove until it fell apart 200,000 miles later. Green - A four-leaf clover.

Jerrell: Blue - The color of the Lost season 1 DVD set. Yellow - Pikachu. Red - Taylor Swift’s album. Green - Flubber.

Rob: Hi Andre, I hope you read this. Blue - Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsaber blade hue. Yellow - A type of fever. Red - the “what makes the red man red?” song from Peter Pan. “Why don’t you ask him, Howe?” lolz OK sorry. Green - “The Color of Money.”

Colten: Blue - the ocean. Yellow - Starburst. Red - record buttons. Green - (this goes out to Andre) spearmint flavored gum packages.

Primary Colours performs Friday, August 28, at the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival and regularly at the Dallas Comedy House.

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: Dinner with the Nolens

Dinner with the Nolens BIG NEWS DCHers. (I’m so excited.) We’ve got company. Well, we don’t have company yet. But we are EXPECTING company. (I’m so, SO excited.) And it is not just ANY company, we’ve got dinner company! Company coming for dinner! (AHHH EXCITEMENT!)

So bust out the fine china, dust off those drapes, and tell the oven to start heating itself up because this Saturday, July 18, we have Dinner…with the Nolens!

Dinner with the Nolens, huh? Well since this interview is magically in person and LIVE, let’s have it over dinner! Where are we and what are we having?!

We're in Texas, so it's got to be Mexican or TexMex. Moving to Pittsburgh has been amazing in all ways...except in delicious Mexican food. So two veggie burritos with guac, please, and Cerveza!

Tell us a little bit about your improv journeys. Where are you from, where you’ve been, and where you are now?

Kristy: I started back at Ohio University in Athens as an acting student, which is what I thought I was going to do in Chicago. Then a friend encouraged me to take an intro to Improv Class at Second City. Well, I was hooked and never looked back. Since then I've performed and lived in Chicago, L.A., Amsterdam, and now back in Pittsburgh, where I'm from, with an improv career that spans 20 years. Jethro: I started doing improv in college with short form, like a lot of folks. I actually started with Chad Haught and some others at Texas A&M. After college, I moved to Chicago and studied at IO doing mostly long form, then it was on to Amsterdam, L.A., and now Pittsburgh.

So you guys are more than just scene partners, you’re married! What’s a like getting to perform together?

Kristy: That’s true! We met performing on a team at iO Theater in Chicago with a group called Preponderate but didn't start dating until we both found ourselves at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam a year later. So being good in scenes together came first and relationship second. We just celebrated 13 years of marriage (and have a daughter named Madeline who is 12), so now it's marriage first but we try to do a good job balancing both. Family first was hard as we opened up our new theater two years ago in Pittsburgh, but I think we're doing a better job now.

Preponderate

Jethro: Oh, it’s fantastic. I think that all the really solid improv groups I’ve been a part of really get to know each other off stage. It takes time for you to be able to read each other and get comfortable. With Kristy, more often than not, she knows where I’m going and I know where she’s going, so hopefully that comes across on stage.

You are both co-founders of the Arcade Comedy Theater in Pittsburgh. What’s the story there? What’s the mission of the theater? Other fun facts?

Kristy: YES! Opening a theater in my home town is a dream come true. When I left after college, I just couldn't see a path to becoming a theater professional because even our big regional theater the Pittsburgh Public Theater did the majority of casting in N.Y. & L.A. And when I first was in Chicago, regional improv theaters weren't really a thing either. Now regional comedy theaters seem to be popping up everywhere! So the story is pretty simple, when we got to town four years ago, at a weekly improv jam, we became friends with other likeminded people that thought it would be great to bring comedy to downtown. So as two of five founders, along with Abby Fudor, Mike Rubino, and Randy Kirk, we brought our idea to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust who helped our newly formed non-profit theater acquire a storefront. Three months later we opened Arcade Comedy Theater. Our mission is to elevate and advance the art of comedy in Pittsburgh. To that end, we have improv, sketch, stand up, variety shows...anything that falls under the umbrella of comedy. Fun Fact: our daughter wanted to name it The Laughingstock Theater which I still think would be a great comedy theater name (she's totally on board with Arcade now). Jethro: We performed and worked for several comedy theaters in our lives and feel like we have reasonably well informed opinions about what makes a place successful. We wanted to create that place and put that knowledge to good use. Pittsburgh was really right for that when we moved there. We are open to all kinds of comedy--short form, long form--we are up for whatever is funny. We want to encourage artistic freedom so that the audiences keep coming and people continue to learn. We cultivate an environment that’s welcoming and produces good work.

DCH is lucky to have you and your anniversary show, Dinner with the Nolens, down for a visit. What can the audience expect? (Besides awesomeness, of course.)

Kristy: We’re lucky to have a chance to play with DCH! Jethro is from Arlington, so it's a wonderful opportunity to play with old friends and meet new ones. Dinner with the Nolens starts with us all heading out for a bite to eat...like in the real world! Talking about topics that are important to people helps achieve a familiarity on stage deeper then your more traditional Zip, Zap, Zop. The show is long form, and we try to have fun, complex characters with listening being a top priority. What's fun is that the show is different with each new improv duo we play with. We're learning that it makes a much better show to capitalize on the strengths of your partners, rather than have them fit into a preconceived improv show or style that doesn't fit them. Our goal is to end not just with an enjoyable show but with two new improv friends. Jethro: We are playing with someone I started my improv career with in college, Emily Alexander, and her husband Dale. It’s great to be able to perform with people we’ve known for along time. It’s also great that we are two married couples. By virtue of effect, married people who have know each other for a long time can play much deeper games with each other on stage.

What is your favorite rule of improv that also applies to real life?

Kristy: Agreement has lead me to friends, a husband, a family, and comedy theater in a town I love. Where would I be if I hadn't said "Yes, And" to Jethro? Jethro: Follow the fear. I think that often we shy away from things that make us uncomfortable, but if we are willing to overcome that barrier of fear there is interesting stuff out there waiting for us.

Dinner with the Nolens takes place at the Dallas Comedy House at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 18. Tickets can be purchased in advance.

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.

#Ashtag Week 11: Cold, Hard Steel, and Cookies

Pittsburgh, Steel City.  Imagine our picnic here for our 11th week anniversary. This is the 11th week of #ashtag!! Eleven weeks!! Eleven. Eleven is a number. It follows seven sometimes; not numerically, but as a convenience store chain name. We all know that. The 11th hour is when sh*t gets real and down into the nitty gritty. Okay, I'm reaching. I guess there's no reason for us to get as jazzed up about the 11th week like we did for week 10. Traditional gifts for 11th anniversaries are steel. Cold, hard steel.

Just as with every other edition of #ashtag, we're going to dig through the Internet, find the top trends, and learn things about ourselves and humanity. At the very least, we will learn about the most recently and fleetingly popular things online. I may have been reaching again when I said we would learn about ourselves and humanity, but you never know.

Sports are back on top this week. The Google top searches are flooded with the names of NFL teams. Let's just get this out of the way right now - I'm not a huge football fan. Neither college nor professional gets my gears goin'. Can we all just agree now that I can skip over this admission in the upcoming weeks during the football season? Of course, if another elevator video or something pops to the top, we can get into it. But no one is going to have fun with me recapping game highlights and scores, especially not me. I will say that the Steelers lost this week, which is not very cool. Steelers. Steel. Eleventh week together. A win from them would have been a nice 11th week anniversary gift for all of us, huh? Moving on.

Amanda Bynes was arrested for a DUI, so her name was a top search. Do you remember when she did the "Ask Ashley" sketch on Snick's All That? Let's remember her that way. On a near perfect and unintentional segue, you can "Ask Ashley" any real life/burning need for advice questions by emailing dchadvicecolumn@gmail.com. I will be fielding the questions for next week's edition of DCH's "So Says the Comedian" and dispensing life advice. I can channel Amanda Bynes if you'd like, but it may involve starting a fire in my driveway.

Another Wayne & Darth possibility. My references are current and on point.

One of the top hashtags this week is #lamerduos. I skimmed over it because I thought it was the name of a sports star, Lamar Duos, as it was mixed in with other sports team and athlete name hashtags. Sports are big right now, guys, as we've discussed above. Sadly, hashtags do not come with definitions even when you Google them. You just have to read through posts and try to piece together the intended use. #lamerduos appears to be applied to tweets attempting to make puns out of famous duos. Many of these fit the "lamer" part of the hashtag, such as "Sonny and Chair" and "Screech and Chong." Actually Screech and Chong was probably the best of what I saw. Oh boy. Hmm, I'm hating, so let me try to pop one off the top of my dome. Okay, um, Wayne & Darth...like a showdown between Batman and Darth Vader. No? Okay, I'm out. The tweeter of "Sonny and Chair" is better than me, and I am okay with it.

This week I headed over to VH1 for the top music videos of the week. For no other reason than that CMT provided me with hip-hop last week, so I thought it best to shake up my sources. And because VH1 has always been super cool and cutting edge. That was sarcasm, and I apologize, VH1, you're cool. According to the Top 20 list, the No. 1 video of the past week is Meghan Trainor's "All About that Bass." It's a catchy tune with a pastel colored video. I don't like her throwing out the "skinny bitches" line because we're all okay - skinny or not. But it did make me feel better about eating a cookie while I type this. [Editor's Note: Respect the treble.]

As we like to do, let's end with a note about my progress in the Kardashian game. I've done a little better this week. I've started jobs and remembered them. My publicist hasn't yelled at me as much. It's been a pretty alright week. #thisisnotreallifeandirealizehowpatheticthissoundspleaseemailyourquestionsforadvice

Ashley Bright is a writer/performer at Dallas Comedy House. She’s a graduate of the DCH Improv Training Program and is currently a level 3 sketch writing student. You can see her perform every weekend at Dallas Comedy House.