Roadside Couch

If You See an Improviser on the Street, Tips on How to Start a Conversation

Improvisers in the Wild Performers are people, too. The only difference between you and them is that you pay money to watch them stand on a stage. They come from all walks of life and they usually like the same things you do such as food, water, and the occasional confusion of “Did I wash this t-shirt?"  

I have been out and about in Dallas shopping for everyday items and saw someone I recognized in the same aisle as me. I immediately recognize the person as that dude or lovely lady that did the scene about finding a mattress on the side of the road and deciding to take it home. Should I say, "Hey?" Should I mention that I, too, have thought about taking a Roadside Mattress home (this should be a rival troupe to Roadside Couch—you are welcome).  

Seeing a performer out in the wild is like seeing your third-grade teacher buying beer at the 7-11. Here are some tips on how to start a conversation with improvisers.

“Hey, what’s up?” – Always a good ice breaker. Improvisers like to be asked this question because it is not a one-word suggestion.

“You like bacon, I like bacon!” – This one works if they are shopping for bacon. I have always assumed that everyone at Dallas Comedy House (DCH) eats bacon daily, but I could be wrong.  

“Hey Kyle, I really like Small Town the other night” – This works if it is Kyle. If it is not Kyle, then this opening line may be seen with confusion. But most of the time, improvisers can hit curveballs and respond.  

And always remember that they are not on the clock. If they are not funny and are not doing funny voices, it is because they are normal. Just like you.

Ghost Watcher is a regular, DCH audience member.

(Image: Jason Hensel)

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)

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.