Small Town

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)

Troupe Talk: Small Town

Small Town Not sure if you heard friends, but LOVE is in the air at the Dallas Comedy House (DCH). And not just the love between that drunken couple that caught a show on Saturday for their Tinder date, but the “for reals” kind, where like, you get married and stuff. DCH improv veterans, instructors, and Small Town troupe teammates Kyle Austin and Maggie-Rieth-but now she’s-Austin tied the knot this past month! So go ahead, start ooooo’ing and awwww’ing and sink your teeth into this week’s edition of Troupe Talk: The Love Story Edition.

You guys just got married! Congratulations! What’s being married to your improv scene partner like?

Maggie: It's the best. We haven't technically performed together since we got married, but I have really high hopes for it. Or it could be a miserable disaster, and we will both quit improv. Tomato, to-mah-to. Kyle: I don't know what it's like to be married to my scene partner, yet...but come out this Saturday and find out the same time I do.

What rules of improv are also good rules for relationships?

Maggie: All of them. Mostly, "You look good if you make your partner look good." I don't want to be in a relationship - or improv troupe - that's about cutting one another down or competing. I want to build this thing together! Kyle: Good improv/relationship rules: - listening - give-and-take - compassion for the other person's decisions/choices....even if they are silly

How long have you both been doing improv, and how long have you been improving together?

Maggie: I started taking classes in the fall 2011. I think Kyle and I have been performing together for a little over a year or so ... unless you count the performance of dating, which we've been doing for the last three-and-a-half years. Kyle: I have been improvising for 10-plus years now, and together we've been doing it since I moved my stuff into her house while she was at work. So a little over a year...

Give us the similarities between a wedding and an improv show.

Maggie: All eyes are on you, and afterwards everyone wants to talk to you about how great it is. Or, people avoid eye contact and just want to get drinks at the bar. Kyle: Similarities between an improv show/wedding: - Lots of agreeing with last second changes - The people there are (for the most part) there to support you - Everyone is watching

When does Kyle/Maggie make you laugh the most?

Maggie: Kyle gets this weird, mischievous look on his face every once in a while and then does something ridiculous and weird: like some strange musical dance number. I always laugh at that. Kyle: Maggie makes me laugh the hardest when she thinks she's right, but then finds out she's wrong...it's like a huge revelation!

Small Town perform at the Dallas Comedy House on August 29, September 12, October 17, and October 30.

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.