Stephen Colbert

Comedy Centerfold: Amanda Hahn

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.  Amanda HahnI once met Amanda Hahn outside an fMRI machine. She was flipping a quarter and popping bubble gum. She was a real cool cat, and she was looking for a brain to scan. I told her I'd let her peep into my pyramidal cells in my prefrontal cortex to prove my processes were premier. But she had her eye on another, who came in at that moment. Taking off his glasses and loosening his Robert Talbott tie, he rested himself on the bed outside the machine. He told her to call him Tyrone today before catching her quarter mid flip. She pushed a button that moved him under the magnet, but not before telling him he's on notice to visit her at the Dallas Comedy House during one of her shows with Dairy Based, SpanishProv, Bunny Bunny, or the Halloween Sketch Show in October. He offered a thumbs up, and she popped her gum one last time.

Hometown? I grew up in Franklin, Tennessee. It’s a relatively small, old Civil War/farming town outside of Nashville where Miley Cyrus and Paramore are from.

Guilty Pleasures? Well, I spent about 15 minutes at work today watching R. Kelly’s commentary on R. Kelly’s classic hip-hopera, Trapped in the Closet. So stuff like that.

Ambitions? Be Stephen Colbert. Also, to perform at Second City while being a neuroscientist with adorable, well-behaved, funny kids.

Best Concert? This is so hard to pick. I’ll go with Florence and the Machine, because Florence Welch is so stunning. Her voice sounds even more powerful when you see it come out of her in person. And she was dressed in an all black, flowy, partly sheer dress that made her look like a dark angel. Plus she was funny and charming! I think I fell in love.

Favorite Book? The Secret Fruit of Peter Paddington by Brian Francis is the one I’ve re-read the most. It was recommended to me by a friend in high school, and no one else I know has read it. Go read it! It’s about an overweight, gay boy in middle school trying to hide his huge nipples. It’s very funny and has a slight Tina Fey feel to it.

Favorite Movie? I have to go with Little Miss Sunshine. I’ve never gotten tired of it despite how many times I’ve watched it, and I once watched it twice in a row in one night. I love how real it feels despite how coo-coo it is.

Favorite TV Show? I know this is everyone’s, but Arrested Development. It changed me. Watching it made me realize how great something is when you let yourself have fun when you write and perform, instead of trying too hard to make a “good” product. I love The Colbert Report for similar reasons.

Pets? Lucy. AKA: Lucy the Dog, Sweet Baby Lucy, Big Booty Baby, Little Boo Bunny, and Dog. She’s my first dog, and I couldn’t have picked a more strange one. She’s a shih tzu/terrier mix that looks like a grisly Ewok with a big butt. She sneezes on my face a lot, and when she flops over for belly rubs, she waves her front paws desperately up and down until I touch her. She’s perfect.

Foods I Crave? Spaghetti and meatballs is my No. 1. I’ve been trying to eat healthier, so I’m trying to convince myself to crave zucchini covered in tomato sauce instead. It’s not working.

People I Admire? My mom is probably No. 1 for being so patient, attentive, and insightful with me as a child. She took the time to understand how my mind, and my siblings’ minds, worked, and parented accordingly. I was stubborn, anxious, and hot-headed, and she gave me such a magnificent gift by teaching me to take control of my actions, regardless of my emotions. But she never made me feel bad for what I was feeling and was so loving, comforting, and understanding. She’s the reason that as an adult I have the emotional stability that I have. She’s an amazing woman. Also, Stephen Colbert. He’s so funny, nice, and smart, and I like that he’s open about being a Christian, but he’s never dogmatic. I want him to be a member of my family.

Dream Role? Something super-duper dramatic. I can’t think of a particular role right now, but something that involves dramatic speeches, crying, and yelling. Maybe a mom at the end of her rope. Or, or, or Heath Ledger’s Joker! Although that role literally killed him, so maybe I need to re-think this.

Favorite Song to Sing? "Rags to Riches" by Mr. Elvis Presley. I like it for the beginning when it goes, “You know I’d goooo…” and then pauses a sec, then goes “from RAAAAAGS toooo riiiichessss..” I’m not a good singer, so it’s just an excuse to yell alone in my car, really.

Good First Date Idea? Any date that allows you to talk and laugh with each other, but also has something to actively do in case the conversation lulls and you get nervous. Or just go on a first date with Tyler Simpson! It's a lot of fun and worked out great for me.

DCF14: Heel Turn

5903468The act I'm most excited to see at the Dallas Comedy Festival is Heel Turn. This Oklahoma City-based troupe was formed in 2013 by members Ann-Lisette Caveny, Kellen Hodgeson, Tim Huckeby, and Kelly Lawson out of "a shared sense of humor and a love of sports entertainment." As a lover of all things sports-entertainment, AKA pro-wrestling, I enjoy seeing it influence other art forms. The members of Heel Turn took the time last week to speak as one voice about great sketch, the virtues of patience, and Ric Flair. - Ryan Is your troupe named after the popular pro-wrestling form of betrayal? YES! YES! YES!

What are the similarities between pro-wrestling and improv? Pro-wrestling and improv both take a lot of showmanship. There is also a unique give and take relationship between the performers and the audience. Pro-wrestlers, like improvisers, have to take care of their fellow performers, make them look good, and always be prepared to lose.

Who would be the Four Horsemen of Comedy? We'll give the Four Horsemen of Comedy title to the guys working late night: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers.

Who influenced you growing up? Who excites you now? Growing up we were all big fans of sketch comedy like SNL, MadTV, The State, Kids in the Hall, even All That. Right now we're really loving how much great sketch is on television. We're very inspired by Key and Peele, Kroll Show, Portlandia and Comedy Bang! Bang!

Do you thrive off the energy at a festival? Oooohh yeeeaaahhh! There's nothing like the feeling of performing at a festival. It's a very exciting atmosphere, everyone is jacked. It's like our version of a WWE Pay-Per-View.

What's the best comedy lesson you learned recently? Patience is key. We love to play fast. We also love when improv captivates an audience with slower play and high emotional stakes. We've been working on a happy mix of the two. You know you want to see Hulk Hogan hit that big leg drop, brother. But its so much better to see him get beat down then battle back to overcome the odds with the help of the Hulkamaniacs. Then that leg drop means something.

How is the sketch show coming along? Our sketch show is a work in progress. We're writing scripts based on scenes we've improvised in shows and rehearsals. There isn't much sketch comedy happening in OKC right now, so we're excited to bring it to the stage later this year.

You can form an improv troupe of pro wrestlers and comedians from all eras. Who is in this troupe? What is the troupe's name? This troupe would be insane. We'd go with Chris Jericho, Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Dolph Ziggler, and CM Punk teaming up with Steve Carell, Amy Poehler, Will Forte, Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert. They'd be called WrestleBrainia.

See Heel Turn perform at The Dallas Comedy Festival on Friday, March 21st at 7:00PM. Get your tickets here.