Wrestlemania

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.

What We're Loving: Comeback Stories, Little Lord Legs, Michael McDonald Deep Cuts, DCF14

DCH_what we're loving_3_14_14Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week Julia Cotton speaks to the self-loathing narcissist in us all, Ashley Bright needs tiny legs, David Allison makes a That's My Bush reference, and Ryan Callahan shamelessly plugs his own work. 369Dan Harmon is the genius that introduced me to the love of my life, Donald Glover, by creating an awesome show called Community. Around Season 2, I found myself listening to every interview he did and then consuming everything he’d ever created. I could tell that he was a person who absolutely cared about humanity, honesty, harmony, and 'Harmon’. He was clearly a narcissist while simultaneously being very self loathing. It’s a personality combination that can lead one to often feel very isolated, often be misunderstood, and often get fired.

When he was fired from Community, I was heartbroken. I’d become so dependent on his voice that I felt a little more lonely and weirdly… rejected. It was like whoever fired him had also fired me.

Luckily, he began the Harmontown podcast. It is premised as a town hall meeting to plan the founding of a colony of like minded misfits. The question is ‘What do we need to form a functional society?’ The podcast features some improv, made up songs, and freestyle raps (that are clearly performed by a white dude in his 40s that is NOT named Eminem). There are many special guests (Bobcat Goldthwait, Robin Williams, Jon Oliver, Mitchell Hurwitz, frequently Kumail Nanjiani). Around episode 6, it was decided that each show would culminate with a game of Dungeons and Dragons (see Community S2:14). In that episode we are introduced to Spencer Crittenden - an audience member randomly chosen to be Dungeon Master.

Harmontown went on the road and was filmed. It documents Dan’s journey which ultimately leads him right back into the arms of his lost love (Community season 5!). It also chronicles him and his girlfriend going through relationship woes and eventually becoming engaged. Harmon suggests that perhaps the most interesting story is that of Dungeon Master Spencer as he takes an unexpected journey into celebrity.

The documentary really highlights Dan Harmon’s effect on the people who call ourselves “Harmenians”. What we have in common is this feeling of never quite “fitting in” and often feeling misunderstood and rejected. Dan Harmon has shown us how to take those feelings, and fuse them into creativity.

You can check out the trailer here. - Julia Cotton

Nigel-Lindsay-as-Shrek-and-Nigel-Harman-as-Lord-Farquaad-in-Shrek-The-Musical.-Photo-by-Brinkhoff-MögenburgI've had one of those go-go-go weeks, where I didn't make adequate media absorption time for myself. I did watch the True Detective finale, but so did everyone else and their dog. Dogs love Rust Cohle. I watched some more Sopranos, but I dabbled on that topic last week. I did have a Gilmore Girls watching evening with Mr. Terry Catlett. No, I won't be sharing the joys of Stars Hollow with you. In fact, I'm going to use this forum to ask you to share something with me. Let me explain. You may not know this, but TC (Terry Catlett for some of this entry) is a big fan of musicals. After watching Rory move into her dorm at Yale, we watched Shrek on Broadway on Netflix. I can't lie; I didn't really dig it, although there were some very inspiring stage setups. Here's what I did love: TC was absolutely tickled by Lord Farquaad's tiny legs. I had a giggle fit just watching him have a giggle fit. I've tried searching for more big bodies with tiny leg gags, and I've come up with nothing except for some unfortunate real-life body disfigurement. I saw some stuff I can't unsee. So, first, I'm asking for any videos of a similar tiny leg gag so that we can all continue giggling. Be careful on your search; I'm telling you there is stuff out there that will burn onto your eyes. Second, and more importantly, can someone help me make some tiny legs for Terry? I can provide materials and I'll do the legwork (pun!), but I need some help figuring out how to make them functional with bending knees. I should note that I cannot sew. I'm not sure if that's important. - Ashley Bright south-park-the-movie-back-cover-98981I love alliteration! In celebration of that fact, I’m creating “Movie Soundtrack March” to showcase great comedy soundtracks that go underappreciated. The only rule for my weekly pick is that the soundtrack has to mostly be comprised of original music.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are geniuses. You know that. The problem is that they’ve created so many amazing things (South Park, Team America: World Police, Cannibal, Orgazmo, BASEketball, Book of Mormon) people tend to lose track of things. Heck, just by attempting to create a list of their work, I’m sure that I’ll get critiqued because I forgot something random, like That’s my Bush. It happens when two people create such a consistent collection. Because of that, I’m going to highlight my favorite piece that they did, a soundtrack that they don’t get nearly enough respect for; South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.

The movie was the first time that South Park began to receive acclaim as something more than a show that gets by on the shock value of kids not acting like kids and the quality of each musical number was a big reason. For starters, you’ve got “La Resistance” and “Up There,” which are fantastic parodies of “Do you hear the people sing?” (Les Miserables) and “Part of your world” (Little Mermaid) respectively. Next, check out Big Gay Al’s one man show stopper “I’m super” and be reminded that people used to shop at Mervyn’s (And reference it in song!). Still not convinced? Well let me remind you that MICHAEL MCDONALD CREATED AN ORIGINAL SONG FOR THE ALBUM. Midway through the track, he just starts advertising his friend Keith’s car detailing business. Yes, not every track on the album is great, but there are so many gems that it is well worth revisiting. - David Allison

14517_10152631209974056_1575422524_nI'm loving many things the week: The Daniel Bryan angle on RAW Monday, learning that Night Hawk is a non-fictional producer of Salisbury steaks, watching my girlfriend watch Game of Thrones, (What!), but most of all I'm loving the anticipation for The Dallas Comedy Festival. This is my first festival and my first experience with the heightened intensity, the crackling energy in the air, the camaraderie as the DCH team hustles together to get ready. I'd call it the Super Bowl of Comedy, but that would probably get me sued, so I'll call it the SuperWrestlemaniaFinalsCup in Memory of David Von Erich of Comedy to be safe. Man, it really feels like the SuperWrestlemaniaFinalsCup in Memory of David Von Eric of COmedy around here this week! There's so much going on.

The Dallas Observer wrote about out "pretty killer" lineup, (quotes means you aren't bragging,) while the Dallas Voice was struck by the strong bonds formed at DCH.

Jason Hensel and I had the opportunity to speak with some of the talented men and women who will be performing at the festival. If you're a comedy nerd you'll appreciate the many discussions on craft and technique. If you're not a comedy nerd you are clearly in the wrong place and horribly confused. Take a deep breath and back away from your computer.

Comedy nerds, get to know some folks a little better:

- Executive Branch - Saffy Herndon - Gramt Redmond - Christian Hughes - Rob Christemsem - ZOOM! - Susan Messing - And more to come next week!

By the way, I'm still loving Rick Ross. Guys, it might be serious. - Ryan Callahan