comedy shows

DCH Invades the Dallas Morning News

When The Dallas Morning News (DMN) called and asked us to help them punch up their writing and social media content, we knew we were in for a big task. After all, how do you help punch up the already quippy writing of some the city's best journalists? Well, you use the "Yes, and…" philosophy we rely on to create improv comedy to help curate this workshop. "Our training with Amanda and DCH was immediately useful. We walked out of our second session and within hours put some of our new techniques to work. Not once. Not twice. But in three separate Facebook posts. It wasn't about becoming funny. It was all about learning to work together to be more engaging."  — Michael L., DMN Digital Communities Manager 

Our team spent two days with a group of writers, editors, and social media gurus from The Dallas Morning News. The first day, we gave them a crash course in improv comedy and showed them the tools we use on the stage to work together as a group.  After a few short hours, they were already on their way to comedy stardom.

As the largest news source for the DFW area, DMN is responsible for making sure North Texas receives succinct news in a timely manner. And often times, the writers don't have time to collaborate. We taught them how our comedy writing team pitches and develops original content, and how and when to make it fun for their ever-growing audience. Combined with their stellar teamwork skills they developed in Day One, this group of newsies is now armed and ready to deliver the news. With a twist.

If you're not already following The Dallas Morning News on Facebook or Twitter, do yourself a favor and check them out. That same level of integrity will always be in place with DMN, but don't be surprised if you start to see a funnier side of the news.

CLICK HERE to find out more about our corporate workshops and shows. Or email: amanda@dallascomedyhouse.com  for a quote  for your next training or special event. 

 

My Cat Has Goals (And Other Arguments Against Speciesism

by Sarah Mowery Since the dawn of time (since 200,000 years ago, rather), mankind has had the distinct advantage of being comfortably situated at the top of the food chain. We’ve gazed down at all the other animals, with their tails and their webbed feet and their adorable lack of fine motor skills and chortled, Dr. Pepper spraying triumphantly from our noses.

For thousands upon thousands of years, humans have proudly held the upper hand. Why? Because we can talk to and understand one another? Because we have opposable thumbs? Because we invented indoor plumbing?

Ah, the wonders of evolution.

Well, I took Biology in the 9th grade, and I’m here to tell you that 1. opposable thumbs are not that cool, I mean realistically I could easily type this whole thing and button my pants and stuff without them, come on, and 2. all animals are is humans who are different.

Not to get all PC on you, but thinking you’re any better than any other animal is speciesist and just plain wrong. Yeah, I’m talking to you, fellow mammals. In fact, calling them “animals” at all is pretty derogatory when you think about it. I prefer the term “People, Too.”

The truth is, there’s a lot we can learn from other People, Toos. Scout, the Feline American with whom I share my apartment, for example, is the most goal-oriented Person I’ve ever met. How many times have you, presumably a member of the aforementioned “Human” species and therefore obviously a huge bigot, crouched down behind the bathroom door to play with a rubber band when it somehow moves under the door crack beyond your reach, and thought, “Meh, there goes that toy. Guess I’ll go do something with my thumbs now.” Probably a million times!

Not Scout. Scout doesn’t give up. Scout has goals. Scout is going to roll around on her back behind that bathroom door, twisting and turning until she finds the angle that will allow her to slip her paw under the crack and grab the rubber band, huzzah! Could she have just walked around the door to the other side and easily gotten the rubber band there? Sure. But what fun would that be? Where’s the challenge?! Scout doesn’t take shortcuts! She stays focused and puts in the time and hard work required to achieve her goals. If Scout were Ferris Bueller, she would have run home on the damn sidewalk instead of cutting through those poor folks’ house or those random sunbathing ladies’ yard. This is also because she is not a falsely idolized miscreant, but I digress.

Unlike most “humans,” Scout likes to exercise during her free time. Here she is doing pull-ups.

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all behaved a little more like those “animals” we so love to look down on? Everyone can make small, simple changes, to help the cause! Like napping more, or feeding your young by spitting chewed-up food into their mouths.

In conclusion, people are people. But People, Too, are people, too, and you “people” would do well to remember that.

Sarah Mowery is a level 3 student at the DCH training center and she interns for the DCH blog. Fine more of Sarah's comedy stylings HERE. 

 

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy, a Most Unlikely Blockbuster

By Mike Corbett This weekend Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy film grossed 94 million dollars, shattering the record for biggest August opening and easily becoming the number one movie in the country. At a quick glance, this seems like it would have been expected, it’s a Marvel Studios film, distributed by Disney, and every single one of those has made several boatloads of money. However, a closer look will show that this film was anything but a sure thing, and its success is actually kind of mind blowing.

Don't recognize anyone? No one does.

Prior to the publicity blitz the film received, the Guardians of the Galaxy were a relatively unknown property. Unlike pretty much every other comic book film created thus far, these weren’t famous characters with decades of stories to draw from. This version of the Guardians of the Galaxy debuted in comics in 2008, spinning out of Marvel’s Annihilation event, a two year long epic story featuring a bunch of alien characters you’ve probably never heard of. But surely fans warmed quickly to these characters and they’ve had a long running series since then, right? Nope, the series was cancelled after seventeen issues. Yet for some reason, Marvel announced plans to make a film based on the characters. Do you know how long Iron Man was around before anyone bothered to make a movie based on him? Forty five years!   The Avengers were around for forty nine years before they got their film, and it took four years and five other films to build up to that point. These Guardians of the Galaxy existed for barely two years, got cancelled and still their film pulled in 94 million dollars in its opening weekend. Maybe you can chalk this box office triumph to Disney and Marvel knowing how to market their products, or the blood sacrifices they make to Satan, but even that doesn’t fully explain the film’s success.   This is not just simply a film full of characters you’ve never heard of, it’s full of weird characters you’ve never heard of.

Arguably the two biggest stars in this film are Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. Do you know how much screen time those actors get? Zero, zilch, none, you won’t see them for a single second, because they’re only there to lend their voices to a talking, gun toting raccoon, and a walking tree that can only say a single phrase. Go ahead, read that last sentence again; does that give you a clearer picture of how amazing this film’s success is? That raccoon, Rocket, and that tree, Groot, join up with Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt, in his first starring role, Gamora, portrayed by green painted Zoe Saldana, and Drax the Destroyer, played by former WWE Champion and inexperienced film actor Dave Bautista. Their adventure takes place entirely in deep space, at a bunch of locales you’ve never heard of and it’s all directed by James Gunn, whose notable film credits include the indie superhero comedy Super, and the gross out horror comedy Slither. This is not the recipe for a summer blockbuster, much less a record breaking one, and yet that’s exactly what happened.

Oh, you’re going to watch a talking tree and a talking raccoon, and you’re going to love them.

Against all traditional logic, Guardians of the Galaxy has become a smash hit. In a world where, not too long ago, people were skeptical of whether or not a Batman film could be a hit, it’s an incredibly impressive feat. Yes, a lot of the praise should be given to the marketing arms of Disney and Marvel for doing such a good job promoting the film, but don’t sleep on the film itself. It’s a great movie; it’s got humor, heart and action. It may be a weird space opera full of talking raccoons and walking trees, but it stands shoulder to shoulder with every other film that Marvel has released thus far. If you had any doubts about this film, there were entirely reasonable, but I’m happy to report they’re entirely unfounded. Cast those doubts aside and go see the movie, because through either witchcraft, human sacrifices, or maybe just some magic from that famous mouse, Marvel and Disney have done it again.

Who are we kidding? It was definitely through witchcraft or human sacrifices.

Mike Corbett is a level 3 sketch writing student and intern for the DCH blog. You can find more about Mike HERE. 

 

 

Well, It Was Nice Knowin' Ya, World!

New York Fashion Week models show off Chanel’s new contamination prevention Ready-to-Wear collection in preparation for the Ebola apocalypse When I first became aware of the existence of the Ebola virus a couple of years ago, my first thought was, “Oh, whaaaat, damn I’m glad that’s not a thing in the United States, that would SUUUUUCK.” Now, let’s skip the part where I acknowledge the slightly sociopathic nature of that thought process and go right to the part where we all realize that, oh sweet baby Jesus, yes, it’s probably coming to the States like any day now.

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Ebola is the virus that, with a fatality rate of over 97% in some strains, has broken out on a massive scale in West Africa and killed over 670 people as of last week. Its symptoms include headache, sudden fever, intense weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney and liver failure, oh, and your average run-of-the-mill BLEEDING OUT OF EVERY ORIFICE. Commence Panic Mode: Now. And please stay under your rocks, your uninfected bodies may be our only chance at repopulating the Earth once the rest of us are wiped out.

Now, I’m sure there are some of you out there thinking, “But, Sarah. Stahhp it. Ebola is only spread by contact with the bodily fluids of those infected! We’re so medically advanced, come on. There’s no way our hospitals would let that spread around here.” To which I say, “You’re right! If we’re only talking about the strain going around right now. But what about the one that’s airborne and would almost certainly lead to the end of the human race?” To which you say, “Okaaay, but that one can’t even be spread to humans..” to which I say, “YET!” I’m sure by now my watertight logic has convinced you that we are up against the imminent collapse of society and certain, painful death. Good! We’re on the same page. That is.. if we don’t all go missing in mysterious plane accidents or contract the Bubonic Plague first. Ebola or the Black Death? This is one particularly messed up game of Would You Rather I never thought I’d have to play.

Ring around the Rosie is all fun and games until someone gets the Black Plague.

To anyone with half a brain (which will surely be eaten soon by bubo-covered zombies or maybe aliens I’m not gonna make any assumptions here), it’s pretty clear that this is the end of the world, not only as we know it, but period. Since I, for one, am ready to accept my impending doom, I’ve decided to compile a list of all the things I want to do before I die. A deathbed bucket list, if you will. Like that Tim McGraw song, only not horrible. 1. Sell everything I own. Like in the Game of Life when you retire and cash in all your LIFE tiles, because no one knows what the hell else you’re supposed to do at the end of that game. 2. Smuggle drug money over international borders a la Piper Kerman. 3. Get sent to women’s prison. 4. Try prison hooch. 5. Become the leader of the secret prison hooch operation and make a small fortune. 6. Sacrifice said fortune to the aliens who have come to scavenge our planet for any useful resources, having gotten word of our species’ inevitable destruction. 7. Live a full and happy life as an intergalactic nomad with my new friends from the Planet Zorg.

Sarah Mowery is a level 3 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She lives alone with her cat and in her free time enjoys applying dialogue from The Lord of the Rings to real life situations. You can check out more of her comedy stylings HERE!

A Most Interesting Interview with the Ladies of Lady Town

By Ashley Bright This week I had the honor, privilege, and joy to interview Jaime Moyer, Kate Duffy, and Maribeth Monroe, the ladies of Ladytown. Do not miss them this week as they'll be performing on Saturday, August 2nd at 10:30pm. Jaime and Kate are also teaching workshops on both Friday and Saturday. Registration and tickets still available!

We drive past the "Welcome to Ladytown" sign, what's the tagline? How about on the "You're Now Leaving" sign?

MM: "Welcome to Ladytown! We're a sure thing!" "You're now leaving Ladytown! Was it good for you?"

JM: "Ladytown - Population: Six Boobs" "You're Now Leaving - So it wasn't a nightmare after all...You're welcome."

KD: "Welcome to Ladytown - We May Show Our Ankles" "You're Now Leaving - We warned you"

If Ladytown were made up of three historical/famous men instead of you three ladies, what men would they be?

MM: Don Rickles, Jerry Lewis, and Rob Ford. Cause we're dirty, misogynistic, and love a hit off a good crack pipe.

JM: Tom Selleck, Paul Newman, FDR

KD: Sammy Davis Jr., Rodney Dangerfield, and Curly from the Stooges.

Katy Duffy's Alternative Lady Town

If the three of you were lost in the jungle, how would the duties be split up? Making shelter? Food collection? Defense from monkeys? Etc.

MM: Honestly, I think we would all just freak out and get eaten by the monkeys. Jaime would last the longest cause she's charming as fuck. But we definitely wouldn't go all "Lord of Flies" on each other. Mostly because only one of us read that book.

JM: Maribeth would figure out where to get the best fronds, I would cook the fish, Kate would make rope. I think we could make it work, from our keen observations of "Castaway" alone.

KD: I'm pretty sure we would all die. I come from a long line of indoor people. I think we'd sit on a log laughing and eating the rest of our supplies until we died peacefully from exposure. We'd probably be embarrassingly close to shelter and help. People would say, If only they had just walked a few more feet....I also hope in that short period of time though we really bonded with those monkeys, Jane Goodall style.

Is there a scene with Ladytown that still incites giggles among the three of you no matter how long ago it happened?

MM: It's never easy to try explain scenes that have already been improvised, but here goes. I think we have the most fun when we are all playing versions of the same character. In improv it's referred to as "peas in a pod". We once played Dutch Hookers in the red light district of Amsterdam sexily attempting to sell our "puppies" to Johns. We would snap back and forth between disgusting chat with each other and then attempting to seduce men into buying us. It was a very weird and very funny scene.

JM: Hands down, a bridal shower scene with three two-faced friends, at one point I remember begrudgingly writing Kate a personal check for the gift.

KD: I love the bridal shower scene so much, but I also really loved the scene where Maribeth was our lisping drill sergeant. I could hardly keep it together. I love any scene where we play 3 of a kind.

For her birthday, I took a large magnet from the freezer section of a national grocer for my roommate; "Meals For One" now hangs across our fridge. What is the nicest thing you've done for a lady friend?

MM: So....you stole from a grocery store just to remind your friend of how lonely she is? Jesus. I guess I should start kidnapping babies and parade them around in front of my barren girlfriends. I've been doing this "bestie" thing all wrong!

JM: I hope the best thing I've ever done is be a good listener. And also recommending my lady friend watch the short-lived, four episode, 2-minute or so each series "Fancy Catz" on YouTube.

KD: I will hang with your kids while you go do you for a while.

Lady Town is performing this Saturday Night at 10:30PM. CLICK HERE for advance tickets!

Take workshops from Jaime Moyer and Kate Duffy this weekend, too! CLICK HERE for more workshop info! 

Ashley Bright is a graduate of the DCH Improv Program and a level 2 student in the sketch writing program. She performs every weekend at DCH. And check out the feature on Ashley in the Advocate Magazine HERE. 

In Defense of Safe DJing

By Sarah Mowery Dangerous in the wrong hands.

Right now I’m listening to my favorite mindless yet groovy playlist. A little bit of Biggie and CCR mixed in with some Lana Del Rey and plenty of Rolling Stones, with just a hint of early 00s nostalgia, a healthy dose of Motown, and, of course, “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen since, as we all know, no playlist is legally allowed to exist today without “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen.

It’s what I listen to when I need to be able to focus without being distracted by the urge to sing along with any of that maddeningly catchy Top 40 or, my personal kryptonite, Country. This playlist’s juxtaposition of modern and classic keeps me on my toes while seamlessly flowing together into the perfect stream of in-the-zone music.

This playlist is good for many occasions. It’s a people pleaser. It both allows people to converse without distraction and provides for those satisfying “I love this song!” moments that make you feel proud to have compiled such a perfect collection. It’s got something for everyone, and it’s not divisive like playing, I don’t know, Pitbull might be. It’s the playlist you can subtly put on in the background without anyone being like “Dude.. WTF is this.” It’s just cool enough that no one is going to question your taste in music, but just mainstream enough that you don’t look like the hipster douche no one wants to be around. We all have some version of this playlist, and after noticing some questionable music choices made by friends and acquaintances at social gatherings, I’m here to say that maybe we need to rest on this playlist a little more heavily. At least in public.

See, I don’t listen to this playlist all the time. When I’m in the shower, I have another playlist. It’s got a lot of Ke$ha in it, so what? I know all the words, OK? I like to dance in the shower, OK? And if I’m also using a mixture of Jack Daniels and multicolor glitter as body wash to fully embrace the spirit of the Ke$h then I guess that’s none of your business, is it?

This is normal, right?

When I’m on a road trip, I have another playlist. It’s not so much of a playlist as it is the soundtracks to High School Musicals 1, 2, and 3: Senior Year, so what? I am wont to reminisce on my youth, OK? Sometimes I need to listen to every song twice so that I can sing it once as Gabriella and then again as Troy, OK? And if I occasionally swerve off the road a little because I’m doing the full choreography to “We’re All In This Together” then maybe you should stop judging me and take a second to reflect on your own life, OK?

Those types of playlists are just as crucial to our sanity as the perfect Master people-pleaser playlist is, but they aren’t meant to be whipped out and flung around carelessly like a Christopher Walken impression at parties. They’re for personal use when alone, or with a small group of close friends, or at your cult gathering. Times when you really know the other people and their taste in music.

The perfect Master people-pleaser playlist is great because, like a t-shirt and jeans, it goes with everything. Hey, sometimes it’s even good for the office! But your “60s Afro Funk + Best Jazz Standards!!” playlist is more like a really tight speedo. It’s cool that you can pull that off and all, but no one wants to deal with that right now.

I’m all for freedom of expression, but when it comes to dictating what music is going to be put in other people’s ears, I think it’s only fair we all exercise caution. So next time you’re on iPod DJ duty at a party, or in the car with people you only kind of know, or at a place of business/retail and you get the urge to bump that dope new Andrea Bocelli track you just found, maybe just don’t. Maybe just stick with Drake and call it a day. You can blast Italian opera to your heart’s content when you get home. Being appointed DJ is not a right. It is a privilege with which comes great responsibility. Don’t abuse the power of the iPod. DJ safe, and always remember the Golden Rule: No Nickelback, please.

Sarah Mowery is a level 3 improv student at the DCH Training Center and an intern for the DCH blog. Find more of Sarah's comedy stylings HERE.