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Ashtag Week #3: Fifty Shades of Kardashian Royals

By Ashley Bright During last weekend's Ladytown show (which was spectacular), the Kardashian phone game was mentioned. Since I vowed to addict myself to a phone game in the last edition of #ashtag, I have decided that this will be my game. I have downloaded Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, but I have not yet put any playing time into it. So, consider this paragraph the amuse-bouche to next week's Kardashian meal.

Let's move onto this week's meal. One of the top searches is "Fifty Shades of Grey." The trailer for the movie has been released. I have not and will not read this book, but I have just subjected myself to the trailer for this article. Soft-spoken girl gets caught up in a whirlwind BDSM romance with a handsome, rich man. We get it. I cannot imagine the movie contains much more than the two-minute trailer, but I'll never find out.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" was originally written as fan-fiction of "Twilight." I am now going to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince you to watch "Twilight." It is one of the funniest movies of the past decade. I have seen this movie quite a few times because I have forced it on a large number of friends. I do give them the courtesy of fast-forwarding through the unfunny parts. The original "Twilight" has a fairly low budget, which adds to a lot of the comedy. When RPatz first meets whats-her-face, he gags. I mean he covers his mouth and gags. At another point in the movie, he gives her a very speedy piggyback ride up a mountain. The low budget effects really add to the hilarity of this scene. In a very dramatic scene where he is going to reveal how the sun makes him a "monster," he slowly turns around to reveal the monstrous effect: skin with golden sparkles. He is covered in golden glitter. There is also a fiercely choreographed baseball scene in a thunderstorm. I could go on, but I feel like I've overdone it with the "Twilight." If you don't believe me or want my chaperoning for fast-forwarding, please let me know. I haven't seen it in a couple of years and I'm due a good laugh.

TWILIGHT: An All-American Comedy Classic

Onto the top hashtags of the last week. We've got #ratchetmonday as our #1. I have figured out that ratchet refers to a busted, unattractive woman. I cannot figure out what happens on Monday. The hashtag seems to be used mostly to say, "hey, it's #ratchetmonday" or "hey, get ready for #ratchetmonday." I cannot find evidence to prove this hashtag is used like a #tbt (throwback Thursday), which just accompanies a picture, but I am going to assume that is #ratchetmonday's purpose. Although, I thought that Monday was for #mcm (man-crush Monday).

This dude has WAY more YouTube views than I'll ever have.

One of the top YouTube videos of last week is titled "Serenading the cattle with my trombone." It is four minutes of a man sitting in a lawn chair on a pasture, wearing a cowboy hat, and playing "Royals" by Lorde on a trombone. The cows appear to really dig the music. They come up over a hill like moths to a flame. They all gather up near the seated man with their tails swinging around, in what I imagine is delight. Another top video this week is "Sneaking Lion Cub Gives Dog Fright." That's two popular videos with titles that spell out exactly what we see. This sneaking lion video is only twenty seconds long. I didn't find it that funny, but perhaps I just found the dog's reaction to be appropriate and not too surprising.

As I said at the top, come back next week so I can tell you all about my immersion into the Kardashian game, along with my discoveries of anything else Internet trendy.

Ashley Bright is a graduate of the DCH Improv Training program and a level 2 sketch writing student. She interns for the DCH blog. You can see her performing every weekend at Dallas Comedy House. 

DCH SHORT FILM CONTEST!

 

Theme info:

-On the first of each month a theme will be announced. The theme can be incorporated in whatever way you see fit, as long as your video draws inspiration from it in some form.

The theme for NOVEMBER is: OBLONG.

Prize Info:

-At the end of the month, the best videos will be chosen and will be compiled into that month's "episode". This will air at the Dallas Comedy House near the end of the month (see calendar for details). Additionally, a winner will be chosen each month to receive a prize.

The prize this month is a $75 DCH gift card and 4 FREE ADMISSION TICKETS. This is good for shows, classes, and merchandise, as well as at the bar. The winning video will receive one card to share among those involved.

Submission Guidelines:

-Videos must be uploaded to youtube. Make sure the privacy settings on the video are set to “unlisted” or “private” until after the end of the month video showcase.

-Send submissions to dchvideocontest@gmail.com. In the body of the email, make sure to include a link to the video (as well as the password for the video if necessary), a contact person for your group, and the names of all participants.

Submissions for September are due Friday, November 28th by 11:59PM. All finalists will be screened at a FREE SCREENING on Sunday, November 30th @ 9:30PM. 

Rules:

-There are no prerequisites to submit. Anybody can participate, even if you are not a student or performer.

-There are no length requirements. Submissions can be 5 seconds or 5 minutes long, as long as they're funny and high quality.

-Submissions will be judged on several criteria, including: humor, quality of the film, and performance of the actors.

-Do NOT publicly post your submission until AFTER the end of the month showcase. Doing so may get you disqualified.

Questions? EMAIL US: dchshortfilmcontest@gmail.com

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!

The Do's and Don'ts of Surviving a Dallas Summer

Hello, old friend. So glad you could join us for the next four months. Ahh, summer. The season of all seasons, when down jackets and pumpkin spice lattes are replaced with bikinis and grapefruit beers. It’s a time for fun in the sun (who had to put his shades on because 1. He is cool, and 2. It’s so bright out!), enjoying the great outdoors, and maybe BBQin’ up some wieners on the patio with your buds!

[cue sound of record scratching]

Unless you live in Dallas.

In Dallas, summer has a bit of a different meaning. Summer here means highs of 108° and nighttime lows of 109°. Summer means wearing flip flops on your way to work and changing when you get there because if you have to exert the energy necessary to walk on concrete in heels, you will have sweat through your blazer by the time you get to your car. It means not looking at another weather report until October because you both already know what it’s going to say, and really don’t wanna know.

Sure, it may get hotter in other parts of the world nearer the Equator, but with all the asphalt, droughts, and lack of trees to provide us with the fresh, breathable oxygen we so crave during these desperate times, Dallas in the summer requires a level of dedication and chutzpah unique to those of us who brave living here through it.

So, in the midst of our battle against North Texas Warming, here’s my list of Dos and Don’ts for surviving summer in the Big D.

DO wear clothes that are light and breathable so you can enjoy the (relative to Antarctica) nice weather without getting too hot.

DON’T:

Dreams do come true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO put on plenty of sunscreen before heading outside. An SPF of 30 or higher will help fight those pesky UV rays. Get outta here, UV rays!

DON’T make the all too common mistake of over-coverage. Remember that, for the most part, if you keep your mouth closed, your tongue won’t get sunburned. Same goes for the underneath of your eyelids and both ear drums.

DO cool off with a swim at the beach or pool!

DON’T get in the water with any bleeding open wounds, raw steaks, cupcakes, or DVD copies of the 2011 film Soul Surfer. These days, you never know where a shark might show up or what he might be hungry for.

DO make sure to drink lots of water so you don’t get dehydrated!

DON’T forget that vodka is not water. I know, it’s hard.

DO use an insect repellent with the active ingredient DEET to prevent diseases that will really lower your value when it comes to attracting potential mates.

DON’T forget that insect repellent with the active ingredient DEET is not vodka.

DO send someone to fix the air conditioning unit in my apartment.

DON’T think that was a joke. Please come soon.

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. 

#Ashtag: Ashley Gets Her Head Out of the Sand

For those of you who struggle to keep up with everything that's happening in the world, you're not alone. Follow Ashley Bright's journey to become "hip" again.  I fear I am becoming an old fogey at too young of an age. I am not hip to the jive of today's popular culture, and I've been out of the loop for many years. I just recently saw a picture of this Drake guy people talk about, but I could not identify one of his songs. Someone else set up Instagram on my phone (although yes, I do now use it).

It's time for me to get my head out of the proverbial sand. Against my better judgment, I am going to learn about what's cool and trendy these days. It was actually a challenge for me to figure out how to find what is trending these days. But I did it. I watched this week's top videos, which included children reacting to Gameboy and an illustrated debunking of brain myths. I looked at Twitter's top hashtag, #cashnewvideo. And frankly, I'm not exactly sure what it is. It appears to be somehow related to two young gentleman who do vine and YouTube videos. My goal is to learn more about this hashtag business as I continue to do this weekly exploration.

I checked in on the top Google searches for today, as well as the top read Wikipedia articles. Sports. Sports are very in right now. I must admit that I have not watched one second of the World Cup. I fear that makes me a bad American. Worse, I think I'm a bad global citizen. I mean I've overheard many conversations about it. I've seen the Facebook posts about the games, the bars the games are being watched at, or the handsome fellas on the field, but I haven't watched any myself. I don't have cable television, which lends a bit of the hand towards my World Cup ignorance. Without a television, I have to seek out what I watch, and I have not sought out soccer.

The #1 google search today is Josh McRoberts. Sports, I tell ya. McRoberts has verbally committed to sign with the Heat. I like watching basketball, but reading about potential contract, dollar amounts, and whether his addition will sway LeBron made my eyes get sleepy. So, I have nothing more to say on the subject.

Apparently this Wimbledon thing is a big deal?

Did you know Wimbledon 2014 was going on? Me neither. Novak Djokovic won the title in an apparent mental victory over Roger Federer. The only thing this sparks in my brain is that once in a video of UCB's ASSSSCAT, someone made mention of a tiny Roger Federer, which is to say I know nothing.

Miley Cyrus is the #2 google search today. And this is how I learned that she is in a Flaming Lips video. With Moby. I watched this video, "Blonde SuperFreak Steals the Magic Brain," and I did not dig it. It's a reverb-laden acid trip, and if you know my musical tastes, you would know that reverb-laden does not deter me. But this doesn't have many other layers under the reverb except for some squeaky loops and such. I typed that I was a fan of the Flaming Lips, even their newer stuff like Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. I went to confirm that I had the album title correct and saw that it came out in 2002. My idea of "newer stuff" goes back twelve years. Does everyone understand why I need to dip back into pop culture?

I'm ready to learn about what today's young whippersnappers are into. Meet me back here next week, and we'll discover some more. Or I will discover some more stuff that you already knew, and you can laugh at how out of touch I am.

Ashley Bright is graduate of the DCH Improv Training Program and a teacher's assistant. She is a level 2 sketch writing student and intern for the DCH Blog. Find all things Ashley HERE.

 

What We're Loving: Man-Phone Love, The 1st Amendment, Self-Fulfillment, Reconfigured Shakespeare, and Eternal Presidents

dch_what we're loving_02_14_2014Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week Ashley Bright becomes a better person,  David Allison demands that you drop everything, Julia Cotton ponders what it means to be an adult, Nick Scott suggests a new take on a classic play, and Ryan Callahan takes a trip above the 38th parallel.

Her-Theodore

I will admit that before I saw Her, the plot did not at all interest me. But with the lure of an afternoon movie with an old friend and the cushion of the name Spike Jonze, I went to see it. And I'm grateful that I did. Some may call it hyperbole to say things like, "it changed me" or "it made me a better person" to describe a movie experience, and maybe it is. But this movie certainly stuck to my ribs. About halfway through watching it, I thought to myself that it was one of my new favorites. I didn't care about the plot or how it ended; it was beautiful and that was enough. Afterward, I was comforted to hear my friend express all of the goofy thoughts that I was having. We were both in great moods and spouting off nutty phrases like how we felt more alive and refreshed. Her made me think about how I experience the world and the people in it. Our encounters make us who we are. If you're not into gorgeous cinematography or all of the hippy dippy mumbo jumbo I threw up above, there's a sassy video game character that'll make you laugh enough to make watching Her worthwhile. - Ashley Bright

imagesThis past week, you might’ve heard about a stunt in LA known as Dumb Starbucks.  Someone went through and created a carbon copy of a Starbucks, complete with the exact same drinks options, sizing, signage, everything.  The only difference?  They put the word “dumb” in front of every word so that they would be protected under the laws of parody.  It was pretty great. When I first heard about it, I just thought it was a fun idea.  Then, news quickly broke that it was perpetrated by Nathan Fielder.  Fielder was the mastermind of Nathan for You, one of my favorite shows of last year and created Dumb Starbucks for a segment we’ll see in season two.  If you haven’t checked out the first season of Nathan for You, then drop everything you have planned this evening (Unless you’re going to a show at the Dallas Comedy House!) and check it out for free on Comedy Central’s website. Nathan For You takes the standard concept of highlighting a struggling small business and bringing in a savior to fix everything, and puts a comedic twist on it.  Fielder’s ideas are the perfect combination of absurd, but still kinda sorta not bad and his commitment to them is astounding. - David Allison

judd-apatow-hints-at-girls-season-3-renewalContrary to what you may read or hear about HBO’s Girls, it is not a show about Lena Dunham walking around naked in the name of “girl power”. To me, it’s a show about four “girls” trying to understand what it means to be an adult. Lena is indeed sometimes naked, but I never found it an effort to tackle the whole body image issue as much as an artistic way to express the raw vulnerability that comes with youth and inexperience. I relate to this show because, I, even as a 32-year-old mother of two, always feel like I’m trying to know how to be a grown up. I’ve never felt like I’ve ever made the full adult transformation. In this series about early-20-somethings, I see a lot of late-20-early-30-something Julia.

In the pilot, we meet 24-year-old Hannah (Lena Dunham) living the life I assumed I would be living right out of college: NYC apartment with best friend. Internship that will surely lead to the dream career. Frequent sex with a dude who could have sex with ANYONE, but chooses to have sex with me. Parties with a cool friend who has a british accent. You know-- being a young adult. It is also in this pilot, however, that Hannah’s parents hit her with the all too familiar phrase of impetus: “We are cutting you off.” That phrase that makes one realize that all of these years you thought you were ascending towards becoming a human being all on your own, you’ve actually been dangling from an invisible umbilical cord yet to be severed. Sure being able to financially support yourself is the most obvious thing we have to deal with, but adulthood cannot be summed up to paying bills. Throughout the series, we watch Hannah and her friends try to understand what life is when you are in charge of yourself for-realzies. Along the way, they irrationally destroy relationships, fumble with career goals, mishandle health issues, “inappropriately” cope with death, and of course, deal with boys. "Another Man’s Trash" (S2) is probably my favorite episode because Hannah gets a look at what she thought adulthood meant only to realize how much her own self fulfillment is important to her.

In the level 5 class I TA at DCH, a student brought up that he was watching shows and realized that there are seasoned performers who sometimes don’t do all of the things that he’s been taught in class. He then rationalized, “... everyone is always learning, I guess.” There is no true adult transformation that happens. You don’t graduate college and *poof* get, maintain and excel at a job. You don’t have a baby and *poof* know all it takes to be a parent. You don’t go through an improv training program, perform in troupes and *poof* never an improv blunder make. This show presents the idea that the real goal is not simply to be an adult, but more to become a complete person, and that that is an ongoing effort. Perhaps understanding that concept... is what makes you an adult. - Julia Cotton

51zhJDXzNXLThis week I started making plans to see one of my top five favorite authors, Christopher Moore, speak on his new book, The Serpent of Venice, when it releases in April. The Serpent of Venice is the sequel to what is generally agreed as Moore's best work, Fool, which I am making my "What We're Loving" pick for this week. Every other book Moore writes is a work of historical fantasy. He famously filled in the lost years of Jesus Christ's life in Lamb and more recently revealed what was "really" happening behind the scenes in the late 1800's French art scene in Sacre Bleu. With Fool, Moore takes readers in the world of King Lear, Shakespeare's famous king that is slowly losing his mind, and tells the story from the perspective of King Lear's court jester, Pocket. The book is incredibly well-researched, and Moore expertly blends in other Shakespeare stories and characters. The book is Moore firing on all cylinders: historical references, literature references, vivid characters, and emotional core (Pocket is a jester because he had a terrible life), and dick jokes. So many dick jokes. Also, there are fuck-stockings, which were turned into a real-life product for purchase on his website. - Nick Scott 

Pyongyang-CoverI moved this week. One of the many joys of moving from one apartment to a slightly larger apartment in the same complex is rediscovering favorite but forgotten books, or books that I couldn't live without but haven't read, or books that I had no idea that I owned. Okay, packing and unpacking the books was the only joy of moving. Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea is a graphic novel from 2005 by Québécois illustrator Guy Delisle, and one of those favorite but forgotten books. I picked up Pyongyang years ago at Comic-Con, based entirely on its cover and subject matter. I am fascinated by all things North Korean. That that a country that sounds like the home of a supervillian from a rejected Matt Helm script commands so much power on the world stage, that such a county even exists, fills me with a combination of joy and terror. This book came about after Delisle traveled to North Korea to supervise an animation project  for a French television station. From the moment he steps off the plane and into an airport so dark that he can't see his guide's face (there is barely any light in North Korea, and no bulbs over 40 watts,) Delisle is brisked away to "admire" the highest point in the city, a 22 meter bronze statue of Kim il-Sung, Hero of the People, Father of the Nation, and, despite being dead for 20 years,  Eternal President for Life. From there, the absurdities and contradictions pile on for Delisle: the mandatory photos of Kim il-Sung and Kim Jung-il in every room on every floor of every building, the mandatory Kim Il-Sung pins every citizen is required to wear, the inability to go anywhere without a guide or translator, the ban on outsiders taking pictures of garbage, which would damage the image of North Korea as the most beautiful place on Earth. Pyongyang is a perfect example of truth in comedy. Delisle doesn't have to make any wacky choices, or tell silly jokes, or create bizarre situations. He just has to be present and observe.  The book could have easily been preachy or pandering, but Delisle's touch makes the absurdities of life in the most isolated country in the world all the more amusing, and the atrocities and oppression that exist right beneath the surface all the more chilling. - Ryan Callahan