improv dallas

New Troupe/Old Troupe: Glistlefoot and Glitter Pickle

My favorite part of this week’s column – besides the fact that it’s a hilarious newer troupe touching brains with one of the most gut-busting mainstay troupes – is the serendipity of the names.  If I was only allowed to only to write about troupes whose names start with “GLI,” I’d still be covered!

Glitter Pickle puts on a great, zany show, and you should make plans to see them ASAP. They are composed of Allison Emery, Shana Fields, Susan Baethge, and Jodi Swindle, and describe themselves – accurately – as "four crazy ladies, who aren’t afraid to embarrass themselves or each other."

Glistlefoot?  Well, even if you haven’t seen there shows, you’ve probably seen their stickers around DCH. They lead the league in producing those kinds of laughs where you can’t breathe for a few seconds. They are Rich Graham, Dillon Landrum, Michael Bruner, Emily Ball, Amy McGiffin, Darcy Armstrong, and Corey Whaley. Take note of those names and their initials, they will be important in a minute.

Onto the questions and answers!

#Ashtag Week 7: The Fappening Photos Attached*

Thanks for joining me for another week of my pop culture education. As always, my learning comes by way of top Internet trends. The highest Google searches of this week are all about nudey pics. Jennifer Lawrence is the number 1 search followed by the names of several other female celebrities whose iCloud accounts were hacked. Hackers found a plethora of star nudity and posted it online. Folks got wind of the existence of naked pics and went on a searching spree. Number three of the top Google searches is the phrase, "the fappening", which is the clever name for the leak of all this nakedness. By the way, I already knew what "fap" meant, but I won't be explaining it to you. You can learn about it all by yourself. All by yourself. The most popular video on YouTube this week is "Little Boy Goes Off On His Mom For Getting Pregnant." He's adorable and he uses the word "exasperating." He brings up some solid logic like that babies cry and it is annoying. Sitting next to him in the backseat is his little sister who appears to be under two years old, so I understand his exasperation. Growing up, my sister repeatedly requested a little brother, which constantly upset me. I was the oldest of two daughters and wanted no more little siblings. My sister was enough. I wanted an older brother, but my parents would neither build a time machine or adopt one for me. At the end of this video, the kid resigns to the fact that a new baby is coming, but requests some earplugs. By request, I mean he says "buy me some earplugs." I like his style.

Another popular video on YouTube is "Apple Campus 2 construction video." I will admit that I fast forwarded through the 8 minute video. I'm not sure what is interesting about it. It appears to be an overhead view of a construction site. I'm sure I'm missing something. I wonder if the 1.5 million views consisted of people making it through the entire video without skipping any parts. Someone please tell me what I'm missing.

Last week the improv class that I have been a teacher's assistant for (a great group now in Level 5, check out their graduation show in about seven weeks) got me a book for #ashtag. The book is called Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture by Andy Cohen, a Bravo executive and a producer behind the Real Housewives chain of reality shows. It was a fast read. I did not learn much about today's current pop culture because most of it was about his obsession with soap operas and his start in production back in the early 90s. He met Susan Lucci. My favorite story in the book is when he got to hang out with Dan Rather, who sounds like a charming, manly fellow, but really #ashtag illuminating. It was interesting to read about someone who was in the biz and someone who cared so much about celebritydom. Maybe with some more #ashtag research under my belt, I'll care about it too.

The easiest, most non-informative but totally cool book you should read this week.

Since I learned last week that I am still very much out of the loop of pop music, I am forcing myself to watch the top music videos of the week. And let's be honest, as popular as the video may be, I won't be getting any hipper by watching videos of a construction site or a sassy little kid. So, I watched Drake's "Started From the Bottom (Explicit)." I had never heard this song before, so score one for education. I made it through about half of the song before I turned it off. Just so I don't sound like a complete hater, I'd like to say Rihanna's "Stay ft Mikky Ekko" and Justin Timberlake's "Suit and Tie ft Jay-Z" are also up at the top of this week's YouTube music video list and both of these songs are catchy and didn't make my ears annoyed.

I skimmed through the list of top music videos to find a name I was unfamiliar with and I found a video by David Guetta ft Sia. I've heard of neither of these people. The song is titled "She-Wolf." Listening to it, I had to assume that David Guetta does not provide lyrics, so I went over to Google to find out more. He is a French house DJ and music producer. He's been around for a long time; now I know.

I mean, let's be honest,...this is probably what my Punta Mita view would look like.

And for the update you've been waiting for all week: I'm still killing it on the A-list and I've bought my third home. This one's in Punta Mita, Mexico. #kardashianstillaintgotmy$butgotalottamytime

Ashley Bright is a writer/performer at Dallas Comedy House. She's a graduate of the DCH Improv Training Program and is currently a level 3 sketch writing student. You can see her perform every weekend at Dallas Comedy House.

#Ashtag Week 5: Science and Simplicity

By Ashley Bright Welcome back to another week of #Ashtag, where I educate myself of all things trending online. This week, the Internet has been filled with some serious matters and actual news events. Let's not worry about such things here.

Not when there's a video titled "Tortoise vs Truck" topping the YouTube searches. This video contains 34 seconds of a small tortoise chasing a remote controlled truck. The little tortoise appears to be giving it its all in the chase; it really wants that truck. Sometimes life is just that simple. The tortoise just wants to catch the truck.

Another top video this week is titled "Jellyfish Stinging In MICROSCOPIC SLOW MOTION - Smarter Every Day 120." I'm leaving the capitalized words in the title because I am a purist. This video is not as simple as the tortoise vid because it contains words like, "nematocyst." I've never been stung by a jellyfish, but this video did interest me. Maybe the replica of a jellyfish made from a balloon did it for me. Or maybe it's because I feel relatively certain that I have the luck to get stung by a jellyfish, and that's it's just my lack of time in the sea that has kept it from happening so far. The video ends with a call-to-action from James Cook University looking for undergrad and grad students interested in helping to solve the mystery of the box jelly's cardiotoxin venom. Maybe some of the many scientists at DCH will heed that call? Actually, no, please don't move to Australia. I love you guys.

The number one video on YouTube this week is titled, "It's a Shoo-In for Bright Dike." I don't like this title. Mostly because my last name is Bright. But also because the title is wasted opportunity for a pun. The video contains a soccer player kicking his shoe off and into the goal instead of kicking the ball into the goal. Shoe-in, folks, not shoo-in. Also, sports. (This is where I blow a raspberry sound for my own amusement.)

The #ALSIcebucketchallenge has also ruled the Internet this week. I was aware of this because of Facebook. The challenge consists of celebrities dumping water on their head and challenging other celebs and rich folks to do the same in an effort to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. And now you and I both know what ALS stands for. If you knew before this, well good for you. Again, please don't move to Australia.

Compared to all those "prison challenges" she once faced, this Ice Bucket Challenge is probably a breeze for Lady Martha.

Another top hashtag this week is #vote5sos. This is related to the MTV's Hottest that I wrote about last week. Last week, One Direction was topping the list. I knew that One Direction was a musical group. I had even discovered last week that I have heard some of One Direction's music. Until I saw #vote5sos and Googled its definition, I had never heard of 5sos. It's short for the boy band, 5 Seconds of Summer. Again, never heard of them. Based on the photos on their website, they are four teen boys with fairly emo haircuts who are big fans of doing the duck face. According to Wikipedia, they are Australian teens who gained popularity by covering songs and posting the videos to YouTube. They hit it big when One Direction invited them to join their tour. One Direction. Australia. Everything is related. Time is a flat circle.

Speaking of flat circles, I have yet to gain more than 10 K-stars in the Kardashian game. But I did make it to the B-list and I am quickly approaching the A-list. Color yourselves impressed, folks.

Ashley Bright is a graduate of the DCH improv training program and a level 2 sketch writing student. She's also an intern for the DCH blog. You can see Ashley and the rest of her sketch writing class perform their sketch show this Thursday at 8PM at DCH.

Con Fair

By Mike Corbett Look, we all could use a break after the last week, right? We lost a comedy genius in Robin Williams, under incredibly disheartening circumstances, parts of Missouri look like a warzone every night thanks to overly militarized police, and now, unfortunately, top it all off, we’ve lost the voice of Saturday Night Live, with the passing of Don Pardo.   Really just a rough week all around, and certainly not one that is generating easily mocked news stories.

So, in lieu of my usual current events focused piece, I’d like to instead take this article in a completely ribald direction and examine one of the great mysteries I’ve come across in my life time. The year was 2012, I’d been living in Dallas for six months, and was attending the highly regarded Texas State Fair for the first time. I had heard many stories about the fair, and what a spectacle it was, so I had to see it for myself. Before I even set foot in Fair Park, its reputation for being a spectacle was confirmed with the sad passing of Big Tex. I was sure nothing could top a giant mechanical cowboy fire, but I went attended anyways, to see what other wonders the fair might hold. It didn’t take long for those wonders to be revealed, and just an hour into my trip, while walking through the Midway, I came across it…

Behold: THE MAJESTY!

That is, as far as I can tell, a carnival ride featuring a massive airbrushed picture of Cameron Powe, the character Nicolas Cage portrayed in 1997 blockbuster Con Air. Now, even as an avid Nicolas Cage fan, I could not believe that any carnival ride manufacturer would have made a Con Air themed ride, even at the height of that film’s popularity. Upon further inspection, you can tell that it is definitely not themed after Con Air, and in fact, the giant sized Cameron Powe is the only reference to the movie. Look closely and you can see that the rest of the ride seems to be themed in a Heavy Metal-esque sci-fi fashion, making the inclusion of a massive air brushed Nicolas Cage even stranger.

Years have passed since that visit to the fair, but questions regarding that ride still haunt me. Was Nicolas Cage just a random inclusion into the ride’s mural? Was the artist just given free reign, and happened to love his work? Or did someone give him very clear instructions to airbrush a ten foot tall Nicolas Cage on the side of a carnival ride? If that’s the case, are there others out there? Is there a Himalaya out in some parking lot carnival proudly displaying a torch wielding Benjamin Franklin Gates from National Treasure? Maybe there’s one of those lame motorcycle carousels featuring artwork from Cage’s star turns in Ghost Rider and Drive Angry! The possibilities are only constrained by Nic’s IMDB page.

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I’m desperate to find out. I love Mr. Cage’s work the same way he himself loves pachinko, but I know when I’ve been bested. If there’s a Cage megafan out there that has devoted his life to airbrushing pictures of his idol into seemingly random places, then I would like to tip my hat to him. From a safe distance of course; Cage stalkers have already proven to be a particularly…eccentric lot, I really don’t want to get to close. If this Cage loving airbrush artiste does exist, I’d also love to see his van, which I’m sure is emblazoned with something like this:

The Greatest Film That Never Was

As a reminder, the Texas State Fair kicks off September 26th and runs through October 19th, just down the street from Dallas Comedy House at Fair Park.  You can see this ride and eat anything from a fried corn dog to a fried boot during these three amazing weeks.

Mike Corbett is a level 3 sketch writing student at the DCH Training Center. He's also an intern for the DCH Blog. You can find more of Mike's comedy stylings HERE. 

Now You've Done It, Wal-Mart Kid

By Sarah Mowery Over the past 24 hours or so, the Internet has been inundated with news of a 14-year-old boy who was found at a Walmart in Corsicana after apparently setting up shop in there for several days. The kid had been living in secret compounds he built behind the shelves, taking food and drink through holes in the grocery aisles and even taking care of a fish he stole from the pet department. If all that isn’t absurd enough for you, keep in mind that this guy chose to live in a Walmart when there is a perfectly good Target in Waxahachie.

According to the CBS report, Walmart customer Myrna Aguilar said, “You never expect that you’re at Walmart and someone has been living there for four days. That’s crazy.”

Well, Myrna, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you there. I ALWAYS expect when I’m at Walmart that someone has been living there. For AT LEAST four days, maybe more. Possibly with multiple other people. Listen, I’m from Arkansas, I know Walmart. Look at the facts, and you’ll see that it’s more likely than not that someone is attempting to move in to a Walmart at any given moment in this country.

I’m not the only one who’s been struck by this possibility, either - just look at the proof. Last Sunday, I did a show in my hometown with the group I used to perform with when I lived there. We did our usual format, the Harold, and one of the storylines that unfolded was that of a man taking his son camping in an effort to force some classic desperate parent/detached teen bonding a la Mrs. Doubtfire, rest his soul. On the way to their campsite, the two stop at a Walmart for supplies. Preceding a great deal of sufficiently disturbing plot twists including the discovery of an army of evil sweatshop robot employees, the two decide they’ll just go ahead and camp out in the Walmart instead of the great outdoors. Hmm.

The following week during my improv class at DCH, a few people did a scene where they spent the night in Walmart to celebrate the anniversary of their friendship. Interesting.

Living In Walmart Obvious Idea: 2 Myrna: 0

These incredibly coincidental improvised stories raised a couple of questions in my mind. 1: Does everything we improvise become reality? Because, if so, I should probably take a break from doing my sexually frustrated 12-year-old boy characters. And 2: What the hell, Walmart kid? You move into a Walmart, a feat thousands of Americans have only dreamed of accomplishing, and you go and get yourself caught?

It’s not even that I’m mad at the boy for doing what he did. Nay, if he had only succeeded he would have been my hero, the hero of us all! However, he failed to think his mission through, and that fatal mistake is what disappoints me. That’s right, Walmart kid, I’m not mad, just disappointed.

His mistakes were plenty. First, his choice of real estate. Walmart kid thought it would be a good idea to camp out behind the baby aisles. No, Walmart kid, people are buying things over there! Sleep somewhere people don’t go anymore. Like the CD section. He changed in and out of a couple of different outfits to “avoid detection.” My god, Walmart kid, you’re in Walmart! Take advantage of your resources and create some real disguises! As if all that weren’t bad enough, what finally got him caught was a trail of trash leading right to his hideouts. All that effort and you couldn’t manage to pick up after yourself, Walmart kid? Really? Though I’m not convinced what led to his discovery wasn’t the smell from the diapers he’d apparently been using to avoid having to walk to the restroom. Yeah. Uh-huh.

Now you’ve done it, Walmart kid. You’ve gone and ruined it for all of us. As for me, I don’t blame you. Sure you left a massive trail of garbage large enough to get yourself spotted by possibly the most inattentive, aloof employees in all of retail, and you presumably did nothing to cover up the smells that must have been creeping from your hideouts with more ferocity than the poisonous vines from Jumanji, RIP. But I can’t be mad at you, Walmart kid, when our nation has an education system that is clearly not teaching our children the principles of Leave No Trace! I can only hope that the rest of the world will be as forgiving.

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!

 

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.