Troupe Talk: The Rift

The Rift This week, your favorite interviewer (Oprah and Ellen WHO) tackles some more team talk with the Dallas Comedy House home teams. Up this week is The Rift, who all wore hats to spill the beans about comedy, nerves, and each other.

You are all wearing hats for this interview! Thanks, Rift, for dressing up all fancy and wearing the hats! Describe for our readers what you’ve chosen:

David: Probably a baseball cap. Something pliable, non-descript and worn out. I picked this not because of any funny reason, but because I love realism above all else. Ashley: I've chosen a fancy lady, floppy church hat in lilac. It has a propeller atop for function. Zach: I'm wearing a boater festooned with patriotic ribbons and a "Vote for Taft!" button. Tim: A Mossy Oak camo snapback. Laurie: I am wearing a sombrero.

Congratulations on the Dallas Comedy Festival. Do you guys still get nervous when it’s time to go on stage? If so, how do you deal?

David: I tend to get stressed out for a show a couple of days or a week before it's set to happen as I fight through a mental battle of wanting to do well but also knowing that preparation of any sort leads to a terrible show. Come the day of the show, though, especially once I get in the green room and see some familiar faces, I'm good to go. Ashley: I used to get so nervous that my arms would go numb during shows. Now I just get excited without the bodily nervousness, but I do always have to pee before I go on stage. Always. Never fails. Am I allowed to say pee? Zach: Sure, I still get stage fright, every show. I just close my eyes and think of England. Tim: Yes, I get nervous. I recite the line from Dune about how fear is the mind killer, and then I remember how dumb that is and I try to get David to make me laugh. Laurie: Yes, everytime. I throw up in the shower.

The Rift is also a 2012 movie where "After radar anomalies start appearing all over the world, strange rifts are starting to form in the sky. There is something hiding behind these rifts. It's moving….” and a 1990 movie where "An experimental submarine, the Siren II, with a very experienced crew is sent to find out what happened to the Siren I, mysteriously disappeared in a submarine rift.” Are you guys also mysterious and creepy? What’s your comedy style?

David: I hope we're not mysterious and creepy! I'd like to think we're all pretty approachable. And I'd say our comedy style is just people that like each other getting together to do dumb stuff. Ashley: "An experimental submarine with a very experienced crew." I'm going to watch this movie now. I'm a fan of anything odd and unexpected. Zach: I would say our style lands somewhere between "elegant heiress with a secret" and "deranged sea captain holding a knife in his teeth.” Tim: I'm pretty creepy. I stare at people a lot. I'd call my personal comedy style "dumb" and "juvenile." I'm sure "purposely offensive" and "quasi-racist" could also apply at different times. Laurie: I have no idea what you’re talking about. So, very. Each one of us is so damn creepy. All of us together is a Hitchcock film on acid. Anything goes.

The Rift

So speaking of comedy— what are your favorite improv rules to apply in real life?

David: Actively listening. Also a fan of the conversational callback. Ashley: Actively engage in the moment and listen. Like, actually listen so hard that you can't hear your own thoughts. Zach: "Don't spit on anyone.” Tim: Repeat the last thing said to you in your head, and don't bring a preconceived notion of how things should go to a new conversation. Laurie: Stay out of your head.

The Rift took turns saying something nice about everyone in the group. Here’s what happened when I meshed together all the nice things they said about each other.

David is: a sublime and rationally wit gentleman with a warm smile that knows how to cardigan himself. His brain used to take up an entire room at MIT but has since been streamlined. Tim is: a zany, relevant, and sneaky brain. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were standing right behind me. Zach is: very present and energetic—probably an ancient god who hopped into a mortal body just to try out modern American life. He has mysterious, old world charm mixed with sexual napalm—an orgasmic waterfall for the female audience member. Cameron is: a smooth, detailed performer who plays the reality of the most absurd. He smells like fluffy pancakes, rocks a well-groomed mustache, and has all the merriment of a drunk elf, with twice the sexual prowess. Laurie is: full of brassy energy and fun to watch—hotter than a firework fuse. She would do great in a knife fight. She brings the LOLs. Rob is: A living beacon of kindness and comedy. Average height, above average personality—he's patient, a great listener, extremely smart—the strictest definition of a cool man. Ashley is: great, organic, versatile—a master of interaction betwixt humans. She makes Mother Teresa look like a fart,and has a giggle better than all the bluebonnets in Texas.

The Rift perform at the Dallas Comedy House on April 24 at 10:30 p.m. with Photobomb.

Tori Oman is a level three student at DCH. She’s trained and performed with the Second City and iO in L.A. and Chicago. Favorite pastimes include being irrationally competitive at Monopoly, eating an apple in every country she’s traveled to, and being the sole person on this planet that thinks Necco Wafers are a delicious candy choice.

(Photos: Jason Hensel)