Before we warm things and get all milky up in this blog, I’m contractually obligated to say that this week’s Troupe Talk is sponsored by both Budweiser* and the upcoming film Milkeries 2, starring the incomparable Tom Truise. Milkeries 2: Too Warm Too Milky will be milkin’ up a theater near you this summer!
OK, now that the obligatory sponsor shout-outs and film plugs are done with, we can jump right into this week’s talk with the coolest, or I should probably say “warmest,” milksters at Dallas Comedy House (DCH). Warm Milk (Sallie Bowen, Collin Brown, Sarah Falke, Payton Elizabeth Forrest, Danny Neely, John Spriggs, and Joshua Zuar) is the perfect mix of lactose-fueled fun and friendship, pure uninhibited creative play, and a humbling respect and adoration for their beloved Milk King (Ravi Kiran) and Milk Queen (Sarah Wyatt). This is a group of improvisers that regularly throws convention to the wind, completely unafraid to embrace the bizarro and surreal, which often results in shows featuring things like an insane Evenflow power jam, some kitty marriage/support, and possibly an appearance by Clemaine, a seemingly shady man with nothing but a duffle bag full of antacids and a dream to one day get to Memphis. Their amazing ability to fearlessly unleash their inner weirdos together stems first and foremost from the legitimate love they share for each other, their coach, and their craft. Warm Milk is without a doubt rich in calcium and comradery, and they wholeheartedly enjoy spreading their Warm Milk love to everyone around them. These guys truly embody the spirit of acceptance and community that serves as a pillar of improv comedy. I was incredibly honored to be asked to officiate their troupe group wedding, and then I was even more honored to be given the opportunity to warm-up alongside them in pure buck wild, milk fashion. They are so welcoming and open, and their zany shows reflect just that. At the end of the day, the love is real, the milk is warm, and the improv bits are definitely on point.
As a side note: Danny Neely could not make it to this week’s Troupe Talk because he was off doing Big Turtle-y things. However, Warm Milk believes he was present in spirit, and therefore his spirit answers will be included below.
Let’s start this interview with your warmest, milkiest origin story. Maybe each of you can add a sentence to the story or something fun like that. Basically, how did you guys all get together?
John: Once upon a time...we...wait, I’ll do a complete sentence. Uh, once upon a time...no f*** that. OK, once upon a time we uh...we all met at...a...restaurant...
Sarah: OK, here’s the real story...
Sallie: We did actually meet at a restaurant.
Collin: We all ran into each other at an Applebee’s and were like “Whoa...
Payton: ...Warm Milk!” and that was it.
Collin: Then we all had Dr Pepper’s and were like, “Do you guys wanna take this on the road?”
Payton: It was originally Danny, Collin, me, Joshua, and another girl, and we started out a block party.
John: Whoa, there was another girl?! Oh no, what happened to her?
Payton: It went OK. We didn’t really talk about it for a while, but then we brought it back up, and Danny had Sarah come in. Then they had someone else come in, but he didn’t work out.
Sallie: Oh, that’s cool.
John: I never got in.
Payton: Then we got John, and I think we got Sallie last.
Joshua: For a long time, I think it was just trying to get people to show up, and eventually this was the group that just frequently showed up after a while.
Payton: Although, John didn’t show up for the first month.
Sarah: And we waited for John.
John: Sorry, I didn’t know we were practicing! OK, serious answer here, I was working. Boring.
Collin: Exactly what we’re looking for in this is boring answers.
John: Oh, OK then.
Collin: Basically, Danny and I were interns and we were like, “Let’s get all our favorite people together!” And we did it...over the course of like nine months.
Spirit Danny: Yes.
Sarah: This is Sarah speaking. I was in the troupe for two weeks before I even knew I was in the troupe, because Danny doesn’t tell me things.
Payton: Oh yeah! Danny didn’t tell Sarah at all that she was even in this!
Spirit Danny: My b.
Do you guys remember your first practice together?
Sarah: The first practice that I was at, it was just me, Payton, and Collin, and I had only met them once before, and we didn’t have a coach.
John: How did that make you feel?
Sarah: Uh, it was a little awkward.
Payton: Super awkward because we didn’t know what to do.
Sarah: I just remember a dentist scene that went on for too long, where Collin drank my vomit...like put a straw down my throat and drank my vomit.
Collin: Classic me!
Payton: Yeah, we did two-person scenes over and over, and it was real weird. Then we went out to eat.
Sarah: Yeah, we went out to eat. That was nice.
John: Oh, so that’s where the restaurant comes in! See, it all circles back.
Spirit Danny: Indeed it does, John. Indeed it does.
Where did the name “Warm Milk” come from?
Sallie and Payton and Sarah and Spirit Danny: Ooooh!
John: Can I answer this?
Sallie: Oh yeah.
John: It came from you [Payton] or Collin...
Payton: It was Collin, yeah.
Collin: I think it was Sallie.
John: ...and it was a placeholder name...
Sallie: Yeah, we were like, “We’ll save this for now.”
John: And somebody, not gonna say who, didn’t like it because...
Sarah: Nuh uh, it was my name. I came up with it.
John: You came up with it?! What?!
Sarah: I came up with it.
John: Oh, I guess you did come up with it. Of course.
Sarah: ...No, actually I don’t know. [Warm Milk laughs] I felt responsible for it because I went along with it at first.
John: Boring but true answer, it was a placeholder name, because we thought it sounded gross.
Payton: Yeah, we thought it was a little gross and we’d figure something better out...but then it just started getting too gross, and I liked it.
Sarah: Then she got real milky.
John: Yeah, the Hoover Dam that held all that grossness back broke, and we just unleashed it.
Sallie: We bathed in it.
Payton: Oh yeah, everyone creamed all day.
John: There was definitely a full day of creaming.
Payton: Oh, absolutely.
Spirit Danny: Can confirm. Was there for the creaming.
Joshua: And we’ve all had thin layers of froth ever since.
John: My fingers kind of look like they’re just covered in a thin layer of froth.
Payton: Milk just comes out of my pores some days. I don’t know if that’s normal.
Sallie: I started peeing milk.
John: What flavor?
Payton: Can I come over when you’re peeing one day because I love chocolate milk!
Sallie: Oh, I’ll just start bottling it.
John: Please do. Please bottle it up. Be thoughtful.
Joshua: We’d like to take this time to say that we are now formally changing our name to Sallie’s Milk Piss.
What is your comedy style? What could one expect to see at a typical Warm Milk show...aside from a complimentary bottle of Sallie’s chocolate milk pee?
Sarah: F***in’ weird as shit!
Sallie: Breakin all the rules!
Payton: Rock ’n’ roll!
Spirit Danny: Dayumm!
Collin: I guess we decided not to do a format.
Sarah: Yeah, there’s a lot of “yes and.” No format.
Joshua: Lots of support.
Sarah: Definitely group mind.
Sallie: A lot of sweat. We run around the parking lot before shows.
John: Unless it’s in the dead of winter, and probably even then, I think we’ll still sweat. You will always see us sweaty.
Sarah: Expect to see a lot of sweat.
Sallie: And dancing.
Payton: Oh yeah! For sure! Too much dancing!
John: FYI, on the record, we all took Amanda’s dance class.
Payton: And that’s why we dance so much.
Sarah: And so good.
Collin: And that’s what you can expect to see.
John: Moves learned in Amanda’s dance class.
Spirit Danny: Agreed.
What are your favorite things about performing with your fellow milk buds?
Collin: They’re super supportive.
Sallie: Yeah, everybody just jumps on board, no matter what.
John: Well, I don’t.
Sallie: OK, except for John.
Payton: Yeah, he’s never on board.
John: I was at the beginning, but then I was like I just do not agree with anything that we’re doing.
Payton: You got milked a little too hard.
John: I got milked dry, and when all the milk left my body, my love and support did too. No, but this is true, another boring but true answer: We all like each other A LOT, and I think that definitely influences our format (or lack of format) and just how we play with each other.
Sarah: Well, one of my favorite practices was when Joshua played piano for us.
Sallie: Joshua here can play the piano beautifully and make up songs on the spot.
Joshua: We did an improvised talk show.
Sarah: Ya know, I spent the weekend with my family recently. And I like my family, but when I’m around you guys, I am so much more comfortable.
John: You can just be yourself? You feel like you can just be yourself?
Sarah: Yeah, I’m weird as hell, and it’s totally fine. And everybody jumps on board with it, and I love that. It’s really nice.
John: I love when you’re like, “I gotta go home and sleep because I have work in the morning, I’m sorry.” And like you’ll say you’re sorry, but like it’s fine, it’s cool. I’m like, “That’s a girl who is responsible...”
Sallie: “...But knows how to party also.”
Payton: She knows her specific bedtimes.
Sallie: And she don’t give a f***!
Joshua: I like when Sarah goes, “I’ve had enough of your bullshit and I don’t want to listen to you talk another word.” I appreciate it, it makes me feel good about myself.
Sallie: She says it like it is.
Payton: I like when Sarah bitch slaps me a little bit. I just appreciate that. She slaps me, and I’m like, “Oh, I get it. I get it.”
John: I like when Sarah will pinch the lobes of my ears until they’re like red and numb and hot like lava.
Sallie: I like when Sarah follows me out to my car, and then she’ll trip me. I’ll look up and I won’t realize it’s her until I turn around, and she rips off my glasses and spits right into my eye.
Collin: I like getting messages from Sarah when I wake up like, “I hate you. You’re honestly my least favorite person I’ve ever met. I can’t believe your parents kept you.”
Sallie: I know, right?
John: And your [Collin] shirt looks like it’s Calvin’s uncle’s from Calvin and Hobbes.
Payton: [To John] Oh, OK there Sarah.
Joshua: [To John] Calm down, Sarah.
Sarah: Thanks, guys!
Spirit Danny: You're welcome.
Collin: Practices just feel like I’m hangin out...with my buds.
Payton: Yeah, buds and stuff. Ya know, we like drinkin Buds.
Collin: This interview was sponsored by Budweiser actually.
John: Can you put that down, because if we don’t put that down in the article, we will get sued. They’ll sue the milk out of us.
Real talk. Would you consider marrying the milk buds in this troupe?
John: This is true, if any one of these people proposed to me right now, I would marry them...any one of them...any single person... or all of them together.
Sallie: You mean that?
John: I do mean that.
[Sallie gets up, spins around three times, and goes down on one knee.]
Payton: Oh my god!
Collin: Oh, this is happening!
Sallie: John, I first saw you at a Jam like a year ago, or maybe more, and you were wearing a Hawaiian shirt...
John: Is this when you had short hair?
Sallie: Yeah, I had short hair [starting to cry]...
Sarah: You can do it.
Payton: Wait, wait, wait!
[Payton gets up, spins around three times, and goes down on one knee.]
John: Oh my god!
Payton: Sallie, I first met you about a year ago. I didn’t even know you were living in Denton yet, but I live in Denton too, and...
John: Hold on, just a second!
[John gets up, spins around so many times, and goes down on one knee.]
Payton: Oh my god! So many spins.
Sallie: Oh my god, so many.
John: Sorry, I lost count. OK, Payton, we did student lotto together...
Payton: We did!
John: ...and we played brother and sister...
Payton: We did!
John: ...and we danced at prom, and I felt so uncomfortable. I was sweating so much.
Payton: I hated every minute of it! [crying] I’m not sure if this is a proposal anymore or not...
[Sarah gets up, spins even more times than John, and goes down on one knee.]
Sallie: Oh my god, Sarah!
Sallie: Do you want my ring?
Sarah: Guys, I say yes to all of you.
Payton: Aww, Sarah!
Joshua: So, Collin, do you wanna get married?
Sallie: Lauren, I’d like to invite you to save the date.
Sarah: Tonight at eight.
John: Actually, can you [Lauren] officiate the wedding? Is that possible?
Sarah: If we all aren’t married by the end of the show, I will quit.
John: If it doesn’t end in marriage, then why I am even doing this?
Spirit Danny: Yeah!
What’s it liked to be coached by your very own dairy mama, Sarah Wyatt?
Payton: She’s the Milk Queen.
John: She is the Milk Goddess.
Sallie: I just want to say, she’s the reason we say, “F*** it, let’s get weird!” She taught us that way. One time, she came to practice prepared with a murder mystery. She had characters prepared for us and everything. My name was Bruce Waggins, and I was an oil millionaire...and then I wanted to cry because that’s what I’ve always wanted to be.
John: That was beautiful.
Payton: That was the best practice. That was so good.
Joshua: Oh man, I wish I was there.
Payton: You were the dead person we were trying to figure out...
Sallie: Yeah, you got murdered.
Joshua: Thanks, guys.
John: Here’s the thing I wanna say about Sarah Wyatt...I forgot what the original question was...
Collin: It was, “What do you have to say about Sarah Wyatt?”
John: Oh good. Well, first of all, she did marry all of us, but also, she has so much fun and passion and is the most supportive. She commits harder than anybody, and she’s so focused. And I hope for anybody who sees our show that they walk away and say, “Oh yeah, that’s a Sarah Wyatt troupe.”
Sallie: She coaches a whole bunch of different groups and she’s so good at knowing exactly how to hone in on what’s needed for each of them. So, for us , she knew to break down walls and just do weird things. F*** a format!
Joshua: Not a lot of other coaches do this, too, but she is the first person to come up to us after a show and go, “That was incredible guys!” So she’s always there for us.
Sarah: Every show.
Payton: She comes to all our shows.
Collin: And she’s helped us book shows at other places, too.
Sallie: So encouraging.
Joshua: I don’t ever want another coach.
Sallie: She’s an angel.
John: She’s a Dairy Queen.
Payton: She’s our Dairy Queen.
Spirit Danny: Ditto.
Sallie: We should also mention that Ravi Kiran is our Milk King.
Oh, perfect! We’ll end this Troupe Talk with a collective, heartfelt message/shout-out to the Milk King himself.
ALL: Dear Milk King, we love you so much, and your milk is refreshing. Thanks for all the milkeries!
John: Milkeries starring Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise tries to assassinate Adolf Hitler in Milkeries...Tom Cruise tries to milk a Hitler dry. Milkeries.
Payton: That was beautiful.
Spirit Danny: Agreed.
Catch Warm Milk do their milk thang at their upcoming performance at DCH on July 20.
*Budweiser did not actually sponsor this Troupe Talk. However, if any Budweiser reps are reading this, feel free to reach out with a sponsorship. We’ll take it.
Lauren Levine is a DCH graduate and a Sketch 3 student. 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.
(Images two through four: Ravi Kiran)