Dallas — The hijinks escalated Friday night at the Dallas Comedy House, as the headline improv acts of #DCF2015 took the stage.
TheaterJones has covered every night of the sixth annual Deep Ellum comedy extravaganza with one more review coming after late-night sets Saturday from Bangarang! and TJ and Dave.
After a brief introduction Friday night, TJ Jagodawski and David Pasquesi asked the audience to “Trust Us, This Is All Made Up,” which is also the name of their 2009 documentary that’s become required viewing for all levels of improvisers.
TJ and Dave came up through Second City, Chicago’s legendary improv training center, and have been performing one-hour improvised plays on the Windy City’s iO stage just about every Wednesday night since 2002. They have damn near mastered improv, and it showed.
The two men carried a scene about last call in a bar further and with greater effect than any other show at the festival. They layered line after line after line into a cohesive story arc, somehow holding conversations with a third character, who, while obviously not physically present, was on stage with them nonetheless as they’d already established that presence—if that makes any sense.
The scene opened with TJ, as Max, ordering “just one more” and explaining to the bartender, played by Dave, how pleasant he was to be around. “See? I didn’t offend anybody ... didn’t yell at the people singing karaoke.”
The bartender mentioned that his wife, Jan, recently broke her knee, and Max said how sad he was that had happened to a lady, and how he wouldn’t feel the same if it had befallen a man because “we deserve it.”
Pasquesi came out from behind “the bar” to bring to life a third player, Jerry, who wandered in looking for just one more, as well. Within minutes of the lights coming up, the depth of multiple characters was evident.
Jerry and Max exchanged pleasantries and began discussing among other things, Jerry’s juggling of two ladies, how the clock isn’t accurate, how everyone claims to be a chef and how Max is done with the ladies.
Jerry asked if that was his decision, and Max explained how he’s “put it out there, and they got wind of it.” It was one of dozens of lines met with boisterous laughter.
Friday’s lineup also included some sketch acts with Pure & Weary’s “Wing Woman” show. Katherine Biskupic and Leah Frires entered through the crowd wearing oversized glasses and wigs, à la Coffee Talk’s Linda Richman of early ’90s SNL. The pair thanked everyone for coming to their seminar on “Dating in 2015,” which included their thoughts on creating the perfect Tinder profile.
The two Chicago-based improvisers moved through a handful of tight sketches quickly and adeptly, keeping the crowd thoroughly entertained. One bit had them playing British ladies carrying colorful parasols while chatting via Facebook on their phones that went from the joys associated with seeing a new friend’s life play out online into passive-aggressive comments and likes into frenemy-styled threats into real death threats. It was timely, witty and hilarious.
Another bit revolved around a “Mrs. White” explaining the proper sifting techniques and need to use real vanilla and real butter when preparing goodies for a bake sale to her former student—Jessica Pinkman. You can go ahead and fill in the blanks for yourself there.
Oklahoma City’s Night Rhymers perform a musical improv set that never disappoints. “I love you” was the answer an audience member gave to the troupe’s question about one thing you’ve regretted saying while drunk. The members eased into a scene that began with Cristela Carrizales serenading Heather Winstead with “I gotta feel better than someone, it might as well be you” to ultimately all five players and keyboard accompanist in chorus with “I love you.”
Carrizales is one of a handful of performers to participate in all six Dallas Comedy Festivals at the DCH in Deep Ellum.
But, the lease is up, and the Dallas Comedy House is moving to a bigger space around the corner at to 3025 Main St. After taking a well-earned vacation from comedy next week. The DCH’s regularly scheduled programming begins again Tuesday, April 8, with the weekly Open Mic.
But, first there’s one more night of #DCF2015 with improv and sketch on Saturday’s docket, including some DCH’s most refined troupes in Local Honey, Atlantic Pacific Billy and Roadside Couch. The shows start at 5:30 with shows from DCH’s Dairy Based and .f.a.c.e. couching Family Tree, a two-person show from OKC.
Some tickets are still available for the 5:30, 7 and 8:30 shows, but the 10 o’clock Roadside Couch-Bangarang! show and the 11:30 TJ and Dave show are sold out.
TheaterJones will have coverage from every night of the Dallas Comedy Festival. Below are links to previous reviews:
The DCF continues through Saturday with following schedule:
Saturday, March 28, 2015
- 5:30pm — Improv
- 7pm — Improv & Sketch
- 8:30pm — Improv
- 10pm — Improv
- 11:30pm — Improv