Dallas — The Seventh Annual Dallas Comedy Festival hit its stride Thursday night, as the number of shows increased and the energy followed suit.
The stand-up became more biting. The improv more diverse. And one veteran improviser proved his mettle after making the awful choice to pantomime the assassination of a beloved figure. Rather than shy away, this performer immediately stood center stage and took “questions” from his troupe mates who’d left the stage after the poor decision, choosing to watch “him get outta this one,” as one cast member said as an aside.
After a few unsuccessful attempts to rectify the situation, the perpetrator left the stage entirely and the other members went about cobbling together a decent show until our hero returned to slay everyone on stage with the same technique used in the “assassination.” It was exactly funny, but it was improv at its unhinged, wheels-off best.
Adam Burke provided some politically fueled stand-up with thoughts on the racist undertones of his friends’ claim that they will move to Canada if a certain candidate is elected. The Northern Ireland native wondered why his friends wouldn’t consider moving to Guadalajara instead of Montreal, concluding hypocrisy is the answer.
Burke, who lived in Dallas for a bit and doesn’t drive, also complained hilariously about the sadistic slant Dallas has toward pedestrians as so many sidewalks just end. He wondered if Wile E. Coyote had a role as city planner.
Tom Devenport dug deep into his newfound disgust with football and the dishonest NFL in particular. The DFW native, who now lives in Northern California, says football announcers might as well describe players by their crimes rather than names or numbers. It was timely and funny, especially the line about the review of a play resulting in “First and Goal from the endorsement deal.”
Jamie Pierce repped as “The Gay” part of the evening. He riffed about marriage equality and the need for many to get over it. His line about how coming out to friends during his high school production of Bye, Bye Birdie seemed redundant and obvious was particularly funny.
An all-female troupe from Austin, Damn Gina, kicked off Thursday’s improv slate with some funny scenes regarding Grandmom’s hair removal, her propensity to keep remote controls for televisions she no longer owns and a family secret that may or may not include werewolves. One line about a member employing her right to wield her “open-carry sword” was met with some of the biggest laughs of the night.
One of the funniest scenes of Thursday night came during the Wheel of Formats show. Raymond Fischer took “Daisy” out for a driving lesson, in which he kvetched about his wife and the morass that is middle age the entire time. Fischer brought a real sense of space to the scene with just the most minimal of movements. And while Christie Wallace’s “Daisy” didn’t say much, her face spoke of the genuine fear teenagers have when they realize all adults are truly crazy and don’t really have any clue what they’re doing.
» You can see a complete DCF schedule here
» Read our feature on the festival here
» Our report from Tuesday and Wednesday nights