Comedy Ensembles on the Rise
Sketch comedy continues to rise in Dallas, the sign of a maturing and deepening comedy community. Most delicious are plans brewing for a modern supper club featuring a ever-evolving comedy revue with a topical bent. Think a cross between Second City, Forbidden Broadway, and Real Time with Bill Maher, but with damn good food. From the mind of Larry Leon with Tom Blackwood and Mark Fickert, the brainiacs of the late, lamented Four Out Of Five Doctors. The first trial show, held for a private audience at Pocket Sandwich Theater, emphasized hilarious parody songs.
A new group in town is The Naughty Bits Players, in a new sketch show by Kurt Kleinmann with the ever irrepressible Chad Cline (also serving as director), the ever implacable Jim Kuenzer, frequent Pegasus player Leslie Patrick, and a handful of others drawn from the ranks of local actors. First show up is The Naughty Bits at the Bath House Cultural Center from August 13 to 29. Billed as “an evening of sketch comedy, poking fun at contemporary life with an eye for the absurd.” A lot of potential with this one.
Dallas Comedy House continues to deepen its sketch comedy offerings with a continuing Thursday night sketch show. DCH kicked off another round of sketch writing classes in early July. Expect to see new talent and material in "Law and Order: The SVUsical" running on eight Fridays from July 31 to August 29.
The Band, an improv-sketch-musical comedy troupe, pulled off some sweet shows this spring at the Richardson Theatre Centre. Swirling around Chad Cline and his frequent comedy partner, the maniacal Jason Folks, the band includes Dan Glaser, Bryan Hardy, and Steve Hargrave. They performed in beautiful downtown Paris — Texas, that is — in July. Hosting them was LMAO Texas, an enterprise that presents mainly stand-up shows in Denton, east Texas and southeast Oklahoma.
The Beebo Brinker Chronicles, a humorous campy stage adaptation of Ann Bannon's 1950's and 60's lesbian pulp fiction novels, had a successful debut in July at Pocket Sandwich Theater.
Improv: Now with More Jam Sessions
Alternative Comedy Theater's Big Sexy Weekend of Improv this June witnessed accomplishments and changes in their ensembles. The Victims celebrated its ninth year of improv at the festival and shows at the Pocket Sandwich Theater, with late-night ones coming up on July 31 and August 1. It was the last performance for the Bandwreckers’ magnificent Julie Gale, who is moving to Utah. ACT sponsored a series of improv jams for women this summer. Scouting new talent? Hmmmm. ACT re-started their class, Improv Mechanics, in mid-July.
ComedySportz Dallas is currently free range. Find them doing early shows at Life Central Church in Plano, late shows the Pocket Sandwich Theater, and occasional shows called The Hunger Games at the Addison Improv. ComedySportz Dallas leader Von Daniel has launched a service combining comedy and personal workouts.
Step Stool To The Stage is an open mic with an ethnic bent that features comedy. It happens on the first and third Sunday at the Blue Mesa Grill in Arlington.
Danny Gallagher: Gone to the Dark Side
Comedy journalist Danny Gallagher, read locally penning comedy news for the Dallas Observer and nationally creating pieces for CNET's pop culture and comedy blog Crave, has gone to the other side and has joined the ranks of stage comics. He performs and serves as announcer with ComedySportz Dallas and guests with comedy shows at the Dallas Comedy House and Four Day Weekend.
Gallagher’s part of the leading team for live comedy game show at Dallas Comedy House called QuizProv: The Improv Comedy Game Show. He co-created it with two DCH funny guys, host Glenn Smith, avid DCH blogger and member of Juan Direction and Squid Row, and producer Clarence Murugen, a South Africa native and former DCH bartender. Teams are formed and competition is fiercely funny. Sort of like a Geeks that Drink, but with more laughs since the answers are enacted.
The quizzical fellow is also crafting comedy video games. First off is Quiplash, where players compete to see who has the funniest quip. Imagine a game of Cards Against Humanity, but faster paced and with video bells and whistles.
Stand-up Wrap Up
Local comedians and others launched a new show called Comedians Sitting On Couches Playing Video Games. Wrangled by Clint Werth (@ihatecomedy), you can find it live on Twitch most weeknights at 8 pm and 9:30 pm, or catch prior recorded episodes at their YouTube channel.
The all-ages Comedy & Magic show at the Addison Improv has expanded to include both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Another LoL at HoB coming up on August 14 at the House of Blues with Paul Varghese and a bunch of his funniest friends.
On the Spot lets stand-ups strut their stuff as usual, then puts them through improv. Most recent was in mid-July at The Sanctuary in McKinney.
Nice piece in the Dallas Observer by culture writer Jeremy Hallock: 10 Dallas Comedians You Need to Know.
The monthly stand-up series Brew-HaHa comedy series returned to the Dallas Beer Kitchen in June. Final in the summer series is August 12.