Dallas — It didn’t take long for David Allison to get in the spirit of the Ninth annual Dallas Comedy Festival at the Dallas Comedy House.
Performing Wednesday night with The Rift, a Dallas-based improv troupe, Allison was on stage for all of about three seconds before he bludgeoned a cow with a bat.
The scene began with Tyler Simpson holding a shotgun, mumbling “guess it’s time to put ‘er down,” and Allison wasted no time. A parental Simpson called him a sociopath, but Allison blamed his behavior on his “dad” allowing him to play video games and watch PG-13 movies like Twister, and we were off and running.
The Rift is a group of Dallas Comedy House veterans who quickly move through hilarious scenes with a lot of energy and wit. They ran with a bit about the ineffectiveness of the faces of missing children on milk cartons through a scene of co-workers on a coffee break into some double entendres about catching footballs with your mouth all while the bat-wielding Allison took out a few more cows, including the illiterate ones that vandalize billboards across town.
Photobomb is another DCH-based troupe with great chemistry. One of the members — in Wednesday night’s case, Maggie Rieth-Austin — asks an audience member for some mundane info that Photobomb then ruins live on stage. Live was operative here, as Ross, the unsuspecting audience member, had never seen improv live, but he had watched some bits on YouTube.
Ross is a numbers-cruncher who maybe wanted to be a firefighter when he was younger but really just always wanted to be happy in his career. When cast member Daniel Matthews asked what his favorite movie was, Ross turned to his buddy for advice, much to Matthews’ consternation. But Will said that he, too, was an accountant, and the players on stage agreed that it all made sense now.
Then they set about destroying all Ross and Will had shared, and it was really funny. There was some literal number crunching, some searching for enlightenment, plenty of uncertainty and some bad decisions regarding Saran Wrap. Kurt Cobain made an appearance, and the set ended with Ben Pfeiffer astride Matthews acting as the wings to his butterfly. All in all just what you expect to see in live improv.
AH, OK Comedy is Adam Fullerton and Heather McKinney performing all the roles of a local morning television show from hosts to cameraman to remote reporter to interviewee to bystander to whatever else is need. Wednesday night, they performed “AH, OK Presents: Good Morning Tonight” and also solicited a lot of information from an audience member.
They chose the right guy Wednesday night. Alex grew up in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and has been on a motorcycle trek across North America since Sept. 1. Fullerton and McKinney sussed out more than enough material from Alex’s decision to leave a boring real estate job to live on the road, and his indifference to “The Sopranos” despite seemingly taking pride in mentioning Satin Dolls is the real name of the Bada Bing.
McKinney adeptly copped a Jersey accent portraying a studio host who is the boss’s daughter in more than one sense whose boyfriends keep falling down the cliffs for some reason. Fullerton feigned fear while throwing it to reporters on the scene and teasing upcoming segments/bits for the morning show/improv show. The duo worked seamlessly and hilariously, especially within one recurring thread about the foliage in New Hampshire.
Fullerton later showed up at the end of a sketch show by Stand by She that followed a group of recent high school graduates through a series of misadventures in search of clues left behind by one member’s dead aunt.
There were a lot of dick jokes and menstrual puns and plenty of themed T-shirts. It slowed in spots but was often hilarious, especially when Emily Gee was gallivanting across stage on her trusty steed — Monet — or when she appeared later with a bulging, um … bush.
Plenty to see in Deep Ellum this week.
» Read our preview of the Dallas Comedy Festival here
» For more info on schedules and tickets, click here
» Look for daily reports on DCF on TheaterJones.com