This Fantasy Week is all about the community. Places that provide the space for interesting/weird/genius to happen. That’s why I’m starting off my unicorn ride with a stop in Pittsburgh. I’ve never seen a show in Pittsburgh, and I’m fairly certain I’ve never even stopped within the city limits. But something about the candor of this website in explaining what improvisation is while providing stage time for newbies sounds like they are in it for all the right reasons. Consider the $3 door and this description: “Seriously: talking about comedy is like trying to describe the color of a dream Crayon, or the effect that a cool breeze has on your income taxes. It’s just better to be here for it.”
Which brings me to Cage Match night in Phoenix, Arizona. This is the first round of the quarter finals, with all proceeds funding the Phoenix Improv Festival April 27th and 28th. Torch Theatre clearly cares about their scene, from a polished website and full calendar of shows to a community that is so strong they are closed the following Saturday night so people can attend instructors’ Jacque and Sam’s Wedding. Watching Salmon Shane square off against The Status Quo for a shot at the title; that’s giving the Torch comedy scene some nice stakes for initiations and piece-arc. Add in the Light Rail Pirates for a third set, while the votes are tallied, and I’m down for a Friday night jaunt out West.
But I know where my money is for Saturday night. The official grand opening of The New Movement in New Orleans, bringing together talent from multiple cities in the TNM collective. The night starts with Checkbook from Austin and goes into the NOLA edition of Claws with Fangs. 1 And the second set of the night puts powerhouse Handbomb opening for TNM founders Chris and Tami. There’s a reason the Big Easy is celebrating this opening with cover story articles. Individually hilarious, the progression of these groups together in one night will blow past preconceived notions of comedy. Include the brand new TNM website? Comedy in the South, consider your scene heightened.
This is the show that cemented UCB as the place for NYC Improv. The show name is born from Horatio Sanz’s commitment to comedic absurdity during a performance in a less-than-friendly bar. ASSCAT it is also known for the insane number of Comedy Superstar guests who’ve perform in it, including Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Andy Richter, improvising genius John Lutz (not this John Lutz) and many many others. As an Armando with pretty famous monologists, the free late-night slot has a seriously long line but also the most crazy cameos. While the original four seldom perform together anymore, the house cast is a tour-de-force.
And now to sleep on a rare speckled koala pillow bear.