Thank you Big Little Comedy Fest!!!

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We’d like to thank Big Little Comedy for having us at the Big Little Comedy Fest this past weekend in Cleveland. We (Dave, David, and Ryan) had a ton of fun (Collin and Alan couldn’t go. They are trash). The trip definitely had it’s ups and downs. During the ride there, we got a ticket for something called the MOVE OVER LAW. Apparently, in Ohio (and other states that have the law), if an emergency vehicle is pulled over to the side of the road you have to slow down to 25mph or move into the other lane. We had no idea that this existed. The ticket was non-negotiable (despite us not even knowing about the law). Ridiculous. In the hotel lobby, we saw a drunken man in a top-hat who looked like he died 3 days ago banging on the door trying to get a room. The front desk person said, “I’m not dealing with this” and called the police who later removed the man from the lobby. Once we got to the room, we got the honeymoon suite, which consisted of a walk-through shower. You could literally walk into the shower from the living room and you’d be in the bathroom. Needless to say, anytime someone went to the bathroom at night everyone woke up.

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The Workshop

The workshop went great. We got to teach a lot of the stuff that we as a group do that works for us. Like how denial (with additional information) can actually progress a scene rather than halting it.  We shared some of our tips and tricks for what we have done on the path to becoming who we are today. While we were just having fun doing our thing, it was blush-worthy to see others take interest in what we had to say and, even more so,  actually writing it down. We would have liked to get feedback, but we refused to use the printer in the hotel, which charged a $19.95 pre-authorization fee to make copies. Not happening.

The Show

The show was spectacular (there will be a video of it coming soon). Before we get into it, let’s just say WE LOVE CLEVELAND COMEDY AUDIENCES. On numerous occasions, everyone in the green room was saying, “this crowd is hot.” We got to play an array of characters in our set. Characters like Sylvester Stallone (as Rocky), Demons from deep-Hell, a Sheriff who fired his gun and showed his badge every time he got drunk, and a Mill Man that just wanted to get to work. The Mill Man was created because Ryan is def and thought he heard Mill when we actually said Mail. We also created a door to another universe by just drawing a door on the wall with chalk. Think Beetlejuice. In fact, we even said, “just like they did in Beetlejuice.”

In the end, the trip was hilarious, the workshop was great, and the audience was amazing. We loved it. Thank you to the people of Cleveland for coming to the show and most importantly Big Little Comedy for having us. We look forward to coming back next year (as long as we don’t get any more tickets)!

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Thank you to the Detroit Improv Festival!!!

2013-08-09 20.15.39We went to our first ever festival this past weekend and it was an absolute blast. We went to the Detroit Improv Festival in Ferndale, Michigan and had the time of our lives. Personally (you have no idea who’s writing this but you can guess), I think we became even closer as a group after doing this festival. I know what you’re thinking, “how can you guys get any closer? You slap each other in the dicks on stage?!” Sure, we’re real close, but when you’re running around jumping off of hotel beds in your boxers screaming the Blurred Lines lyric, “WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE WORK”, it takes your friendship to a whole new level.

For starters, the ride down there was filled with screaming, singing, sleeping, and snap-chatting.  If you didn’t notice, every one of those things started with an S. Completely coincidental or was it? Queue dramatic Inception music. We didn’t know what to expect going to this festival. You never know how things are going to go when you’re away from home. However, oddly, we collectively agreed that we weren’t nervous. It was weird. We just felt like we fit in there. Our hats (if we wore them) go off to the people who helped run the festival as they were very kind and supportive and never made us feel like we were outsiders. As soon as we got there, we felt right at home. It didn’t feel like we were doing a show in another state, it just felt like another show.

We had the amazing opportunity to open up for TJ & Dave. A show that one of the heads of the festival said, “sold out 4 days ago.” Needless to say, the place was packed to the gills. As for the show, it was explosive. We were physical. We were silly. But most importantly, we were having fun. Right from the start, we could feel a warm and inviting presence from the audience. They were there to have a good time. They weren’t just sitting at a bar and happened to catch a comedy show on their way to the bathroom. They had left their house to go and see a comedy festival. They were there to laugh. And it was our job to make them laugh. We played fast and we didn’t miss a beat. Some of the characters we played included a boy with a worm arm (who was coincidentally a baseball pitcher), a Mormon hell bent on selling Christ (chasing people on a roller-coaster), an umpire that had no control over his arms and was trapped in a house of mirrors (everyone flailed their arms on stage), and an alien girl with octopus phalanges sent down to Earth by her father to repopulate her species. Yes. We know. Absolutely insane. Yet absolutely necessary.

When we walked back stage, TJ & Dave were standing there to say two words. “Great show.” Together we melted into a puddle of slime. After the show, we were approached by audience members and other groups that had nothing but nice things to say about our show and about the way we play. We were and are so grateful. The support from the crowd, the inviting “right at home” feeling we got from the people who ran the festival and the groups that attended, and those two words made this trip an experience that we will never forget. It brought us closer together as a group and more importantly as friends.

Thank you Detroit. Thank you Ferndale. Thank you to everyone who was a part of the DIF.

You’re awesome.

–          The Boys

Review: Life’s a Funny Scene by Kiley Peters

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Recently Switch Committee was lucky enough to be reviewed by Life’s a Funny Scene’s Kiley Peters. We have wanted to be on her website for quite some time and are thrilled that we were not only reviewed, but that she enjoyed the show. She’s interviewed and reviewed some of the best improvisers in the game and to be included among them on her site is truly an honor.

Check out the link to her review and her site below:

http://www.lifeisafunnyscene.com/review-switch-committee-donnys-skybox/

Review!

Causing a Scene

Switch CommitteeSwitch Committee

SHOW DATE: May 31, 2013
WHERE AT: Donny’s Skybox
Second City, 1608 N. Wells

SUGGESTION: Sour Cream

Do you remember the first time you saw the fireworks on the Fourth of July?

I do. My head spun with excitement and my heart instantly fell in love with every glittery explosion. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it. That’s the very same feeling I get EVERY time I’m lucky enough to catch a Switch Committee show and May 31st was no exception as I attended the Donny’s Skybox show “Blood Feud: Switch Committee vs. Manny Mora.

The five members of this team, who met while taking classes at iO and Second City Conservatory, take the stage, do a little dance and proceed with an honest conversation about the suggestion, which in this case was sour cream. Tonight their fun, truthful dialogue revealed that Ryan tried sour cream for…

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A Chance and a Thank You

A Chance and a Thank You

This past Saturday, Switch Committee did a trial show at iO Theater in Chicago. As a result of that performance and the support of the audience, we will now be appearing at 8 PM every Thursday of June at iO, with an open possibility for extension. This is in addition to our Saturdays at Midnight with the mind-bendingly talented Lethal Action Force.

More than any other feeling, what we feel as a team right now is gratitude. Without your support and care, we wouldn’t have this opportunity. And there is nothing we could ever achieve that would feel as good as having a theater full of people celebrating this win with us as it was announced live at the end of the show.

So thank you. We will do our best to deserve the amount of support and love that you have shown us. As a matter of fact, we may have some news on a token of our gratitude upcoming. Stay tuned.

With love and respect and victory signs,
The Boys

Assessing the Piece

This time around, we put David Schwartzbaum in the hotseat to discuss his feelings about the theatrical elements of improv and how he applies them on a personal level.

1. Hello David! How are you doing?

Honestly, I’m pretty tired.

2. I bet! You had a show late last night–do you find yourself playing a certain way? How would you describe David’s “style” of improv?

I think it’s pretty uninhibited. I like to just walk into a scene completely open to any emotion that may just hit me and just take that and go nuts with it. I’m always trying to take even the most ridiculous and ground it in truth, like real emotion. There’s nothing worse than watching a show and someone is doing the old “improv crying” or “improv anger” schtick.

3. So what kinds of assumptions do you make for yourself as you edit or begin a scene?

I come from a theater background, so one of my first assumptions is always “how is this next scene going to fit into the piece we’re making.” Is this a callback? Does it continue to expand on our theme. Is it just a tangential sort of gamey refresher for the audience? It’s important to me that an improv show isn’t just 25 minutes of people jerking off on stage (though Switch Committee does seem to jerk off a lot on stage). The best improv is a piece that says something, so my first initial thought is “where is this going to take us as a whole”, once I answer that question I drop it, open myself up emotionally and immediately invest into that scene until I’m back on the sidelines. I have no idea if any of this makes any sense

4. Since you started in a theater background, how do you feel about the differences between improv and scripted theater?

Oy. Ok. I think the best theater uses the best elements of improv: it’s uninhibited, it’s emotional, the audience feels truly invested, they feel like it’s happening for the first time right in front of their eyes…and I feel like the best improv uses the best theatrical elements. Strong emotional and character choices, a full ensemble piece and not just a bunch of funny dudes doing bits, the use of stage space and stage picture, and the overall reason this piece existed tonight. Both theater and improv have a ton of similarities, and if you can bridge the two together, you’ll put up your best work in either medium

5. Anything else you’d like to add about yourself, the art form, or the community as a whole?

Yes. I’d like to just say…None of us really knows what we’re talking about. I’m 23…my views will change and will probably continue to change until I die, but the wonderful thing about improv comedy is that it can be so many things, that when I do change, it changes with me, like the “ditto” pokemon, it can be whatever you want it to be, and it’s the same for the community. If you want to focus on improv, you can do that. Sketch or theater? You can do that too. It’s the flexibility and ease to move from one medium to another that makes Chicago such a great place to be.

The Work of Play

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For this installment of our ‘interviewing members of the group”, we sit down with Dave to discuss his history with improv, what keeps him motivated, and advice he has for improvisers who feel like they’re in a slump.

1. Hello Dave! How are you doing?
I’m great! How YOU doin’? (wink)

2. You’re currently in a pretty good place improv-wise. Have there been any times in your life when you felt you were struggling to make any progress?

Oh absolutely. I think I feel myself going through lulls and plateaus every so often. I think as artists, we’ll always find ourselves in these situations. We are generating so much creative output, we need to remember to recharge and have some input, and as Uhlir says, “Fill our heads with stuff.” I actually feel like I’m in a current lull at the moment, so I find myself evaluating what I’m doing or not doing.

3. What keeps you motivated and working?
Seeing shows is incredibly motivating. It can be the best show ever, or just a complete disaster. They both have their own way of motivating me and driving me to work harder.  The friends I work and perform with are also amazingly motivating who keep things fresh and feeling new. Excitement is contagious, and once an idea or a sense of play enters the room, it’s the best thing in the world, and everything else gets blocked out. Focusing intensely on a project with people you love being around doesn’t feel like work – it’s like fun playtime.
I honestly can’t picture my life without theatre. This is something that I absolutely love and when I’ve tried to picture it not being there, I honestly get really sad – and that, in turn, motivates me to work harder so that I don’t ever lose it.
4. Any advice for improvisers who feel like they are struggling or are currently in a slump?
We are our own worst critics, and though that can be a good thing, we also need to learn how to give ourselves a break. I think it’s great to analyze rehearsals and shows to figure out what’s going on, but after a while, you just need to just put it down and walk away.
When I’m in a slump, I like doing non-theatre related things – tinkering with and riding my bike; writing, reading; working out, playing music…I’m a huge movie buff, so either throwing one on or going to see one. I find simply stepping away for even a day or two can be a nice reset. Also, just getting away from all the distractions of life and over-stimulation of being a creative person is important. I love taking some “Dave Time” and just holing away for a few hours, or just being silly with friends. Also, it’s important to surround yourself with strong, supportive, and understanding family and friends that will help you get through the trying times.
5. Anything else you want to add?
 I feel that this is a life-long journey and lifestyle. You should do this because you love the work, the people you’re working with and admire, and absolutely can’t see yourself without it. This can be a viciously draining and mentally painful life to have… to be an artist. We’re constantly rejected and told we’re not good enough, or not what they’re looking for… But at the same time, it is the most rewarding and fulfilling thing in the world. We should treat it, and our fellow artists, as such.

What makes you happy?

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