Tag Archives: improvisational comedy

Switch Committee’s final show at iO!!!

The final show of Switch Committee’s year long run at the famous iO Theater in Chicago.

Thank you to everyone who came out and thank you to Adam Kurschat for filming!

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NEW PODCAST!!!

We’re getting back on the podcast bandwagon after a real long hiatus. Here the guys ramble about the upcoming Star Wars films, customer service, violence in video games, football/soccer and the astronomical cost and uncontrollable power of cable companies in Chicago. They even agree to kill each other via a ‘euthanasia pact’ should the time come. Nonsense.

Dear Denver Improv Festival

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Thank you for having us.  We had so much fun it should be illegal. Right off the plane we felt an inviting atmosphere. The airport was so spacious and easy to navigate. You’re probably thinking who talks about an airport? Well, when you’re from Chicago and have to go to crowded, congested O’Hare, we do. We appreciate the fact that we weren’t jumping through hoops trying to find our way. Although jumping through loops would probably be fun. The people (of Denver in general) were very nice. The view was beautiful. The malls were great. It was weird. We felt like we could do anything and get away with it. Don’t get me wrong. We didn’t commit any crimes, but we felt free to goof around without people staring at us like we were assclowns. For example, when we went to the mall we walked through the Urban outfitters singing at the top of our lungs. People glanced over and smiled. In Chicago, you’d probably get slapped for singing out of place (just kidding…). While we were there a zombie pub crawl was going down. There were zombies everywhere. Apparently if you wear an X on your back they can attack you so we saw zombies jumping on people. For a second, just half a second, we thought it was real. The theaters. OHHHH did we love the theaters in Denver.  Voodoo, Bovine, Impulse. All Great.  Dave, who is from Denver, told us how great they were but we had to experience it for ourselves to truly understand what he meant.

The Show

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The roar of that crowd is something we will never forget. Ryan was so touched by the response he wrote a blog about it in the green room before the show. We were chomping at the bit to get on that stage and dance our asses off.  Some highlights of the show include: a rhyming troll, a father playing catch with his son but the mother was absent because he told her to “go long” and she never came back, a baptism gone wrong where the person had ‘too much Christ’ and instead became a demon that controlled people like puppets, a cop that made a police car siren noise with his mouth everywhere he went, a ‘Dirty Bird’ mascot ghost from Nantucket that only one guy could see, an undercover Daryl Strawberry who worked at a sandwich bag making company for 3 years, an on-stage birth, and a horrific car crash that sent all of us flying around the stage. Out of context, all of that probably sounds like a horrific dream. If you were there, you witnessed a nonsensical good time. We loved it.

The Workshop

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This went extremely well. In fact, it couldn’t have gone better. Our new friends who took the workshop had a lot of positive feedback and really seemed to enjoy themselves. We loved working with them and thought everyone was hilarious.  They jumped right into the chaos from the very start. We started it off with everyone killing one another (it’s a switch committee thing) and no one held back. People were running up and slapping us around like we owed them money. It was great! Literally everyone of the people made us laugh at some point throughout the workshop. This is a great indicator of the type of talent that attends this festival. We went over in time. It was supposed to be 3 hours and we went an extra 20 minutes. Mainly because we were having so much fun and enjoyed watching everyone perform. In fact, if we could, the workshop probably could have gone another 2 hours…. (dance break).

So, if you’re reading this and thinking “I’d like to attend a festival” we definitely recommend you look into this one. It is seamlessly run and everybody treats you so well.

Thank you Denver. 😀

Review from the Chicago Tribune! :D

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Thank you so much to all who came out. We recently got reviewed by the Chicago Tribune’s Nina Metz and we cannot explain how happy we are. We’ve copied and pasted the review below:

Switch Committee

Good improv — the kind that has an almost seamless quality as it rolls from one scene to the next— is a long-haul proposition. It can take years for performers to really settle into a groove together. And then before you know it, one person after another scatters to the wilds of Los Angeles or elsewhere to pursue more lucrative work in TV and film.

That sweet spot in between — when an improv team is just seasoned enough to leverage its internal chemistry, but not restless enough to skip town just yet — is where Switch Committee currently resides. The five-man group, in their shirts and ties, has the right kind of playful but down-to-business approach.

They are the type to literally climb the rafters, for bits that included a riff on men’s gymnastics, a performer-as-human pinata and a treehouse mom got in the divorce: “Now it’s her bachelorette pad.”

Alan Linic is especially strong when it comes to playing a specific sort of dumb (intent but dense) and there’s huge potential down the line for this sort of thing. The standout is Ryan Nallen, who brings to mind a Michael J. Fox-like “what, me?” mock innocence. He was the one hanging from beams, which became obviously painful after a time. As one of his fellow cast members attempted to help him out, the others decided, nope, we’ll keep him suspended up there with every narrative contrivance we can think of. That’s pretty cruel, but also funny. And Nallen, good sport that he was, let you know it was OK to laugh.

Thursdays through Nov. 21 at iO Theater, 3541 N. Clark St.; $12 at ioimprov.com/chicago

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

Reviewer: Nina Metz

Link to the review: http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ott-1011-on-the-fringe-20131011,0,1234768.story

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)!

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.