April 15, 2008
Comedy is hard. Not everyone can be Moe, Larry, Curly … or even Shemp. Some people are just born without a funny bone. It’s not a completely debilitating handicap. Look at how well Deadeye Dick Cheney has done for himself. Funny as he is, Donald Trump is never intentionally so. Marilyn Manson is a laugh riot who never even cracks a smile, and if you’ve ever been pulled over for doing 90 in a school zone with an open container, you probably share the suspicion that the only cops with a sense of humor are the fictional ones in Police Academy (which, unfortunately, cannot be said of all six sequels to Police Academy). Still, the world is full of humorless wretches who, like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, set off on a journey to find their missing part. Some of them make their way into the clergy or politics or the funeral home business, and some (thankfully just a few) end up in improv troupes. It’s unavoidable, really. People, on the whole, are basically good, and it takes a real asshole to jettison the dead weight that’s dragging down a comedy team. It’s much easier to send them out to get coffee or have them play an inanimate object like a chair or a footstool. Ever wonder how mimes got started? “Just shut the fuck up, Marcel, and go stand behind that imaginary glass wall.” Watching a mime is always an uncomfortable situation, but watching unfunny improv can be every bit as unsettling. At least Cirque du Soleil’s tent is roomy enough to offer a reasonably discreet exit when things get too creepy, but most improv theatres aren’t big enough to avoid direct, soulful eye contact with the performers. Mimes might be sad, but seeing an improv comedy troupe bomb at close range is as emotionally exhausting as watching someone strangling baby bunnies. Therefore, when it comes to improv – or rather, if it must, you should always take care to choose a troupe composed of people you’re not employed by, rooming with, dating, or paying rent to. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Sure helps if you live someplace like Copperas Cove; otherwise there’s statistical probability someone on stage works with you at Party Pig. Fuck it, you’ve got to roll the dice every once in a while. Why not this Saturday at ColdTowne Theatre behind the I Luv Video on Airport? Starting at 10pm comedy troupes ColdTowne and Look Cookie throw down with an hour and a half of High Larry Us improv. ColdTowne has won numerous awards including two Chronicle “Best of Austin” awards, so chances are you’ll spend at least part of the evening convulsed … with laughter. Don’t bust a lung, though; starting at 11:30pm is the Mod Party, an all night Sixties dance party that lasts until 6am – just in time for a healthy donut breakfast at Mrs. Johnson’s. Cover for the improv and the dance party clocks in at under $16, but it’s BYOB, so you know the drinks are going to be stiff.