Tag Archives: spectacles improv engine

Happy Back to the Future Day!

It’s Back to the Future Day! Today’s the day in the “future” that the heroes of Back to the Future visit in the second movie. At 4:29 PM today the time machine should appear in California!

Check out the cool video posted by the Back to the Future Trilogy Facebook page!

I would have included photos from the Spectacles performance, Improv to the Future, but apparently I didn’t take any. What?! I wrote about it though.

HIStory/HERStory and the OC Improv Fest 2015

ImprovCity's HIStory/HERStory

Last weekend was full of improv (as any good weekend should be). First, I saw HIStory/HERstory at ImprovCity again as well as their Thursday Night BS (Basic Scenes). The Thursday Night BS was one of the best improv sets I’ve ever seen. I felt like I was lagging behind, like I was still cracking up at the last funny thing when the new one came along. So. Good.

I saw the premiere of HIStory/HERstory on April 2, but gem didn’t get a chance to see it. I decided to see it again with her. This time it was shorter as they’d cut some skits. It was still great, and I understood why they cut what they did. You can see the Sasquatch family above. It still has a performance left at Second City Hollywood on May 6, so you can still check it out!

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

On Friday I went to the second night of the OC Improv Fest, hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine. I missed the first night because I wanted to see ImprovCity. I went with gem to this too, and we ran into James while we were there.

The night opened with Well-Behaved Villains, a team from La Habra High School. Following that was CIA – the Center for Improv Advancement. These were two teams I’d never seen. Next was IFL, which is always good.

After that was Big Yellow Taxi. I’d seen them before but was glad to see them again. They had Josh as the guest driver.

My favorite Spectacles team, The Mechanicals, played next. Who knew Alex would make such a good princess?


Jetzo was amazing. They’re a two-man team performing kabuki-inspired improv. There was a lot of music and interpretative dance, and it was freaking hilarious.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

There was also strange grinding on Michael.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

He seemed just a tad red. I assume that he meant he was having a good time.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

I don’t really remember why they got undressed at the end, but, yup, they did. I would love to see Jetzo more in the future.

Following Jetzo was Kind Strangers from iO West performing Tennessee Williams, and after them was KanYay! West. I called them “the cutest team” when I saw them at the OC Improv Fest 2013. Then there was White Women, comprised of seven very funny black men.

And then Rococo. Rococo was an improv troupe that included former Live Nude Lilan Bowden. I kind of stared in disbelief before looking over at gem. She just looked back and then said “Is that Lilan?” I was hoping to say “hello,” but I couldn’t find her later. I messaged her on Facebook the next day to tell her how excited I was to see her perform and that was a fan of LNP. I later messaged Alex and gem. “Lilan responded to me and I feel like a teenager girl who can’t. Even. Which is also how I felt when I first met you, Alex, so there’s that.”

The evening ended with Ranger Danger and the Danger Ranger, one of my favorite teams. How can two people be so funny?

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

I didn’t get a lot of pictures on the third night, but here’s one of Dr. God. I’ll get to them. I came with gem again, and we also ran into James.

The first block consisted of The Lobby, Galapagos, Holiday Road, Pick and Roll, and Now Improv. I particularly enjoyed Holiday Road.

The next block opened with Paul Vaillancourt’s Man Vs. Movie. It was a one-man, long form improvised action movie, and it was pretty great. Red Door followed, who I saw at last year’s Coup de Comedy and liked a lot. Pawn Takes Queen was third before Dr. God performed.

Dr. God has an interesting formula. After getting a suggestions, they monologue on the suggestion based on something from one of their lives, and they do improv based on that. I saw them last year and enjoyed them even more this year. If my memory is correct, it seemed like they did less monologues and more improv this year, but regardless, awesome stuff. Derek Mears was with them, an actor and stuntman who also performed at ComedySportz.

In the photo above, there’s a visit to the gynecologist.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

Derek Mears must have been talking about something large.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

And then he joined the scene to play the part of a tennis net.

That plank seems to have bad form… haha it was great.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

Here’s an interesting twist. For most of us, the festival had a fee, but not for gem, who won $50!

The last block of the night opened with FlySpace. He spent an entire scene getting pet there.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

After FlySpace, The Lusty Horde perform a long-form scene as an improvised sci-fi/fantasy scene. They were awesome, but it was getting too late for me. We left after The Lusty Horde, unfortunately missing Outside Dog and The Illegitimate Stage.

It was a great weekend for improv, and I have more tonight and this coming week. Woo!

Hello, 2015

Last year was a pretty fun year. I was pulled on stage during a clown show, went stand-up paddleboarding, and went wakeboarding. I attended Katie and Matt’s wedding. I started doing yoga this summer and have stuck with it consistently. I switched to a bodyweight workout routine and have been doing that regularly. San Diego Comic-Con was a lot of fun, and for the first time, the roles were reversed; people asked me for pictures. (I was in my Aquabats costume.)

I attended a ton of concerts, including but not limited to Reel Big Fish, The Maxies, The Originalites, The Aquabats, Koo Koo Kangaroo, GOGO13, Half Past Two, Sugar Stems, The Interrupters, The Holophonics, The Skatalites, Suburban Legends, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Los SuperSpies, and so many more. I watched a bunch of improv, mostly at ImprovCity and Spectacles. I attended some Risk! Live. I went to a Teenage Mutant Pizza Party and the Scott Pilgrim Picture Show with CinemAttack! There was Dapper Day, Walking with Dinosaurs, a Civil War reenactment, The Great Gatsby party, the OC Fair, and LA Kiss. There was some Yadi Presents burlesque, a performance of Wizard of Oz, Chicago, Big River – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Man of La Mancha, and other performances. Lots of fun stuff.

Edit: Oh, man, how can I forget the Tall Ships Festival or being a guest on the Twisted Nether Blogcast?!

Work continues to go well. I cleaned out my closet. And yes, that’s worth mentioning. I attended Henley’s first birthday party and gave him a big smile with his present. I finished off Mists of Pandaria and started Warlords of Draenor. Sorry, but a little video games had to leak into this too. I got my backlog (my list of games, books, movies, etc.) that were purchased but never finished down to 340, which is pretty good. When I started counting in April, I had 471 items that needed to be beat/watched/read. I got rear-ended while driving for the first time. That’s not really much of an accomplishment, but I handled it at least. It was my 10-year high school reunion a few months back, and that was a lot of fun. I also cooked a bunch – stuffed bell peppers, pizzas, calzones, salads, salami wraps, pork chops, steaks, a cake, lemon bars, brownies, and more delicious things. I, a straight man, went out for a drink with a man I met on a dating site. I got stung by way too many bees.

It was a cool year.

2015 started with a party with close friends. Just a minute or two into the year I got to witness a friend propose to his girlfriend.

We’re off to a good start.

October Ska Parade Lounge with Bear Brass Band, The Paranoias, Failed to Victory, and Profesor Galactico

Bear Brass Band at the Ska Parade Lounge on October 8, 2014

Last night was the October Ska Parade Lounge! But let’s back up for a second. Michael, a member of the Spectacles Improv Engine, recently made a post with an interesting proposition – he’d share his passion for improv with you by taking you to an improv class and even paying if you share your passion with him by taking him to do something. I contacted him, and while I haven’t done the class yet, he came to the Ska Parade Lounge. Funny story – he used to be really into ska, played bass, and even played with some cool bands. Pretty cool!

Anyways, I met Michael and gem at the Slidebar and also ran into a couple people I know from ska shows – Amit, Max (of Half Past Two fame), and of course, Tazy. His friend Amy, also from Spectacles, joined us as well. It was pretty great night!

The first band that performed was the Bear Brass Band, an amazing brass band with which I wasn’t familiar. Who needs strings? Who needs vocals? Not these guys. I’d love to see them again.

The Paranoias at the Ska Parade Lounge on October 8, 2014

The Paranoias were up next. I’d never heard of them either, but they definitely got me moving.

Failed to Victory at the Ska Parade Lounge on October 8, 2014

Failed to Victory played third. Sorry for the crappy photo. F2V was the only band that I knew; I saw them Ska & Punk Night 5 at Centerfield Sports Bar & Grill a week or two ago. They were awesome as I knew they would be.

Profesor Galactico at the Ska Parade Lounge on October 8, 2014

Lastly, Profesor Galactico performed. I think it was basically The Paranoias with a different vocalist. I’m a little confused, but I had fun. There was a lot more Spanish ska that night than I usually hear. I might not know what the lyrics mean, but that doesn’t stop the music from being good.

All in all, it was a great night! Michael said he’d like to come back to future shows, and Max discussed another show tonight – Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. On that note, I should get going to that concert.

Coup de Comedy 2014

Last week was Improv Revolution‘s Coup de Comedy Festival 2014. There were a ton of hilarious events. While not everything was my cup of tea, the majority was great fun, and some groups were simply amazing.

Wednesday, May 7

The festival began on Wednesday, May 7 with the Improv Revolution / Live Nude People joint show. As a long time LNP fan, this was actually the show about which I was most excited. I particularly like their dance party game in which everyone on stage dances until the music stops. At that point, everyone freezes, someone touches the persons they want to see stay, and then everyone clears. After a short scene, it repeats.

After the opening show was the Revolutionary Comedy Awards honors Tony Hale. While waiting in line, we were allowed to put questions on post-it notes for Tony Hale to answer. gem wrote a particularly funny one, but you’ll have to ask her what it said. The event itself opened with a stand-up act, Sky & Nancy Collins.

Sky & Nancy Collins

This was one of my favorite sets from the entire festival. Sky & Nancy Collins present themselves as a wealthy married couple from the gated community Rancho Pico de Gallo in Orange County. I suppose you have to understand some of the Orange County stereotypes, but luckily I do. “We’re married to each other. I guess that’s okay,” said Sky Collins. Mentioning right off the bat that they’re friends said they were funny, prompting them to try stand-up, they nonchalantly talk about their normal life in Orange County, with their disconnect from the non-wealthy making for many hilarious moments. Sky & Nancy Collins are actually Marc Evan Jackson and Carrie Clifford.

Tony Hale

Tony Hale was funny even though he wasn’t performing. He discussed his life, both leading to his role as Buster Bluth on Arrested Development and after. He seemed very down-to-Earth and gave a lot of life advice. He specifically mentioned that a lot of people seem to be constantly looking ahead to their next gig or stage of life, and while it’s good to have goals, he reminded us to be happy in the present. “You have value exactly where you are now.”

Thursday, May 8

The second day started with Awesome Sketch Presentation with Adult Babies & Humble Bees, a sketch show with performers (mostly?) from iRev. After that came Red Door. I remember thinking Red Door was very funny, but now I can’t seem to remember specifics, which is too bad. Next up was Octavarius, an improv team traveling from the future to keep history on the correct path by performing improv.

Following that was The Resistance from ComedySportz. Wow. They were amazing. The Resistance improvises action / sci-fi / horror movies on stage. Rolling around on mats? Gunshots? Monsters? Torture? Fight scenes? Fight scenes with strobe lights? Heck yes, the Resistance had all of these things. It was, of course, funny as well, but I actually got into the story too.

The night ended with Sparks to Fire. They performed short stand-up sets followed by improv based on those sets.

Friday, May 9

Friday began with the ClownMa dell’Arte show. This was the second clown show I’d seen, and I guess I must really enjoy them. It was a hilarious show that included one clown eating the flowers from stems before trying to get her heart’s desire to eat the petals she spit from her mouth. I also essentially had a clown grind on me. No, it wasn’t one of the cute ones.

Later I saw another awesome ComedySportz show – U-Sical: The Improvised Musical About You! They listened to some audience members talk about interesting events in their lives, including the man who knocked himself out by riding a bike into a tree, the woman who got to feed a bear cub (oh man, I love bears), and Josh Nicols’ story of how he delivered a copier to a hospital and got attacked by patients. It’s probably no surprise that we got to see Josh’s story, because that did sound like the funniest one. U-Sical did a great job, and I’d love to see them again.

After U-Sical, we got to see Carrie Clifford (of Sky & Nancy Collins) again in a two-person improv show, Razowsky & Clifford. After that was Stand-Up on the Spot: The Improvised Stand Up Show with Jeremiah Watkins. It involved a variety of stand-up comedians performing sets on-the-fly based on audience suggestions. I didn’t find all of them funny, but some certainly were. The night ended with an Improv Jam. I watched, but I didn’t participate.

Saturday, May 10

I started the day watching some Spectacles Improv Engine – specifically Ghostlight and FlySpace. Both are some of my favorite teams, with FlySpace performing more traditional scenes and Ghostlight always performing hilariously spooky scenes. I really like Ghostlight, and it’s surprising how often I get into the stories they conceive.

Following Spectacles was the Epic Open Mic, in which people tried their hands at stand-up. I think they were all students or recent graduates.

Next was another highlight of the festival – Twilight Zone UnScripted by Impro Theatre. It really felt like I was watching a couple hours of Twilight Zone episodes! I was pretty blown away. For each “episode,” the group would take a simple suggestion from the audience on which to base their performance. I saw a man haunted by vivid war flashbacks, a long line of mayors put in place by aliens, a woman preyed upon by memories of a fire in her childhood and scared of s’mores, and more. Impro Theatre also performing in other styles as well. I’d particularly love to see one of their westerns!

There were two more shows. First, there was The 313, who were very funny. The festival ended with Delicious Moments, a two-man improv team. I don’t know if it was just for this show or if they always do it, but their gimmick was that they each performed multiple roles at the same time and would run back and forth between them. They’d even interrupt the show at times to recap who was on stage under the guise of reminding themselves (but also, most likely, for comedic effect). It was very interesting and amusing. I like it when improv comedians/teams have a gimmick that make them stand out a bit.

And that was the 2014 Coup de Comedy Festival! There were so many talented people performing. It was fun to see Tony Hale, and of course I already know iRev, LNP, and Spectacles. I would totally love to see Sky & Nancy Collins, The Resistance, ClownMa dell’Arte, U-Sical, or Impro Theatre again. Hopefully I’ll have that opportunity in the future!

Puppet Mayhem goes to hell

Puppet Mayhem goes to hell

Last night was the last Puppet Mayhem for a while. The gang went to hell to travel through the circles of hell to rescue their friends. We took our friend Jackie to the show with us, and I think she enjoyed it. I know I had a lot of fun.

Puppet Mayhem goes to hell

My favorite one-liner from the show was, and I’m paraphrasing from memory, “your mama’s like a waffle iron, in the mornings I fill her with my batter.” Now what disgusting human being puppet would say that? One that wouldn’t normally talk like that, actually.

After the show I saw that Puppet Mayhem was selling shirts! Of course, I had to buy one. Good times!

Spectacle’s Star Wars show

Star Wars Improv Show

Saturday, May the Fourth, was Star Wars day. (It’s a pun on “May the Force be with you,” but you all knew that already, right?) Spectacles Improv performed a Star Wars show, and as a fan of both improv and Star Wars, I couldn’t miss it.

The show was awesome. There were a lot of people I liked, and it’d be hard to talk about specifics. But I’m going to do so anyways. Alex was Yoda and the Emperor. He was great, and his make-up was especially fantastic. I also liked Jac as the Imperial cadet quite a bit. Lloyd was a funny C-3PO; I enjoyed it when he translated Chewbacca’s song. In another scene, he was being carried by Chewbacca. I forget the exact game, but it was one in which people step forward when they have something to say. The person playing Chewbacca walked to the front of the stage backwards, effectively volunteering Lloyd as C-3PO. They probably talked about it ahead of time, but it was still really funny. Also, check out Lando in the picture on the left. I forget the name of the performer, but I liked his costume!

After the Star Wars show, I saw Lloyd in the lobby, and I had the opportunity to introduce myself to him. I was critical of him on the blog previously, and I just felt like he had a right to know who I was. I plan on coming to a lot of shows in the future, and I don’t want to awkwardly feel like I’m hiding. He was very nice, I enjoyed talking with him. Plus to be completely honest, he’s becoming one of my favorite performers! He’s particularly witty and quick-thinking.

After a brief break, there was a Comedy Kaze show. They performed 45 scenes in 45 minutes, with the scene names coming from suggestions written before the show. My scene was “super itchy,” which they turned into a scene about a superhero named Super Itchy. His nemesis was Wool Sweater. gem’s scene was “a Cinco de Mayo Miracle.” In that scene, someone brought tequila to a party. They thought it would only last a short time, but miraculously it lasted for days!

It was a very entertaining night, even if I was jittery because of coffee!

Spectacles and ImprovCity

I saw some more improv this weekend! Friday after going dancing, we went to STAGEStheatre to watch Laugh Chance and The Friday Society. They were both really funny. Laugh Chance is the team that chooses games randomly. It’s a pretty great way of making the show different than other improv teams without really having to change much. I also wonder how much knowing what games you’re about to play helps a player. Maybe it’s a bigger change than I think. The Friday Society was very entertaining as well. I was pretty sleepy the first time I saw them, so it was nice to stay awake for it. gem didn’t drink coffee, and she struggled a little. Hopefully I’ll be back for more Spectacles in two weeks.

Last night I saw ImprovCity’s Cubed Comedy Matches. The night consisted of three teams of three with each team consisting two ImprovCity members and one of their high school students. The students were definitely talented! It seemed like a really great opportunity for them. I’m starting to get a feel for more of the players, which just makes it funnier as I learn their personalities. They had a particularly great town meeting, but I also liked when one performer decided to be the Bible’s Joseph for an advice game.

There was also a raffle for various prizes such as bread, games of bowling, passes to Boomer’s, and ImprovCity tickets. The biggest prizes were signed artwork by local artist Ryan Eduad. Guess who won? Well, quite a few people because there were a number of gifts, but what I care about is that I won as well! I won a print called The Soul Collector. Feel free to click the link to check it out.

OC Improv Fest feedback

Earlier this week I was surprised to find that Graham Beightol of the OC Improv Cup, Cherry Spitz, and the Friday Society, commented on my previous post. He thanked me for attending, asked if I could provide feedback on ways to improve for next year, and asked permission to use my photos in future promotions. I was pretty surprised (and not just because my photos were so bad).

I’m guessing they were Googling for feedback on the festival and came across WebPageless. I provided some feedback and gave my permission to use the photos. The festival was great not only as an event in itself but also as a way to get to know so many different teams. Hopefully I’ll check out more Spectacles improv in the future – possibly this weekend.

Austin Floyd, of whom I was critical in my previous posts, also commented. He said, “I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.” He went on to offer to cover my next ticket to a Spectacles show, which was very nice of him. We exchanged e-mails, and he even mentioned singling out his friends as part of his hosting. Honestly, it didn’t cross my mind that he might know those people.

I wanted to make clear here what a funny performer he’s been when I’ve seen him and how nice he was when he contacted me. After talking to him, I’m looking forward to seeing him host again. Maybe I’ll throw him a bad suggestion or two!