Tag Archives: improv

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.

Coup de Comedy Festival 2015 featuring Kindred Hearts singing to gem

The Coup de Comedy Festival 2015 was this weekend, hosted by UCI’s Improv Revolution – a four day festival celebrating all sorts of comedy. Wednesday opened with Improv Revolution and Live Nude People playing together, referring to themselves as Nude* Revolution. Great name, and great comedy.

It was followed by The Resistance. They were amazing last year, so I was really looking forward to them this year. The video at the top depicts a flashback scene they performed of a pirate’s curse. The Resistance improvises action movies. This one was about kids finding a skeleton with a map to a treasure, full of karate, the nerd winning the girl, and useless adults. I didn’t realize until that day that Derek Mears, who I had just seen with Dr. God, was performing with them. Awesome!

Here’s another scene near the end – a karate montage.

The night ended with Delicious Moments, a duo who switches characters rapidly, usually going back and forth between roles during a single conversation. It’s, uh, long-form, I suppose. They don’t really do scenes exactly. They just talk on stage about their show, and then things happen. It’s pretty funny.

Thursday started with Improv X, but I didn’t catch it. My comedy Thursday started with KINDRED THROATS! They don’t style their name like that or anything. I just really loved them.

Kindred Throats consists of Kevin Stafford and Tom Risenmay who play guitar, sing, and generally act hilarious. Unlike most of what I’d seen so far at the festival, Kindred Throats performed sketch rather than improv (although bits are of course improvised).

This was the only show gem could attend, and I’m glad she did. During one part of the show, Kindred Throats began talking about various historic seats in the theater, including the two seats in the front for lovers. One pointed out gem and me and while the other pointed out gem and the guy sitting on her other side. They kept amusingly confirming that they were looking at the same two people while obviously being in disagreement until settling on gem and the other guy.

Once they were singing directly to gem, I had to record it, and you can see the video above. Basically, they’d get to parts in the song where they’d talk about something the lovers would do, and then they’d abruptly stop and stare until they did it. God it was funny, and I think gem really enjoyed it too.

After the show, I watched Sparks to Fire, which was a bit stand-up, a bit improv, and… a man eating a cactus?

L.A. Beast was there. I hadn’t heard of him, but he’s a competitive eater who also eats strange things on YouTube for entertainment. I saw him eat a dozen raw eggs, including the shells, a whole, raw cactus, and three ghost peppers. He apologized to the women in the audience, noting that his male fan base is much larger than his female fan base.

After the show was Stand-Up on the Spot with Jeremiah Watkins, but I skipped it. I did, however, see Kevin and Tom from Kindred Throats outside getting ready to leave. gem was on her way back to UCI, hoping to bring them homemade cookies. After telling them about the cookies, they agreed to stay and wait, so I had a chance to talk to them for a bit.

They really were in disagreement over who to pick. One wanted to pick gem and me and realized we were there together, while the other wanted to choose gem and the other guy because the other guy was using his phone to record the entire time. They said sometimes they choose people who are obviously together, sometimes they choose obvious strangers, and once they just chose two guys who were clearly just friends.

Coup de Comedy 2015

I think they enjoyed their cookies!

I didn’t attend Friday at all. I missed some Open Mic, Red Door & Triumph, The Mechanicals, OBGY-Not Sketch Show, and Stand-Up with Zoe Rose Moacanin.

Saturday was the last day (and a bit annoying due to breaks). It began with Second City’s Really Awesome Improv Show followed by a two hour break.

Coup de Comedy 2015

I spent that break taking a picture with Peter the Anteater.

Coup de Comedy 2015

Two pictures, actually.

And I also read Scott Pilgrim and messed around on my phone.

Coup de Comedy 2015

I also found this graffiti. THIS ART: FULL OF POOP?

After the break was Doctor Who Live! – an improvised episode of Doctor Who. I don’t really care for Doctor Who, but it was still entertaining. After another two hour break during which I read more, I watched the Count Gumdrop improv performance, which was pretty funny. The night ended with Impro Theatre’s Chekhov UnScripted and Revolutionary Comedy Award honoring Keegan-Michael Key, but I bailed on those to head to my friend’s place for a game night.

It was a laugh-filled weekend!

ImprovCity’s Comic Book Day show and Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

Friday night was ImprovCity’s Comic Book Day Show, and it was a lot of fun. The cast all dressed as comic book characters. There’s Alex in the center in his Rocket Raccoon costume. It’s definitely not Bark.

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

They gave out free comics too! I got Legendary Star-Lord #5 and Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #1.

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

The show was hosted by Lumpy the Space Princess Lumpy Space Princess, and she did a good job as her too!

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

Here’s another shot of the performers. I wanted to ensure one with Speed Racer’s helmet got posted too. After the show, a lot of us went to BJ’s. I got a nice low calories salad, a martini, and then a delicious and unhealthy pizookie.

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

Today’s actually Free Comic Book Day, so I headed to Alakazam. I got the Jurassic Strike Force 5 one-shot, Terrible Lizard, Bodie Troll, Fight Club, and BOOM! Studios Ten Year Celebration 2015 Free Comic Book Day Special. I’m excited to sit down with these later, but I have plans tonight. I just finished preparing food for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight potluck. Hopefully Pacquiao wins!

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.

ImprovCity’s Thursday Nightmare performs four hits

Thursday night I saw ImprovCity’s second Thursday Nightmare. They take a name and short synopsis of a B-movie horror films and improv a performance of it. It’s pretty hilarious! My friend Alex Bower came up with it, and I was super excited to see it, especially because I missed the first one due to being sick (stupid bees).

At the request of another friend who couldn’t be there because… well, the poor woman is being forced to live far away from home in some strange land known as “Paris, France,” away from ImprovCity and… well, it’s just so sad that I can’t continue. But she asked me to record it so she could watch! Here they are! And don’t forget to change the quality setting so it doesn’t look too blurry.

First there was Night of the Leapest. Watch out!

Next was Ice Scream with a very strange premise.

C.H.U.D.? This is pretty great and should be the official version.

The night ended with The Host. And no, it’s not the the Stephanie Meyer title.

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.

Stand-up paddleboarding, the beach, yoga, and more

stand-up paddleboarding

On Sunday I went stand-up paddleboarding with Kaylin, gem, and Anela. I’d been wanting to do so for a while, and I’m glad I had the chance. It was a lot of fun and not very difficult at all really. However, my toes really wanted to grip the board! I managed to avoid falling in the water not that there’s anything wrong with that… I didn’t even hit the water when attempting L-sit practice on the board.

Beach day and stand-up paddle boarding

One house near the beach kept a bowl and dog treats outside near their gate! It was a pretty cool idea. They must be dog lovers!

Beach day and stand-up paddle boarding

After we finished stand-up paddleboarding, Kaylin had to leave, but gem, Anela, and I had lunch at Bear Flag Fish Co. Delicious as usual! Afterwards we headed down to the beach. It was a great day.

Beach day and stand-up paddle boarding

These two got scared by a ghost (or possibly thought it was bright). Who can know for sure?

Afterwards we did hot yoga at Purple Yoga because gem’s been raving about that instructor. She was right; he’s pretty great.

When I got home, I wanted to collapse, but I also wanted to eat, so I ate/collapsed.

Beach day and stand-up paddle boarding

And then gem showed up to drop off some blueberry bread she baked. It was thick, so she told me that it was basically two slices. I had already brushed, flossed, etc., but it was warm so I had to try some. And then I ate the whole thing. It’s a good thing bread doesn’t make you fat (otherwise Scott Pilgrim would be fat).


I did a couple other things over the weekend too. On Friday I went to ImprovCity with Jessica, and we saw Alex host. Woo! He’s a great host. On Saturday I went to the Dub with Collin and Niki and met Mimi there to watch the World Cup. Jamie tried to get by with just shaking my hand, but I wouldn’t allow it. He’s a good hugger, too!

Now I need another weekend.

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!

Celebrate UCI / Wayzgoose 2014

Today was Wayzgoose! I always really enjoy returning to UCI for Wayzgoose. It might be more fun now that I’ve graduated because there’s a novelty to looking around. There are campus tours, booths for all the organizations, performances, a car show, and in past years a small medieval showing (although I didn’t see any this year). While not part of the festivities, there are usually a lot of dogs on campus, which is a plus to me.

gem found a ukulele buddy

One booth didn’t seem to be setup yet, but it did have a guy playing his ukulele! gem joined him, and they played together for a little bit, teaching each other.

I had some spam musubi, lumpia, and chicken kabobs, which were all delicious. I was going to get a shawarma from the Muslim Student Union like I do every year, but I wasn’t hungry enough today. We also checked out the cars at the car show. I like looking at the Model As the best.

gem is poop

The medical center had a giant inflatable colon. In this photo, gem is poop.

We also ran into some Improv Revolution members inside the colon and discussed improv. It was fun!

Malignant Polyp

I’m ready to begin the operation! This reminds of me of Trauma Center: Under the Knife.

engineering tower

We walked back to our car by passing through the courtyard between Engineering Tower and the ICS building. gem took my photo in front of Engineering Tower.

Engineering Tower, UCI

And I took one too.

gem plays ukulele at UCI

gem stopped to play ukulele near Engineering Gateway too.

I still think UCI’s a really beautiful school. I can’t help but think, “I’d like to go to school here,” even though I already did.