TCIF 2015 Performing Groups
The Away Team – We’re not from here. Seven improvisers from different stylistic and geographical backgrounds coming together as a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Fast-paced, chimaeric, and playful.
Bearded Men Improv – The Bearded Men! We weave epic tales of heart-warming proportions. We harken back to the days of the storytelling bards and mix it with a modern scenic charm. One suggestion catapults our audience into an epic journey ranging from the aisles of a shopping center to forbidden planets, from the high seas to the old west… always crafted with a hint of danger, romance and a dash of spectacle. So sharpen your swords, grab your high heels, and get ready for one hell of an adventure.
The Brave New Workshop has been performing original satirical sketch comedy and improvisation since 1958, longer than any other theatre in the United States. In the more than 50 years since its founding, the Brave New Workshop has put on more than 250 original productions and exposed over 3 million people to the theatre’s unapologetic and unwavering, brand of comedy and improvisation.
Cagies is a Los Angeles based long form improv team and features Matt Newell (Upright Citizens Brigade’s Harold Night & Maude Night, Comedy Bang Bang!) and Erin Whitehead (Wild Horses, Upright Citizens Brigade, Comedy Bang Bang!). Matt and Erin performed together on UCB Harold team Kid Grift before forming Cagies. They’re thrilled to perform at TCIF!
ComedySportz is a fast-paced, high-energy show that combines the unpredictability of improv comedy with the excitement of a live sporting event! Two teams face off in unscripted games and scenes using audience suggestions while a referee hosts the show and ensures good sportsmanship. Also making it unique, ComedySportz is an all-ages event – fun enough for your bachelor party, but clean enough for your Grandma!
Drew & Matt – When Drew moved back to Minneapolis in 2012 after a decade of traveling the country in search of more improv, Matt was the first guy to reach out and offer to play. They spent a year perfecting their craft together together before hitting the stage for the first time, and have rocked HUGE Theater and other Minneapolis and St Paul stages since. Matt brings decades of acting experience, some serious improv chops, and a boomingly beautiful voice. While Drew brings an all you can eat buffet of improv styles (UCB, Dave Razowsky, Jill Bernard, etc.) he picked up and developed in his travels around the country. Both are also charmingly balding.
DUMMY – Jason Shotts and Colleen Doyle have been improv performers for a combined 30 years. Their two-person improv show “Dummy” has performed for audiences in Copenhagen, Rome, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Washington DC, Traverse City and Gainesville. In 2015, they’re excited to be adding London and Minneapolis to that list. While performing at the iO Theater in Chicago, their show was awarded “Best Improv Show” in 2013 and 2014.
Feel Good About Yourself Orchestra – The Feel Good About Yourself Orchestra is a two-person improvised musical, featuring Jill Bernard of HUGE Theater and Doug Neithercott of the Children’s Theater Company of Minneapolis. They’ve been improvising musicals together for twenty years at ComedySportz, and are pleased to present their world-class combination of choreography, harmony, and perversity.
Ferrari Mcspeedy Ferrari McSpeedy is a sketch comedy and improv duo based in Minneapolis, MN. Since 2001, Ferrari McSpeedy has been entertaining and/or alienating audiences with their high-energy, emotionally-charged improv and sketch comedy.
Ferrari McSpeedy’s festival show is a is a tightly-knit long-form montage full of energy, emotion, and a commitment to character-based scene work. Inspired by one simple suggestion from the audience, FMcS will go on a journey from the grotesque to the sublime and everywhere in between. Bonus! There will also be chances for the audience to yell along.
Ferrari McSpeedy has performed in the Twin Cities Improv Festival, the Minnesota Fringe Festival, the Chicago Improv Festival, the Tournament of Wonders in Toronto, the Stumptown Improv Festival, the Vancouver International Improv Fest, and probably a few other places. FMcS also directed the International Ensemble at the 2014 Vancouver International Improv Festival.
Ferrari McSpeedy is Mike Fotis and Joe Bozic.
For A Good Time Call is a long-form improv team consisting of four funny ladies. Marisol Chavez is a Torch Theater graduate. Gretchen Kinder rolls with these ladies and is a main stage performer at National Comedy Theater-Phoenix. Sara Palmer is a Torch Theatre graduate and performs in the weekly Torch Theatre show, Skewed News. Stina Sieg is a Torch Theatre graduate. After forging a crazy affinity for each other at The Torch Theatre, this group naturally came together in 2013. These girls found a bond that stretched beyond improvising on stage together. Road trips, adventures in dining and “getting weird” became common themes among this group as they melded their friendship. They have performed at the 2014 Red Rocks Improv Festival and the 2015 San Diego Improv Festival. They have the honor of being coached by Stacey Reed-Hanlon, of Mail Order Bride.
Foterson – Self-described as being as “close as two people can be without ever
having had sex, every FOTERSON set is akin to a tornado of laughter slamming into the mobile home of your sensibility. In fact, if you were to take finely honed comedic chops, years of friendship, a passionate love of the weird, add some milk and ice cream, and then put all of those things in a blender, you’d get a milkshake that perfectly describes FOTERSON.
Gay/Straight Alliance The Gay/Straight Alliance, featuring Twin Cities improv veterans Doug Neithercott and Tim Hellendrung, is dedicated to changing the world…one improv set at a time.
Girls Girls Girls is Austin, Texas’s original all-female musical theater improvisation troupe. Our specialty is creating full-length improvised musicals from a single audience suggestion. In other words the Girls and our live musicians make up the songs, dances, characters, and stories that create one complete, blow-your-socks-off musical…and we do it, completely on the fly.
Girls Girls Girls is honored to be B. Iden Payne Award winners, and have had the pleasure of performing in festivals in New York City, Minneapolis, Seattle, North Carolina, Atlanta, Dallas and of course our home of Austin, Texas where GGG has taken the honor of Best of the Week in multiple years of Frontera Fest at Hyde Park Theater; as well as recognition as Austin’s Best Improv Troupe in the Austin Chronicle. GGG founded the Ladies Are Funny Festival (L.A.F.F.), a comedy showcase for women from around the world in 2006.
We have been an artistic collective since September 2003, and currently we are comprised of 8 cast members (and 3 musicians). We strive to present shows that have fun story arcs and clearly recognizable musical theater elements. However the fun doesn’t stop there for GGG! As a part of our development, we are continually designing new techniques for incorporating the nuances of musicals into an improvised performance.
Honey is a sweet substance created by the group mind of bees. Honey is also a sweet improv show created by the group mind of 5 New York City improvisers. Scenes are created with strong vision of group mind (ala 4-track) that finds the team moving together as one person. Think Voltron, on stage. Inspired by 4-Track and Armando Diaz, Honey plays at the Magnet Theater in New York City.
Honey was an official selection of the 2012 Detroit Improv Festival and the 2012 Fall Back Festival in Rochester, NY. Nick Armstrong of IO West described Honey as the “perfect example of group mind on stage”
We were pretty honored by that one. Thanks Nick.
Horseface is a Twin Cities-based improvisational comedy trio, here to take you down a deep, dark well where you might find your long-lost childhood, a happy cheeseburger franchise, the sting of 1,000 panic attacks or a bucket — it could just be a bucket.
Formed by three of the Twin Cities most irregular improvisers, Horseface tightropes the line between the daily grind and the absurd once-in-a-lifetime for a show that is surreal yet familiar. Serious yet ridiculous.
Give them a suggestion. They’ll give you a show. Simple. Sassy. No regrets, lassie. Come — they love you already.
The Houlihans are a featured house team at the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theater. They perform The Slingshot, a unique form that blends character and narrative arcs around quick revolving edits. Off-beat and irreverent, The Houlihans continue the historic BNW tradition for audiences around the Twin Cities. Described by local legend Jill Bernard as “a master class in the game of the scene”, The Houlihans are Smart, Honest, Fun.
Interplanetary Appeal – Twin Cities veteran duo Interplanetary Appeal (James Rone and Jake Scott) revives their very first improv show: Deadline – A Choose Your Own Adventure Story. Incorporating audience suggestions and choices, Rone and Scott spontaneously create a world of emotionally grounded absurdity.
KINGS is a fearless adventure into the absurd and surreal; a melting of improv and experiment. Bringing together 8 of the most talented improvisers in the city, KINGS invite you into their world of the unexpected.
Kiss Kiss Slap explores best friendship through disgustingly adorable improv. By examining the lives of couples and how they interact with one other, Mike and Lauren learn what it truly means to be partners. It’s like “When Harry met Sally” but with more tongue.
Ladyfriend – Individually, we are Jen van Kaam, Beth Gibbs, and Becky Hauser; together we are Ladyfriend. Ladyfriend is a group of three Twin Cities improvisers who found each other through chance and bonded through the love of robots, ice cream and bad movies. Each time Ladyfriend hits the stage, the show is entirely improvised. It has not happened before and it will not happen again. Ladyfriend shows are equal parts smart and silly. At a Ladyfriend show, discover a world where the Queen of England cannot stop making puns or a tough police chief gets the hiccups. You never know what will happen during a Ladyfriend show, and the best part? We don’t know either.
License to Krill is the duo of Kristen Pichette and Will Roberts, who utilize their inimitable chemistry and fearless onstage intimacy to create scenes that are filthy, dark, and yet undeniably cute. Their sets are full of weirdness and emotionally grounded moments of pure authenticity.
Liv & Bradley explore relationships through a series of six possible scenes, performed at random based off the roll of a die. They focus on one relationship per show, with the scenes representing the major stages of the relationship. We see the evolution of a couple meeting, *really* meeting, experiencing a “big up,” a “big down,” a separation, and reunion. Any scene could be chosen at any time, often more than once.
Mayhem combines Hannah Wydeven and Butch Roy’s styles with dark and ridiculous results
KNOW THIS!!! We will rock you.
Minnesota Snow Job combines economic discourse with a supervillian ethics class. After performing together for more than a dozen years, this long-form duo (originally formed in Rochester, NY) is known for their physical style, unusual articulation and charming banter. MNSJ has been described as irreverent, narrative and dangerous.
Potty Talk – Katelyn Oliver and Laura Helmers make up Potty Talk, a dynamic duo from Houston, Texas. Potty Talk is a troupe specializing in exploring a whimsical world filled with deep characters through organic discoveries and dedicated object work. It is delightful for audiences to watch how the duos’ synchronized energy develops the story. They’ll make you laugh. They’ll make you cry. They’ll make you pee a little.
SchmidtHead SchmidtHead is Los Angeles duo Emily Schmidt and Erin Whitehead. They can be seen performing around LA at venues like The Clubhouse, improvising delightful monoscenes of various lengths. They can also be seen drinking white wine and going to bed early. Emily and Erin will host OMG: Before We Got Our Lady Bits together at UCB’s Inner Sanctum this summer, and you can also see Erin perform with Cagies at TCIF and with Wild Horses at Upright Citizens Brigade Los Angeles
Sea Tea Improv – Sea Tea Improv is Connecticut’s premiere improv comedy company. Formed in 2009, Sea Tea Improv has performed over 300 shows across the East Coast and been featured in a variety of festivals including the Del Close Marathon, the Boston Comedy Arts Festival, and the DC Improv Festival, as well as media outlets including NPR’s Colin McEnroe Show, ESPN’s The Beat, and the Travel Channel. Sea Tea Improv’s members have been trained at Hartford Stage, Improv Boston, Upright Citizens Brigade, and The PIT. In 2012, Sea Tea Improv opened the first professional studio dedicated to the study of comedy in central CT.
Sibling Rivalry – From Chicago, Sibling Rivalry is the joining of two groups who once shared a coach. Now joined, they are more powerful than they were apart. Each member of Sibling Rivalry has been trained in acting and improv. Their experience performing ranges from Second City to iO Chicago to Groundlings, etc.
A typical Sibling Rivalry show begins with two actors on stage taking note of each others’ body language and beginning a scene based on how they view one another. Sibling Rivalry seeks to patiently explore relationships and allow scenes to unfold as naturally as possible. Sure, they once fought for the affection of their coach, but now they only care about each other.
Switch Committee has been scorching the Chicago improv scene for the last two years. After hundreds of performances in smaller venues and bars, Charna Halpern, founder of the iO Theater, discovered the team and immediately gave them two simultaneous runs at the iO theater. Switch Committee headlines Thursday nights at 8pm in the iO’s Cabaret theater, The bloggers love Switch Committee!!! Choose Chicago asserts that Switch Committee is a “must see,” branding them both “dynamite and fearless”. According to Gapers Block, Switch Committee is “fast, furious and physical,” while Life’s a Funny Scene declares that “these guys just might be the next Cook County Social Club.”
Each show starts with an honest conversation based on audience suggestion.
From there, Switch Committee is a controlled chaos teeming with outlandish physicality, hyper-listening, and seamless transformations between scenes. With deft play making and quick groupwork, Switch attacks each scene, allowing nothing to go unnoticed, bringing the fun out of any situation and theme.
Tandem – Leslie Mitchell and Jeff De Leon are Tandem, a long form duo bound and determined to make the world a slightly better place through improvisation. Or just a little bit funnier, at the very least.
With over 30 years of improv shows between them, De Leon & Mitchell bring you a plethora of strong characters alongside a sickeningly vast knowledge range of sports, cinema, and pop culture.
All of this combined creates the improv partnership that is Tandem.
Virgina Slims is Laura Eichhorn and Pepper Berry a two person long form improv comedy team that takes a single suggestion from the audience and uses it to perform a one act play at times playing multiple characters within the story.
When Laura and Pepper are not performing around Los Angeles, they are writing sketch shows or touring the festival circuit around the country playing such places as the Dallas Comedy Festival, the Chicago Improv Festival, San Diego Improv Festival, Detroit Improv Festival, and the Boston Comedy Festival. They love airports and hotels these two!
Where I Am Now – Silent comedy, clowning, cartoons, geekiness, and general goof-offery drive Gregory Parks to strange and charming places. Whether wrangling a ridiculously long loose thread, chasing vampire children in the park, or playing a multi-level game of hopscotch, words are sometimes props, but never crutches. The best stuff happens without the words.