Besides being Charleston’s resident improv potentates, The Have Nots! are also responsible for putting together one of Piccolo Spoleto’s most popular series: Piccolo Fringe. Brandy Sullivan, Greg Tavares, and Timmy Finch have been busy coordinating over 20 local and national acts for the festival, but they took the time to sit down for a quick Q&A.
City Paper: You guys are celebrating your 15th anniversary. How do you keep it fresh? How do you keep from killing each other?
Brandy Sullivan: We are really excited to be celebrating 15 years together. Timmy is a full-time attorney now and Greg and I are the full-time co-artistic directors for Theatre 99 and Piccolo Fringe, so the three of us are not together all of the time like we used to be for so many years. Getting together for our shows is fun because we get to catch up... It’s great to still be able to perform regularly after all this time. I don’t know of a lot of improv groups who have been together for 15 years with the same members.
CP: Do you have any rituals or anything you do to get ready for your shows?
BS: No official “warm up,” but there is a sort of ritual of getting together early and hanging out before the show. There are always funny moments in the green room.
CP: What/who inspires you to be funny?
BS: The people I perform with always make me want to be the best scene partner I can be. My husband Sean has been working with us in the booth since 1997 and he inspires me.
CP: Do you have any favorite Fringe memories? Any horrible ones?
BS: Spalding Gray, definitely. Tiny Ninja Theater presents “Macbeth” was amazing. The Cody Rivers Show blew our minds with different shows four years in a row. We Used to Go Out was hysterical. FrankenMatt, WeirDass, Scheer/McBrayer, Rode Hard and Put Away Wet, and so many others were inspiring shows.Â The Finale shows have all been highlights. I can go on and on.Â There are some audience members who come and support Piccolo Fringe every year and that means so much to us. Talking with audiences after a show and knowing they enjoyed it is great. Tougher moments: Trachtenburg Family Slideshow was tough because of technical issues. That’s all I’d like to say about that.
CP: Tell us about some of the acts you have at Fringe. How do you choose them? Who are some of your favorites?
BS: All of the shows are awesome and there is quite a variety. Greg and I consider each of them a feather in the “Piccolo Fringe cap.” Having the UCB Touring Company back for the sixth year in a row is very exciting — They always bring the heat. One Man Star Wars and Man 1, Bank 0 are back again, too, which is a real treat. Wanderlust is a great show by Martin Dockery that is new to Piccolo Fringe this year and it is very special. He’s one heck of a storyteller. Mary Kay Has a Posse is performing this week. After seven years together, we are still having a blast. The Complete History of Charleston for Morons is hilarious and a Piccolo crowd favorite. Big Dicktionary and Doppelganger are teaming up this year — this doubles the bang for the buck. The Banana MANologues has added a female (Camille Lowman) to the cast and it’s been doing really well... Definitely worth seeing again if you’ve seen it in past years.