Bad roommates, hip-hop, and an indie spirit inspire these improv groups 

An All-Star Lineup

Squirm and Germ wiggle their way into our hearts

Stacey Joy

Squirm and Germ wiggle their way into our hearts

If you can't decide between a musical improv show and a traditional one, this Comedy Marathon will give you the best of both worlds. You'll see one of Chicago's premier groups, a Comedy Fest favorite from New York, and a hip-hop comedy duo.

Upstairs Gallery All Stars

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Upstairs Gallery All Stars began in 2012 in the second floor of a Chicago art gallery, in what used to be a music studio. There, they welcomed independent comedy troupes and Harold teams (a type of long-form improv) from across the city, offering an alternative to the well-established comedy theaters Second City, The IO, and The Annoyance.

Then, fresh off of winning Chicago Reader's "Best Underground Artspace 2014," they decided to shut down their theater.

The group that will be performing in Charleston is made up of people who performed in the Upstairs Gallery theater while it was open, and includes Charleston natives Henry Riggs and Maari Suorsa.

"The show begins with a group scene, and then goes wherever the show needs to," Honnet says. "Just like no two lineups for the All Stars are ever the same, no two shows will ever follow the same structure — the team's unique personalities and performance styles guide the show in different and unexpected ways. It will be a loose and fun show."

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What's the weirdest living situation you've ever had? AirWolf is a seven-piece improv group that has been performing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York since 2011, and they want to hear your roommate horror stories.

Cast member Ben Rameaka explains how it works. "We ask people about messed-up living situations. We then use that interview as inspiration for a 25-30 minute improvised set." Some characters from past sets include "a landlord that passively mentions that he is a Holocaust survivor every time he drops by the apartment, and a female roommate that travels by motorized scooter to work who describes her vivid sexual dreams from the night before every morning at the breakfast table," says Rameaka.

You may have seen Rameaka and his fellow cast members Eddie Dunn, Adam Frucci, John Frusciante, Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, and Achilles Stamatelaky on Comedy Central, The Onion News Network, ESPN, Nickelodeon, and Adult Swim, among many others.

Squirm & Germ

Hailing from New York City, comedic musical duo Tim Girrbach and Rodney Umble have been performing as their hip-hop alter egos Squirm & Germ since 2010. Before that, they were part of a sketch group. "Our hip-hop characters were actually formed during the last year of our sketch group," Rodney Umber (Germ) recalls. "We did a song about the Netipot and had so much fun with the characters and the vibe that we just had to continue."

After "The Netipot" (as in that nasty instrument that irrigates fluid out of your sinuses) started it all, their song "Maine, MoFo" was nominated for an INNY award in 2012 for best Comedy Song and Video. This is where Squirm & Germ find their laughs: the juxtaposition of a hip-hop sound with yuppy subjects. If you want to get a taste of Squirm & Germ before the show, you can check out their music videos on YouTube or their 2011 album Late Bloomers, available on iTunes and Amazon or to stream on Spotify.



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