Improv Marathon 

Fast and Funny: The improv marathons are good even with your clothes on

Improv Marathon
Fri. Jan. 16, 7:30 p.m.
Sat. Jan. 17, 9 p.m.
Sid Viscous!, Horse & House, and Rockola
Stars at The American Theater

Improv Marathon
Fri. Jan. 16, 9 p.m.
Lead McEnroe, Elvis Meets Einstein, and Best Friends
Stars at The American Theater

Sat. Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m.
Lead McEnroe, Mister Diplomat, and Best Friends
Stars at The American Theater

Quick, say something funny.

See? Improv ain't easy. With no script, having to produce material on the spot would make many wet their pants. Fortunately, the seven acts participating in this year's Improv Marathons are seasoned pros at pulling laughs from thin air.

In improv, one person on stage can say something that spins the entire story in a new direction. Everyone plays along, adding new twists and ideas.

Timothy Eberle, of New York's five-man Lead McEnroe, recalls a show that took an international turn.

"We ended up playing a scene in which two Russian teenagers were paying a cabbie to drive them all around Moscow looking for Vladimir Putin, so they could moon him," recalls Eberle.

Lead McEnroe's manager, Ginger Vallen, is a College of Charleston grad and former Theatre 99 performer. Like most with connections to the Lowcountry, they're excited about meeting and reuniting with other comedy groups — and drinking at local bars. McEnroe says they won't miss the Upper Deck, while the Best Friends heap praise on Charleston Beer Works.

New York's Sid Viscous! walks the line between sketch and improv, with heavily themed shows, including a "Sid Viscous! on ICE!" spectacular, during which they all wear roller skates on stage for the entire show.

"Every move is ridiculously dangerous," member Kevin Gottlieb says. "Our improv skills are constantly challenged by the constant motion."

Horse and House, a four-man group from Washington, D.C., also moves between sketch and improv comedy. Their style jumps from one scenario to another, like improv for the Ritalin generation.

Atlanta troupe Einstein Meets Elvis makes a point to visit local landmarks when on the road. They use whatever material they find in their routines.

Atlanta's Dad's Garage returns with Rockola!, a show inspired by the jukebox company of the same name. Meanwhile, Raleigh's Mister Diplomat proves the South can hang with comedic big boys up north. You never know what they're going to say next. Fortunately, for Comedy Fest audiences, the country's best are converging in the Holy City.

2009 Charleston Comedy Festival


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