Submitted by bcaf on Fri, 2012-09-07 09:35
Now that we're mid-BCAF, I want to take this opportunity to thank the quiet heroes of the Boston Comedy Arts Festival. Year after year, volunteers from the community step up and make sure that each night goes smoothly by passing out flyers, checking in performers, guiding people to the right shows and generally keeping the chaotic festival environment sane. I'm grateful to the many people who stepped up to volunteer this year, especially the people who jumped in last minute. The list below contains ImprovBoston performers, students, local artists and much more.
A huge thanks to each of them for making BCAF possible.
BCAF QUIET HEROES:
Andrea Lathrop, Annie Kozakiewicz, Ben Walsh, Bobby Smithney, Colleen Moriarty, Dan Chapman, Daniel Saunders, Jay Milano, Jesselynn Opie, Judith Nathans, Kelsey McLaughlin, Kevin Quigley, Laurel Fitzsimmons, Lauren Magnuson, MaryAnn Cicala, Melissa Paradice, Milo MacPhail, Nate Lopez, Peter Overzet, Russell Sickinger, Sarah Pelrin, Shane Tully, Shawn Musgrave, Skim Kimball, Steve Sarro, Thomas Towell, Tim Hannafin
Director of Volunteers
Submitted by bcaf on Thu, 2012-09-06 12:04
As a freelance publicist, I get to represent a lot of things from heady experimental pieces, to dance, to musical theatre and much more. One my biggest joys is getting to do PR for events like the Boston Comedy Arts Festival. There is nothing more thrilling than promoting a event that gets people out of their houses for an evening to laugh. I have been working in comedy PR for over four years and festivals are one of the aspects of my comedy work that I truly love. (Who wouldn’t? I get to correspond with a lot of funny people, REALLY FUNNY PEOPLE, from all over the country, A LOT).
This year, it has been a thrill to see the Boston area pick up on how great this year’s Fest truly is.
Did you see that cover of the Boston Globe’s Entertainment section?
Check out the BCAF Press Roundup:
Boston Comedy Arts Festival takes a ‘Risk!
Boston Globe Picks for BCAF
Weekly Dig’s Festival Picks
Boston Magazine Preview
My personal BCAF picks:
Last year the two sets I walked away from the festival remembering most were North Coast (Friday Night, Brattle Theatre, 10pm), and MURDERFIST (Saturday Night, Brattle Theatre, 10pm).
NorthCoast is a thrill to watch. They create a hip-hopera right before your eyes. They have impeccable timing and their shows are hilarious. The pace they create at is incredible to watch. They are on a bill with Junior Varsity and the Magnet Theatre Tour Co. Both are two incredible improv teams from New York City, you won’t be disappointed.
MURDERFIST is raw, dark, weird (sometimes), and utterly hilarious. Their scenes come at you at a blistering pace. Just when you think they can’t go any further, they do. They are sharing a bill with ImprovBoston Mainstage who already blew the roof of their home stage Wednesday night with their hilarious, free-form, organic scenes. You don’t want to miss this bill.
I also highly recommend MISTER DIPLOMAT (Friday, ImprovBoston Main Theater, 10:30pm). This will mark the first time DSI Comedy Theater’s all-star MISTER DIPLOMAT team performs with the Boston cast. During this show, a special celebrity guest tells stories that the performers use to create hilarious scenes. Every performance I have seen of MISTER DIPLOMAT has always been thrilling to watch.
There are a lot more shows I could recommend, but I finish with this, have you bought tickets yet? You don’t want to miss it.
Perpetual Motion PR
Submitted by bcaf on Thu, 2012-09-06 02:45
The Family Show is proud to be showcased in the Boston Comedy Arts Festival, and we hope that you'll come see our take on "family friendly" improv. Many times "family friendly" is a synonym for "for kids" which is in itself a euphemism for "dumbed down". The ImprovBoston Family Show prides itself on utilizing a child's creative potential, rather than condescending to him.
We don't swear, and we don't make direct references to sex, but we see these constraints as a challenge rather than a limitation. Come on by and bring the kids, bring grandma and grandpa to, also crazy aunt Rose and creepy uncle Charlie. At The Family Show, everyone can play.
The Family Show - Saturday 9/8, 6PM
Featuring: Emily Holland, Emily Laverdiere, Emily Franz, Kate Semine, Christine Toohey, Sarah Bell, Holly Tarnower, Melanie Hardy, Dan Chapman, Burch Simon, Sam Ike, Ben Walsh, Brad Taylor
Enjoy the show.
Director, Family Show
Submitted by bcaf on Wed, 2012-09-05 19:17
It is always a thrill to be back in Boston.
I grew up here, learned how to do improv here, committed my first few felonies here, etc. Since I started doing improv back in IB's humble old Inman square digs, improv and comedy in Boston and around the country has exploded, and this festival is a testament to that explosion. Some of this country's best improvisers, instructors, and writers call Boston their home, and many of those folks will grace the stage this weekend. Most of the rest of the country's best are coming through town, too. You're lucky!
Here's what I'm going to be sure not to miss this weekend. Note: Narrowing things down was nearly impossible.
North Coast - Freestyle rapping and improv. You did read that correctly. North Coast is non-stop fun, as they wend their way through improvised scenes and improvised rap, complete with beat boxing, dance moves, and backing vocals. It's insane. No one has bigger energy than North Coast. No one has more swag than North Coast. And their secret? No one has more fun than North Coast. Can't miss.
Trike - There are few improvisers more talented than buds Peter McNerny and Nick Kanellis in Trike. And with the two of them together--yikes. Total support, fearlessness, and craft at all times, and you'll be doubled over. Come and watch two of the best who also happen to know exactly what the other person is thinking at all times.
IB Mainstage - Boston's best; I love how this show keeps evolving, it's got a different flavor every time I see it, and you never know what to expect, but you always walk away satisfied. A can't miss!
Two Man Movie - Another can't-mess-with-duo. Neil and Anthony never miss a beat as the move through "The Movie" form; a show where they improvise a complete movie, from the characters, story, camera moves and fades, etc etc from start to finish. They also happen to be two of the funniest dudes around. Guaranteed to be better than 95% of actual movies.
Kiss Punch Poem - I'm lucky to get to watch this show a lot and it still blows me away. Improvisers and poets come together to create a unique once-in-a lifetime show. The improvisers play off the poets, and the poets play off the improvisers. I love seeing hilarious scenes come from truly heartfelt or even sad moments in the poems, and I love seeing the whole thing wrapped up at the end by the always amazing final poem.
Magnet Theater (TourCo)
New York, NY
Submitted by bcaf on Wed, 2012-09-05 16:47
I'm so excited for this year's Boston Comedy Arts Festival. The amount of great acts is ridiculous. I'm also happy to have the Harold Night All-Stars performing on Wednesday night at 8:30pm, as part of ImprovBoston's 30th Anniversary Celebration. Our cast is psyched to be part of such a great night celebrating some of the best shows ImprovBoston has had over the years.
Our Harold Night All-Stars cast:
- Natalie Baseman (Maxitor)
- Ken Breese (Birthday Milk)
- Pete Fenzel (Rich Uncle)
- Sasha Goldberg (Maxitor)
- Geoff Ross (Respectable Gentlemen)
- Ben Scurria (Rich Uncle)
- Ben Snitkoff (The Rack)
- Lori Strauss (Birthday Milk)
- Nils Vaule (Chapter 9)
And it's great to see some acts in this year's festival that we've had the pleasure of hosting at Harold Night over the years. Here are some of those teams that I suggest you make a point to see:
Bastards Inc. - Wednesday, 9:30pm
Four of my favorite improvisers and they just all happen to be on the same team. If you're new to the Boston improv scene and never got a chance to see them when they were ImprovBoston mainstays, do yourself a favor and catch them this year.
Casual Sex Offenders - Thursday, 9pm
I've been able to see them a handful of times over the past few years and they always impress me. They have a great balance and team dynamic. They're always having fun, which means I'm having fun too.
You can't miss this 10pm show. Magnet TourCo is some of the best performers from the Magnet Theater in NYC. We have had a ton of acts from the Magnet Theater perform at Harold Night and they always bring their A game. There is so much talent at that theater. Junior Varsity, another great Magnet team, is also performing in this show. And then there's North Coast. Want to be impressed? Check out the freestyle rap longform improv from North Coast. They don't mess around, so be ready.
Brick is another team from the Magnet Theater that wowed me when they performed at Harold Night. And 10£ Ally is an impressive 3-person musical improv group from NYC. If you're a fan of musical improv, then be sure to catch them.
Kiss Punch Poem - Sunday, 7:30pm
Part improv show. Part poetry jam. All awesome. I absolutely loved this show! Take great improvisers and have them perform scenes inspired by rich poetry from impressive NYC poets. Then tie it all together at the end with an improvised poem inspired by everything you saw earlier in the show.
And that's just a small chunk of the shows from this weekend.
There's also other big acts like RISK! (Friday, 8pm), Two Man Movie (Saturday, 8pm), and sketch comedy from MURDERFIST (Saturday, 10pm).
Start resting up now so you can take in as much as you can! Enjoy the fest and keep an eye on ImprovBoston and Harold Night (normally Thursday nights at 8pm & 10pm) for great shows in the weeks and months after the festival ends.
Submitted by bcaf on Tue, 2012-09-04 18:00
As head of the standup comedy program here at IB, I'm proud that ImprovBoston is the home of the Boston Comedy Arts Festival. And I'm excited that we're showcasing some of the best acts out there. It means a lot to the Team here that so many standup acts applied to take part in our comedy party. It's an all-encompassing, accessible cross section of amazing comedy right here in Cambridge.
Comics you shouldn't miss this week:
Friday, September 7th: You should head to the ImprovBoston Studio Theater to check out Guitler Raphael. He is straight up belly laughs. Trust me. He's one of Boston's best and you don't want to miss him. Also on that show is Suni Reyes (NYC) here doing her Burgers and Tostones show. Which do you want to laugh at? Burgers or Tostones? Be there and you'll laugh either way.
Saturday, September 8th: Get yourself to the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square.
At 4PM, Joe Wong brings back his ALL CHINESE standup show that sold out last month at ImprovBoston. Joe has performed at the White House. He's also made several appearances on the Late Show With David Letterman and Ellen. He's one of the best joke writers in the game - in any language. (I'm told this show has just SOLD OUT!)
At 8PM, the Brattle hosts two other acts you've got to see. I saw Aaron Hertzog absolutely kill it at this past year's North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival. He's insane. On that same bill is Victor Varnado who has been performing nationally for over 10 years. He won the Just For Laughs Competition in 2001 and he's been on Jimmy Kimmel, Conan and Comedy Central since. This show will not disappoint.
Sunday, September 9th: Check out the 9PM show at the ImprovBoston Main Theater. It's a standup showcase that is stacked with talent including Tom Keller, who represented North Carolina at this year's Great American Comedy Festival in Johnny Carson's hometown in Nebraska.
Dana Jay Bein (DJB)
The Man @ImprovBoston
Comedy Jerk of all Trades
Submitted by bcaf on Tue, 2012-09-04 15:47
"Yes, I’m in two all-female improv teams." — Rachel Klein
In fact, the other day I suddenly realized that, at this particular moment, I'm only in all-female improv teams. One of them is all-female on purpose, one is all-female by accident (a bunch of dudes used to be in it, but they moved, or took a hiatus, or, you know, were run out of girl town—just kidding, we love boys!). The secret, though, is that both teams, the on-purpose and the by-accident, are great not because they’re full of ladies, but because the ladies on the teams have complementary strengths, similar outlooks and goals for the work of the team, and get along well as people.
Now, I could go off about how improv is a boys’ club, or ask you why you wouldn’t think twice if you saw an all-male team perform, but the truth is, I don’t really care if you do or don’t notice that my team is full of women, and I don’t even really think improv is a boys’ club. Sure, there are unique challenges for a female comedian (as there are unique challenges for a woman in most fields). Sure, there might be certain implicit expectations that an audience or a fellow performer might have when they see a woman on stage. But for me, the best way to meet those challenges is to simply get on stage. Play a man in a scene, not as a joke, but because, in this scene, you happen to be a man. Play a mom in a scene, not because you’re the only girl in the show and one of your male teammates calls you “Mom,” but because the scene calls for a mom.
The great thing about improv is that, at any given moment, you can be whatever—and whoever—you want to be. I invite you to come watch Bearcats on Thursday night and see what I mean for yourself.
Here’s some other shows you should make sure to check out, too (some of them have ladies, some don’t—whatever):
Bastards, Inc., Gorefest, 1.21 Jigowatts
Playing in the Wednesday night “30 Years of Comedy” celebration, Bastards, Inc. is flat-out one of the best teams I’ve EVER seen perform. They hosted a cult-favorite variety show in Boston for years until two of them hauled it out to New York City, and having them back together for BCAF is a real treat. The Bastards are basically a master class in patient play and balls-out commitment, plus they’re just straight-up hilarious. Also, the female Bastard, Erin McGee, is a Bearcat. ImprovBoston’s yearly Halloween musical is on the bill, too, so things might get messy (in a good way), and 1.21 Jiggowatts is a delight for fans of the franchise (read: everybody ever). The show is worth the price of admission just to see Rob Crean’s dead-on Marty McFly. (Bonus: Lorraine McFly? Also a Bearcat).
Briami Sound Machine
Yes, I am recommending a show that is literally on at the exact same time as my team. That’s how much I love this show. Brian Perry is a one-man tour-de-force. Be forewarned (or excited, which should really be your reaction): this show is highly interactive and the best kind of weird. At points you might find yourself wondering whether it’s actually improvised—it is. At other points you might find yourself wondering if Brian is actually going “there”—he is. The best part will be chatting him up at the bar after the show and discovering that he’s actually the nicest human on the planet.
Kiss, Punch, Poem
If you’re from out-of-town, consider extending your stay to check out Kiss, Punch Poem at 7:30 in the ImprovBoston Mainstage. These guys are incredible. Slam poets inspire improv scenes that both find the funny, and the heart, of each poem. This group creates a unique experience that reminds you just how artful comedy can be. The final, show-ending poem—completely improvised by one of the slam poets as a sort of “summary” of the events, characters, and themes of the show, might be the most virtuosic thing I’ve seen outside of a Cirque de Soleil show.
Rachel Klein is a writer, teacher, and improviser from Boston. If you're from around there, you can see her perform with her all-female Harold team Maxitor (@maxitorcomedy) on Thursday nights at ImprovBoston, and with her all-female team Bearcats (@Bear_Cats) at random other times. If you have internet access, you can read her improv blog, The House That Del Built, whenever and wherever you want.
Check out the Fireside Improv Chat about Gender, Episode #9:
Submitted by bcaf on Mon, 2012-09-03 22:57
The hardest part about being a festival producer is that I hardly get to see any shows during the actual festival. As a comedy nerd, that just sucks.
This year I’m hoping to sneak into a handful before the curtain comes down on Sunday.
Here are a few gems I’m looking forward to:
Briami Sound Machine – Thursday, 8:30pm
“Briami Sound Machine is the best band in the world.” – Briami Sound Machine. I agree.
Losdosdudes – Friday, 7:30pm
This two person show is going to be high energy, emotionally-driven, strange, and hilarious.
Wrestling Team – Saturday, 8:30pm
Last year Wrestling Team (PICTURED ABOVE) put on the eye-popping show Rockefeller Centaur. They’re bringing a new production that they promise to be just as beautifully weird and hilarious.
Beige – Saturday, 9pm
This is a house sketch team from the Upright Citizens Brigade. As part of the selection committee for the festival, their submission video had me rolling.
Kiss Punch Poem – Sunday, 7:30pm
This group mixes improv with poetry and the result is mindblowing!
Submitted by bcaf on Mon, 2012-09-03 17:58
Beanpot Veterans return to their roots and perform at BCAF!
Throughout the year, ImprovBoston hosts a number of special event and festivals. Many are familiar with GEEK WEEK, where nerds get to nerd out in Star Wars or Magik or Unicorn-Fairy-Princess-Werewolf themed improv shows. But the festival I'm most excited to be part of (BESIDES BCAF!) is the ImprovBoston College Comedy Festival and Beanpot.
Many IB cast members got their first taste of celebrity during Beanpot, myself included. Getting laughs for the first time from strangers, instead of college suitemates. Feeling tense as last year’s champion team struts into the green room. Highfiving the team that your team became best-friend-teams with. It feels like summer camp!
In 2005, the first Beanpot was only fiery competition. Players got to know each other, but rivalries & disappointment was still a major theme of the weekend. A theme I wanted to change when I became co-producer for the 2012 Beanpot.
Rebranded the College Comedy Festival and Beanpot, the competition remains, but we made it our mission to create a weekend of opportunity for college improvisers across New England. This year each team also had the opportunity to have an un-scored show and members of the groups were mixed up for workshops lead by ImprovBoston cast members. Watching the college improv world be built with hallway highfives & laughs even after loss, was a proud moment as both a producer and as part of the ImprovBoston family.
And it’s because of this comradery, that the College Comedy Festival has become an incredible bridge for performers. This year’s BCAF is sprinkled with Beanpot veterans. Some are cast members here at ImprovBoston. Another group has come to the festival 2 years in a row from Chicago. It’s just like Thanksgiving!
Beanpot veterans you can see at BCAF:
LosDosDudes: Cole Orloff & Pat Coakley (UMass’ Mission IMPROVable)
Bearcats: Natalie Baseman (UMass’ Mission IMPROVable)
Face Off: Ari Stern & Shawn Musgrave (BU’s Liquid Fun)
Hidden Falls: Misch Whitaker (UMass’ Mission IMPROVable)
IB Family Show: Emily Holland (ME!) & Melanie Hardy (Clark’s Peapod Squad), Christine Toohey & Burch Simon (BU’s Liquid Fun)
AND! In addition to these beloved veterans, you can see a current college group from Harvard University. Three Letter Acronym is the first and only Harold team at Harvard. (Go see them & then tell them to come to the Beanpot CCF this year!)
Submitted by bcaf on Mon, 2012-09-03 13:49
The Boston Comedy Arts Festival kicks off tomorrow night and we couldn't be more excited!
This is the fourth year ImprovBoston has produced and hosted this festival and it has gotten bigger, better, and more amazing every year. Formerly the Boston Improv Festival, the Boston Comedy Arts Festival now better emphasizes and celebrates the diversity of comedic talent - improv, sketch, and stand-up - that have always been an integral part of our Theater. This year we have an outstanding schedule of acts, some veteran performers and old friends of ImprovBoston, and others we'll be seeing for the first time. We hope you see as many shows as possible over the next six nights, but if you're overwhelmed by the awesomeness of our schedule and don't know where to start, let me tell you about some shows I can't wait to see...
Friday 9pm ImprovBoston Main Theater
I have seen Trike four times and they are incredible. This two-man team of Peter McNerny and Nick Kanellis from NYC's Magnet Theater are not only creative and clever with their characters and scenarios, they are also very good actors who pay great attention to detail. Their accents, personalities, as well as object and environment work, are master classes in improv performance. They weave their characters in and out of their scenes so seamlessly, I easily get lost in the story they tell and am always delighted in how they bring it all together. For anyone who is new to comedy, they are simply a great and entertaining group to see. For improv nerds, they are a tandem to study.
This particular show promises to be one of the best. Also in this slot are Big Bennessy, from LA, and The Feeko Brothers, from Philadelphia.. Big Bennessy brings high-energy, captivating improv, while The Feeko Brothers perform very clever and well-executed sketch comedy.
Brick, Onassis, 10£ Ally
Saturday 7:30pm ImprovBoston Main Theater
This is a great combination of acts, all from NYC, in one show. Brick is a very talented improv team out of the Magnet Theater. They are sharp, able to create unique situations, and always able to make clever connections with characters and themes - just a very fun team to watch. Onassis is an outstanding sketch troupe, originally from the Upright Citizens Brigade, but now making noise nationally. They are very funny and very polished. And 10£ Ally round off the show with exceptional musical improv. There are only three of them, but they inhabit many characters and even switch off playing them, sometimes with one actor singing as three different people. And through it all, they never miss a detail. On top of that, the songs they create are catchy and witty.
Saturday 10pm Brattle Theater
Take every out-of-left-field and/or irreverent sketch you've ever seen from Monty Python, Kids in the Hall, and Mr. Show, blend them together in a mosh pit, and you get MURDERFIST. That's all I really need to say. They performed at last year's Boston Improv Festival and they came the closest I've ever seen to a sketch act burning down the stage without actually setting it on fire. They are loud, they are fast, they are strange, and they do it all perfectly. Don't ask questions. Just get lost in the frantic weirdness and their razor-sharp execution of it. Also, Sketch Writers, be sure to attend their workshop "How to Make a Million Dollars Doing Only Sketch Comedy", Sunday at 10am at ImprovBoston's Main Theater.
Also on this bill: ImprovBoston's Mainstage - our best veteran improvisers perform ImprovBoston's unique free form show that has won acclaim at all sorts of national festivals, including standing ovations at the past two Del Close Marathons - and stand up from Boris Khaykin and Al Park.
Of course, this is just one man's opinion on a small sampling of great acts you can witness at the Boston Comedy Arts Festival. Check out our full schedule, come be a part of our unique and wonderful community of actors, writers, and comedians, and join in our celebration of comedy!