Audience members might test the limits
By Danniel Parker.
Seven finely dressed men and women walk into a bar. They start pantomiming and grunting like monkeys, because, well, it’s their job.
First they are playing football against members of the G.O.P. Instead of a ball the quarterback passes his receiver a handful of baby vomit.
Next a man starts waxing the hair off his father’s back, using pancake syrup and a spatula.
This type of thing happens every Sunday after brunch at the Prohibition Room. It’s a bar featuring nice ambiance inside the big gold dome at 1112 NW. 23 St.
This strange group of people isn’t escaped mental patients, and it wasn’t their idea to give Dick Cheney a puke covered stiff arm on their way to running a touchdown. It was the audiences’ brainstorm. This improve is completely based on audience participation.
These are Improv comedians doing what they do every Sunday after a noon brunch from 1:30p.m. Until 3:00p.m.
For $25 customers receive brunch, the improve show and mimosas. The menu consists of choice from among five meal choices, one being Eggs Benedict with Pancetta and homemade hollandaise sauce.
The cast of players are putting on a National Comedy Theater show. The troupe is a mix of the Red Dirt, OU and Everyone and Their Dog improv groups.
They are Christopher Curtis, Mary Murray, Jay Edwards, Scott McClung, David Courtright, and Sue Ellen “The Felon” Reiman. The motley crew is led by director and comedy referee Tyler Bryce.
“What’s the worst birthday gift you’ve ever received?” Bryce asked the audience.
“Toilet paper,” a young woman yelled out from her table.
“Okay, well how about the worst gift you’ve ever given someone for their birthday?”
“Chlamydia,” said one audience member who apparently forgot that family-unfriendly behavior would be chastised.
After that unfortunate remark, the referee blew his whistle to call a foul as the crowd howled. The punishment for breaking the family-friendly atmosphere is the ref takes a brown paper sack and pulls it over the head of the offender, who is forced to wear it for the remainder of the bit. To add insult to injury, it included an accidental paper cut.
Fifteen people were in attendance at the opening show, however, to be fair, it was Super Bowl Sunday. Many attendees apparently were friends and family of the cast members.
“Most the people who will enjoy our show are not the crowds that typically enjoy comedy shows,” said Bryce, almost as if it was a set up for a punch line.
“People think if they go see comedy, they will walk into a smoky environment where a man with a microphone will make fun of the crowd and all the humor is based of negative experiences. But everything we do is trying to get the audience to have a good time,” Bryce said.
Bryce said their show is based less on scenes and narrative, and more on traditional improv games. They want it to be fast and funny.
“In our improv we are always in agreement with the audience. If someone says I’m riding a donkey, I say heck yeah I’m riding a donkey, and he’s got a spiked tail and we are plowing the ground,” said Jay Edwards.
Damon Waters and his wife Larisa are software programmers. They just came from church to the all ages improv show.
“This is definitely different for a Sunday afternoon and I loved the audience interaction” said Larisa.
“It was fun because they got the kids involved, it was really cute. This was perfect for the after church crowd, you know, bring your family and come on in here,” said Damon.
A 7 year old boy named Ranger nodded his head in approval that yes, he very much enjoyed the show. Mid show the troupe gave him a microphone to provide sound FX. The baby vomit was his idea and he’s a relative of Rich Suave, the bar’s owner.
One 20 something in the crowd named Zack Randall certainly didn’t come from church, he said he’s a fan of regular comedy shows and he didn’t like the show.
“It was pretty awful, it reminded me of being in a middle school drama class where the teacher is forcing students to stand up and do acting exercises,” said Randall.
“The only time I laughed was that joke, 20 Charlie Sheen’s Walk into A Bar… None of them ever leave,” said Randall.
For those that want a more adult-oriented show, they perform one on at The Prohibition Room, located at 1112 Northwest 23rd Street, Oklahoma City on the second Sunday of each month, at 7 p.m.