Turning onto Degraw Street in the heart of Brooklyn, on Tuesday evening, led me to the quaint looking entrance to Littlefield. Upon walking in to the sight of an enormous bar, and hearing the emcee of the evening, Jim, yell “cheers!” to the audience; I knew this wasn’t going to be a typical improv comedy show. The show is set up with eight improvisers on stage, for a Whose Line Is It Anyway style show, but there are a few important twists to be aware of. One, everyone in the room is drinking throughout the show – even the performers; two, when Jim makes a mistake, everyone drinks; three, there is a pianist, Mark, who accompanies a majority of the show, completely elevating the level of humor; and probably most importantly, four, this show is designed as a competition between the improvisers, where the winner is dictated by the audience. The improvisers had us laughing the whole time, as they took us through a myriad of hilariously ironic situations, throwing each of their own spice in the pot along the way.
One of the evening’s highlights included a game called “Speak In One Voice,” which included Taylor, Julie, and Margaret. Jim found a nice couple in the audience and began to learn about them: little facts and quirks about each of them to enhance the improvisers’ knowledge of the couple. We were then told that Julie and Margaret’s characters would be going on a first date with Taylor’s character, but Julie and Margaret would be playing one person, who spoke and acted as one person. Taylor did a phenomenal job of posing the tough questions that required a serious team effort from Julie and Margaret, and the tougher the question, the more hilarious the answer. As the lovely couple brought up a love of cats, Taylor asked his date how many cats they had. Julie and Margaret said they had eighteen cats, to which Taylor responded by asking them to name each cat. The laughter ensued with even greater volume, as the girls had to make up the names of the eighteen cats on the spot, in unison. With much success, the game was complete, and I was still laughing for several minutes later.
Many of the games began and ended with a group “cheers!” It was a great was to get everyone involved and feeling like we’re all friends. With the community vibe in mind, another favorite game of the evening, played by all of the improvisers, was called “Sex With Me.” The audience yelled out different topics for the improvisers to complete the sentence, “Sex with me is like…” and to give a great punch line as to why. The game idea was ingenious, and I couldn’t wait for its execution. With one of the audience suggestions being “basketball,” Nick proceeded to the front of the stage to say, “Sex with me is like basketball; if you don’t dribble the ball, you’re out.” With a roaring reaction from the crowd, the game continued. With the audience suggestion of “math,” Josh walked to the front of the stage and said, “Sex with me is like math; there’s acute angle.” That may have been one of my favorite lines of the whole evening. Will added, “Sex with me is like math; you’ve already found the lowest common denominator.” Who would’ve thought that math class offered so many fantastic sexual innuendos! This game was a hit, and it had the crowd roaring.
After a short intermission, it was time to begin eliminating improvisers. The whole crew played a game called “Scenes from a Pint,” in which one of the parts included having to name possible rejected license plates from any of the United States. Will had the banger of the game with “Welcome to New York; fuck you!” With selections by Jim, Mark, a couple audience members and an applause-o-meter, Julie and Taylor were eliminated; leaving the final six to perform a three-minute recap of a movie selected by a random audience member. After a hilarious and quick recap of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Margaret and Nick were eliminated. The show began to get hilariously competitive. The final four sang a father’s day themed hoe down, which was entirely hysterical. By the sheer volume of applause, Langston and Devin were eliminated, leaving Will and Josh as the final two.
The final game of the evening was called “BattleProv.” Will and Josh were given occupations such as a piano player, crossing guard, florist, magician, and mechanic to give an 80’s movie kill line for, regarding that line of work. Mark’s piano playing elevated the level of drama, as Will and Josh delivered some very funny lines. The game stayed close as Will delivered a line as a florist; “ You pansy!” Josh took it back with his magician line, as he waved his hands mysteriously to the music until it abruptly stopped to his saying, “where did your life go?” The last occupation of the evening was a chicken farmer. Will took his away with the line, “go cluck yourself!” By the obvious amount of laughter from the audience, Will was declared the evening’s winner, and claimed his trophy. The show ended with Jim announcing that the cast would be joining everyone at the bar for a drink after the show. He was a fantastic host, and Mark was wonderful on the keyboard. The improvisers were all skilled and each brought something unique to the table. I’d highly recommend grabbing a drink or two and going to catch BeerProv at their next show. The laughs are great and the company is even better.
Article: Alex Feigin
Cover photo: JD Durkin