Booker & Ronen Say Howdy-Do!
Or something analogous, anyway, this very weekend
By Wayne Alan Brenner, 1:15PM, Fri. Jan. 6, 2012
So the Institution Theatre?
Yeah, you know:
That hotbed of improv comedy
and similar antics, headed by
Tom Booker and Asaf Ronen?
That vibrant school and show venue
that the two of them have been running
for a few years now?
Well, it's open!
Well, of course, it's been open, yeah
it's already been doing a modicum
of moving and/or shaking for a while
but now, look, it's in a snazzy new space on the Southside
and they're hosting all manner of classes and shows,
and this weekend is the venue's Grand, as they say, Opening.
So it's, finally, really open!
And some local improv heavy-hitters are there to help celebrate:
– Booker & Ronen's own Baxter & Bernard, yes, followed by
You're Not My Real Dad and ColdTowne and Confidence Men
and Get Up and Parallelogramophonograph,
and so on, over the next three nights of shows.
But the man hosting Friday night's spectacle of improv?
Don't freak out, okay, but he's he's a stand-up comic.
(Easy, dear. Mind your blood pressure.)
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the one & only Albert Im
is your talented emcee for this first night of the Institution's inaugural weekend party.
"Well," says Im, "I've done improv and stand-up in the past,
and I've hosted a few other Institution things, like when Asaf
was doing those Saved By The Bell shows at the Art Authority
So I got hooked up through my, ah, my sordid improv history."
And was there any, oh, difficulty for Im,
overcoming any perceived improv/stand-up membrane?
"I don't know how difficult it was," says Im.
" When I started doing comedy, I was actually interested in
anything that was related to comedy. So I did both.
Admittedly, I kept them in separate silos:
I'd do a stand-up set at the Velveeta Room,
and then I'd sneak off to the Hideout to do a show with Snackers,
my improv group at the time. I was also in a troupe called Mr. Bossman,
and while I was doing that I was also secretly doing stand-up, and vice versa.
So, I don't know, it isn't very difficult when you keep things covered up."
[He laughs.] "Also," says Im, "I feel like the membrane you're referring to
has become a lot more porous over the past few years – which is great."
And since we're pimping the Institution's improv gig here,
let's – in the interests of nonpartisanship – ask about a stand-up comedy reco.
So: If Albert Im had to pick a local performer, had to tell his friends, like,
"If you see just one local stand-up comedian this year, make sure you see _________"
Who would that be?
"Matt Bearden," says Im, after a moment's hesitation.
"And definitely as part of his Tuesday night Punch show at Cap City,
because you get Bearden at his best and you get a bunch of other comics."
So, there you go, citizen:
Enjoy the shenanigans at the Institution this weekend,
and remember Bearden/Punch/Cap City for the next time that
your comedy itch needs some live local scratching.
[Note to self: Ew. Use a better closing metaphor next time, fool.]