T.J. & Dave: Masters of the All Made Up

One of improv's leading duos is on Film at SXSW and live at Spider House

T.J. (left) and Dave
T.J. (left) and Dave

Austin is so packed to the rafters with improvisers right now that you may be wondering why we'd need to import any from out of state. Well, when they're improvisers on the order of T.J. Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi, let's just say that it would be like saying, "Since we have so many singer-songwriters here already, why bring that Leonard Cohen guy to town?"

T.J. & Dave, as they're known professionally, are the gold standard for improvisation: keenly skilled, expert practitioners of that demanding art form who can take the stage with nothing – not even an audience suggestion – and spin out of thin air 50 minutes of instant theatre, with varied characters of surprising depth, richly detailed locales, and a forward-moving story of delightful complexity and, by all reports, gut-busting humor. And they do it so effortlessly and so consistently that some suspect them of secretly using scripts – a suspicion that has left the duo telling their audiences: "Trust us. This is all made up."

That catchphrase also serves as the title for a new documentary about T.J. & Dave that will premiere at the 2009 South by Southwest Film Festival. (Showtimes are Friday, March 13, 9:15pm; Tuesday, March 17, 6:30pm; and Friday, March 20, 8pm, at the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz, 320 E. Sixth.) Which is terrific news for improv fans wanting to learn more about the Second City alums and how they do what they do, but the better news is that the gentlemen themselves are coming to Austin for the premiere and will perform two shows at the Spider House Events Center (also known as the United States Art Authority), 2908 Fruth. Local improv/sketch stars the Frank Mills will also perform at both shows: Sunday & Monday, March 15 & 16, 8pm. For more information, visit www.coldtownetheater.com.

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TJ & Dave, T.J. Jagodowski, Dave Pasquesi, The Frank Mills, Spider House, swswf

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