Luv Doc Recommends: Out of Bounds Improv Festival

Hideout Theatre & Coffeehouse, Saturday, September 10, 2005

The famous playwright Sacha Guitry once said, “You can pretend to be serious; you can’t pretend to be witty.” If he was being serious, he definitely hit the nail on the head. The thing is, anyone can be funny. Being funny doesn’t necessarily require intent. For instance: Dan Quayle was funny. He wasn’t trying to be, he just was…sort of like Pat Robertson, Rick Perry, William Hung or any member of the Osbourne family. All prove conclusively that you can lack wit and still be hilarious. Seriousness and sincerity aren’t necessarily impediments to humor, but they are qualities that can torpedo a perfectly lively cocktail conversation. Just because someone says something in earnest doesn’t mean anyone wants to hear it. John Kerry (just to refresh: he was the Democratic candidate for president in 2004) had a perfectly serviceable campaign platform with some really great ideas, but every speech he made sounded like a eulogy for a Presbyterian minister. Bush, on the other hand, ran a corrupt, inept, morally reprehensible administration but was able to stomp Kerry just by cracking an occasional smile and giving his advisors wacky nicknames like Turd Blossom. Give the prez some credit. He ain’t all that smart, but he knows how to call someone a piece of shit in the nicest way. Credit those formative years at Yale hazing pledges. Bush is most funny, however, when he is deadly serious. It’s when he’s scariest too, but then all good humor contains a kernel of truth, doesn’t it? We laugh hardest about the things that scare us the most, which is why for the last four years Jon Stewart has been living large over at Comedy Central. Stewart has been cashing in on pretending to be serious in order to say something witty. Unlike the politicians, pinheads and pundits he lambastes every day, Stewart is being funny on purpose. Being funny on purpose takes wit, and wit, sadly, is something you can’t fake. No one knows that better than the performers at this week’s Out of Bounds Improv Festival. Wednesday through Saturday at the Hideout Theatre, improv and sketch comedy acts from all over America will make their most sincere effort to be funny. Making sketch comedy can be a little like making sausage at times, but with groups traveling from far-flung places like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, you can bet the quality level will be every bit worth the price of admission – which, by the way is $50 for the whole festival or $10 per show, so bring some folding money. After all, you can pretend to have money, but you can’t pretend to pay admission and still get in the show.

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