Michael Joplin’s getting ready for the OOB, the Out Of Bounds Comedy Festival that’s about to turn Downtown Austin into a laughter-lover’s playground for seven days.
But Michael Joplin isn’t just an improviser and actor and aka the disc-spinning demon DJ Manateemann.
No, Michael Joplin is also a professional wrestler.
Or at least a quasi-professional wrestler.
He’s a seasoned athlete, is what Joplin is – a veteran warrior of the squared circle who’s damned well familiar with preparing for something as formidable as the 14th annual OOB, right?
So we tracked the man down, found him at the corner of Sixth and Congress, between a homeless guy ranting about the Illuminati and a gang of MBAs harrassing an Uber driver, where he was pausing to check his emails via smartphone. We found him, and we asked him:
Hey, Joplin, what are you doing to get ready for this onslaught?
Joplin: Bench press. Squats. High kicks. More importantly, re-memorizing lines for Everything Is Established.
Brenner: Wait, Everything Is Established? That award-winning comedy written and directed by Hannah Kenah, produced by Physical Plant Theatre, and starring you and Lee Eddy and Jeffery Mills? That’s gonna be performed in a full production at the OOB?
Joplin: Damn right. Friday night – Stateside at the Paramount, man!
Brenner: Fuuuuuck. That’s great. I’ll bet you’re pretty, ah, stoked for this gig?
Joplin: I’m excited to be in one of two plays being performed at the festival for the first time ever. Scripts win!
Brenner: Yeah! Scripts totally win! Scripts are – wait, there’s another play?
Joplin: [frowns] You know that, right? I mean, you’re the Chronicle’s Listings Editor, right?
Brenner: Well, yeah, but I – uh – look, sometimes things kind of, ah –
Brenner: There’s just so much going on in this town now, man. There’s –
Brenner: [blushes, looks away]
Joplin: Okay, listen – the New York Neo-Futurists are gonna perform Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind on Saturday and Sunday night, Labor Day weekend.
Brenner: [makes note]
Joplin: I really can’t believe you didn’t know that already, man. And – look, there’s Lee Eddy. Hey, Leeeeeeee-roy! [waves her over] Hey, Lee, I’ve gotta go polish some vinyl, you wanna take my place in this interview?
[They hug; Joplin exits.]
Lee Eddy: Hey, Brenner. You’re interviewing people?
Brenner: Um, yeah – do you mind?
Eddy: No, no – go ahead.
Brenner: Okay, thanks. [clears throat] Okay, so, Lee Eddy, I, ah, I understand there’s going to be a reunion of Fatbuckle, that improv troupe you used to be part of back in the day? Like, back when Liberty Lunch was still a thing?
Eddy: Dude. I’m kinda in this state of mind where I can’t really believe that we’re doing a show together again. I haven’t seen some of these Fatbucklers for over a decade. It got real the other day when I put a Fatbuckle T-shirt order in to replicate our uniforms from 2000 and had to specify that “we needed classic maroon color for the text – like, Word Document maroon.” It got real feeling after that.
Brenner: Damn, I'll bet. And what other shows at this year's OOB are you looking forward to seeing?
Eddy: I’m gonna keep riding this early 2000 train and check out One Hit Wonder. Holy crap, I’m so glad those guys are doing something. And then I’m gonna see Brendon Walsh one of the nights he’s doing stand-up, maybe have some flashbacks to when he was doing stand-up at Velveeta in a gorilla suit, eating out of a giant mayo jar. Ohhhh, early 2000s!
Brenner: Those days, those days. Jesus.
Eddy: Also on my dance card: Neo-Futurists, Movie Riot, Stool Pigeon with Kirk Watson, and, of course – self-plug, self-plug – The Knuckleball Now and Everything is Established.
Brenner: Yeah, Joplin was just telling me about Everything Is Established. And, holy shit, Kirk Watson? Our favorite state senator is doing a Stool Pigeon for the OOB?
Eddy: I know, right? Crazy.
Brenner: I hear that longtime OOB producer Jeremy Sweetlamb is stepping down after this year. How is it that he's remained sane – ah, relatively sane – for this long?
Eddy: He’s a robot.
Brenner: I knew it! I fucking knew it!
Eddy: In all seriousness, he’s a dedicated dude that surrounded himself with equally hard-working dedicated people as producers. Seeing OOB grow and grow from the first year to what it is, with the headliners that they get now – that’s just pure dedication of that entire team and Sweetlamb working their butts off.
Eddy: Maybe they’re all robots.
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