Are Kids These Days Bringing OOB the Laughter for Love’s Sake?
What dire agenda, we wonder, lurks beneath their odd & infectious joy?
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
3:00PM, Tue. Aug. 28, 2018
So much talent coming to Austin's Out of Bounds Comedy Festival from all over the country this year. So many troupes – improv and sketch – along with a wealth of solo stand-up artists – just as in all the previous OOB years. And here in 2018, in this very post, we’re highlighting one of the featured acts – that NYC-based troupe called Kids These Days.
They’re a sketch troupe, these Kids, which of course means the material is written beforehand and rehearsed for maximum impact. Which also means that half the performance power is gonna be in the writing, so the writing better be damned good.
Well, how does a gallery of credits from The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, The Opposition With Jordan Klepper, and the Jimmy Fallon incarnation of The Tonight Show sound to you? Maybe a little north of promising? Can’t just be yearning toward the professional side of the industry, no, this gang’s got to already be living the life and churning out the goods for media giants. Tsk – kids these days, amirite?
And it’s those bona fides that led us to ask the troupe, “So, you're usually working separately, hacking away at notebooks or keyboards, maybe brainstorming in a room somewhere – and it’s part, at least, of how you make your living. What is it that keeps y'all performing together as a group onstage, putting yourselves out there in front of a live audience?”
“We love to make each other laugh in rehearsals and onstage,” says Rachael Burke, troupe founder and chief Kids wrangler, “and the magic onstage comes from our love and care for each other – and because we love making people feel happier.”
“Yeah,” says Maggie Maxwell, who also rocks the boards as part of BoogieManja, “there isn't a meeting, rehearsal, or post-rehearsal dance party at a club with a gigantic fish tank that doesn't have us all in a better mood than when we got there.”
“And the goal,” says Burke, “is to get everyone in the audience to laugh for days because of something they saw at a Kids These Days show, whether it’s two Adam Sandlers trying out for Mamma Mia 2, two actors insisting the audience is involved in a comedy-themed Escape the Room, or a man who keeps taking his shirt off every time he eats a hot dog.”
“Those of us who work at comedy shows are used to a daunting workload on a daily basis,” says Jack Blankenship, who’s appeared on The Tonight Show and Funny or Die. “This mindset gives us the audacity to try jokes that might carry more risk in an intimate setting rather than what's broadcast across America and around the world.”
But, ignoring America and the rest of the world for a moment, what about Texas? Some of these New York comedy pros have – gasp! – never been to the Lone Star State before. “When you hear the word ‘Texas,’” your reporter asks the troupe, “what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?”
“Gigantic,” says Burke. “And thankful that they’re hosting us.”
“I'm Canadian,” says musician Sascha Garrey, “so, unfortunately, when I hear the word Texas, what conjures in my mind are the most cartoony of stereotypes. Like I just closed my eyes and literally saw an animated tumbleweed rolling through dust.”
As the Out Of Bounds Comedy Festival is being held in various venues throughout Austin this weekend – and not in Muleshoe, say, or Lubbock – we reckon the lady might be a tad disappointed. But audiences at the OOB’s three Kids These Days gigs won’t be at all.