Improv and Popular reference (ramblings)

Discussion of the art and craft of improvisation.

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Postby erikamay » April 27th, 2006, 12:41 pm

i vote you two match wits and settle this in an incredibly fast round of What are You Doing?

only way to settle them improv fights, is with sum improv brawlin'.

e
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Postby Wesley » April 27th, 2006, 12:55 pm

That's not the structure of a proper seven line story, Phil, and I refuse to respond to your belittling (even though you got your way) until you belittle me in the correct format.

I'll be waiting.
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Postby Wesley » April 27th, 2006, 1:05 pm

Oh, and Phil, you know I love you, but I'm going to have to call shenannigans on you. Maybe you didn't come to the meetings, but this idea is not new and has been mentioned and discussed on these boards many times, just a few of which are shown below.
So, the line about "Then one day he decided to reveal his opinion in the online forum," doesn't hold water for me on April 27th, 2006 after the work has been done and the tickets are in hand when you could have made any or all these points on the 23rd of August last year when this idea got rolling, or in any of the 7 months in between, even on the online forum. I don't see a lot of Phil comments in those threads. I'm sorry, but no playing innocent victim in the dark on this one.

Besides, you got your desire, so keep complaining, it's cute.

Our What Are You Doing Deathmatch is scheduled for midnight in the Congressional parking garage, top floor. Come alone...if you dare.

http://boards.austinimprov.com/viewtopic.php?t=248
http://boards.austinimprov.com/viewtopic.php?t=257
http://boards.austinimprov.com/viewtopic.php?t=406
http://boards.austinimprov.com/viewtopic.php?t=557
http://boards.austinimprov.com/viewtopic.php?t=623
http://boards.austinimprov.com/viewtopic.php?t=775
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Postby kbadr » April 27th, 2006, 1:22 pm

This is all silly semantics and arguing.

As long as we have enough of *insert thing we got mass produced here* to be used for their original intent, I don't care how we distribute the rest of *insert thing we got mass produced here*

Now, what do we need to put together in order to distribute free tix to bars and hotels? An information packet with photos and show descriptions? A press release? A glossy photo of Wes wearing a kilt?

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Postby phlounderphil » April 27th, 2006, 1:23 pm

Yeah Wes. You win, but I never thought we'd actually get around to MAKING these fucking tickets.

So, yeah, I did get my way...and it is my bad for not mentioning anything beforehand, because this idea didn't interest me before. But in the past few weeks I've met so many people I would give a free ticket to.

For instance, my mother works as a dental hygienist, she deals with at least 15 patients a day, and there are several of her patients she mentions improv too. In fact, she told me yesterday that she advertised the summer camp, and she now has a list of 6 middle school students who are interested in the improv summer camp. Why should my mother not get a few free improv tickets that she can give to her patients (just as a way to spread the word around). I just disagree with the assumption that only bartenders, radio personalities, and concierges are "nexus" or "node" people. My mom is a nexus too.

And of course I'll keep complaining, it's very cute.

You're going down Wes!
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Postby Wesley » April 27th, 2006, 1:24 pm

Take your zinging like a man, Phil.

You know I still love you.
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Postby Dave » April 27th, 2006, 1:26 pm

First of all, Nadine, an excellent point. I am sorry to see your wonderful discussion hijacked by semantics about free tickets and who should be getting them.

Yes, popular refrences are a bain of some improv. They are easy laughs of recognition, not genuine thought-provoking laughter. Don't worry about them. Learn as much as you can as you go, so you have a frame of reference. but know that when someone drops one of those in a scene that you don't understand, react as if you do and you have an opinon about it. If you truly don't know what you are tlaking about, that somehow, finds a way to hang there over the scene a bit, and I am betting, will illicit even more laughter. Audience like to see imrpovisers fail with confidence.

At Boom, we have to teach new improvsiors about some basic Dutch refrences. Sinter Klass and Schwartze Piet, not Santa Claus and the Elves (if you don't know what Swartze Piet is David Sedaris nails this unbelievably outdated tradition dead-on http://filebox.vt.edu/j/juvandyk/pics/6to8blackmen.htm), also, Brussels=West Virginia and Andre Hauser is the greatest singer in the world (he's not, but Dutch people think he's a god).

We also have to teach people that some word combinations don't exist in Holland:
"Lenny & Squiggy" (George and Kramer, if you must)
"NyQuil"(Cough Syrup is banned in most of Northern Europe due to meth abuse)
"Sweet and Sour Pork" (It's Indonisian Food, not Chinese Food)


Anyway on the other matter...I think everyone is saying the same thing AND all things are possible.


(A NOTE: I SPENT MOST OF THE MORNING COMPOSING THIS WHILE THIS MATTER WAS SETTLED BETWEEN PHIL&WES. APLOGIES FOR STIRRING UP EVERYTHING, BUT THIS TOOK ME AWHILE TO FINISH AND I LOVE HEARING MYSELF TYPE)

Phil is very correct that each Team should be allocated a certain amount based on amount of shows on the Schedule.
We are the most likely people to know who is most likely to use them...and this is the best shot we have of free-ticket holders bringing extra paying cutomers with them.

Tickets should be given away to Radio Stations and the Alamo. They will definetly get distributed and maybe be used by people who are our target demographic of unindoctrined civilains

Tickets should be given to Concierges and Bartenders (but, honestly, I think this is our least likely source of actual distribution and therby, actual use...especially from Bartenders.)

Just because letting some improvisors distribute them wasn't (in the original plan) a bigger consideration does not mean the original plan was perfect.

And Phil, this debate keeps being closed and wrapped up until every time you post something as if you are being attacked. No one is diasagreeing with you.

From experience, in The Playground's version of this, each team got a ceratin amount each month..and they were probably the biggest reason for recurring regular-paying customers...and believe me, we tried the Bartender route... however, of course, we were BYOB.
Last edited by Dave on April 27th, 2006, 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby phlounderphil » April 27th, 2006, 1:27 pm

Are you making fun of my mother, Wes?

You know, maybe I was too busy BEING THE FUCKING STAGE MANAGER when this idea was mentioned to speak my opinion.

You know, actaully working for the Hideout, advertising, selling tickets, managing the fucking stage.

Sorry I didn't have time to sit around in your cushy little meetings or post a billion times on the forum to prove my points...that's because I was helping Andy Crouch take care of the damn theatre every weekend.

Oh, and by the way, why the fuck am I arguing with you, Andy made the tickets, I'll just get my tickets from him...besides, I'd rather deal with a "person who understands and cares" rather than a dictatorial bastard who just has to get his way and can't handle EVER being wrong.

Sorry for taking up the time you could've been micromanaging other people's lives Wes.

I can't wait for that damn What are You Doing match!
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Postby phlounderphil » April 27th, 2006, 1:30 pm

And to Dave.

I don't think anyone is attacking me. I just LOVE arguing with Wes and Kareem, it's the point of my life.

I already know I'm right, and everyone else knows I'm right too, even you Dave. ;)

And if I could re-iterate this point...
"Dear People on the Forum,
Nothing I say is ever entirely serious. Everything I say is at least 50% joke.
Thank you,
-phil"
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Postby Wesley » April 27th, 2006, 2:35 pm

I am sorry to see your wonderful discussion hijacked by semantics about free tickets and who should be getting them.

Seriously Dave, that's just wrong.
One comment by a half-Egyptian and suddenly the boards have been "hijacked." I'll have you know that I've known Kareem for a long time and in all that time he's only hijacked 3 busses, a bullet train, two John Deere wheat thrashers, one 2nd grade field trip to the museum of natural history, 3 McDonald's playlands, 1 really funny joke about a preist, a rabbi, and a prostitute going into a bar, and 8 lectures on particle physics at the CERN labratories. But he has never, never hijacked an electronic medium before. This Jewish-Arab tension is starting to reach Phil-Wes proportions and it has got to stop.
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Postby kbadr » April 27th, 2006, 3:39 pm

I don't think knowledge of pop culture is necessary to "get" or enjoy improv. Granted, there are some improvisers or troupes who might use more pop culture references than others, but that can be said about any sort of performance or film.

Something like Maestro might have a few more pop culture references than other non-gamey shows, though. But I'll be honest, I cringe a little when I see improv that uses a direct pop culture reference. It cheapens it for me for some reason. Maybe because I expect to see and enjoy watching improvisers use only what they're building on the spot, rather than spouting lines from wahtever show or film is in their mental library. Some references come out unintentionally, of course, but I'd much rather see a scene where I am introduced to new characters and watch a story evolve, rather than a scene where David Bowie and Michael Jackson sit in the lobby of the Overlook Hotel discussing last night's episode of Seventh Heaven.

I even have a bit of a problem with consciously using stock characters. But I'm a fascist.

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Postby phlounderphil » April 27th, 2006, 4:30 pm

I think the tendency to use Pop Culture is based on the fact that a lot of audience find pop culture hilarious.

I remember a Maestro during which it was Roy, Me, and Jill in the final round and we had to define a gibberish word. The word was "Schmerbafurb" or something similar.

I went first: A Swiss musical instrument, classified as a woodwind, but most importantly, not played with the mouth. *laughter*
Then Roy went: A swedish term for brotherhood, but not used by brothers. "Jack and Frank act like total Schmerbafurbs". *laughter*
Then Jill: A date-rape drug used by Papa Smurf on Smurf Island *uproarious laughter and a clear victory*

I went for the gross-out humor (a woodwind played by another orifice SHOULD exist!), Roy went for the more enlightened/ironic humor, and Jill went straight for the pop culture reference. The audience loved it, I even laughed. Jill knew what she was doing and made a clever reference that was well-executed. And in that instance, pop culture worked well, but I think because it CAN work so well, it tends to get a bit overused.

The problem here is, not only does a pop culture reference potentially alienate other players, but you also run the risk of alienating parts of your audience. A strong humorous character is universal, Dick Van Dyke is not universal. I've been guilty before of "herd-laughter"...basically laughing when a large portion of the audience laughs, even though I had no idea what was funny...this is the punishment for pop culture references.

The majority of the audience may enjoy the joke, but a small few (who the hell hasn't heard of Smurf Island?!) will be almost immediately turned off by it. Of course, I think there's a difference between pop culture references and historical references. Not including those who studied overseas (like Nadine), nearly every American is expected to know a little American history. And I love to make a nice historical reference when the time calls for it. Then you also have world history...which is even more universal. Everyone is at least a passingly familiar with the history of the world. We all know (or at least should know) who the Ancient Egyptians were, most of us have heard the word "cuneiform" or "papyrus" or "heiroglyph", etc. We all know that Julius Ceasar ruled Rome, and that Alexander the Great was from Macedonia.

For some reason (perhaps personal), I feel a little cheated when I laugh at a pop culture reference, even if it's a very clever one. Yet, I feel very happy when a troupe drops a clever historical reference. Maybe that's just my own bias.
Last edited by phlounderphil on April 27th, 2006, 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Evilpandabear » April 27th, 2006, 4:31 pm

when phil morphed into jefferson carver and offered someone peanut butter, i lost my shit. it was funny. it was clever. it was intelligent. go phil.
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Postby acrouch » April 27th, 2006, 4:42 pm

Evilpandabear wrote:when phil morphed into jefferson carver . . . it was intelligent. go phil.


: ) George Washington Carver. Although if he had a lesser brother named Thomas Jefferson Carver, that would be cool.
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Postby kbadr » April 27th, 2006, 5:08 pm

Jay is confusing him with his shirt-cleaning cousin, George Jefferson Carver

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