Tuesday, June 28, 2011

FrISC 2011

     New York City changes me.  I stop thinking about appropriate bed times and drink limits.  The only time I regret it is on the 7am bus ride home.
     This weekend was the 2nd annual Friars' Club Improv and Sketch Competition, or FrISC!  It's a two day competition: day one is for improv and day two is for sketch.  Teams from all over the country (and apparently Canada) submit their acts and the top 5 improv teams and top 5 sketch teams are chosen to showcase their material to a live audience and a panel of judges.   Oh what fun!  It's also a great format because it's rare to be able to see so many different teams at one time.  They're each given 20 minutes to do what they do.
     Full disclosure: I missed the first night.  I had to take the bus up on Friday after work.  Waiting in line for a bus can suck sometimes.  I try to make the best of it, and having chat on my phone is one of the best ways I've found.  This is part of the convo I had with Mary whilst waiting:

 Followed shortly by this:
1.)  Typos are inevitable.  That should read "lit up," but luckily Mary knew this and for once didn't jump all over it.  2.)  This turned me into the jerk who is just standing in line cracking up at nothing.
      Eventually the bus arrived, we all loaded on, an we were on our way.  During the trip, the NY State senate was actually voting on the same sex marriage bill.  I was in Deleware when the news came through that it had passed.  About 20 seconds later, this photo went viral:

There's a point when the bus is about 30 minutes outside the city when the skyline starts to come into view.  By now, I know when this happens based on everything else around me.  I was excited to see it, but the fog was so dense, well, I couldn't.  I'm actually really glad this picture exists, because I could hardly see it from 35th and Madison.

     I got to the city around 1am, had some drinks, took a nap, had a few more drinks, and made it over to UCB for FrISC.  What a great show.  Everyone brought their A game.  I was rooting hard for Somebody's in the Doghouse, because I know them and they're from Boston.  They put on a great show but they didn't win.
     Each team had their own thing, their own style.  The first team, Political Subversities, came out singing and basically kept it up for a sold 20 minutes.  It was interesting to see how they just seamlessly transitioned from one sketch to the next.  Plus, creating a sketch that allows a KFC Double Down to be eaten on stage is pretty sweet.
     Stone Cold Fox and Onassis (I couldn't find their websites to link to) were both great.  They had more of a traditional sketch show style with longer ones and black outs and call backs.  Onassis had a really great in-between thing with their chairs.  It's hard to describe.  It was funny.
     Somebody's in the Doghouse is unique because they're a two person group and they do wonderful things with that.  They create great characters and their stuff is really smart.  I could go on and on about how much I like their sketches, but just check out their website and if you're in NYC or Boston or wherever they play next, go to a show.
     The last group was, uh, well, last.  It was one guy who is apparently hilarious.  I now firmly believe one man shows just don't work for me.  I understand them, and I can appreciate the difficulty of them.  And I'm not even saying they just don't work, I'm saying they don't work for me.  I long for the connection people are making on stage.  In a one-person show, there's just a character who goes and goes, and nothing organic is really allowed to happen.  I mean, good job for putting yourself out there, it's just not my cup of tea.
     Did I mention who won?  It was Onassis, and it was well deserved.
     The after party was the Friars' Club and it was pretty awesome.  If I used phrases like off-the-hook, I would call it that.  The curious thing about it was that all the drinks were served in wine glasses.  The event was sponsored by PBR (Ok, that was served in cans) and a very special kind of bourbon.  I attempted to complete the entire bar transaction with just pointing.  The bartender filled a wine glass with ice and then poured the bourbon to the top.  I heard they ran out shortly after.  Hm.
     They also poured this way when I ordered scotch.  I was hanging out later with Paul Brittain (whoops, I dropped a name) and we commiserated over this odd pouring method.  We were trying to drink classy drinks (Johnny Walker Black for me, Jameson for him) and they were messing it up.  Of course, we weren't going to not take the goblets full of booze.  Instead we stood around talking about the oddness of it and cracking jokes about the whole thing.  Basically, we're BFFs now.  I also got to casually talk to some other awesome people who will never remember who I am.  But it's cool.  Everyone was cool.
     Have I mentioned how cool just the building of the Friars' Club is?  There's a history to it, and I read about it once, but I don't remember it very well.  It's an awesomely old dark wooded building with a grand staircase and photos of every comedian legend on the walls.  You get a little funnier just stepping inside.
     Ben&Jerry's was also there.  I just wanted to mention that.

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