Culture Shock: The 5Th Annual Duke City Improv Fest

The Funnies

Summer Olsson
2 min read
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Our calf of a city is fatted with festivals. I mean geez, we’ve got articles about three in this issue alone. Let’s talk about one you’re going to laugh at. It’s almost time for the fifth annual Duke City Improv Festival, produced by The Box Performance Space. This year will see more local teams, as well as regional players from Arizona and Oklahoma, living in the moment for your entertainment. On Fridays and Saturdays, June 3 through 11, you can sample their many forms of comedic improvisation.

Galapagos, a group from Phoenix, does longform improv based on one audience suggestion. In the longform style, characters and situations can be deeply developed, and multiple scenes interconnect. If you like your humor a little more risqué, there’s Stretchin’ It, an R-rated team from Oklahoma City. “We just like saying the ‘f’ word,” the group says in its press release.

Three other teams from Phoenix (that must be one hilarious city) might lean more toward intellectual humor.
Buck uses longform to explore social issues, while Chaos Comedy performs scenes to explore the human condition, finding humor in the relationships between those onstage. Unicorn Warpath describes itself as “valiantly glittery” and fights the good longform fight.

Plenty of homegrown teams will join in, too. The Gryffindorks, “the oldest improv team in Albuquerque,” is actually comprised of some of the youngest performers. Nobody’s Stranger gathers text messages from the audience for their comedic fodder, turning them into shortform bits. If your problem with Shakespeare is that he’s not funny enough, you’ll want to catch No Holds Bard, a group improvising the “forgotten” texts of his canon. Starving Horse—maybe the funniest game in town—will also be splitting sides this year.

New on the menu is The Chicken Bowl. This Saturday late-night event is part competition, part cabaret, and it features players from multiple teams mixing it up. Workshops on both Saturdays include Beginning Improv, Extending the Scene and—presumably for the very brave—The Danger Room.

Remember, laughter is good medicine and tickets to the Duke City Improv Fest are way cheaper than a doctor bill. Tickets: $7, $15 day pass, $40 festival pass.For more info or reservations, see
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