Welcome to Your Comedy Layover...

Washington D.C. may not be a city that embraces comedy with open arms, but you knew that already. That is why you found us. Here you can get information, interviews and insights on the best local stand-up, improv and sketch comedy this city has to offer... 4 Now. You can reach us at dccomedy4now(at)gmail.com. LET'S DO THIS, DC!

Friday, May 22, 2009

FROM DC Craigslist

Recently I responded to an ad for an MC gig at an unspecified conference which I would later find out would be for prospective Au pairs. I applied with my headshot and resume and I received the following immediate response below (I would like to give the scam artist credit for originality on this one):

Dear applicant,

Thank you for replying back to the posting on craigslist. I'm Mr. Nicholas Morgan the director of Global Au Pair Agency 22 The Ridings Norwich United Kingdom. We are specialized in Bringing good and friendly Au pair / Nanny / Care Giver / Tutor and Families together. Au pairs from Germany, France, Spain, Great Britain and Ireland. Families from Central Europe, North / South America and also from Asia and other parts of the Au pair world. View our website for more details http//www.globalaupairagency.com

We are relocating to the state to hold an exhibitions / lecture for both adult and youth in the states with World Christian Ministries Association (W C M A). This is based on bringing Au pair and Families and also lectures on how to donate for the orphans.

So We are seeking a MC / A very good speaker to help us coordinate this upcoming Exhibitions which is dated on 23rd of May 2009, Time : 10am till 2pm, Theme: Blue and Purple.

This Job is now offered to you and i hope you should know your duties.

Kindly get back to us with your charges for this hours, so that we can finalize and get the payment to you. Get back to us with the below details:

Are you available on that date ?

FULL NAME:

PHYSICAL ADDRESS

CELL PHONE:

HOME PHONE:

BEST TIME TO CALL:

Kindly get back to us in time as to know if this offer is okay with you?

We will look forward to your e mail with the required information. Call me anytime on my phone number +44 703.190.3983 please dial as presented for international calls.

I will be waiting to hear from you
Thank you.

Nicholas Morgan



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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rory's Bane

New York City Crime Stories and Stories of Crimes from Rory Scovel on Vimeo.



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Friday, May 15, 2009

DCC4N's Interview with Guy Torry of the "1st Amendment Stand-Up" Series


DCComedy4Now was invited by Starz to attend the taping of the 4th Series for Martin Lawrence Presents: 1st Amendment Stand-Up at the Lincoln Theater inside the U Street corridor next to Ben's Chile Bowl last Friday. On the line-up was Guy Torry, a comic who's career I have followed since his role (very underrated) in American History X. I asked if I could grab an interview with Mr. Torry. Starz was kind enough to oblige and I was granted a few minutes of time back stage to ask the performer a little more about his experience with American History X, his background in stand-up and his future plans.

The taping at the Lincoln Theater was a first of its kind for me. The theater has a lot of volume to it and where I was sitting in the front row of the balcony it must have gone back at least 15-20 rows. The sound was the only hinderence to enjoying the show sometimes as the comedians, who were all high-energy, often had a hard time being understood off the acoustics of the theater. I had never been to a taping of a live performance and I found the experience different but not distracting. The entire stage design was for the look on camera not for the live audience. If you were sitting in the audience you could make out "1st Amendment Stand-Up" out of the backdrop that resembled somewhat of a large Lite-Brite. And the big screen TV's image down stage right looked pixilated but would translate crisply to the home-audience. There were aspects of the process, from a performer's perspective, that I found could be an interesting challenge.

The event had 3 MC's.

There was the MC/warm-up who made announcements, got the energy going, did some material then there was the MC for the series, Doug Williams who took over to get the energy rolling for what people were going to see on cable. However, the man controlling the entire flow of the show was the stage-manager. The entire show's flow was start and stop. Both of the hosts had to deal with this "3rd host" who was walking back and forth and even standing right next to them at times while they were doing material. The stage-manager even cut off the MC/Warm-up right at a punch line to give him a message. The comedians were all professional but it had to have been difficult on the timing and in the end, any comic wants to do well in front of what is still a live audience.

Then there was Guy Torry's intro, who came back out immediately after his set when they said they had to redo his introduction. So after he finished his set, they welcomed him back on stage, to which he handled quite professionally with an impromptu "Knock-Knock" joke that ended with "Michael Jackson". It worked well in a pinch.

"Professionalism" was a reoccurring theme that kept popping into my head after seeing Torry's set and speaking with him. He's a pro. He takes his craft seriously, he has had some success but he was incredibly open and gracious.

I caught up with Torry backstage who was still talking to a couple of other guys about his last joke in regards to Fantasia from American Idol. Torry was not gentle with her lack of literary skills and apparently, or at least in the bit, she chased him through an airport to which Torry "tripped" her up with a Scrabble board. Torry seemed to have missed a segue that he wanted to use. He wasn't upset but more like a batter coming off of an at-bat that had just missed the perfect pitch. It was the first thing I asked him about:

"I just used an old segue. I'm all about smooth segues and transitions. I wanna make it flow. In regards to the Fantasia joke, I used an old-set up that flows directly from the Obama material that I have been doing".

Alot of that seemed improvised, were there some improvised moments?

"Some. I've got a skeleton. But you have at least that if you are going to change lanes. And you have to keep it loose so it doesn't sound scripted. I'm all about the moment, being in the moment. You have to know where you are and know where you are going, sort of like what they do in Curb Your Enthusiasm"


Is that a show you would like to do?

"Oh yeah, sure! You know people know me from American History X, I got cred from the dramatic side of things after that role, but as a comedian and as an actor I'm always about being in the moment and that's what that [improvisation] is all about."

Your role in American History X, I don't think you got enough credit. Your character was pivotal in the transformation of Edward Norton's character. You had to walk the fine line of being someone that was going to be real with him but also bring in that comedic element. You really did a lot of work.

"Thank-you, I appreciate that. You know at the time I was a very green actor. Tony K the director gave me and Edward Norton a lot freedom. And this was after some scenes were not hitting right. And Norton cared a lot about the story and talked to Tony and he eventually let us go and said 'You have the green light'.

You mean those scenes were improvised between you and Norton?

"Yeah! The majority of the work. Ed Norton is very passionate about what he does, about the scene, the project. He cares about the story. And there were some things that were not working. So they [Norton and Tony K] talked about it and he was like, 'Ok, go to it. And again it was about the moment and playing across from Edward Norton, I mean man, he's incredible to play off of".

So the part with the bedsheet...

"Yeah, that was--"

And the other scene as well, where you guys were talking about Lakers vs. Celtics? That was one moment that I really thought was scripted because it seemed so "white (Celtics) vs. black (Lakers)", in fact I even thought it was a little bit, "Do the Right Thing".

"Yeah, I know but really it just turned out that way. But also, what can two men make-up the best? Sex and sports. The Lakers were my team and the Celtics were Norton's team so it just flowed. We just went at it. And then the scene about not letting your girl leave you when shes angry, that is just true for anybody. The arguing, the make-up sex, that is stuff that anyone can relate to".


How did you get the role?

"Well, whenever I talk about 'American History X' and that experience, I just always use the word, 'Karma'. It was total karma man. I used to run this show in L.A. called 'Phat Tuesdays' and it was a chance to do my thing and other guys would come and perform. Well there was this comic that was funny as all get out. And these producers for this movie were coming to check me out for this role. Well this other comic was hot. He took the stage and man he brought the whole place down. And the producers were there that night and chose him, the movie was '5th Element' and the comic was Chris Tucker.

Wow. That must of been tough.


"You know though that role was his [Tucker], I would have hurt it. And I was cool, I was happy that the producers were just coming to check out my show. But again, karma, it came back for me. Because a little while later they were looking to Tommy Davidson to play the part that I played in American History X. And they saw me at my show and I ended up getting the role".


I wish I had the time to talk to you more about this. Alot of the material you did tonight was current?

"Yeah, well, we have a black president, so you have to talk about it. But doing it here tonight for television, once I put a bit on TV, I put it to bed".

I liked your joke about DC, being a city where as you're driving, it goes from "Good-to-Ghetto-to-Gay".

"(Laughs) Yeah, but that joke can work pretty much for any cit you are in, that joke isn't just for DC, you can use that all over the place. But its true, go to any major city and it has all of those parts in it and you can be driving and before you know it, you're in the 'good' then the 'ghetto' and then 'gay' ".

So you were in college in Missouri, was college just something that you felt like you had to do and then you were going to get into comedy full-time?

"You know, I never had any interest in doing stand-up comedy. I used to joke around at the jobs I had but I just liked cheering people up. I worked at department and grocery stores and I would crack on people and co-workers. But I went to LA to finish my marketing degree".

What changed?

Well there was my brother (stand-up comedian Joe Torry) and there was the Russell Simmons Def Comedy Jam generation. I was influenced by all those guys. I also was Production Assitant on the set for Martin Lawrence's show, "Martin", and I was influenced by that. I would be doing little things around the set, getting things for people, all the while saying to Martin when I saw him, 'Hey man check this out, I'm funny too'. I wrote an episode too".

But eventually you were doing it full-time or as much as you could...

"Yeah, I just started studying the great ones, Pryor, Bruce, Berle, Cosby, you name it, Whoopie Goldberg, Dicky Gregory, Redd Foxx, and just tried to asorb as much as I could. And then I got booked for Def Jam by Bob Sumner who was a scout for Russell Simmons."

You do sets regularly while you are out on tour?

"I do sets all the time. All the time. Open-mics, regular shows, coffee houses, I'm always working on new material. And especially now, I'm trying to change or explore where I am at right now in my life. Its whole new period for me".

What are some of the new angles?

"Well, I'm married now, and where I'm at in my life, I'm a little older, so I'm looking a lot now at relationships".

What advice would you have for a young comic?

"Study your craft. Be in it for the show, be it for the love and not anything else."

I have sent Guy Torry's PR rep some follow-up questions, so I hope to have them posted soon.




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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

DCC4N's Rick Overton Interview

Every time I pass by the movie "Groundhog Day" on cable, if I can, I wait for this part: (9:15 minute mark) Bill Murry well into the monotony of his curse and about to move out of denial and into anger, has been boozing down with two Puxtawney bowling-alley regulars and laments, "What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same and nothing that you did mattered?" To which Rick Overton's character gives the lone reply of, "That about sums it up for me". Overton's reply resonates, especially for comedians, who have ventured out onto the stage in search of validation and the approbation that their voice is relevant and what they do matters.

I have needed to inject this blog with some life and recently the idea of getting back to the interveiws with people who make comedy their living has seemed like one of the most interesting ways. Overton came to mind because his first HBO Special came on around the time I was growing up and starting to follow comedy. It was the late 80's and early 90's, back when Rosie O'Donnell was actually kind of cool for hosting one of the few stand-up shows on television, "A&E's Evening at the Improv". Guys like the late Dennis Wolfburg, Richard Lewis, Bill Hicks, Eddie Griffinm, Norm McDonald, and Overton were just starting to get recognized and getting their own HBO One-Night Stand. Before any of his existential ranting, I rememeber Bill Hicks first because of his joke about "New Kids on the Block", it was one of the clips HBO would always play when they advertised the One-Night Stand series. It was the only material I could comprehend from Hicks at the time.

So I reached out to Overton, who graciously obliged, because he has been a favorite of mine from early on and I always enjoyed seeing him on his multiple roles on TV and Film. His credits include: Willow (alongside Kevin Pollack, they are the "smallest" characters actually in the film), Groundhog Day and an Emmy for writing on the Dennis Miller Show. I would have liked to have talked to him more about his film credits and experiences on the Dennis Miller Show and hope to follow-up with him sometime down the road.


You grew up in Queens, New York and both of your parents were involved with music it looks like, is music something that you were involved in as well? Did you grow up around performers? If so, what kind of influence do remember that having on you?

I Grew up in Forest Hills until 1966, at which point we moved to Englewood NJ because Dizzy Gillespie found us a house near him! Music has always played a role in my creativity, whether it's an actual song, or a joke or a script. Everything should have a pulse, like a heartbeat. Music breathes life into anything it is applied to. I did grow up around jazz musicians. My Dad was a closet comic and would play Bob Newhart and Jonathan Winters albums for me all the time. Got me hooked on Peter Sellers. Characters. I began comedy in high school, in a team with Tonn Pastore - OVERTON AND PASTORE. He went into a day job scene and stayed. We talk every other day. I'm his son's Godfather.

Your friend, Pastore took to the day-job scene, what kept you from doing the same? The thing that kept me going was just passion. Passion makes the hard parts more like the way you re tired after playing a sport that you love, or the kind of tired you get from doing something you hate to do. There's a good and a bad tired. Following your dream is the good tired at the end of the day.

Then, in 1973 I teamed up with Roger Sullivan - OVERTON AND SULLIVAN. (Roger is the guy who told ME the ARISTOCRATS joke that I told to Paul Provenza and Penn Gillette. The best Aristo-Joke told to me is the one told to me by Roger Sullivan, the same version I tell in the movie, but my acknowledgement of Roger in the beginning was trimmed for time. I fought to keep it in but lost out to editing decisions. He [Sullivan] started that whole ball rolling, in truth) Budd Friedman chose us for the NY Improv and Rick Newman chose us for Catch A Rising Star. Roger and I worked together for 5 years and I broke out on my own and started doing the solo act in early 1978. Scary to leave the nest, but here I am.

Could you describe a little about your act with Roger Sullivan? Overton and Sullivan was a team that did abstract sketches and characters. Little scenes like: A car with buzzers that go off until the driver zips up his fly (1973). Two cops trying to talk a jumper off of a ledge with impressions, and get caught up in their own schtick, forgetting the jumper (1975). Strange bits with lots of high speed timing and characters - sound effects too.

So then you were off to LA...
I moved to LA in late 1980. Chris Albrecht was my ICM agent and he got me all my initial work. I work today in films because of a small handful of people, Chris Albercht, Gary Marshall, and Ron Howard were the ones who initially believed in me. I am in their debt, along with Harold Ramis and a host of others.


You started to comedy in the 70's and 80's? What are the major differences between doing comedy now and then? Comedy is different now. Today, there are less clubs and only the biggest names can fill a room in the era of cable TV and both parents working all day to pay the bills. What happened to comedy is what happened to rock. Started out as being a bold protest to conditions. Originality being tantamount. Nowadays, rock songs are just about - "We're gonna have a party tonight!". Comedy has gone that marketing route now too. There are still brilliant artists in the form, but the days of Andy Kaufman taking the media by storm may be behind us, for the time being. I LOVE Andy Kindler, Patton Oswalt and Dana Gould. John Fuglesang and Troy Conrad are doing great, brave comedy too.

What always seems to stay the same or what can you yourself always depend on doing live comedy? Do you still get the same feeling that you did when you were just starting out?I don't get the same feeling on stage as when I started out, but it's close enough for me to come back rain or shine. I'm more of an actor these days, but my act is seeing a new resurgence of appreciation in this era of tightened belts. Suddenly, what I've been saying all along is getting heard.

How did you learn about the business side of comedy? What advice would you give folks starting out about the business side? I learned about the business side by simply observing and asking. Pride can wipe you off the entertainment map altogether. I have a business manager to help and boy do I need it on the number-crunch side of this.

My advice to those starting out now is to take improv classes. Nothing has been as overall instrumental in my career than that. Then take cold reading classes. Nobody will remain a standup comic alone forever. No longer possible. Be good at at least 5 other related things - acting, writing, improv, directing, producing etc... Even teaching.



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Friday, May 8, 2009

From Cleveland.Com

Comedian Dane Cook talks about the haters

Posted by Mike McIntyre/Plain Dealer Reporter May 07, 2009 11:39AM

COMEDY PREVIEW
Dane Cook

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, May 14.

Where: The Q, East Sixth Street and Huron Road, Cleveland.

Tickets: $33-$103, call 216-241-5555 or 330-945-9400.

Dane Cook hears the insults, the accusations that he's not funny, that his jokes lack one little item called a punch line, that he steals material.

Don't think his lofty status high above most stand-ups makes the air too thin for him to hear. Don't think he just covers his ears with his double-platinum records, or stuffs them full of the cash he pulls in for all manner of entertainment, from arena acts to TV specials to starring movie roles.

He hears it.

"I stay very close to the word on the street, so it does hurt. It definitely affects your veneer from time to time," he says, musing aloud about how jealousy and frustration play a role, but some people just aren't ever going to like you, two gazillion MySpace friends be damned.

It hurts more when it hurts those around you, said Cook: "The stuff on the bathroom wall that needs a good scrub down, that's the tricky part. When you see it hurting your fans and your family, that's when it hurts me. . . . There's more good than bad at the end of the day, sometimes the bad is really bad."

Cook, the gel-haired frat boy who stalks the stage, has been feeling very introspective lately. His parents died. His half-brother faces charges of embezzling loads of cash from him. He's not the college kid anymore. He's taken the pain and the maturity and boiled it down to a new, more personal act. He performed it in front of a handful of people -- fewer than are usually in the bathroom at any given time during one of his arena shows -- and taped it for a Comedy Central special, "Isolated Incident," premiering Sunday, May 17. He's bringing the material to his usual humongous audiences now, including a gig at The Q on Thursday, May 14.

"It was cathartic for me to share some of this material of what I've lived through over the last few years, the good and the bad. And now that I've brought that smaller, more intimate show to an even larger venue, it's an incredible feeling," he said. The response, said the most fan-connected comic in history, has been "overwhelmingly positive."

He even spends a good chunk of time talking about all the haters.

"I get goose bumps sometimes performing this material about dealing with those tough moments, and the reason I get so emotional about it when that wave of laughter finally comes is because now I own it, now I am giving that to other people and not in an egotistical, narcissistic way, but in a very . . . healing way," said Cook. "I speak about it. People laugh. It makes me feel not so bad, and it doesn't have the same pain and impact as the person who tried to deliver that blow."

Cook says he was shy and insecure when he was young and "had nowhere to share these strange and fantastical ideas." The comedy club stage was safe for that and feels safe again.

"To come full circle and to lose both of my parents and deal with the white-hot spotlight and the negativity that goes with that . . . I found myself feeling like I did in 1990 again where [the stage was] the one place I could share everything, kind of hang it out to dry. By the end of the day it was just a healing for me," he said.

Heavy as it all sounds, Cook assures his singular goal is to make people laugh, to "bring a little bit of lightness" to someone else's bad day.

And maybe even his own.


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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

receSs Presents: SLATE: The World College Comedy Festival


3 NIGHTS. 5 SHOWS. DERRICK COMEDY. UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE TOURCO. WASHINGTON IMPROV THEATER. AND THE LAST RECESS SHOW OF THE YEAR!!!!

Host:
Type:
Network:
Global
Start Time:
Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 8:00pm
End Time:
Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 4:00am
Location:
Betts Theater, Marvin Center
City/Town:
Washington, DC
Email:

Buy Tickets Here!


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Saturday, May 2, 2009

The "Real Joke" in the District: DC Parking Meters


The biggest joke in Washington DC is anything driving related. If its not the traffic or asshole diplomats, when you get out of the car you have to deal with the parking meters. They either:

  1. Don't work, "FAIL"--which you still get ticketed for
  2. Are over-priced, 7 1/2 minutes now for a quarter, 1 1/2 minute for a nickel
  3. Suck your change from you, as only every other or every two other pieces of change will actually register. I spent over 3 dollars yesterday in nickes, dimes and quarters to pay for 35 minutes.
The Council of DC approved the parking meter hike, which is another story, to increase revenue. Great. Fine. That's what we do when we need to increase revenue in government, raise prices or taxes. Not always the right option, not always thought through entirely, but a fact of life.

Then all I ask, is if you are going pinch every freaking penny out of my pocket, are for the meters to at least f-ing work. That's the least the City can do while we all try and deal with the economy that is about as stable as Glenn Beck watching the end of Old Yeller on the Fourth of July. Also we have to deal with this asshole.

Government only responds in a knee-jerk fashion. Get acquainted with your DC City Council, especially Jim Grahm who proposed the price hike and the Council member in your Ward. And if you see them do one or two things:
  1. If you can do that really hard coin flip with your middle finger and thumb, I had a roommate that could hit me on the forehead on the other side of the room with a penny, keep some change in your pocket for when you might come across a Councilman and just start flipp'n. If you're with a group of people and you have the time, flank-out and create crossfire.
  2. If you work behind a counter and have to give one of them change, just drop it on the floor. Let them pick it up. At least it can simulate the activity of what I have to do, when the meter eats most of my change and I have to go back and start digging through my car's seat cushions in the desperate hope that I might find another quarter.
  3. Or, this is what I would prefer. Because every time, that meter takes my money and I try to explain it to the meter maid who in his or her own way gives me their existential middle-finger or the Council by raising the meter hike on defunct parking meters essentially smiles and tells me to "deal with it". I would like us all to just simply greet them on a daily basis with a nice, "Fuck you". If you are a mute, just give them the "Finger". Or if you would like to dial it down a bit, I would just going with the Finger. And this can all be done with a smile.
It can seem harsh but we live in an age where a letter, an email, even a petition can get just get lost in the shuffle. No one responds to the process and if they do, it can take forever. But a nice "Fuck You" can get someone's attention. And trust me, a narcissitic self-important douche-bag politician has a hard time dealing with adversity when its directly in their face. Especially, what could equate to a thousand FU's a day. A nice "Fuck-You" for every nickel, dime and quarter taken by the over 15,000 parking meters that are in the District.

(Cue Sally Struthers), "Just one 'Fuck-You' a day, could get a government official or City Councilman to take action and do something as small as fix a parking meter."


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Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday's Question: Should a Comic Be Rolling Deep?


Eddie Murphy was really starting to explode around "Delirious", I could see rolling deep with some peeps.

Ego is fascinating. By taking the stage to do comedy, you have said to the room, "I'm funny". I used to think I was special for taking the stage to do any sort of comedy or acting but it takes the same nerve to start and excel at any endeavor. Egos exist in all walks of life. Doctor's are known to be egotistical. It has to take an extreme amount of ego and confidence to be a neurosurgeon.

You are cutting into someone's head.

However, have you ever seen a neurosurgeon rolling deep? Swinging his stethoscope around, an arm wrapped around a Candy-Striper, 3 of his best friends from his neighborhood who aren't even doctors all on their cell-phones, a couple of nurses, and some orderlies hauling his golf bag?

Chris Rock talked about always being asked if Lorne Michaels had a big ego or was Michael's arrogant and he responded maybe he was; but arrogance was all around him. Rock said he could find an arrogant cab driver on daily basis. So when does ego warrant a posse? It doesn't. The posse' is just symptomatic of an ego that has gone awry.

Its silly for a comedian to have an entourage. Eddie Murphy or Jerry Seinfeld, I can understand. These guys have surpassed comedian and performer and have become media moguls. But for comics?

I was standing outside the DC Improv a little over a month ago and while a few of us were waiting to do our showcase in the Lounge, the headliner came through with her entourage dragging her stuff ala the desert scene with John Candy and Bill Pullman in Spaceballs (5:30 mark). The small space outside the Improv doors was already small with the 5 of us hanging outside of it, it became smaller when we were joined by a train of "handlers" and luggage. It inspired a couple of awkward moments. The first one was when one of us lowly local comics tried to make light of the dense silence that came over the small outside by saying, "Hey man, that looks heavy for one person, she should help you out" the guy replied, (out of breath) "Nah, man, this is nothing". I respect that. Why would you say anything else in front of your boss. But the second part that I found the most humorous was after that as the fog of silence grew thicker and the mood more awkward, the headliner stood nose to the face of the back door waiting for it to open like it was the front entrance of Safeway. And it did not open. She did not move. And they waited. No one said a word. It was weird too. I felt like she felt she had to get in before one of us asked her for an autograph or picture. I started to feel bad for her. Like maybe I should just do something nice and validate her for the moment. Its probably the same awkwardness that James Belushi brings to any social moment. Finally, her second guy said something like, "Man, they said the back door was going to be opened!" which his boss replied, "They did" without moving any part of her body as if she was still trying to open the door with telekinesis. Second guy started angrily banging on the door. Until finally it was opened and all the awkwardness escaped into the main show room.


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Comedy Lounge, DC Improv Tonight!


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