Did you know about Baltimore’s passionate improv community? I recently had the opportunity to speak with Heather Moyer from the Baltimore Improv Group about their upcoming festival. I trust you’ll enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at the fast-paced world of improv artistry, and as always this article supports What Weekly’s mission – which is to get more followers for the Ezra Lefko twitter account (@EzraLefko).
1. How long have you been with the Baltimore Improv Group?
I’ve been with the Baltimore Improv Group since it began back in early 2004, I’m one of the founding members. In fact, we’re having a big huge tenth anniversary party in September! Mike Subelsky is the main man who put BIG together back in 2004. He rode around town on his bike putting up flyers seeking people who wanted to start up an improv troupe, and now here we are.
2. I know improv in a small blue collar city is wildly lucrative. What will you do with the massive profits the Baltimore Improv Festival will generate?
We expect to make MILLIONS of dollars doing improv comedy and we will not only sleep on huge piles of said cash but we’re also going to swim around in it like Scrooge McDuck. Improv comedy is so lucrative that we all keep our regular daytime jobs so as not to make any non-improvisers feel bad about not being as rich as we are.
3.) The festival runs from July 31st to August 4th. If you had to pick just one night for our readers to attend which would it be?
Picking one night of the festival is really hard. There are some seriously good acts every night. If you want to see some ridiculous puppet improv comedy, check out the Wednesday night show with Tigerhead (I’m biased because I’m in that troupe). If you want to see a great college improv troupe, check out Howard Community College’s “What Improv Group” on Thursday night. If you want to see an improvised musical, check out the Friday night 8:30 show. There’s also a one-woman show in the 10pm Friday show. Man, it’s so hard to pick just one! Saturday has some phenomenal acts, and then Sunday night is improv karaoke. NO matter what show you see, you won’t be disappointed.
4. The site mentions some out-of-state talent coming in to perform and teach. Anyone specific to recommend?
I particularly love RuBin from NYC (Friday 7pm show). They’re a hysterical duo. I’m also looking forward to seeing Big Gulp from Boston (Saturday 7pm show) because their audition tape showed them really having fun on stage and performing with some fantastic energy. Also amazing, NYC’s Magnet Theater Tour Co. We’ve had them down here before and the audiences love them. And then of course, all of the Baltimore Improv Group mainstage troupes are performing, and they are consistently funny.
5. Have you ever met Matt Besser? Are you a fan? Can you get me a job with him?
I met Matt Besser one time and for the five minutes I kind of interacted with him, I thought he was just busy. He is hysterical in Assscat.
6. If Baltimore residents, many of whom are barely above the poverty line, would like to contribute the few pesos they have desperately scraped from the heaping ruins of economic decline to the Baltimore Improv Group, where can they do so?
The Baltimore Improv Group is a non-profit, so we happily welcome donations of any amount. That also means donations of time – if people ever want to volunteer at our shows and get in free, they just have to email us. As for donating money, people can do that online. We love improv comedy in this city and want to keep doing it for years to come.
7. If one of our charming and handsome readers had never done improv before but was interested in giving it a shot, what would the best event to attend be?
The Baltimore Improv Festival has TWO Intro to Improv workshops for folks who would like to try their hand at improv comedy. They’re cheap and it’s always a blast – I strongly recommend those workshops who want to see what it’s like. (All tickets, show details, and workshop sign-ups are on the festival website: BaltimoreImprovFestival.org) And then if they like it, they can sign up for the full 7-week intro courses we’ll be starting up again in the fall. We teach 7-week courses of improv comedy for all experience levels, and people keep filling these classes up, so we’ll keep teaching them!
8. Which Sedaris sibling is funnier? I’m looking for a one word answer that rhymes with “Bayvid.”
Can’t we love Amy and David equally? Seriously, they both have some serious comedy chops that I love.
9. Do you have anything you’d like to convey to Baltimore’s other comedic community – the stand up comedians?
Many people in the Baltimore Improv Group also do stand-up comedy in their free time. We love them, they love us. I think stand-up and improv are both great. Both take serious talent!
10. And most importantly, what’s your favorite song on the new Pet Shop Boys album? Mine is “Love is a Bourgeois Construction” but “Fluorescent” is really good too.
Are you asking me to love another Pet Shop Boys album besides “Please”? NEVER! NEVER, I SAY!
Thanks so much for your time Heather!
The 7th Annual Baltimore Improv Festival runs July 31 – Aug. 4. All shows and workshops are at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson (3134 Eastern Avenue). Show ticket prices range from $12 – $15. All information and ticket purchases and workshops sign-ups: BaltimoreImprovFestival.org