The Intermittent Kevin

As rarely and randomly updated as most blogs

Hour 41 of the 41-hour improv marathon

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(Just visiting? That’s cool; see the bottom of this post for my favorite quotes from the show.)

This weekend, from Friday afternoon until early Sunday morning, a group of eight hardy improvisers at my spiritual home, the Hideout Theatre, performed 41 continuous hours of improv comedy, with miniscule breaks in between and help from a wide range of fellow improvisers who brought a new format each hour.

Check out the full schedule for an idea of how it went down. I’d heard from last year that the final hours were the ones to see, so I set my alarm for 5:00 this morning and turned up for the final three hours. That’s right, I wanted to see improvised 1960s Batman, and oh boy was it worth the early wakeup.

The final hour saw eight haggard individuals, miraculously upright, ready to do one final long-form narrative. And maybe the audience’s own sleeplessness helped somewhat, but oh, it was one of the finest hours of improv I’ve ever seen.

I say that without even needing to make allowances for how deliriously tired the improvisers were. It worked perfectly, in fact: any barriers they might have had to a totally spontaneous show were long gone, lost in a haze of exhaustion. At the beginning of the hour, Jessica was disappointed that the audience suggestion of “safari” wasn’t taken; and so the hell with it, she just arranged for herself and a couple other characters to go on a damn safari halfway through. When Kaci tried to wipe the scene, the characters just treated her as wild game to be taken down.

During another moment, Curtis let out an impressively lengthy expository sentence (see below). Roy jumped off the sidelines, yelled “Freeze!”, and then addressed the audience: “I’d just like to point out that Curtis has been improvising for 41 hours and still has the ability to say ‘bifurcated stalk’.” We all clapped.

It felt extremely honest to watch. Too much improv is, despite all the attempts at freedom, still in an artistic box; it’s rare to see a group that’s so unafraid of itself and its performance. I’m not even really joking when I say that improv works much much better when it’s sleep-deprived.

Kudos to the Hideout 8. It was a hell of a performance.

Favorite Quotes
“I was gasping in my mind… it comes out of holes in my face.”

“All of the benefits of plants… and all the weaknesses of NOTHING!”

“I know what you’re thinking: why does a grown man with an education have “All-Star” on a mix CD?”


“Just because a plant has a bifurcated stalk and two appendage-like limbs and a headlike thing, you assume I’m going to try to fuck it?”

“Dancing plant, do you have anything to say? [nothing is said] …I think we can all take a lesson here.” [lights down]

And finally, as the improvisers bowed to applause at the end, Jessica squeaked out:
“Thank you! …We have classes!”


Written by Kevin Miller

June 6, 2010 at 2:12 pm

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  1. Sounds… delirious! Haha… Glad you had a great time!


    June 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm

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