For $20, including $10 for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, Tucson comedy fans can watch 18 hours of improv, comedy and performance art May 26 and 27.
Tucson’s first Improvathon includes ambitious amateurs from the community, as well as players and established teams from improv companies Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed, Comedy Temple and the host company, Tucson Improv Movement. Stand-up comedians and performance artists, both accomplished and aspiring, also will perform.
TIM’s Daniel Kirby is the event’s wrangler, coordinating the schedules of nearly 100 performers. “There's a community aspect of it,” Kirby says. “We have several opportunities for community members to jam with improvisers, and a special block late on Friday night and early Saturday morning that we're saving for bit shows.
“The idea of a bit show is that you have one joke and you try to make that into a five- or ten-minute show. They can be very loosely improv-related. We only ask that they be comedy.” Kirby says he’s seen a bit show in which improv team members invented characters that all spoke like Saturday Night Live’s Don Pardo. In another, team members brought pizza to audience members at and had conversations with them.
Some weekly TIM shows are featured in their regular time slots. Immediately following an Improvathon kickoff at 8 p.m., TIM’s weekly Soapbox show features offbeat, nationally syndicated cartoonist Max Cannon. On Saturday, the kids’ show, FOMP, goes on at 1 p.m., and TIM’s popular game show, Throwdown starts at 9 p.m.
Marathons have been popular with improv companies nationwide since the Upright Citizens Brigade held the first Del Close Marathon 19 years ago. “Most people who do improv just wish they could do it all the time,” says Kirby. “This is an opportunity to test yourself to see if you can actually do too much improv!”
The Improvathon takes place at TIM Comedy Theatre, 329 E. 7th Street. Visit tucsonimprov.com for details.
Smiles For Soldiers
L.A. Improv comedy duo Rollin’ in Riches brings their high energy and quick wits two three nights of benefit performances for Ayuda of Southern Arizona, a nonprofit that connects vets to free dental services. Funds raised go to dental hardware and other material costs. Each show is at a different site, May 18, 19 and 20. Dinner and a cocktail, or two cocktails, are included in the $20 ticket price. Visit ayudaofsouthernaz.org for details and reservations.