Bad Example is The New Movement Theater’s premiere sketch group, producing a new show every month. Comprised of Austin Comedy Veterans (if you weren’t there for the chuckle wars then you don’t know), Bad Example will play their first Austin Sketch Fest, opening night 8:30pm at ColdTowne Theater. We asked Bad Example for some good examples.
What got you started in sketch?
Jeff Whitaker: I got started in sketch by watching Saturday Night Live, Kids in the Hall and In Living Color with my family at a very young age. When I was old enough, I would borrow (steal) my parents’ camera and film little sketches. My first one was “Jeff’s Safari” where I acted like Beanie Babies were actual dangerous animals. I peaked early.
Olivia Doud: I’ve loved sketch as far back as I can remember. I, too, was and still am a huge fan of SNL. The Best of Chris Farley DVD was like crack for me when I was a kid. I used to shoot sketches in my basement and coerced my two neighbors to do them with me. We made a satirical news show about PickleTown. My favorite character to play was a woman who sat around with her 10 kids and talked about her 401K plan. I definitely didn’t know what a 401K plan was then, and I’m still a little shaky about the details now. But I can’t wait until I get one of those. That’s why I pursued sketch comedy. I heard it’s the best way to ensure financial stability.
Ariel Greenspoon: My older brother, Evan, and I would obsessively consume any and all Kids in the Hall episodes that popped up on TV. I was even reprimanded in 2nd grade because I was going around “squishing” kid’s heads like the popular KITH sketch. Then every Saturday night my entire family would watch SNL and early MADtv back-to-back.
Roxy Castillo: Bad Example asked me, but I was influenced and curious about the form from Tracey Ullman and Monty Python.
Micheal Foulk: Kids in the Hall and MST3K were huge influences for me. In middle school some friends and I wrote a 30 minute parody of The Blair Witch Project, it was stupid but we were in love with sketch from that point on.
How did your group come together?
Jeff: I was extremely fortunate to have everyone that I asked agree to do Bad Example. I started taking classes at The New Movement to expose myself to some of the talent over there. I spoke with Chris Trew about what I wanted to do, and he agreed to give me a one-off show. I had never worked with anyone prior, but everyone was recommended to me by reputation. So far, it’s paid off big time. Our one-off show has now turned into a kickass monthly sketch show.
Ariel: At the time I was a sketch teacher at The New Movement and Jeff came poking around asking if I knew anyone else who’d be interested in forming a sketch group. Low and behold he was able to bring it all together!
Roxy: I seriously put on my 2013 vision board that I wanted to be part of a sketch project and then this fell into my lap. I “Secret’d” this shit.
Micheal: I woke up hung over and apparently I joined a sketch group. I’m a mess. A funny mess. I’m sorry.
What is your writing process?
Olivia: It’s super collaborative, which I like.
Jeff: Our writing process is extremely unique. I feel that because we have such strong writers and performers, that the process changes up a lot. Sometimes we have absurd premises that we bounce off each other, sometimes we have a character idea that turns into a sketch, or sometimes we write sketches with other cast members in mind.
Olivia: Generally, we’ll all riff and brainstorm on each of the sketch ideas pitched at an early meeting for a show. Then we’ll all go off individually and write. But if you run into any issues while writing, you know you can talk to any other members about it, and they’ll help. Everyone is so funny, so I really feel that I can trust any of them with an idea I’m personally excited about.
Ariel: It’s such a cohesive and non-judgemental process that it makes writing easy.
Micheal: I really enjoy writing a draft in one sitting, like banging out the whole scene in 20 minutes. Once the whole concept is done, I’ll go back and revise it.
Jeff: Whatever is happening, it’s been working.
What can we expect from your Fest show?
Jeff: I’m really excited because I feel like we are going to be reach an entirely new audience with Austin Sketch Fest. I can guarantee that we will do a high-energy, absurd, and damn fun show. I am confident that when people see us, they will have a good time.
What are you looking forward to at ASF?
Jeff: This will be my third consecutive Austin Sketch Fest performance. Every year, I feel like the festival far outdoes itself from the prior year. I’m equally excited to see the performances from out of town as well as the ones from Austin. I’m very excited to see Ithamar Enriquez because he always brought it with Delicious Moments in years past. Selfishly? I’m excited to see Bad Example’s own Vanessa Gonzalez do her one-woman show “I Don’t Know Words.” I have seen the show before and I think she’s going to impress a lot of people.
Bad Example will kick off the 2014 ASF, Tuesday May 20th, 8:30pm at ColdTowne Theater along with Wink Planet and Magician vs. Clown. Get advance tickets here.