ASF Hot Seat: STAG Comedy

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This year, Austin comedy stalwarts STAG Comedy join the Austin Sketch Fest 6-timers club with a new, full length play called “Sex Week,“ in which they blend some of their favorite characters and sketches into a complete story with an actual beginning, middle, and end.
STAG Comedy is made up of an elite group of stand ups and improvisers and are widely regarded as one of Austin’s best sketch comedy acts. (For a short time, years ago, they were known as one of Austin’s only sketch comedy acts.) Their yearly sold out shows at the Alamo are known for a high density of jokes, strong premises, and scenes that end in murder.

Traditionally, they pull out all the stops for ASF. We sat STAG down on the Hot Seat and grilled their buns about ASF, narrative structure, what exactly “Sex Week” means.

There’s a rumor that STAG is putting together a full length play for this year’s Austin Sketch Fest. Confirm or Deny or No Comment?

Dave Youmans: I deny it.

Sam Malcolm: I’ll confirm Dave’s denial.

Mac Blake: I deny Sam’s existence

Don’t deny it. What kinds of challenges have you had to face writing a full length play, as opposed to a 3-minute long sketch?

Sam: I really like trying to add a narrative through-line to individual set pieces. I’m excited to add some heart and try to create characters that people are rooting for. I also have no idea how to successfully do any of that so I’m filling out this questionnaire instead of writing my scene.

Lance Gilstrap: Sam! Get back to writing! Mac! Sam stopped writing again!

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Be honest: who has the best dramatic chops in STAG?

Mac: Andrew [Rosas], Dave, and Ximena [Estrada] all have theater experience. It’s definitely not Sam. He’s only got goof chops.

Sam: My money’s on Andrew since he’s a musician, too. That sincerity has to be able to transfer to the stage.

Lance: My name is the one one not to have been mentioned because evidently I’m fucking chopped liver over here.

Mac: Lance, your sexual proclivities don’t factor in.

On a scale of MacBeth to The Iceman Cometh, where does your play fall?

Sam: I don’t know anything about plays, but I fully expect to be invited to perform at the Tony’s so…Rent?

Mac: Our show is called “Sex Week.” So obviously more like the Iceman Cometh.

What’s Sex Week about?

Mac: Sex Week is a classic tale of two guys who can’t get laid going on a journey to get laid. There are pretty much zero obstacles in front of them, every character they meet is actually very helpful they just can’t put the goddamn pieces together. It’s also very, very funny and probably only half as dirty as you’d expect from us. Sorry people expecting fake jizz, no fake jizz this show.

What makes you laugh the most?

Dave: My girlfriend, my dogs, and that video of Axl Rose asking for reggae.

Mac: Undeserved hubris, raw emotion, and Dave’s dogs.

Lance: Oh man, I just watched that Axl Rose video Dave was talking about!

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What’s the best thing about the comedy scene in Austin?

Sam: The best thing is that I’m the freaking KING of this god damned city.

Mac: Serving under King Sam is pretty cool. Also, the available stage time. The diversity. If you have a crazy idea for a show, all it takes in this town is some elbow grease and you can do it. There are very few gatekeeprs between you and stage if you hustle.

Do you have any fun “worst show” or “worst audience member” stories?

Dave: That’s easy: Toronto. We were performing at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival. We did two shows there. The first show was ok, certainly not our best. The audience’s reaction was tepid to say the least. So for the second show we really went for it. Kurt Braunohler was the host that night, and he was getting big laughs. We thought, “Hey, this sounds like a great crowd!” So you can imagine our surprise when our performance was met with what I can only describe as aggressive silence. Just nothing. For thirty minutes.

Mac: They very politely wanted us to die.

Lance: It was like an audience full of Tom Cruises from that scene in Magnolia where he’s like “I’m quietly judging you”.

Do you have any fun “best show” stories?

Mac: On my list of “Top 5 Best STAG Comedy Shows Ever”, 2 of the 5 are Austin Sketch Fest shows. We really, really love this festival and always want to do something special for it. Hence, us trying something with Sex Week we’ve never tried before. Hopefully it works out. Taylor Stewart and Ed Reed are going to be part of the cast for this one and it was too much for the six of us.

Any acts you’re looking forward to at this year’s festival?

Mac: Girls with Brown Hair were great last year, so I’m definitely looking forward to that. The Midnight Society Presents reunion show and the Bryan Gutmann album recording are also high on my list.

Lance: I’m a huge fan of Brent Weinbach. Ditto on Girls with Brown hair, but the real answer is “I’m the Artistic Director of the festival so I pretty much just got to make all my favorite groups do comedy for me.”

Sam: I think the Saturday lineup has a lot of different styles in each slot, so I’m excited to see the variety throughout the night.

Share with us your tips for a job interview.

Sam: Get there at least 24 hours early.

Dave: Is that enough though? Better make it 48 hours.

Mac: Get there 72 hours early so you can scare off any other applicants.

Lance: I say show up an hour late to the first interview and tell them you assumed it would go well and you’re just early for the second one.

We need to increase the visibility of this article. Any suggestions for a clickbait headline?

Dave: You’ll Never Believe What STAG Comedy Said about Austin Sketch Fest!

Mac: Is This Christian Sketch Comedy Group Pro-Taliban?

Lance: Pornographer Dave Youmans Finally Reveals His Shaving Secrets.

Dave: Thanks, Lance.

Sam: Bas Rutten Street Defense – The Best Version

STAG Comedy is performing Thursday, May 21st, 10:15pm at the Spider House Ballroom along with OSFUG and Zac Brooks. TICKETS HERE