The Hustle Show hustles. Every month the same group of people write and perform a brand new sketch show. Then, they next month they start all over. The Hustle Show also features games, stand-up, music, and “assorted mayhem.” In April the group did a show of just one-person shows. Hosted by the Mascot Wedding dudes, The Hustle Show opens up for Rabbit Rabbit and will be performing some of their favorite sketches. Hustlers Sam Malcolm and Jeff Whitaker gives us the straight dope.
What’s a typical Hustle Show like?
Sam Malcolm: A typical Hustle Show features sketches written with distinct voices but that all share a similar flavor of absurdity. So one might be 7 minutes with a page long monologue while another might be 3 minutes of us mashing fruit into our faces, but it all seems to fit.
Jeff Whitaker: The Hustle Show is a super unique show because it features so many different voices. The cast consists of people with years of sketch experience with people who may not have the most extensive sketch background. What makes it work is the trust that we are all going to take care of each other on stage. Each show is approached with one goal in mind, to make eachother laugh. Everything else just falls into place month after month. In short, the show looks like a bunch of people having as much fun as possible on stage.
You guys have not been afraid to get the stage a little messy, right?
Jeff: The Hustle Show wants to formally thank the interns at ColdTowne Theater for staying late nights and sacrificing their social lives to help clean up our chaos.
Sam: Listen, fear is not something we acknowledge at the Hustle Show. I had to clean Mac’s scorpion tank blindfolded before he would even consider performing a sketch I wrote. Joe Rogan is our spirit animal.
Is he your spirit animal for comedy? I only ask because he’s not funny.
Sam: Oh no no no. Never. That would be Kathy Griffin.
What’s the writing process for Hustle Show?
Sam: Basically, it starts with everyone bringing a rough outline of an idea to everyone else. Except then Curtis has a fully written, high concept sketch that makes the rest of us feel bad about what we brought. That discourages us for a couple weeks, but then the deadline of the show itself motivates us to produce. At least that’s how it works for me.
Jeff: The writing process is unlike any other that I’ve been a part of. It’s very fun and collaborative, but also allows for each writer to have their own unique voice. We usually show up to meetings with some idea of a sketch and then riff on it until we have something we can use. I’m the WORST at pitches so it’s nice to get everyone’s input on that weird thing I thought of. It’s always very clear after meeting what direction I want to go with a sketch.
What’s your favorite show that you’ve done?
Sam: We did a night of one-person shows, and I loved being able to see everyone featured individually. You really got a sense of what each performer brought to the table and got to see the show broken down into its parts. It made me appreciate the shows we’ve done as a group that much more.
Jeff: I loved the one-person shows show, but there’s another one that really sticks out. There was one show we did in May of last year where it was POURING rain outside. I think it was the first time that a show hadn’t sold out, so I know I was a bit bummed about that. Well, we decided that we wanted to just let it all go and do the highest energy show that we could. The audience had an amazing energy and felt like a hundred people. We delivered one of the most fun and loose shows to date. After that, it changed how I wrote because I knew what we were capable of.
What are you looking forward to at Austin Sketch Fest?
Sam: Truthfully, all of it. The local groups that I don’t often get to see. The out of town troupes I never get to see. The masters like Superego, Paul F. Tompkins, and Ennis & Kaye.
Jeff: In all honesty, Sketch Fest is one of my favorite things to do in Austin. It’s such an awesome atmosphere and I’m incredibly fortunate to be a part of it again this year. I’ve made it a goal to see every single show this year and I fully intend to do just that. I personally feel like sketch is such an underrepresented form of comedy around Austin so it will be great to have a few days dedicated to seeing great stuff.
Sam: I was fortunate to be on the selection committee and see the submission videos, though, and the show slot I’m most intrigued by is LanceLife and Beige. They are two extremely funny, well crafted shows that are very, very different.
What can we expect from your ASF show?
Jeff: Well, since we usually do at least an hour long show and we have a shorter time slot for Sketch Fest, i’s pretty safe to say that everyone will see a jam-packed, high energy show. We have a lot to get out of our system!
Sam: Sketch comedy, right?
Jeff: I’m looking forward to opening up for Rabbit Rabbit and I know that The Hustle Show will deliver. Smug? Maybe. True? Yes. Maybe? True.
The Hustle Show performs Saturday May 24th at 7pm along with Rabbit Rabbit at the SpiderHouse Ballroom. Get tickets here.