Featuring members of STAG Comedy, Bad Example, and Your Terrific Neighbors, The Hustle Show is like its own one-troupe Sketch Fest. Their monthly show at ColdTowne Theater is a mix of stand-up, games, and other assorted mayhem. We asked The Hustle crew some questions.
You guys have a monthly show at ColdTowne Theater. What’s your process for getting a show from soup to nuts?
Jeff Whitaker: Our process involves a whole lot of beers, a whole lot of joking around, and then a tight turn around to get the show made. We have been on the same schedule since the show’s start at the end of 2011, so we feel like we have a pretty solid understanding of what needs to be done. We trust each other and the show always delivers because of it.
Curtis Luciani: If I could reduce it to its essence: first we think of an idea for a sketch, then we write the sketch, and then we perform the sketch. Idea, write, perform. A classic IWP sketch methodology.
Courtney Sevener: We are called the Hustle Show for a reason. Producing a brand new sketch show every month is no easy task. It involves a lot of rushing around and busting ass. Also a lot of emails.
David Jara: We also sit around a table in in a dark room like the Illuminati. That explains why our sketches have so many references to triangles.
Tre Fuentes: “It’s like songs come to him from the future, because as he writes one, he feels like he already knows it. He could be writing for 10 hours, but it will feel like two minutes.” will.i.am said that, and I agree with him.
If there’s someone who is interested in sketch but has never done it before – any advice to them?
Jeff: In Austin, it’s easier than one might expect. There’s always room for more quality sketch troupes in town. Acts like Bad Example and Wink Planet found a way to create a show and enter this festival. My advice would be to start writing, put it up wherever you can, find other people you like and just put on a show. Sounds over-simplified, but it’s not!
Curtis: Seriously, do it! There are so many people doing stand-up and improv in Austin. We’d love to see a proportional amount of people doing sketch comedy. All you need is a space in your closet for dumb props.
Courtney: Absolutely start writing. Finding your own writing style and voice is so important. Sketch troupes here in Austin are really cool and supportive, so my advice would be to put feelers out to groups in town that you like once you’ve got some sketches under your belt.
David: It helps to do it with people who you genuinely like and whose opinions you respect. One of the great thrills of a Hustle Show meeting is making everyone at the table laugh with one of your pitches or scripts. If you can make a collection of really talented people laugh, that’s when you know you’ve got something.
Tre: If you think of a funny idea or a premise, write it out as quickly as you can get it out, and don’t get discouraged if someone points out that some other thing has a similar sketch or idea. It’ll hopefully have your own style and sense of humor, so you shouldn’t worry. And, if it turn out the sketch is very similar? Well, then, you’re probably a thief or a Dead Zone, but with sketches instead of the future.
Your show last year, with Rabbit Rabbit was one of the strongest of the festival. What can we expect from your show this year?
Jeff: I think this year is going to be even better. Another year means another several dozen brand new sketches to choose from. We have a very fortunate show slot opening up for Ithamar Enriquez and we intend to capitalize on that. Expect some badassery.
Courtney: We are like a rag-tag group of kids that were left a house because mom went on vacation. Anything can happen, and anything goes. Expect to get punched in the dick with comedy.
David: Last year’s Sketch Fest was a watershed moment for The Hustle Show; we were thrilled to open for Rabbit Rabbit and were flattered by all of the nice things people had to say about our set. This year, we’re just gonna coast on that and completely burn through our good will. Expect a lot of people sitting on cakes.
Tre: You know, it’s a lot like will.i.am said, “Who was the girl who sung the Barbie and the Rockers commercial? It was Fergie. How crazy is that? Come on, dude, that’s not coincidence … So that only means that the future me now made me record that and do that then, if you believe in interconnectivity and the absence of time.”
What are you looking forward to at this year’s Fest?
Jeff: I am really looking forward to Ithamar’s one-person show. That guy has always brought it in years past with Delicious Moments. I’m excited to see what he does with a slot to himself. Also, I have been very impressed with Austin’s own Vanessa Gonzalez doing her one-woman show “I Don’t Know Words.” It kicked ass on her tour.
Courtney: I am suuuuper pumped to see Brandon Gulya in anything and everything – specifically his one man show ‘Who Are You People and Why Are You Watching Me?’. His energy can’t be beat and makes him so fun to watch. He’s going to crush it.
Tre: Once again, I am going to defer to the man himself, will.i.am, “I’m really looking forward to the Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction. Nothing get’s me going harder or faster than people making people who wouldn’t fuck fuck. The row in front of me better have a back-tarp, if you know what I’m saying.”
The Hustle Show performs tonight, Saturday May 24th, 7pm at Spider House Ballroom, opening for Ithamar Enriquez. Tickets here.