Free beer! ASF HOT SEAT: THE BACKPACK

The backpack.jpg

"If you see something say something". This phrase is usually saved for suspicious packages, like backpacks on the New York City subway but when we say this Backpack we knew we had to say something. Find out what they had to say in their ASF Hot Seat Interview! 

We're excited to have you come to town! When did you first start working together?

We started working together in 2008 at The University of Montana, where we all went to school and got various degrees in Theatre, Acting, and Dance.

How did you come up with your team name? 

Our first sort of “big hit” piece uses a home made format, which we still utilize today, that employs pads of paper strapped to our bodies like back packs. The papers all have simple line drawings of things that could either be what we become or a tool we use.

What was the first sketch idea you can remember having as a group or an individual? 

I think the first sketch we did as a group was a tap dance, a sort of call and response physical comedy kind of thing, although I can’t remember the song it was to, the piece was called “Sell The Buffalo”.

What's your creative process like? How do you generate ideas and keep it fresh?

Golly I don’t know. We are inspired by silly everyday situational comedy and tragedy which will soon be laughed at. Our process generally starts with one idea or story and we heighten and offer ideas from that one jumping off point.

Who are your influences? Who are some of your favorite sketch comedy acts performing today? Who has blown your mind? 

We are huge fans of Blue Man Group, Pilobolus, Momix, Nina Conti, OK Go and The Muppets.

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

Can I replace the word “worst” with “memorable”? We were in Portland putting up a show while we were in college and had to do all our own publicity.  So we spent most of our time handing out flyers to strangers. We had a homeless man take us up on it, he was a very chipper fellow, seemed to be into the performance, commented loudly the whole way through, made any possible effort to participate, and left about 20 minutes in. 

Do you have any fun "best show" stories?

Our first time performing in Austin was a moment of truth for us.  We performed at Frontera Festival and were unsure about how an audience of people who aren’t our peers, have never met any of us, and have never seen our work would respond to our shenanigans.  Needless to say, we were very well received and ended up playing Best of Fest for four straight years.

Are there any ideas that you've had that you can't seem to make work or convince the rest of the team / troupe is actually funny. 

If there are we don’t dwell on them. If someone is excited about an idea, it will get made in some capacity. Sometimes it has to be tweaked and evolved into its greatest potential. 

What should people interested in comedy know about performing sketch that you didn't know when you started?

The best thing you can do is stay in the moment, just as you would in improv. Trust your instincts and you’ll be surprised at how much you can discover in an already scripted (in our case choreographed) work. 

What else – comedy wise – are you looking forward to this year? What do you have cooking?

We do shows throughout the year! There’s talk of a musical, some more digital stuff, and collaborations down the line. Follow us! Come have a beer!


Check out The Back Pack Wednesday, May 24th at 8:30 PM at Spider House Ballroom! Tix Here