Girls with Brown Hair

ASF Hot Seat: Girls With Brown Hair

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One of the great things about producing a comedy festival are those times you’re pleasantly surprised by someone you’ve never heard of. Girls With Brown Hair surprised the hell out of us last year. Hell, they straight up sucker punched us with how hilarious they were. Several of the producers stopped watching the tape, just so wouldn’t spoil the rest of the show.
Girls With Brown Hair – Becky Chicoine and Sam Reece – hail from New York City’s UCB theatre. Their last show, WOMANTOWN, toured around the country appearing in Austin Sketch Fest, Chicago Fringe Festival, New York City Sketch Fest, Jangleheart Circus in Chicago, Upright Citizens Brigade Los Angeles and the Philadelphia Improv Theatre. They are bringing their new show, Through the Back Door!, to this year’s Austin Sketch Fest.

Girls With Brown Hair play the Austin Sketch Fest Thursday, May 21st at 8pm at the Spider House Ballroom with Rachel and Dave.  TICKETS HERE.

We’re super excited that you chose to come back. We know why we’re excited, but why on Earth would you want to come back to this place? 
We had the best time last year! The audiences were so great to perform for and everyone at the festival was so supportive. Also we’re excited to eat tacos for every meal again.

Okay, catch up time. It’s been a year since last we saw each other. What have you two been up to? 
Oh so many things! We finished up our run of WOMANTOWN at UCB and took it to UCB LA, then toured a few other cities with it like Chicago and Philly. Then we were chosen to be featured in a Nikon campaign together which was super crazy #iamgenerationimage. And we just started another run at UCB with our brand new show, Through the Back Door!

What can audiences look forward to in the new show? 
Butt stuff. No but seriously, a ton of butt stuff. And original music. But mostly butt stuff.

This is your second sketch fest? What were the highlights from your first year? 
We set a goal to eat tacos for every meal and we achieved that goal very easily. Also the biggest highlight for us was My Mans. Their show blew our minds. 

How did your group get together?
We were both interns at The Upright Citizens Brigade a few years ago and we decided to perform together in the Intern Showcase. It was love at first sight and we’ve been married ever since. 

Who are your influences? Who are some of your favorite sketch comedy acts performing today? 
Our biggest influences come from a few places. Musical theater is a big one since a lot of our material is very musical. We’re also very influenced by dads. We love dads. Mustaches. Beers. Joy. Our favorite sketch comedy acts are definitely Key & Peele and The Kroll Show. We love playing characters and these are both amazing character shows. 

What makes you laugh the most? 
Honestly? Each other.

What’s the best thing about the comedy scene in your city? 
The comedy scene in New York is insane and weird and awesome. The indie shows are ridiculous and so much fun. The community is overall very supportive and it’s exciting to see all the videos and shows our friends are producing.

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Do you have any fun “worst show” stories? 
We did a show at this one theater that both of us dislike and think is cursed by witches. Within the first 10 seconds of our performance, Sam accidentally blurted out the punchline to the first sketch and from there everything went to shit. We couldn’t stop laughing and no one knew what was going on. 

Do you have any fun “best show” stories? 
Performing WOMANTOWN in Austin last year was exceptional. The audience was extremely supportive and every line got a great laugh. There were a few women in the front row that were crying laughing. We hugged them after and now we’re actually friends with one of them who lives in NYC!!

What are you looking forward to while visiting Austin? Any acts you’re looking forward to at this year’s festival? 
Good Neighbor stuff! We’ve been such a huge fan of their web videos and can’t wait to see them live.

Share with us your tips for a job interview. 
Don’t smile, talk a LOT about your personal opinion on birth control, and end every sentence with “thanks Obama.”

We need to increase the visibility of this article. Any suggestions for a click-bait headline? 
Live nudes! Becky and Sam take their tops off for comedy!

What else – comedy wise – is your group looking forward to this year? We’re planning on filming a lot more videos, working on our pilot and eating more salads.

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Our Favorite Sketches of 2014

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The Austin Sketch Fest producer team picks some of our favorite sketches of the year. It might not surprise you that some of them are from the 2014 Festival.
Courtney Hopkin – Marketing, Productions & Operations for ASF, performer with Your Terrific Neighbors

Saturday Night Live, “Wing”

It’s hard to do bad acting well. That sounds counterintuitive but it’s true. And Kyle Mooney could teach a master class in it. One of the things I like about Mooney and Bennett, like the Lonely Island guys before them, they’re able to distill a trope down to the pinpoint of what makes it so awful that it’s hilarious. This alternate-reality 90s sitcom is pure in its absurdity.

Key & Peele, “Aerobics Meltdown”

I watched this show on a Friday. I thought about it all weekend. The music just playing over and over. Sometimes I thought about how I would have ended the sketch. Sometimes I thought about the thought process that lead to the sketch. Sometimes I just thought about their aerobics faces. But whatever reason, I keep thinking about it. Keep Dancing.

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Sam Malcolm – Business & Financial for ASF, performer with STAG Comedy

Stone Cold Fox, “Kevin’s Garage”

I first saw this when reviewing submissions for last year’s fest, and it blew me away. Brandon Scott Jones’ performance is great, and I love how he isn’t interrupted by a ‘straight man’ or other sketch device. They just let him go. It’s a delight.

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Will Cleveland – Productions & Operations for ASF, Programming Director for ColdTowne TV

Rachel Bloom & the cast of Quick and Funny Musicals, “Sugar Ray: The Jukebox Musical”

I’m a big fan of Rachel Bloom. Ever so often there are sketches I love so much that I say, “I wish I had thought of that.” This is one of those. Plus the singing is great.

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Mac Blake – Marketing for ASF, Performer with STAG Comedy

My Mans, “Burger Basketball”

Picking my favorite live sketch was super tough. There was so much good stuff at ASF last year, but the show I keep thinking about is Mark Raterman and Tim Robinson’s My Mans show. “Burger Basketball” is not the name of a particular sketch – just a moment in the show. Mark was playing both the customer and Manager at an airport burger place. Tim was the guy behind the counter. As Mark would jump across stage to play both characters, Tim started getting in his way – intentionally derailing the sketch. It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever seen on stage. At some point burgers were thrown and again the sketch’s “story” paused so Mark and Tim could take turns shooting burgers into a garbage can. Their show was a constant answer to “what’s the funniest thing we could do right now.”

Photo by Steve Rogers

Key & Peele, “Aerobics Meltdown”
Key & Peel do three things really well. They’re hilarious, whoever makes their wigs is a goddmaned genius, and they are pitch perfect when it comes to copying the look and feel of the genres they parody. So funny, legitimately suspenseful, and it looked great. Plus solid wigs.

Courtney Sevener – Hospitality, Marketing for ASF, Performer with The Hustle Show

Girls with Brown Hair, “Two Chefs One Eye”

Girls with Brown Hair from NYC absolutely blew me away at Austin Sketch Fest 2014. I am still enamored with their live performance of “Two Chefs One Eye” – they did a video version of it as well (below). This sketch reminds me that comedy can literally be about anything, even a concept that is super simple in its hilariousness. It’s all in how you sell it, and they sell it. A heavy metal theme song and 3 eye patches between the two of them while fumbling around with sharp kitchen tools – what’s not to love? Girls with Brown Hair are inspiring.

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Lance Gilstrap – Artistic Director for ASF, Performer with STAG Comedy

“Too Many Cooks”

Too Many Cooks is a pretty non-traditional sketch, but works in so many different ways. Right as you think it has worn its welcome, it finds a new way to surprise you. It turns into a worm that crawls around inside your brain.

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Michael Jastroch – Executive Director for ASF, Performer with Jonestroch

“For Profit University”

Most people will say Too Many Cooks, and they’ll be right. But pound for pound this Adult Swim Infomercial has everything I love: bizarre world building, strange payoffs, corporate double speak, the works!

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What’s YOUR favorite sketch of 2014, internet reader?

ASF Hot Seat: Girls With Brown Hair

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Samantha Schecter and Becky Chicoine are Girls With Brown Hair, an NYC sketch duo with a monthly show at the UCB theater AND YES THEY HAVE BROWN HAIR! Was that really what you wanted to know so badly? They’re also hilarious. They bounce from character to character and they’re hilarious. Does that help? Hey – sorry for yelling, that was out of line. Sam and Becky will be bringing their show WOMANTOWN to ASF, closing out our Thursday night line-up.
What’s your comedy history?

Becky Chicoine: I started studying improv and sketch at UCB in 2010.

Sam Schecter: I started with just sketch at UCB in 2011 and then went thorough the entire improv program in 2012.

Becky: the two of us starting working together in feb of 2013 after we met as UCB interns.

Sam: But before UCB, Becky and I both studied and performed musical theater before switching to comedy full time.

Musical Theater, eh? Any favorite shows you were in?

Sam: Oh yes. Musical theater indeed. My favorite show I ever did was probably playing Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Normally I played the funny best friend/sidekick but in this case I got to tap dance, wear awesome costumes and be the funny star. Woo!

Becky: I was in The Wizard of Oz in 8th grade and I GOT to play the tree that says “How do you like them apples?”!

What was the genesis of your current show, WOMANTOWN?

Becky: The birth of WOMANTOWN came from the very first sketch we performed together called “Scissor Sisters.” WOMANTOWN is framed with a parody of a musical theatre song, which is due to our shared musical theatre backgrounds. Our favorite kind of sketches are ‘peas in a pod’ character sketches and we thought it would be pretty great to have an entire town full of all these fun characters.

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What can people expect from your ASF show?

Sam: They can expect singing, dancing, and a full theatrical experience of living in an all female town in New Mexico. We know the public is very curious and we’re here to show them. We have a lot of energy and a lot of silliness!

What are you looking forward to at ASF?

Becky: We’re super excited to see all the different shows, to meet new performers, to do some drankin’ and dancin’, and to go shopping in all the same stores they have in New York but in Austin. It’s also both of our first times visiting Austin!

Let’s say we gave you an unlimited budget to create a piece of musical theater, what would you make?

Sam: I would create an hour long version of the opening of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The opening is SO LONG and it would an amazing piece of parody theater.

Becky: Sam is right. That’s the only way to go. But the other way to go is to create an original musical about the creation of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. There would be SO MANY Dreamcoat prototypes.

Girls with Brown Hair perform their show WOMANTOWN, Thursday May 22nd at 10pm along with STAG Comedy and stand-up from Bryan Cook – all at the Spider House Ballroom. Tickets here.