It’s Friday night in New York City, and there are a million and one cabaret and improv shows clamoring for your attention. How do you choose between Broadway standards and laugh-out-loud comedy?
No, Tony Stark, it’s not! This is America! This is New York City, the greatest city in the world! Why should we have to choose between Broadway standards and laugh-out-loud comedy?
That’s right, little girl! Now, you can have two kinds of tacos for dinner AND comedy with your cabaret. What a time to be alive!
On the Spot is a new hybrid of improv comedy and cabaret. Here’s how it works: Cabaret singers perform new and classic Broadway standards, everything from The Producers to Thoroughly Modern Millie. After each song, a cast of improv performers come up with a skit on the spot, based on the song. On the night I was in the audience, the skits included an elderly romance, Hansel and Gretel at a nightclub, and a rather unusual (and disgustingly-themed) poetry slam.
After seeing the show, I had the opportunity to ask this talented group of comedians about their comedy influences, their most embarrassing on-stage disasters, and what they are binge watching. (Plus, we played an Election Year version of Kill, Marry, F—!) I’ll be featuring these interviews all throughout the week in a new series I’m calling “On The Spot-Light.”
How did you first get into improv?
In college, I studied musical theater at Tisch. Though I loved the rigor, structure and intensity of the curriculum, I would find myself in my room most nights after class freestyle rapping and making up songs on the spot (see what I did there?). Once I graduated and had more freedom to pursue the type of art that inspired the most in me, I dove headfirst into improv. I took classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, The Second City and the Magnet. It became a lifestyle and I refuse to ever go back. I now tour with a musical improv company (Broadway’s Next Hit Musical), I’m on a short-form comedy troupe (LMAO Comedy), I get to do On the Spot!, which is a show that is so near and dear to my heart, and I’m currently working on releasing my mixtape. I’m a rapper and improv gave me the fearlessness and freedom I needed to discover that part of myself.
Pick 3 comedians that best sum up your personal comedy style.
Amy Schumer, Tina Fey and Lil Dicky.
How did you get involved with On the Spot?
The incomparable Nathan Armstrong and Patrick Reidy, who created this wonderful show, work with me at LMAO Comedy. We have such a playful and joyful relationship on and off the stage. Having already known my work, they brought me on to help participate in this beauty.
What is your most embarrassing improv disaster?
In my LMAO Comedy shows, we get topical suggestions from the audience for one of our games. Because of all that is going on with politics these days, we literally always get Donald Trump. Since the entire audience hated him, I thought it would be really fun to get a silly chant going. You know that part in DJ Kool’s song “Let Me Clear My Throat” where he’s like “EVERYBODY JUMP, JUMP, JUMP, JUMP…”; well, I thought it would be funny if I got the whole audience screaming “EVERYBODY TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP…”.
After I passionately committed to this chant all on my own, I pulled back to see if the audience was latching onto it with me; there was literally nothing but a harsh, resonant silence. I took a bow and had learned my place. It was not until later on in the show when I gave it one last go that the audience started hysterically laughing. There are some jokes you just have to let go but others where you really need to keep throwing out there until they land. Failure fuels me.
Have you ever had a sketch or character created in On the Spot that you wanted to expand into more sketches or its own full-length musical?
Yes, yes and more yes! There was one time I was a nurse who wanted to be a Broadway star. I thought she deserved her own musical. Another show, I was a serious over-sharer at a meeting with my accountant. I would tell him everything he did not want to hear, but when he asked for my social security number I told him I was uncomfortable sharing that information. I think that character deserves her own video sketch ripe for Tax Season!
What are you currently binge watching?
Sex and the City
Louis C.K. or Amy Schumer?
Amy, all day, every day.
Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel?
Jimmy Fallon is like that perfect scone you have once and can never stop thinking about, so you have to go back and get more scones. You know what I mean?
Favorite Saturday Night Live Cast Member, Past or Present
Kate McKinnon is really making my heart sing these days, but I’m honestly not sure where I would be in my life without Will Ferrell.
Kill, Marry, F—: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump
This is hilarious and truly impossible. My friend’s invented the version called “Punch, F—, Punch”…if I were playing that game, I would…
PUNCH: TED CRUZ
F—: MARCO RUBIO
PUNCH: DONALD TRUMP
But since I’m not one to turn down a good “Kill, Marry, F—”, I would have to go with the following…
KILL: DONALD TRUMP
MARRY: MARCO RUBIO
F—: TED CRUZ (but close my eyes really hard and open up my imagination in order to pretend he is someone else).
Stay tuned this week for more “On The Spot-Lights”, and you can see On the Spot on Monday nights at the Broadway Comedy Club. Click here to check out their full schedule, watch video clips, and buy tickets for their upcoming shows!