This Tuesday night, I peeled myself away from the hysteria of Gert’s and CNN and walked down Bishop to see some election-night improv at Comedyworks. The night’s tagline was “You have no idea what is going to happen and neither do we.” This was an accurate description of the evening, which featured improvised sketches while the outcome of the election was still undecided.
The venue had a brick wall, an American flag, balloons, and some streamers as its only decor – a stark contrast to the holograms, touch-screens, and high-definition TVs I’m accustomed to seeing when it comes to election coverage. There were no costumes, with the exception of the glasses worn by the woman who played Sarah Palin.
The host came out to introduce the evening, calling himself “Mr. Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper combined.” He turned to the crowd: “Where was everyone during the Canadian election coverage? I don’t blame you.”
Each skit incorporated aspects of the American election with audience participation. One had two actors playing a Bush-McCain hybrid. The audience asked questions as if at a press conference, and actors answered together, giving one word at a time. “What the fuck were you thinking in Iraq?” shouted the audience, “I – was – not – thinking.” “What if there was no more oil in the United States?” “Then – we – would – invade – Iraq.” “You already did.” “Then – we – would – invade – Canada.”
Three times throughout the evening, the host checked the results by calling his comedian friend who was at home watching CNN: “Thanks for calling the Situation Living Room!”
The next skit incorporated the results, although the first call was made during a commercial break, which resulted in a routine about Sarah Palin’s hair extensions. The Palin/Biden debate was hilarious, as the actors had to base their comments on the hand gestures an audience member gave them. Another skit followed the daily struggle of Brad the Stripper, instead of McCain’s friend Joe the Plumber.
I had a great time watching these truly intelligent and talented individuals, but despite their insightful commentary, I must admit that I had the constant urge to run downstairs to check the results on the television. However, the routines were too funny to miss, so I waited until the end, as did the other patrons, to rush to the TV screen at the bar, trying to predict results.