TJ & DAVE: Improv Extraordinaires

TJ & Dave

Last month, I went to The Town Hall theatre to check out TJ & Dave for the first time. You comedy fans out there may have heard of these guys. I hadn’t until my improv class instructor told us about them. TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi are a comedy duo, performing together since the early 2000s. Master improvisers, their shows entail the two of them making up a one-hour play on the spot. Yup, a whole play. Just TJ, Dave, and three chairs. Their tagline is, “trust us, this is all made up.”

After doing a little research, I realized I knew these two individually but not as a team. TJ you might recognize from the Sonic commercials. And Dave was Stew on the forever-fabulous “Strangers with Candy” which aired on Comedy Central back in 1999. If you know me personally, you’ve likely heard me quote this gem of a show starring Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, and Stephen Colbert (maybe you’ve heard of him?). Dave played the butcher who Jerri Blank’s mother is having an affair with. The show is crazy, weird, and offensive. I highly recommend it.

But I digress. Back to TJ & Dave’s show! They were great. It feels silly to tell you about the story since it will never exist again. What surprised me was that it wasn’t just funny but also ended up being quite an insightful portrayal of human behavior. You can immediately identify with these characters (or you’ve at least met someone like them). It’s realistic, relatable, and sometimes has moments so perfect that it’s hard to believe it was made up that second. Their pacing, introduction of new characters (there were eight in this show), and the right usage of callbacks (references/shout-outs to earlier jokes) were super cool to witness. Plus I appreciated that they weren’t afraid to sit in silence at times. It got me all the more excited to take Level 2 at Magnet Theater, in which we start to study long form improv.

TJ & Dave are in the city occasionally, but their home base is Chicago, so if you find yourselves out there, look ‘em up! I think Colbert says it best, “”One of these guys is the best improviser in the world. And the other one is better.”

The Prodigal Blogger Returns…

Oh hey there, friends. That was quite the unexpected hiatus, but I’m back! How was everyone’s summer? …and fall apparently. (Winter is coming). ((I don’t even watch that show)). Want a quick recap of where I’ve been?! Thought so!

My brother got married! How beautiful is this?


I had an 80s murder mystery birthday party and got to murder my friend Neil. It was quite the evening.

Murder Mystery

In July, I went to the 25th Annual Spelling Bee Reunion Concert, and it was as delightful as you’d expect it to be.

I saw a whole bunch of shows, many of which have since closed (sorryyyy): 10 Out of 12 at Soho Rep, The Wild Party and A New Brain at Encores, Cymbeline at Shakespeare in the Park, John at Signature. But I also saw things that are still running like The King and I, Fuerza Bruta, and Spring Awakening so we can get back to those at a later date.

I went to my friend’s wedding in the Bahamas and made another music video in honor of the occasion!

I visited my good pals in Chicago and my brother up in Boston.

I took my first improv class ever this summer, and it has been hilarious and terrifying all at once.

I went to a friend’s wedding in upstate New York — noticing a trend? One more in November will wrap up 2015 for me. Look at the pretty bridal shower!

And I just had a full weekend of shows which I will be posting about soon, I promise.

ALSO. I’m going to be introducing a rating system this week for the theatre I see. Stay tuned for some brilliant drawings by yours truly.

Until next time!

Let Them Eat Chaos

Let Them Eat Chaos

Just a quick note.

If you find yourself in Chicago in the coming months, be sure to see Let Them Eat Chaos at Second City. No, I’m serious. You’re going.

This was my first time seeing a mainstage production at Second City. When I went the first time in 2007 while on tour, I think I saw a random improv class and I can’t say I enjoyed myself. This visit was a little better planned, and I went with a couple friends while in town a few weeks ago. And my lord, I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard, so consistently.

The show is a mix of sketch comedy and improvisation, seamlessly intertwined and acted by six fantastic performers. It’s topical, political, and stupidly funny. Every sketch is more delightful than the last.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get nervous watching improv. I get very uncomfortable if a scene or performer is bombing. But during this performance, I was never once worried for the actors. They knew what they were doing at all times. Even if a moment wasn’t funny, it would work its way around to paying off. Everything eventually landed. And I was able to just sit back and let the professionals do their thing.

Long story long, my face hurt from laughing for over two and a half hours. And I could have stayed for another two.

Let Them Eat Chaos

Let Them Eat Chaos
Written by Edgar Blackmon, Ross Bryant, Holly Laurent, Tawny Newsome, Katie Rich, and Steve
Waltien, Directed by Matt Hovde
The Second City
Photo Credit: Clayton Hauck
Pictured: Steve Waltien, Holly Laurent, Edgar Blackmon, Ross Bryant, Tawny Newsome, Katie Rich