In 2014, a group of a bunch of cuties came together to start an all-female improv team, and named themselves Barbara Bush. Much like the actual Barbara Bush, they are both the wife and mother of a president, and by president, I mean making you laugh your socks off (but I don’t mean Socks the cat… wrong president.). In late 2014 they decided to delve into the world of sketch comedy as well. This Thursday and Friday, you can see them at 9:00 with their debut of their newest show, BBTV. They will be opening for The Incredible Shrinking Matt and Jacquie. Jacquie Baker also happens to be Barbara Bush’s sketch director.
Jacquie was brought in after their first show; “When I saw Barbara Bush’s first sketch show at PHIT last December, I was really impressed with their creativity and energy. Coming into the BB fold, my main objectives as a director were to guide the writing process and help them focus their voice, since every member of this group has a totally unique sense of humor and writing style. During one meeting, I was asked to define the group’s voice, and the words “whimsy and despair” popped out of my mouth. I think you’ll find both in this show,” said Jacquie.
When asked how they decided to do sketch in addition to improv, Katheryn Amrhein explained, “One day after improv practice we are all sitting around and said let’s write sketches, so we did. And it was magical.” Jolie Darrow added, “We were all newish to the scene and kinda starting to get involved with separate sketch projects. One day we were hanging out after practice and thought, “we already love and enjoy improvising/spending time together why not just consolidate the worlds”, and immediately dove head first into planning our first show that day.” Sue Nelson said the sketch aspirations came from “realizing other sketch projects weren’t taking off because it was a challenge to meet, but. we’re always together.” Julia Hudson summed it up as a “natural, expected, and insane impulse” for Barbara Bush.
Jacquie adds, “When we actually can get everyone together, it’s magic. There are a lot of rewrites and suggestions for ideas and jokes – it’s a very open group. Usually the person who writes a sketch takes the lead on rewrites, however sometimes people pair up to bounce things off of each other. Fun fact: all members of Barbara Bush are made of rubber, not glue. When we get scripts up on their feet, I have a lot of fun seeing how physical and ridiculous we can make the staging. There’s one sketch in particular in this show which was super fun to block. You’ll have to come to see what I’m talking about….”
The group enjoys working together because they are already close friends. “Kathryn is dark, Nicole is honest, Jolie is observational, Courtney is introspective, Julia is brave, Sue is smart. I am Baby Beyonce”, said Shawna Stoltzfoos. Katheryn stated “We are able to be so weird and goofy together which makes it super easy to be creative. Also, we all have very different things that make us laugh and all of those weird perspectives mixed together makes for really fun sketches full of whimsy and despair…which has kind of become our calling card.” Julia also remarked “Because snapchat is better in real life.” Indeed, the ladies of Barbara Bush have an enviable snap game.
Jacquie loves Barbara Bush. “One thing that is pretty cool about this group is that they have an extensive improv background, which makes them pretty fearless performers and writers. The other is that they’re really good friends and Snapchat each other all the ding dang time. We just had a tech rehearsal last night, and when they weren’t on stage, they were cracking each other (and me) up constantly. They are so much fun to work with.”
Thier show is, as Sue puts it, “As if Barbara Bush took over your television and was the cast of every show.” Jolie said, “It’s a bit of a commentary on pop culture and what we as a world like to laugh at. We’ve teased some of the weird out of mainstream media.” Julia describes it as “That weird channel you find on your hotel tv and you can’t not watch.” Katheryn added, “BBTV is whimsical and desperate in the best way possible. Oh, and if you sit in the front row, bring a poncho.”
Get tickets now for BBTV, opening for The Incredible Shrinking Matt and Jacquie, this Thursday June 25th and Friday June 26th, both at 9:00 p.m.