Last fall, writers were chosen to be a part of the new live sketch team at PHIT Comedy and this week their new show debuts! To be considered for the team writers had the opportunity to submit a packet of their funniest material. This Thursday you can see their premiere show Fezziwig presents The Deadutante Ball!
The team is directed by Kathryn Amrhein and the cast includes writers Alexis Howland, Alyssa Truszkowski, Ian Fletcher, Kristofer W. Hodge, Patric Ciervo, and head writer Andrea Duffy. Fezziwig’s actors are Nathaniel Biagiotti, Derrick Houck, Jenna Kuerzi, Wendy Lenhart, Brooke McCarthy, and Chuong Pham.
We asked them a few questions to see what it’s been like preparing for their first show!
What has it been like preparing for your first show?
It’s been an exhilarating, fun, sometimes scary whirlwind! Finding our voice, meeting and getting to know our actors, figuring out how to score cheap vapes and how many blood packets we’ll need for—uh….something. Oh, and Nate says he’s dehydrated.We should probably see about that.
What can the audience expect?
At our first writers’ meeting, Kathryn said “you should know I like really dark humor” and we set about to make mom proud. So if you ask any one of us we’d probably say “blood! And death!” And there is that—hilarious blood and death. So, so much blood. But also a lot of heart and a look at how we navigate our weird wild world together. All of our characters are doing their best, despite the ridiculous circumstances we put them in. And what else…Patric dies a lot! Wendy perfected her stage fainting! There’s probably vaping if Andrea can get it together in tech rehearsal! Hodge dresses up as a prairie dog! And a lot of blood. Do you know what show is on after us? We should probably warn them about the blood…
What is your favorite thing about working together?
We’re all in agreement that Hodge is the king of snacks. One time he made us a cheese plate! Boy we wrote so good that day. When we get together we know 1) we won’t leave hungry, 2) we’ll make each other laugh. Seeing how everyone’s different voices and outlooks come together is really magical. And our actors are amazing, our first table read was so exciting! We can’t wait to show you what we’ve created together.
Any advice for sketch writers who are just starting out?
We all have pretty much the same advice: just do it! Just write, write, write; write what makes YOU laugh, and put it in front of people to see what works. PHIT is a great community for sketch because you have things like Sketch Up or Shut Up, or Up All Night, where you can just get up there and try stuff out. But just go for it—so many of us say we wish we’d done this sooner, but we did it and look at us now!
What are your all time favorite sketches?
“I do love that Lunch Lady song” — Hodge
“I always liked the Barber sketch from A Bit of Fry and Laurie” — Ian
“Yikes, just one? I remember seeing the “Cluckin Chicken” air and was blown away by the dark humor. It may have also played a part in my future eating habits.” — Wendy
“I really love Tina and Amy’s “Meet Your Second Wife” sketch” — Patric
“Country Roses w/Jennifer Aniston from SNL” — Nate
“Tina Fey’s Colonel Angus sketch is the sketch my sketches want to be when they grow up.” — Andrea
Any tips to get rid of writer’s block?
Read a lot, watch a lot (“and steal it” – Nate). Also, see #4—just write! Don’t force it and don’t be an idea snob, follow your fun! So many things that ended up in the show started off as offhand jokes somebody made or weird things somebody mentioned at our meetings. Your ideas can come from anywhere, be open to them.