The improvised, multimedia comedy show is based on the week's news and pop culture events. Jumping back and forth from the anchor desk to the radio waves, the performers pull out a tight show that is different every week.
A hilarious cross between Jon Stewart's “Daily Show” and “Saturday Night Live's” Weekend Update, 'imMEDIAte Theatre' rips its show material from the headlines of the day. The five performers start the show by each reading one particular headline from the paper of their choice and then rifting back and forth with each other about them.
Following the intro, the lights go down and the cast continues with various skits that carefully weave in material from the news previously read. Before the show begins, theater hosts ask each audience member to tell them three things that they have done in the past three days.
This information is later used by the actors to skewer the daily activities of some audience members. The selected activities are acted out in the manner which the performers imagine the events took place, and each event invariably relates back to the headlines.
Co-artistic director Damaso Rodriguez says, “Though the primary goal of each performance is consistent – to satirize how the media, in all its forms, sensationalizes the news and pop culture – we hope to create a night of comedy in which anything can and will happen.”
Be warned, they pick audience members to ask questions to in the middle of segments. You won't know you've been selected until the spotlight is shining right on your red face and a microphone is shoved in front of you. My suggestion to those who don't want to be targeted: sit as far away from the center aisle as possible. Sitting in the back won't save you here; the key is to find a seat that would be hard for the mic to reach.
The show is undoubtedly worth the trip to Pasadena. At just over an hour it races by without notice because it is just plain funny. All five actors have great comedic presence and timing and, to my great relief, there are never lulls (which are typically common in improv shows). The performers keep the audience laughing the entire time and the relaxed, chill environment of the Pasadena Playhouse Balcony Theatre is the perfect venue for the laid-back crowd.
Next Saturday night, skip “SNL” and instead opt for a real show where you can witness the comedy live and have a great time doing it. Trust me; you'll laugh more here than on the couch. And the bar even stays open after the show for some audience/cast socializing. So what are you waiting for? GET UP AND GET OUT!
Pasadena Playhouse Balcony Theatre is located at 39 S. El Molino Ave., in Pasadena. Shows are Saturdays at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10, or $5 for students. For more information, call (818) 679-8854 or visit www.furioustheatre.org.