It’s “roulette” time at Improv Vegas’ weekly Monday night showcase, and two performers are at center stage playing out a scene among employees at a Build-A-Bear. Beside each sits another improviser, ready to fill in the blanks or finish a sentence when tapped on the shoulder. It’s like live-action Mad Libs, and already the pair of bear builders have taken an in-office shower, discovered that one spikes his coffee with … “Ritalin!” and discussed severe body odor. But things are about to get serious.
“There’s something that I have to tell you,” says bear-builder Charlie. “I have to tell you that …”
He taps his seated partner’s shoulder for the end of the sentence.
“… I’m into bestiality.”
Cackles erupt from the audience, but Charlie doesn’t miss a beat.
“And sometimes when I build-a-bear …”
- Mondays, 8 p.m., $7, 18+.
- Onyx Theatre, 732-7225.
The S.E.T. (Student Experimental Theater) showcase at Onyx Theatre started three years ago with the Second City troupe and has morphed into a playground for local improv pros and neophytes. “It was just really an outlet for the actors on the main stage to have a chance to play and also for the students to have a chance to play,” says Amy Pittle, managing director and owner of Improv Vegas, the comedy and improv training center that hosts S.E.T. and provides most of the participants. While Second City has left town, today performers from O, Jersey Boys and other Strip shows stretch their creative legs at S.E.T. alongside Improv Vegas instructors and students—while providing low-cost entertainment with an unpredictable edge.
As advanced troupe Sleeping Policemen winds its way through an improvisation that includes MILF sex, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Chevys (the Mexican restaurant, not the car company), suddenly the scene stops at a forlorn Cinderella scrubbing the floor. “If only someone would help me,” she wishes aloud. An improviser walks onstage with a thick beard wearing a red plaid shirt. But before he can grant her three wishes or tell her to call the Maids, Cinderella looks up. “It’s the Brawny paper towel guy!” she shrieks gleefully as the audience breaks into laughter. Game, S.E.T., scene.