by Susan Cohen
Despite the massive corrective boot on Brandy Sullivan's leg, a souvenir from a recent performance, she was in high spirits for the second night of Charleston Comedy Fest. Frankly, it would have been impossible to be in a bad mood last night. The year's funniest week has only just begun, and what better way to start it out than with four local improv groups?
Sullivan appeared early in Full Love Throttle, her act with fellow Theatre 99 co-founder and CCF organizer Greg Tavares. Almost as soon as they finished asking the audience for a volunteer, a blonde recent CofC grad (I think her name was Christina, but I'm probably remembering that wrong, but let's just call her Christina) popped out of her seat and came on stage. Mic in hand, Christina gave surprisingly funny answers to the pair's questions — apparently, she celebrates her birthday every month. Doesn't everyone?
There was plenty of fodder for Sullivan and Tavares to work with. The pair played ditsy girls and geeky trivia competitors (Sullivan's facial expressions were priceless during that scene). They ended on a high note as two Southern ladies about to go skydiving. Sullivan was nauseous after eating too much potato salad immediately beforehand, while Tavares planned on bumping parachutes (i.e. doing it) with a skydiving coach.
Up next was Cats Hugging Cats, which brought Tavares back in front of the audience, along with Andy Livengood, Anne Bowen, Brian deCosta, and CCF stand up competition second placer Jason Groce. They asked the audience for a proper noun, and the first answer they got was Detroit, the word emblazoned on Tavares' shirt. No go. There were also two shouts of "turtle," which led a cast member to point out that the audience members had read the City Paper's Comedy Fest coverage — way to go audience members!
The group finally settled on Mt. St. Helens, and their brainstorming led to other ideas, like Monopoly, White Russians, and segments of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. They then built a moat, played ball in a crawl space, and had an awkward emergency room encounter. Personally, I thought Cats Hugging Cats' best segment was "Game Night," with Livengood and Tavares as enthusiastic Risk players, Groce as an uncomfortable singing telegram, Bowen as a spurned date, and, stealing the scene, deCosta as an elderly female upstairs neighbor, complete with walker.
I wasn't able to stick around for the night's second show, Neckprov and Hot Pants, but I got the boost I needed to kick me into gear for this weekend. This is only beginning, folks.
Update: Joshua Curry brought back a quick video of the night. See above.