One Month At A Time

Here’s another one of The Fearless Fools.
I kind of regret that I didn’t get a chance to talk with them during my month of Improv –that just means I need to do a different story about the group when the opportunity comes a-knockin’ again. From their Facebook page, it looks like they kill.
Name: Matt Tolliver
Age: 32
Hometown:French Creek, WV
Occupation: School Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor
matt tolliver
What’s your life like outside of comedy?
Most of my time consists of working as a school counselor at Skyview Elementary School in Morgantown. I meet with kids for individual and group counseling as well as teaching classroom guidance lessons to whole classes. My main focus is on conflict resolution and teaching kids appropriate social skills.
How did you get started in Improv/Comedy? As a child at 4-H camp, we would have to come up with skits during the nightly council circles. Though there was no “formal” training, that was when I first experienced entertaining others without a script and having to use my imagination to create characters for short sketches.
What was your first workshop or show like?
Stressful, but a type of stress or pressure that challenged me with the reward of laughter and applause from the audience.
In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?
Robin Williams was the master of improv comedy. His ability to instantaneously create characters and jokes was awe-inspiring.
What’s the best part about what you do?
With a day job dealing with people’s social and emotional problems, it can be very overwhelming to take that on. Improv allows me to explore my creative side and let my mind be free.
What’s the hardest part?
Trying to stay in character when my fellow players or myself say or do something that completely catches you off guard.
What’s (almost) always funny?
Typically anything that my Kindergarten students tell me
Advice for someone who might want to do Improv? I feel like everyone has to improvise many times every day when it comes to making decisions. Some times we have to conventrate hard on those decisions, and some times it’s so fast that we don’t even realize it. Improv comedy is in that space of opening your mind and not overly concentrating.
Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?
Rip off
Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one)?
I want to believe in unicorns…it’s a thin, blurry line of believing and wanting to
If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?
Do you ever get to drive the cars on The Price is Right?
Is prison really as bad at they say or is that just the media?
Depending on the prison and crime. Are we talking federal penitentiary or a low security prison? If I could get my doctorate for free…sign me up!
How good is your spelling? How did I do on this questionnaire?
Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers? Don’t take our private student loans, unless absolutely necessary!
Have you ever been to Ohio?
Yes…it was flat and underwhelming

Going Vegan: Dining out

So far, the vegan thing is working out just fine. I’m still dropping weight at a modest pace –a pound or two every week. I’d like for the weight to fly off, but I also like to have a beer once in a while, and eat cookies.

Weight loss, while encouraged by my doctor, is a secondary effect of this whole project.

So far, the hardest thing has been dining out. Meals out are somewhat limited. When my father was in town last weekend, we didn’t do our annual pilgrimage to the local Chinese buffet. About the only thing I could safely have would be the iceberg lettuce on the salad bar, which almost nobody actually touches in the first place. Chinese restaurants use fish sauce, oyster sauce, chicken stock, pork and eggs in all kinds of things.

So, Chinese food is kind of on the no-fly list until I find a way around it.

We actually ended up eating at a Ryan’s, which wasn’t terrible. I constructed a really decent salad, had a baked potato drowned in salsa, bread, and fruit. I went ahead and ate the breaded okra, though who knows if it was cooked in the same oil as the chicken nuggets, the fish sticks, the cheese sticks, and God knows what else. You have to be a little bit realistic, I think.

Probably the Ryan’s in Los Angeles has an organic, fair-trade vegan island with a harvest-your-own mushroom bar.

Anyway, I checked in with several websites about vegan-friendly places (they barely exist in West Virginia) and even chain restaurants which have vegan options. At most of them you can find a salad, some kind of potato (served dry), and maybe bread (if you ask them not slather it with butter), but I reached out to a few to ask –“Hey, have you got anything that a vegan would like to eat that isn’t a salad? Maybe a nice veggie burger?”

Some places ignored me –like TGI Fridays, Lonestar Steakhouse and Dunkin Donuts, but I did hear back from a few people.

From Applebees.

Dear Bill,

Thank you for your e-mail. We’re always looking for new ways to provide great guest service, and comments like yours help us to do that. We appreciate your concern about the availability of vegan-friendly dishes at Applebee’s. Our Menu Development team regularly reviews our menu and creates new items throughout the year. Guest feedback is an important part of that process. Thanks again.

If you have any other questions or comments, please give us a call at 888-592-7753.


Sincerely,

Matt
Sr. Guest Relations Specialist

Case # 1905883

Notice how they didn’t just say, “Uh, no. Go graze in the parking lot, lawnmower man.” Instead, they answered my question by not actually answering my question, which sort of feels worse.

Outback Steakhouse referred me back to the menu.

Hi Bill,

Thanks for contacting us. Attached is a PDF that can help you with the ordering process. We would also advise speaking with a manager to see what other dishes the restaurant can prepare for you.

Sincerely,

Andrew

The PDF basically lists salad, bread, potato and the grilled asparagus, but I should probably ask the cook about whether they can cook that in something besides animal fat. You can also get steamed broccoli, which is typically limp, tasteless, and the most pointless thing to order when you go out to dinner.

But Outback is steakhouse. What could I expect? They serve steak!

I told them I’d stick with the beer.

Locally, I had better luck.

Rocco at Muriale’s said he could work something he thought I’d enjoy. Bricks and Barrels pointed out that they have vegan options on their menu, and Paterno’s said they’d catered to vegans before. I should maybe speak to the chef, they said, but really, who does that? Not me. If I’m talking to the cook, usually, I’m complaining. That’s just my history.

When I go out, I’m not looking to do a full-on interview or be someone’s lab rat. I just want a couple of easy choices. If I want to get all tricksy with my meal, I’ll stay at home and cook it myself. That way, if I hate it, I can toss it in the trash, make a peanut butter sandwich, and not feel like I’ve betrayed someone who was trying to help me out.

 

I checked in with pizza places, which vary considerably.

You can eat vegan at the chains, if you know which crust and which sauce to order. It’s assumed you specify “no cheese,” and choose veggie toppings, but I wanted to know if my neighborhood pizza joint could accommodate. So, I wrote an email to Husson’s Pizza and asked about their crust and sauce.

Greetings!
There is nothing in our sauce or dough from an animal.
So enjoy!
Thanks for the inquiry,
Nick Husson

I ordered pizza that very night and it was glorious.

Eventually, I’ll check in with Lola’s and Pies and Pints.

 

However, Sarah’s Bakery was a no go. She uses butter in her pie crusts.

I’d make you a pie crust with crisco, but it goes against everything I believe in

That’s OK, I said. Some sacrifices have to be made.

I think it’s awesome she does what she does.

 

The absolute winning find was Bluegrass Kitchen.

Pathetically, I wrote Keeley Steele and asked her what kind of vegan things they had.

Bluegrass Kitchen

We have a lot actually. If you 86 dairy & chicken you can have the tostada or chimi (you can add tofu too)
Our new mock “chicken & dumplings” are vegan
Our housemade veggie burger is vegan…just get it with no cheese and not on brioche
Tofu wings
Fried Pickles
And Monday is meatless monday…we have a few vegan regulars so we try to make sure we have something vegan running on that evening. 
Tricky Fish:
Tofu tacos with no dairy
veggie dog
Starlings:
We have vegan cheese, bacon & sausage for our breakfast sandwiches.
Let me know if you have any other questions
ks
I ended up going out to the Civic Center last night where they were having the Small Farm Conference and a winter farmer’s market. Keeley and company had set up a stall and were selling Tofu Buffalo wings and they were wonderful –if you like tofu.
Not every vegan does, but it’s OK by me.
At long last, we’ve started getting The Fearless Fools comedy troupe some improv blog love. The group is part of the Vintage Theatre Company (why does everyone reverse the er/re in theater?) in Clarksburg. VTC were the folks responsible for bringing some Shakespeare down Charleston way, back when we were having a shortage (So, I love them, even if they do that reverse er/re thing in theater, which makes me affect a snooty British accent).
Meanwhile, The Fearless Fools are doing some regularly scheduled improv comedy at Mainstreet Cafe in Clarksburg.
Become their Facebook friends. It’s not creepy at all.
Name: Lauren Swann
Age: 28
Hometown: Clarksburg
Occupation: Mental Health Therapist
lauren
She has the Sarah Palin stare down cold.
What’s your life like outside of comedy?
Still pretty hilarious…Busy with work, family, friends. Also playing with cats. Lots of cat play.
How did you get started in Improv/Comedy?
I had been acting for several years when a friend of mine invited me to an improv show he was in. I went to the show and I laughed so much my face hurt. I was scared of the idea of doing improv, but I went for it anyway. I auditioned for the troupe a few months later.
What was your first workshop or show like?
Terrifying, exhilarating. I didn’t know I would be in the show that first night, but I ended up having to fill in for another member who couldn’t make it. Perfect for improv, always a surprise.
In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?
Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris
What’s the best part about what you do?
Feeling completely free, like a kid again. And playing games with a group of grown ups.
What’s the hardest part?
Getting in the zone when the energy is down or we’re in kind of a comedy funk. Sometimes we have to freshen up with different games or exercises to spice it up.

What’s (almost) always funny?
I don’t know that anything is always funny…fart jokes?
Advice for someone who might want to do Improv?
Go for it. Let go, don’t censor yourself. Pay attention to your partners.
Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?
Is that a thing? I’ve never had less than two drinks…
Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one)?
Global unicorns. One day everyone we’ll see the havoc they’re wreaking on the ozone layer!
If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?
Whatcha got in that desk?
Is prison really as bad at they say or is that just the media?
The media is definitely as bad as they say it is.
How good is your spelling?
Excellint.
Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers?
Wear your shoes to bed.
Have you ever been to Ohio?
Sigh…yes.

Improv Comedy: Getting to Know You -Dave Lomely

After a short break from doing these profiles (I had company at the house. We went to Ryan’s and ate the fried okra), we’re back. This is Dave Lomely from Improv 304.

Name: Dave Lomely

Age: 43

Hometown: Logan, WV

Occupation: Founder of Sushi Fun Run. Also, I do healthcare analytics

david

What’s your life like outside of comedy?

Growing odder by the day. I just got back from Los Angeles where I spent most of my time discussing races that involve sushi.

How did you get started in Improv/Comedy?

I knew the people that started the improv group and they asked me to attend. I did and enjoyed it.

What was your first workshop or show like?

It was a fun, low pressure opportunity to let loose. I enjoyed it and kept returning.

In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?

I don’t consider myself an improv/comedy person. This is just something that I enjoy doing because it’s so far removed from my everyday life so I’ve never really thought about who I look up to. Maybe Drew Carey.

What’s the best part about what you do?

Just being myself and not worrying about what that means.

What’s the hardest part?

Letting go of yourself and not worrying about looking foolish

What’s (almost) always funny?

Kittens and puppies

Advice for someone who might want to do Improv?

Come join us at Taylor’s. It’s a fun, low pressure way to wet your feet in improv. We don’t judge; we just play.

Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?

They are necessary. The more drinks you have the better the show. Two drinks might not be enough in some circumstances.

Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one)?

Global warming is the only one I don’t want to believe in but it’s all too real.

If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?

Was it really you I saw in a van in a Dayton, OH parking lot shouting at everyone to watch the Drew Carey show?

Is prison really as bad at they say or is that just the media?

I’d rather not find out.

How good is your spelling?

My spelling is meadiocher. Hahaha, see what I did there.

Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers?

Yes, but they are not free.

Have you ever been to Ohio?

Yes, I have family in Ohio and may have seen Drew Carey in a parking lot while there.

Improv Comedy: Getting to Know You: Nick Griffith

Here’s another profile from one of the Improv 304 people: Nick Griffith.

 

Name:Nick Griffith

Age: 33

Hometown: Charleston

Occupation: It’s complicated.

nick

What’s your life like outside of comedy?

I write, hustle and I work at Kroger.

How did you get started in Improv/Comedy?

I worked at the Dayton Funnybone for a year before I moved to LA to be a film-maker. I bought decent pro-sumer video gear and that led to shooting comedy videos.

Shortly after I moved to LA I went to see a few short form improv shows at places like groundlings and brushed off improv until I saw a long form class show at UCB in LA. After seeing what improv could be I started going to more shows to watch Harold and long form teams.

When I took a Second City sketch class they kept pushing improv. I wanted to take classes through UCB or Miles Stroth but they all cost about $500 and have attendance policies. When you freelance in TV and Film you can’t turn down work because you have improv class and you can’t leave early. Sometimes there’s travel involved.  I found free weekly improv classes through yelp that generally followed UCB principles. It was a now defunct school / group called Monkey Butler.

What was your first workshop or show like?

I was incredibly nervous because I’m a behind the scenes guy. I get super nervous performing and even just meeting large groups of strangers so it was limit testing.  In my first “serious” improv class there were people who had been funny on TV and regulars who could just destroy in every scene and then a couple as first timers like me. I jumped in because I realized that if I’m going to buy the ticket I might as well take the ride. Everyone starts somewhere. Eventually I got good enough to get moved up a level or maybe they just took pity on me.

In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?

My comedy heroes are a lot of Largo, Mr. Show and “The State” alums with Bob Odenkirk probably being the at the top of those. Larry Gelbart, Phil Hartman, Conan / Jeff Ross. Kids in the Hall. Steve Martin, Mitch Hedberg. KITH.

I’m also into weirder stuff like Kristen Schaal, Scott Aukerman (Comedy Bang Bang) and Tim And Eric

What’s the best part about what you do?

It’s challenging and almost impossible to perfect and when you do get something exactly right it seems so remarkably easy people think you could learn to do it in a day.

What’s the hardest part?

Killing the voice in your head that tells you what you’re currently working on sucks and sticking with it until it’s good.

What’s (almost) always funny?

Water skiing squirrel.

Advice for someone who might want to do Improv?

Don’t worry about making people laugh or messing up. You’ll do both and sometimes the audience won’t know the difference.

Don’t get discouraged when you watch “whose line”. It is improvised on the spot but there’s a little Hollywood magic behind it as well.

Short form is for quick laughs but if you learn long form you can play with anyone who also knows.

Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?

Just tip your wait staff.

Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one)?

Our politicians keep on asking Santa to bring big coal back to save WV but we’re about as likely to get a unicorn under the tree. I think this is pretty much the only region in the world that considers global warming anything but a fact and for a group of people who’s so concerned about looking ignorant to outsiders we sure look stupid for that.

If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?

Are you mad Aisha Tyler stole your gig?

Is prison really as bad at they say or is that just the media?

It depends on what media you’re watching. Also what you consider a prison.  Also yes. I’ve been to prison. Not like sent there, it was for a shoot. You’re not allowed to spit. Also legalize it. Not spiting. You know what.

How good is your spelling?

My blog is Totalyrealnews.com so if you couldn’t tell it’s beyond impressive.

Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers?

The best things in life are free and it just so happens most local comedy shows are also free. Quit putting it off and go see live comedy.

Have you ever been to Ohio?

What’s an Ohio?

Improv Comedy: Getting to Know You -Jim-Bob Williams

For this edition of Profiles in Comedy, we move on to the Improv 304 group (these are the people who are letting me hang out with them in the basement of Taylor Books. It’s just like high school. We even have beer!)

This is Jim-Bob, probably one of the nicest guys I’ve met through this project, and really encouraging, which is important. I need encouragement, and also to know whether Pina Coladas are vegan (one thing at a time, one thing at a time)

Unrelated, it’s his birthday today. So, happy birthday, Jim-Bob.

 

Name: James B. (Jim-Bob) Williams

Age: 59

Hometown: St. Albans, WV by way of Brooklyn, NY

Occupation: Disabled Environmental Engineer Reinventing Himself

jim-bob
Jim-Bob as the Ghost of the Maytag repair man. Is Maytag still a thing?

What’s your life like outside of comedy?

Presbyterian Elder. Tai Chi novice. Acting or trying to act. Working out at Anytime Fitness. Going to doctor’s offices.

How did you get started in Improv/Comedy?

After being bitten by the acting bug by hamming it up as Marley’s Ghost for the Alban Theater’s “A Christmas Carol” , wanted to do something to improve acting skills. Found the Charleston Improv Practice Group (aka Improv 304).

What was your first workshop or show like?

Open mic night at Kanawha Valley Unity. They gave us 10 minutes and didn’t throw us off after 20. Major adrenaline surge – better than a performance appraisal.

In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?

Locally, the No Pants Players. I love them all – special mentions to Joe Wallace, Jeff Bukovinsky, and Tony Slack. May they forgive me for suggesting “Bird Flu” as a topic – and also remember I also offered “It’s a Wonderful Rash”. Outside of NPP, the Fearless Fools. Tijah Bumgarner was our first coach. Bill Goff gave us a boot camp that was amazing.

In the professional world, Jonathan Winters, Robin Williams, and Second City. T.J. and Dave (the guys from the Sonic commercial) do magnificent long-form.

What’s the best part about what you do?

Meeting interesting people and making magic. Not that engineers and Presbyterians aren’t interesting and/or magical. Doing an intro class for kids and watching them play.

What’s the hardest part?

Taking my time. I love a good punchline, but if it’s not relevant to the scene I struggle to remind myself to take it out of the RAM and save it to the hard drive for later retrieval. Also, realizing I should have started doing improv in 1973.

What’s (almost) always funny?

Fifty Shades of Greyhound.

Advice for someone who might want to do Improv?

Tuesday nights, 6 PM, basement of Taylor Books.

Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?

If you have to force someone to drink, you’re either a bad entertainer or a waterboarder.

Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one)?

Santa Claus is a friend of mine. I trust him unquestioningly. I am also in a play he wrote called “Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of Whitechapel” [ Yes, that was a shameless plug ]

If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?

Which door should I pick?

Is prison really as bad as they say or is that just the media?

Let’s put more of the media in prison and find out.

How good is your spelling?

My spelling are greats but me grammar not so much.

Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers?

You know those signs the janitors put in the hallway saying “Wet Floor” ? They really don’t want you to.

Have you ever been to Ohio? I have seen sewage treatment plants and dioxin-contaminated landfills there. Ohio is New Jersey without the glitter.

Going Vegan: Hostess Fruit Pies

People who know me know I have a long love affair with Hostess Fruit Pies. I’m particularly a fan of the cherry and apple varieties. When the Hostess company went through hard times and essentially dropped off the market, I bemoaned the fact to anybody who’d listen.

After they came back, under new management, I bought ten pies and handed them out at the office.

I also ate two.

With being a vegan, I’ve slowly been going through my list of junk food favorites, looking for things I can still eat.

Hostess Fruit Pies is an early casualty.

I found the ingredients online:

Wheat Flour Enriched(Flour, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin Vitamin B3, Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1, Riboflavin Vitamin B2, Folic Acid Vitamin B9), Apples Diced, Vegetables Oil Shortening(Soybeans, Palm, Cottonseed Oil Partially Hydrogenated), Corn Syrup High Fructose, Corn Syrup, Sugar Water, Sugar Brown, Corn Starch Modified, Contains 2% or less of the Following: (, Soy Flour, Salt, Whey Sweet, Whey, Soy Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Sodium Caseinate, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Sulphate, Agar, Locust Bean Gum, Dextrose, Sodium Phosphate, Vegetables Oil Partially Hydrogenated, and/or, Animal Shortening, Contains One Or More Of The Following(Soybeans Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Canola Oil, Beef Fat), Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Citric Acid, Corn Starch, Lemons Oil, Red 40, Sodium Propionate, Sorbic Acid, Sorbitol, Yellow 5, Flavors Natural & Artificial, Lemons Juice Solids, Tricalcium Phosphate
The beef fat sort of clenches it, but the animal shortening doesn’t help. Still, when I found this list, I thought, “Wait. They’ve changed hands. This list is a couple of years old and a lot of companies are actually removing animal products from their mixes.”
Guinness Stout, another favorite, is replacing the dried fish bladder that they use in their beer, and will be vegan friendly at some point over the next few months.
I look forward to having a pint by summer.
But Hostess Fruit Pies… Well, I had to know. So, I reached out to the company, explained that I was a vegan who used to love their pies and wanted to keep eating them.

Here’s what they wrote back:

Dear Bill Lynch ,

Thank you for your inquiry.

We are always happy to help our consumers with their research. We are not considered Vegan.  If you would like to speak to someone further  please contact us at 800-483-7253. Our office hours are 8:30am-4:30pm, Monday Thru Friday, Central Time.

Again, thank you for contacting Hostess Brands, LLC..

 

It’s kind of depressing… I may call to ask why they have to use the beef fat or the animal shortening. I mean… why? I can make an apple pie at home without using either. It would be good just to know why they’d need to do that. Is it cheaper, maybe?

Improv Comedy: Getting to Know You: Mandy

Today’s profile is from Mandy of the No Pants Players. It’s just Mandy, like Cher is just Cher (Cherilyn Sarkisian) or Madonna is just Madonna (Madonna Louise Ciccone). Actually, I know her last name, but figured since she didn’t include it, she maybe didn’t want it published. Secret spy stuff. Witness protection.

These are all possibilities.

Anyway, meet Mandy.

Name: Mandy
Age: 33
Hometown:  Cannelton
Occupation: Corrections Counselor

mandy
Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad, do chél dénmha


What’s your life like outside of comedy?

I like to dress up as movie characters to raise money for charities.
How did you get started in Improv/Comedy?

I met some of the No Pants Players during shows with other companies, they invited me to shows, and I auditioned at the first opportunity.

What was your first workshop or show like?

Cold. The heat was broken in the building.

In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?

Everyone’s taller than me except Jeff.

What’s the best part about what you do?

The people, colleagues, fans, friends.

What’s the hardest part?

Tom Petty said it was the waiting.

What’s (almost) always funny?

Opening an umbrella inside a room full of people.

Advice for someone who might want to do Improv?

Be honest with those you’re going to work with.

Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?

I go back and forth. If there is a cover and the door it is a rip off. If the bar tender and the servers split the tips it’s a necessity.

Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one) One?

All three have be proven by Science.

If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?

Are you related to Mariah?

Is prison really as bad at they say or is that just the media?

It’s not bad in the way the media says it is, but so much worse in ways you didn’t expect.

How good is your spelling?

Eets grate!

Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers?

Try to get more fiber in your diet. Where blue to a job interview. Follow the speed limits.
Have you ever been to Ohio?

I think so. I was in this scary flat place where no one could drive I just assumed it was Ohio.

Improv Comedy: Getting to Know You -Jeff Bukovinsky

Eventually, we’ll run out of No Pants Players to profile, but to quote Rosie O’Donnell from “Harriet the Spy,” “that day is not to-day” or was that Mel Gibson?

I get them confused. Which one was in “Alien?”

Anyway, this is Jeff.

Name: Jeff Bukovinsky
Age: 35
Hometown: Charleston
Occupation: by day: I work in the offices of Loved Ones. By night I… Sleep. Mainly. Maybe watch some tv.

jeffb
Doing cosplay before cosplay was moderately tolerated by the rest of the world, Jeff Bukovinsky is the reindeer. Not sure about those hands, people.

What’s your life like outside of comedy? When I have time I love doing plays in the area. But mainly it’s family. Spending as much time as possible with my wife and kids. I read… I read a lot. And play fallout 4.

How did you get started in Improv/Comedy? Waaaay back in 2001 a friend suggested I come over and try out for the npp. I already new most of the people who were starting the troupe, but I was reticent. I was afraid of being foolish or failure or whatever. But I went and never looked back.

What was your first workshop or show like?
As much as I remember , the first workshop was maybe the most fun I’d ever had. The NPPs first was almost snowed out, but we went on anyway. I don’t remember too much of that either. I remember I made a “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ” joke.

In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?
All the pros on snl and sctv I watched growing up along with master writers like Mel brooks and Monty Python. My fellow troupe members always continue to amaze me and make me up my game.

What’s the best part about what you do?
Bringing a smile to people’s faces. I know that sounds insanely cheesy. But it’s true. I love making people laugh.

What’s the hardest part?
Keeping it new for yourself. Challenging myself and never getting too comfortable. So I can give the audience something new.

What’s (almost) alway funny?
People falling down. Adam kings face (in a good way) , anything Steve Martin does or writes. The No Pants Players.

Advice for someone who might want to do Improv?
Give up the idea of being cool. Be willing to act a fool. Don’t dumb down. Trust your fellow actors and don’t underestimate the intelligence of your audience.

Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?
Only two?

Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one)?
Global warming because al gore is my spirit animal

If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?
Your place or mine?

Is prison really as bad at they say or is that just the media?
It’s probably a lot like Denver : it depends on why your there and who your neighbors are.

How good is your spelling?
God gave us spellcheck for a reason.

Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers?
Find a wish granting monkey and you can have everything your heart desires. But you can’t have my wish granting monkey. Gregory owes me. I saved his life in San Antonio.

Have you ever been to Ohio?
I once found a portal there in the back of my lazy Susan. I became a king and saved all of the mythical creatures of Ohio. Lived to old age, then travelled back through the lazy Susan. It was a hell of a thing.

Going Vegan: Updates

Here’s the weekly update on my vegan progress and whatnot.

First thing:

People have been giving me chocolates lately. If you grouse about how chocolate is made with butter, bacon, and baby chicks, somebody will take the time to find you something you can eat.

I got three chocolate bars over the last week or so.

candy2

 

candy1

Two of the bars came from Healthy Life Market (where Bill buys his Big Timber Porter beer). They’re made with rice milk instead of the usual milk taken from a cow.

I don’t know how rice milk is made. I don’t know if Snap, Crackle and Pop are somehow involved in a side business, but it was pretty good stuff. The flavor was similar to some of the Cadbury chocolates I’ve had (very sweet), but the bar had a crisp, almost hard candy snap to it.

The third bar was something called Pascha.

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This one came from the clearance table at a TJ Maxx and with the bold announcement that it contained no peanuts, nuts, eggs, soy, or illegally harvested human organs, it didn’t seem like a lot of fun. This thing was USDA Organic, Non-GMO verified and Certified Vegan. It’s also free of eight major allergens, has full ingredient traceability, and sort of makes you shudder to think why that might be important to anyone.

The box even goes to the trouble of explaining what Maca is. According to the packaging, “Maca is a nutrient dense root vegetable from the Andes. It adds a slightly creamy texture and is blended with 60% dark chocolate.”

Good to know.

A picture on Wikipedia makes it look like a kind of turnip.

They also helpfully point out that alpaca manure is used to fertilize the maca. Why they needed to mention this is something of a mystery.

Anyway, this one was pretty great and tasted like a luxury chocolate bar. It had a great flavor, and I didn’t really detect any alpaca. I shared this bar with the rest of the newsroom, and no one else complained that it had even a mild alpaca flavor. People seemed to like it.

Second thing:

I’m still losing weight. I appear to be down around 25 pounds, according to my scale. The scale at Spring Hill Primary Care would probably only say 18 pounds, but it’s a hard-hearted and stingy scale.

I still feel great. My mood seems a lot more even, and one of the librarians at KCPL said I “seem more smiley.”

As a way to keep track of what I’m eating, but not to really rein in my meals, I downloaded an app for my phone called Spark People, which figures that if I keep up at my current pace I could be 200 pounds by July 11. Who knows? A little farther down the road and I could have abs. If I get abs, I promise to post pictures of them on the blog, as well as Facebook, and probably Twitter.

A more immediate issue will be getting a new belt. I think I’ll need a new one before Easter.

Last thing:

Ben & Jerry’s new vegan-friendly “ice cream” is supposed to be in stores next week. I’m looking forward to giving that a shot, though I imagine it will cost as much as a car payment.