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Improv act brings big laughs

A new brand of funny has come to the Blue Dome District. Crayons Improv takes over the backroom stage of “The Comedy Parlor” downtown every Friday night and does what they do best.

“I think we strike a really cool balance. We are pretty theatrical and we strive to play to the top of our intelligence. We do very smart comedy,” Crayons cast member Anna Bennett said.

The one-hour show consists of short-form improvisation, the same type of comedy seen on the hit show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” The five member cast plays games with names like “Twitter Surfing,” an original improv game based entirely on crowd recommendations.

The concept is simple. Members of the audience are asked for their names and three personal qualities. The talent on stage invents Twitter profiles on the spot and calls out their every tweetable thought over the reaction of the crowd.

The desired result? Laughter. And lots of it.

“If you can make somebody, you know, kind of pee their pants a little bit – you have something special,” ORU alumnus, Tony Schneider said. “The best experience I can have is when I have an audience and they are listening, they’re active, they’re giving you feedback; they’re involved.”

Crayons was formed in 2007 by ORU alumna Nicole Miller. She is one of three ORU alumni on the team.

“It came as basically a church function,” Miller said. “We just got together and created this.”

Crayons is comprised of two drama teachers, a journalist, a therapist and a combustion engineer. For all the variety, the performers share one important trait; they all call Tulsa home.

“There is definitely an awareness of keeping things local,” Bennett said. “There is not a lot of supply, and we are hoping to grow the demand.”
The comics spent six years doing bimonthly shows at Agora Coffee and made the rounds at international festivals, private parties, ORU College Weekend and a baby shower.

“Crayons’ audience was getting pretty big,” Miller said. “The Comedy Parlor asked us to be weekly.”

Crayons performs for anybody who walks in the door. It is not unusual to see young children, college hipsters and elderly patrons sitting in the same row. The diverse audiences create an environment where anything can happen.

Schneider remembers the time a young man called to ask for a special favor. He was planning to ask his girlfriend to marry him. They hatched a plan to disguise the proposal as a part of the show.

“It was a yes. It was a definite yes,” said Schneider. “The audience went pretty crazy.”

Crayons performs tonight at 7 p.m. at the Comedy Parlor on 1st and Elgin. Tickets are $5.

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