Stand-up and improvisational comedians seem like they should be mortal enemies -- two opposing camps with incompatible views on how to make audiences laugh. They're the Hatfields and McCoys of funny, with punch-line flingers on one side and scene-building tacticians on the other battling for your admiration and attention, both ready to launch waves of dick joke missiles and character assassination at each other until one comic is left standing.
Jennifer Brandon This is either an improv class or a really bad crowd at a stand-up comedy show.
In fact, it's not quite dramatic. The feud isn't bloody -- at least not until society breaks down a la The Warriors and improvisors and stand-ups degenerate into roving gangs of chuckle boppers. Stand-up Clint Werth likens the rivalry to the one between clowns and mimes in the Bobcat Goldthwait movie Shakes the Clown.
"It's mostly on the stand-ups' part where we kind of roll our eyes, whereas the improvisers are fairly nice," Werth says. "We're just kind of dicks, is how it works out."
Stand-ups pride themselves on facing the fear that only a harsh, judgmental and sometimes drunk audience can generate, though improv troupes face an even more frightening prospect: standing before the same crowds and turning some control of their material over to the audience and fellow cast members.
"You might have to pretend to be a baby onstage once in a while," comedian Grant Redmond says. "Stand-ups are sort of into their own characters."More »