All this month we are talking to acts that have shows that are in the theme of Love because of Valentines Day being just around the corner! Today we speak to Benjamin of the Birmingham based Fat Penguin Improv who are set to make audiences laugh with their Valentines themed Show that is happening on the 15th February at the Patrick Kavanagh Pub in Moseley.
Hello Ben! Tell us about Fat Penguin Improv who you all are and a little bit about yourselves?
Fat Penguin Improv was initially formed in 2015 by Jay Handly as a shortform workshop/show as a addition to an existing standup comedy night. In 2016 it was taken over by Ben hall as a longform workshop and show. Ben trained in Birmingham under Box of Frogs, London under The Free association, and Chicago under iO as well as training in clown. Fat Penguin Improv now run 3 levels of 9 week intensives, plus a weekly show and weekly drop in. We have one house team (Bunkum Factory, currently 17 players) and have just opened auditions for more players to help form 2 more house teams by March. We are based in 2 venues, one in Birmingham City Centre as well as our resident venue, the Patrick Kavanagh Pub in Moseley. We are a comedy school and hold ourselves by the standard of making our audiences laugh. Controversially in improv, we ARE trying to be funny.
How did you come up with the name of you troupe?
Fat Penguin is the name of the comedy club it is based at which started off as a standup show.
Tell us a little bit about the show you are performing on the 15th February?
Fat Penguin perform a weekly show every Thursday in Moseley, the form is called ‘based on a true story’ which roughly looks like an Armando with scenes flowing into one another using tags and edits. We get in a guest, typically a standup and they do their set followed by answering some questions to inspire the bulk of the show which is improvised. On 15th Feb we have a standup coming as usual, this time he will do some valentines related material. Instead of interviewing him, we will interview the audience for a story about a date they went on (we stole that absolutely genius idea from C3?, London). Scenes inspired by stories will follow, normally we throw in some clowning, the format is very loose.
Will there be any love themed surprises for the audience?
We often buy them gifts, so probably.
What are some of the best love stories you have turned into improv plays?
The ones where the audience members we ask, cry and laugh at the same time.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
Fat Penguin Improv on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
What do you think 2018 holds for the world of improv – what would you like to see happen in the next 12 months?
In the past 12 months our aim was to integrate into the established comedy scene as a legitimate form of entertainment that could go toe to toe with other forms of comedy. In the next 12 months I would like to see our 3 house teams touring Birmingham to build up more interest in the scene, I would also love to see so much interest that this years Birmingham Improv festival sells out
And Finally – in three words why should people come and see you at The Patrick Kavanagh Bar?
Funny funny haha
QUICK FIRE ROUND
Improv – the FA’s Mike OT, the guy is a comic genius
Standup – George Carlin
Favourite short form game to play in improv?
‘2 headed standup’ word at a time telling ‘jokes’ about a subject of the audiences choice, its never actually worked
The last thing you liked on social media?
Probably a photo I uploaded, of me
What would your autobiography be called?
Nobody will ever agree to print this, the life and times of Ben Hall
What is your favourite joke?
Why did the monkey fall down the stairs? Because it was dead
Improv group you would love to collaborate with?
Free Association, C3?