With September just around the corner, we have one of our most popular features returning to The Phoenix Remix, Show of the Week but as it is is bank holiday, we thought we would bring you a special edition! Tonight in New York City, the improv troupe Trash are taking to the stage. I caught up with one of the members, Shem, to find out about the show that they have in store for their very lucky audience tonight.
Hello Shem tell us all about Trash who you all are and a little bit about yourselves?
TRASH are New York City’s premiere piles of hot garbage. We’re also a diverse Indie Improv team that formed via various connections at UCB but perform all over the place. We’re musicians, dancers, podcasters, martial artists and more. But primarily comedians.
Tell us a little bit about the show that is happening tonight, Hot Goss?
Based on the golden nuggets of gossip from the audience, members of Trash create a weird, wonderful improvised world (and probably a dance number) full of D-R-A-M-A. We also invite fun guests.
What acts are performing at this weeks show?
We have the amazing Here & Queer, who run “Gay Asssscat” at UCB New York, and showcase some of the finest queer performers and monologists in the city. It’s a great show. We also have Aviva doing live musical loops with a harp, PIT house team Perry and character comedy from Eric Feurer – co-director of UCB NYC’s Characters Welcome.
You’re based in NYC – tell us about the improv scene there?
It’s pretty wild. There are huge improv schools, indie shows of all sizes and some of the most talented performers and best teams I’ve ever seen. It’s an excellent place to both cut your teeth, and to experiment with the theatricality of improv, so I’m finding myself stretched daily.
What are the differences between UK improv and NYC improv?
NYC aggressively embraces diversity. There are so many female identifying, or queer, or POC focused groups and shows. I sometimes show my NYC friends Instagram posts of UK acts, shows and classes because they don’t believe how lacking in diversity it is. People are also very passionate about improv and take it very seriously – I’ve been to 11 pm Tuesday night student shows that have been sold out, which to my mind is bananas. NYC Improv places a high premium on emotion and honesty, with fewer people trying to improvise endless witticisms. Only the plus London is nowhere near as fiercely competitive so people aren’t as stressed out about getting into classes, or shows or teams.
With the Festival season just finishing – what have been some of the best acts you have seen this summer and why?
I was just performing at the LA Indie Improv Festival and was blown away by Big Grande’s group mind and lightning fast gifting. Check out their podcast The Teacher’s Lounge. At the Del Close Marathon I saw lots of excellent teams – White Women, fwand, We Will Slay and Death by Roo Roo. But Betsy Sodaro and Drew Tarver’s raw physical performance as New Parents was probably a highlight.
What advice would you give for people thinking about starting an improv troupe?
Improv is fun. That’s the only reason to do it. You probably won’t get famous. You might not even get that good. But if you’re spending time with friends, enjoying yourself, then you’ll never have a bad show. I’ve had many, many bad shows.
What is the best thing about a night at Hot Goss for the audience?
It’s late night at a cool legendary indie venue Under St Marks, and will be odd and surprising, rather than 3 teams trying to cram a montage into 15 minutes.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
WEARETRASHIMPROV on Facebook. And I’m myshowcalledlife
What is YOUR favourite TRASH show you have done this year and why?
All of the team couldn’t make it so Chloe and I did a two person monoscene as married fitness instructors, screaming to motivate each other for 15 minutes. The crowd was … not into it. But we tripled down and by the end it was one of their favorite things. I love pulling a show back around.
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
I don’t know
QUICK FIRE ROUND
If you could be any animal what would it be and why?
Animal the drummer from the Muppets
Who is your favorite super hero and why?
My mother. Because she was bitten by a radioactive spider and is avenging the death of her Uncle Ben.
If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?
It would basically be remake of Putney Swope and … no idea …Alex Song?
If you could go any where in the world where would you go and why?
New York. I like to live my dreams.
What would you do with your “15 minutes” of fame?
Put someone better in the spotlight. Not a joke answer.
What is one item you could NEVER live without?
My real answer is probably my phone as it’s my camera, video camera, music making device and more rolled into one. But a my fun answer is my Teenage Engineering OP-1, a synth specifically built for questions like that.
Last time you laughed very hard out loud?
Probably listening to the Teacher’s Lounge on the way in to work.
What is your favorite movie quote?
The quote I say the most is “You will pay double, no