The year 2020 has been a very unusual one and the fact that a lot of festivals have been postponed this summer we wanted to do things a bit different. Due to the fact we cannot use this time to interview and promote acts heading to the fringe, we thought we would use this time to celebrate all forms of comedy! So over the next month we are interviewing an array of acts with some fun questions so you can get to know them a little bit more! Today we talk to a twoprov act based in London called Avacado Improv.
Hello there tell me all about your group!
H: Well, group is a…I think group implies more than two people –
J: That’s right, we’re more like a small get together –
H: Like a collective…of two.
J: An improv duo, you might say.
H: Sure, that works.
J: We just play off each other. We don’t really think too much about what’s gonna happen on stage, we just kind of know that we trust each other and something cool will happen.
H: We both did improv groups and troupes and classes, and this and that and the other. We were both looking for similar things, talking about the kind of improv we wanted to do, but for some reason it took us a long time til we actually started working together. Just naturally decided one day to book a rehearsal room, and just mess around, no commitment.
J: I mean, it sounds like a marriage the way you talk about it.
H: Yeah, pretty much. Shotgun wedding.
What are your favourite things about being in your troupe?
H: Just hangin out, innit. Every so often we do a good scene, and that’s pretty cool.
J: [Laughs] We just do rehearsals, watch movies, we go drinking, we write…everything we do is pretty much practice for being on stage.
Describe each member of the improv acts by describing their characters by what animal they would be?
H: Jacob is like…a very excited meerkat. Cause he’s like, excited, and he’s running around, and he’s talking, he’s having a great old time.
J: He’s just a big bear. He’s just a big lumbering Russian bear…with a little fez hat on.
What has been your favourite show so far?
H: I’d say the show we did in Copenhagen was probably the best show we did. We did a lot of rehearsals for it, we kind of went in prepared – Something about going to a place specifically to do improv made us raise our game. It was great to be around other groups from all over the world, seeing what they were doing, seeing what we were doing, it was great.
J: I mean, doing a show with Razowsky –
H: Of course! No, yeah, I take it back, Razowsky, definitely.
J: It was just so much fun to work with Dave, we learned so much. I mean, it was a sell-out show, because of Dave, and it was such an amazing atmosphere –
H: Yeah, the audience really brought that atmosphere –
J: And the pace was just frenetic. We don’t usually play like that, except you’re trying to keep up with him, it was such a fun back and forth, it was just a great thing to be a part of.
How was your group founded?
J: We would keep seeing each other for years around the improv scene. Like, I remember we did Mark Beltzman early on, and we always saw each other around The Nursery, when it was under the arches by Southwark. We’d always run into each other –
H: We took a couple of levels of Monkey Toast together, with David Shore, who was really the first person to start teaching long form over here.
J: We were friendly with each other but we never ever hung-out. Years later I was with my brother and we were invited to a short film screening, and there’s Hamza, completely randomly, and it was just sort of, ‘Hey’. We started hanging out and, oh, then TJ & Dave came to town, wasn’t that it?
H: Yeah. We never really discussed improv in a way that we were gonna do it. I think we mentioned it like once or twice, ‘Oh maybe one day we’ll do something’, and then yeah, we went to see TJ & Dave, and then the next week we had a room booked.
J: And Hamza came up with the name, all credit goes to him for that one.
What is your favourite thing about performing improv?
H: Being in the moment.
J: Yeah. Just not knowing.
What is the most important skill you have learnt and why?
H: Just listening. A higher level of listening than you’d expect. And also the value of making the other person look good, taking care of the other person. Cause if we’re both doing that, then everything is sorted.
J: Learning to listen to yourself on stage, and then realizing you can do it offstage too. Just having that straight line from your gut to your mouth.
Describe your group for people who have not seen you live in 5 words beginning with the letter D?
You can only watch three other improv acts for the rest of your life – who would they be and why?
J: Well, obviously TJ & Dave.
J: And there was this amazing troupe in LA, Dasariski. That’s Bob Dassi, Rich Talarico, & Craig Cackowski. Each of those troupes, they just bring honesty to the stage and nothing else.
What makes a good improv scene?
What has been the best suggestion you have been given by an audience?
H: We don’t take suggestions, but y’know, the audience are an integral part of our show, their energy is a constant suggestion. They make each show different, we feed off of them more than they know.
Dream location to perform a show and why?
J: The Soho Theatre.
H: Because that’s where we saw TJ & Dave perform, it started this whole thing.
J: And it’s a fucking great theatre.
If people want to find out more about your group where can they go on the socials?
H: Instagram: @Avocado_Improv, @Avocado_Improv, @Avocado_Improv
Finally, which improv group would you as a team love to do a collaboration with and why?
H: Dan Subin runs a great night at The Hollywood Arms, and we love him.
J: The guy’s always got a good thing going, he runs a good night wherever he does it. It’d be great to put a show together with him.