Fun-loving improv group Durango DOT Comedy performs in the grand comedic tradition of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” They’ve been together for 15 years, and currently have nine members – though two or three will be departing soon, so if you’re looking to get on stage and make a fool of yourself, you might just be what the troupe is looking for.
“Everyone in the group brings something different,” said member Andre Pierre-Louis. “In some you look for talent, others dedication and commitment. We don’t get paid, so you have to love it.”
DDC’s next performance is this Saturday at the Durango Arts Center, a show the troupe is calling “Size Matters.” Their shows always involve audience participation; all attendants have a hand in choosing what the comedians perform, thus the process is almost collaborative. “The show goes where the audience takes us,” said Pierre-Louis. “In Durango, they love dissing New Mexico. They love local jokes.”
Some members of the group have dark senses of humor, while others are uplifting and bright. Each member brings something disparate to the hilarity table.
“It’s easier to do improv than stand-up,” said Pierre-Louis. “With stand-up, you have to write stuff and memorize it, and know what’s going on in the world and convey all that with a sense of humor. But some humor doesn’t click with a lot of people. I tried it – and bombed.”
Improv has its challenges, too; you must generate rapid-fire material off the top of your head. “I don’t think you can master improve,” said Pierre-Louis. “We might play the same games, but we’ll never have the same show. Anyway, it’s boring if it’s the same thing every time.” The unpredictable, tenuous nature of improv is precisely what makes it so rewarding if done successfully.
Comedians might not be offering up cures for cancer, but they nevertheless provide a community with essential benefits. “I like making people laugh – I feel better if I can put a smile on someone else’s face,” said Pierre-Louis. “You never know what a person is going through. I’m not trying to say I’m a superhero, but a smile or a laugh that night can save somebody’s perspective on life. Maybe they had the worst day and they needed it.”