Gary P. Glass gives NoVA Mag a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be an improv comic at Ballston’s The Comedy Spot.
By Katie Bowles
The Comedy Spot offers both improv classes and a small venue for improv comics to practice their talents, featuring them in shows like “ComedySportz” and “The Blue Show“. We recently caught up with Gary P. Glass, a member of ComedySportz TNG (The Next Generation), and learned a bit more about these shows and the people behind them.
How long have you been with The Comedy Spot?
I started in June 2013–I had never done improv prior to joining the ComedySportz team or taking my first class at The Comedy Spot, but before then I did stand up for about four years, mostly at open mic nights but also at a few paying gigs…so technically I’m a professional comedian.
What’s the difference between the two main shows at The Comedy Spot?
Well, our early show is ComedySportz, and our late show is The Blue Show.
ComedySportz is structured to be family-friendly, and we have two teams with a referee and a score–it’s often compared to “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”. The games are introduced ahead of time by the ref and then the ref solicits suggestions from crowd and bases the game on those suggestions. We try to involve the crowd as much as possible; we want them to want to be there and want to come back.
The Blue Show is not necessarily family-friendly–that’s not to say that it will be overly adult or offensive or anything; it’s just unrestricted and free of boundaries. There’s no ref or score during The Blue Show either, it’s almost like a party where the comics and the audience are all just hanging out.
One of our most popular games in both shows is one called “Three Things”. (During this game) one team member leaves the theater and the ref or emcee solicits three things from audience that are then modified (also based on audience suggestion). The other team members then have to get the member who left to guess these three things using only gibberish and mime.
What kinds of people are involved with The Comedy Spot?
Everyone has a day job—these are all people from different places. Some are former introverts that took improv to build up their self-confidence and just got addicted to it. I’m in sales, there’s a scientist, a former government worker…we come from all walks of life.
What should our readers know before coming to a show?
We want people to not be afraid to be involved, audience members who will be active and laugh along with us—don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself, either. The best (audience/comic dynamics) are when you develop a relationship with them and we all just sort of hang out and talk.