In the hierarchy of all things comedic, improvisational comedy fits somewhere between Rodney Dangerfield movies and mimes -- neither gets much respect. There are dental procedures that are more fun to watch than improv at its worst. Watching a bad comedian stumble can make an audience as uncomfortable as a priest at a little league game. But with a well-prepared group at the top of its game -- making split-second improvisations, playing to a good crowd, and clicking just right -- improv is the highest form of comedy. The problem is that for every troupe that's actually good, a dozen more are bad enough to ruin it for the entire lot.
You were just about to dismiss the whole genre because of the laughless improv squirmfest produced by your local high school's theater nerds -- but wait! Here comes Mod 27, Palm Beach County's premier improv troupe. Named after the portable classroom in which they rehearsed while attending Palm Beach Community College, Mod 27 has quickly risen to the top of the South Florida improv scene with a genuinely funny act that actively pursues new avenues of the art. Performing the Chicago-style improv pioneered by the legendary group Second City (which produced a veritable who's who of current and former Saturday Night Live stars), Mod 27 quickly made a name for itself not just locally but nationally and internationally.
The troupe's impressive list of performances includes the 2004 and 2005 Miami Improv Festivals, the 2004 Toronto International Improv Festival, and the Out of Bounds Improv Festival in Austin, Texas. It was also voted the best long-form improv troupe in South Florida by ImprovMiami.com.
The troupe's new goal -- to create a premier improv community in South Florida -- starts this Saturday when it brings the show to Klein Dance Studio (811 Lake Ave., Lake Worth) on the first and third Saturdays of each month through October 15. Come join an experience that could change your outlook on live comedy forever. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show cost $8 to $10. Call 561-586-1889, or visit http://mod27improv.tripod.com. -- Paul A. Leone
Bangers & Smash
Bangers & Smash
Stomp is Kickin'
Tell Grandma to turn down her hearing aid. That thumpita-thumpita-thumpita sound isn't caused by a blockage in her ear canal -- it's the return of those zany young 'uns who just want to bang on the, er, trash can lids all day.
Inspired by street performers from the United Kingdom, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas managed to convince a team of entertainers that ordinary household items like lighters, brooms, pipes, and plungers should be used in a more nontraditional manner. No, sicko, there's nothing sexual about Stomp, the stage show they created -- though you'll never look at a broom the same way again. It's solely an aural experience, and no one even uses a tongue. Performers depend on movement (instead of boring libretto) as they slam, crash, and sweep a symphony like nothing you've ever experienced.
In the past ten years, Stomp has traveled to 36 countries worldwide, stirring the souls of the young, the old, and even the almost deaf. Here, the stomping occurs at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts' Au-Rene Theater (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale) from Tuesday, June 7, through Sunday, June 12. Tickets range from $20 to $47. Call 954-462-0222, or visit www.browardcenter.org. -- Riki Altman
Feel the sting of metal
Limp Bizkit has its legions of angry jock-rock fans. Metallica has its stable of lawyers. But if the rules of metal were made law, none of that would matter, because Manowar would kick both their asses. With a stated purpose "to blow people's heads off" (says bassist Joey DeMaio in the band's bio), Manowar has always walked the line between metal warriors and a Spinal Tap-flavored joke band. Sure, the band took all of metal's biggest clichés and amplified them tenfold, but one could just as easily question the seriousness of, say, Iron Maiden. Or Metallica, for that matter. Either way, Manowar hasn't relented in its quest to eradicate the limp-wristed element from rock music. And if that day ever comes (don't bet on it), Manowar will have proved its main point: The sword is mightier than everything. Manowar joins Rhapsody on Saturday at the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale). The battle begins at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $30 to $35. Call 954-564-1074. -- Jason Budjinski
Blonds Have More Funny
I'm OK and you're OK -- at least that's the way comedian and actor Christopher Titus sees it. The star of the former Fox sitcom Titus has made a success of joking about our not-all-right families. He brings his comedic form of psychotherapy to the Palm Beach Improv at CityPlace (550 S. Rosemary Ave., Ste. 250, West Palm Beach) this Thursday through Sunday. Titus has endured more than just some uncomfortably silent family dinners. The youth who used to go to bed listening to Bill Cosby albums had fistfights with an alcoholic dad and was raised by a mentally-ill mom. Yeah, he's got issues, but that's OK. His openness about life makes us find the funny in our own loose screws. Visit www.palmbeachimprov.com, or call 561-833-1812. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets cost $21.50. -- Makkada Selah