Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Where the Danger Snack did they get their name?

As an improviser, one of the things I always wonder is How did that team come up with that name?  

Sometimes it seems to fit so perfectly, and other times, I think: Where the WIFFLE WAFFLE did that come from?  

My team-name story is simple. We named our team after the first organic opening we did together.  In the opening we created a mystery box so MYSTERY BOX we became.  

It was simple.


Not so much.  

Mike Sally Faerber says he once had a group after college for which the naming ritual involved a giant google doc spreadsheet and a 40-email-long chain deciding where they should meet to further argue over their name.  

He went on to explain a flawed voting system and the flawed notion that the name just had to be perfect.  

He remembers thinking This is improv, so it shouldn't matter.  

They ended up choosing OH, SCIENCE.  And, for the record, Sally is now on MYSTERY BOX, and I'm pretty sure he was the one person on the team who couldn't care less what name we finally chose.

Chris Stathis recounts, "It's sketch now, but Drug Puppy used to be an improv team, and we got the name from when Adam and I were once in a scene together. We were two police officers about to raid a house.  I was the senior officer and he was the rookie.  Each beat was showing how unprepared he was for the job.  I finally asked him if he had the drug dogs and he looked at me and said, ‘Um...I have a drug puppy.’ And that name kinda stuck." 

Still others take a slightly sarcastic approach.  Chris Thompson said, "Well, one time, Paul and I realized 'Hey we were friends,’ so we named our two-person show CHRIS AND PAUL ARE FRIENDS

I've always loved that simple, silly name.  I've often suggested that they should rename it every time they play: “Chris and Paul Go To The Zoo,” “Chris and Paul Play Catch,” “Chris and Paul Braid Each Other's Hair.” 

LOCAL WIZARD came after a class exercise in Level 2.  They were asked to derive ideas and themes from openings, and one guy replied, "All I got from that was something about a wizard."  They found it funny, added “Local” and the name remained.

The Mainstage team, NATURAL 20 took an intellectual approach.  One of the players suggested the name because in Dungeons and Dragons, Natural 20 means "critical success."

Regarding her show with Paul Detrick, Molly Matthews explained, "Paul and I have a two-man show, SLICE. We were on the DCT team, CAKEWALK, together for a year. Before every show, I had to have a slice of pizza in order to be able to perform. Actually, I just always forgot to eat dinner, and pizza was the closest thing.  Also, Paul and I often met over slices of pizza to discuss our ideas.  And, we like to think that our show is like a slice of life."  Molly also pointed out that the 90's soda, Slice, is also cool, which, of course, it totally is.

I guess the point is, everyone comes up with their name in a different way.  I've always been of the view that it should involve a process that is short and sweet -- that is should arise naturally from a funny or meaningful moment that you experience together as a team. But others like the whole voting system, or email chain thing or whatever floats their
WATERLOO. I say, just keep it CLASSY or RAT PAGEANT, It's entirely up to SPEAKING MOOSE.

- Kate Nielson

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