OOB Interview: The Five Deadly Improvisers

This Friday night, five fearless improvisers—or The Five Deadly Improvisers, as they’re known in their home of the Bay Area—will descend on Austin to bring their unique brand of high-energy, hugely physical improv to the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. Here’s an interview with one of the troupe’s founders, Bill Stahl. This is a show you don’t want to miss, and it brings improv and kung-fu together in a way that … well, that we’ve never seen in our bucolic Texas town. Friday, 9:45 pm, at The Hideout Theatre.
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Bill Stahl, Jon Ligon, Lisa Wang, Rish Sanghvi, Sima Sanghvi

Bill Stahl, Jon Ligon, Lisa Wang, Rish Sanghvi, Sima Sanghvi

The Five Deadly Improvisers

Why did you decide to submit to Out of Bounds?

We had so much fun last year.  Austin is a nexus of great improv and great people; overall the festival has a fantastic energy and vibe to it; the shows we caught last year were also fantastic.
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What do you know about the Austin improv scene?
We know that it is growing in influence and pushing the boundaries by spawning new formats and groups. For instance, Leng Wong, the founder of Lucky Chaos Theater in Austin, is doing important work in representing a diversity of voices and has honed her talent as part of the improv scene there.
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What act/show are you most looking forward to seeing at OOB?
We’re looking forward to seeing Doubtful Guests, and anything musical!
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What workshops, if any, do you plan on taking while at OOB?
Some of us will be taking the masks workshop, and some just want to enjoy Austin this time around.
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How would you describe your show to someone who’s never seen live improv/sketch?
It’s like watching an epic kung fu movie, transported to the stage.  We are trying to encapsulate the genre, not parody it.  We get a title, kick some ass, and maybe make you laugh along the way.
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How would you describe your show to your grandmother?
Hey Grandma, you know that Bruce Lee guy? I do what he does on stage, in front of people, with other people!
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Bruce Lee is not in The Five Deadly Improvisers. He does, however, endorse them fully.

Bruce Lee is not in The Five Deadly Improvisers. He does, however, endorse them fully.

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If you were to accomplish one big goal in your OOB performance, what would it be?
To not hurt myself or others during the show, while pushing the boundaries of physical improv. That, and to give the audience a show full of surprises and delights.
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Why do you perform the format you do? Why not some other format?
The format is so energetic, so ‘in-your-body’, requiring us to take huge risks and find ways to communicate ways of doing impossible physical acts. It pushes the boundaries with its huge physicality, as well as has cool stories and big characters built in the genre.  We’ve never seen anyone do anything similar to what we do, at least not taking it to the level we have.
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[And that last line is reason enough for you to go see their show.]
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If you had to sum up your troupe’s “improv philosophy” in 20 words or fewer, what would it be?
Slow down, take your time and listen.  If all else fails, FIGHT!
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How do you know if you had a good show?
We’re dripping sweat at the end of it, out of breath, and people are clapping.
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When your OOB show is over, what will y’all do?
We’ll be headed to Hawaii for the Improvaganza Festival in September!
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What’s the funniest line, taken completely out of context, that’s been said during one of your troupe’s shows?
“Fish slap!”
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That, or “He’s now a baby!”
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Why should a complete stranger who’s reading this interview come see your show?
Anyone coming to our show will be transported to places they won’t expect. If you don’t come see it, you’ll regret it your entire life!
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You can see The Five Deadly Improvisers at 9:45 pm on Friday, August 30, at the Hideout Theater. Get your tickets here.

And be sure to like them on Facebook! Or else.

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