Sock And Buskin - Improv Superbowl

This is a necropost - resurrected from an ancient cassette tape.

While I was studying at Carleton University in Canadaland, I joined the prestigious(?) Sock n Buskin theatre troupe. Together with "Where's the Soup", we put on an "Improv Superbowl". Basically a team version of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

The director - Jenny - and I went on LIVE RADIO to promote our show to all of Ottawa. Somehow, that got recorded onto cassette, and then transferred to an old computer of mine. Here's our comedy stylings...


I must apologise to Jen Vandergraaf for mostly editing her out of the interview. I was trying to cut together clips of my voice for a showreel and the above is reassembled from those scraps. If anyone has access to the archives of a local Canadian radio station, do let me know.

Here's the poster in all its hand-drawn glory.

A handwritten poster on crumpled paper.

I also found a mention of the 2000 Improv Superbowl in newspaper archive The Charlton 29.
Two men are searching for the lost city of Atlantis when one suddenly clambers onto the other's back. A few seconds later, a third man rushes up, gives the piggy-backer a whack and takes his place on the other guy's back bad mouthing Algonquin College all the while. A bizarre round of varsity underwater tag-team wrestling perhaps?  Close, but no cigar. These men are m neither wrestlers nor crackpots on the run. They're part of a Sock 'n' Buskin's theatre improvisation team. And they'll soon be performing at an Architecture  Building near you.   First things second though, once upon a time Sock 'n' Buskin's studio director Jenny Vandergraaf suggested the theatre group do something exciting like improv for a change. The benevolent powers that be liked it, bam, morion passed. And now, March 30 through April 1, four teams of quick-thinking, wisecracking people from different walks of life are going to talk their way in and out of unlikely situations.   "There's so much talent in high schools, they've even had the National (improv) Games in Ottawa," says Vandergraaf. But after high school she says all that talent goes nowhere because "there just isn't enough improv at the university level."  Although the improv performance is a competitive event of sorts, with two days of round robin games and a final day of playoffs, Vandergraaf says it's really more about theatre for theatre's' sake.  "The contest is almost secondary. They're playing for love, admiration and respect," she explains.  The four teams, called respectively; Loaded Blanks, Team Discovery Channel, Lazy-assed Destroyers and Kermit's Eyeballs, have to play any number of weird and wonderful games that call for split second wit and a reason- ably strong stomach to match.  The 20-strong group of participants includes students and graduates from Carleton, the University of Ottawa, Algonquin College and a handful of innocent bystanders. Interschool rivalries are the basis for a lot of their jokes.  Jason Markusoff, a first-year journalism major at Carleton, and captain of Team Discovery Channel, has played some improv shows at Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club. He is poised to leap into the fray, where interschool jokes at one another's expense fly, thick and fast.  "When I found out about Sock V Buskin (and the Improv Superbowl) I was all over it," he says.  Vandergraaf says the competition will test the contestants' spontaneity.  "You can't really rehearse for this kind of theatre," she says. "There's a lot of physical comedy, but there's no props and no special effects. , . (this is) hardcore drama."  Admission is free for all three days of the Improv Superbowl, which starts at 8 p.m. in The Pit in the Architecture Building at Carleton. Be there, or be very, very deprived.

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