When you’ve got the hankering for some tasty improv at a price that can’t be beat, saddle up and ride on over to Improv Olympic West (just east of Cahuenga) on Hollywood Blvd. On Wednesday night, for a mere 5 silver dollars, you can watch show after hilarious improv show, as the different iO West teams cycle through, doing long-form improv in the form of the Harold. If you get to the theatre by 8:00 pm, you can catch: Trophy Wife, Spirit Cat, Tatanka, Local 132, Bandit, King 10 and First Chair, in that order.
The fun of the Harold, a long form style created by Del Close, is that it gives the team a chance to build miniature stories that all interweave. In this way, the players get to become many different characters, yet build the overall storyline consistently throughout. Each team that gets up creates a Harold all their own, in half-hour time slots.
It’s almost like watching tv…the night flies by, you end up drinking more than you intended, and you wish you could be like the folks you’re watching…quick-witted, good-looking, youthful…where do they get these people?! Apparently, every young, attractive, funny person in L.A. shows up on Wednesday nights to perform improvisational comedy at iO West. And that makes the hours sail past, along with sweet sweet drink specials like $5 rum and cokes, and $5 ales on tap with up to a 9.6 % alcohol content. That’s what I’m talking about, people!
Each team brings their own special chemistry and magical je ne sais quoi. For example, King 10 created a world in which a young boy tries to go to sleep after his mother tells him a horrible cautionary tale, only to be riddled by worry–embodied by a character who actually comes into the room and sits down on him. As the show progresses, various other feelings come to oppress him: loneliness, fear, and even one player who turns out to represent ‘questioning my own sexuality’. What a lark!
Getting to iO West is easy (but reserve time to drive around in search of free parking unless you’re a high-roller who valets) and remember to check the signs carefully. Many times you’ll see a whole lot of cars parked on a street and be lulled into a sense of security, only to return later to find that everyone’s got a ticket because parking on that street becomes illegal after 6pm.
iO West is at 6366 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, their phone number is: (323) 962-7560, and their convenient online schedule is at: http://ioimprov.com/west/
Even if you can’t make it on Wednesday, don’t let that stop you from checking out this happening scene as there are great yet affordable shows every night of the week. But, it is 21 +, so leave the tots and tweens at home with an adult you trust. It’s always tragic when you go out for a few laughs at a comedy show, only to come home and find your children baking the dog in the oven. Cheers!