STL Up Late Brings Comedic Relief to Your Saturday Night
It's a hectic schedule that requires creativity, but also careful planning. The biggest challenge is mainly just making it all up as they go -- you know, improvising. Christensen explains, "There isn't a manual out there on how to create a live sketch comedy talk show, or at least nothing came up when I googled it." As McNew, who obviously has the whole program arranged in his head, outlines, "We meet on Sundays, performers pitch their sketches and if we it like we say, 'Go write it,' spend the week writing before coming back to perform it, and give feedback. Sometimes we'll even test it out on a Monday at the improve shop."
From there, sketches and shorts are quickly absorbed and prepared for Saturday night. If it all doesn't go perfectly, that's okay. Live comedy builds off awkwardness and converts it into hilarity -- that's where improv training comes into play. Still, as rehearsal begins, procedural questions, like should the host emerge out of the curtain or not? remain somewhat nebulous and a subtle tension hovers over the room. But that edginess gives off its own energy, and the cast and crew remain relatively calm -- in fact, they mostly just try to crack each other up.
The show begins with a pretty stellar montage that introduces the night's guest, poet Henry Goldkamp, and music by Palace, while various shots of St. Louis in all its glory are projected on a screen hanging above the stage. There's an opening monologue with a few rim-shot topical jokes, a couple well-done video shorts and sketches that are all about timing and delivery. Self-appraising at the end of the night, Christensen says, "I thought the preview show went amazingly well considering all the moving parts that we were dealing with. The only time that we had a chance to run through everything from start to finish was when the lights came up and the show started."
Beyond the written-in laughs, it's also extremely fun to watch talented locals perform and create, breathing life into a Saturday night in St. Louis. And now, with the first trial run out of the way, STL Up Late will prepare to kick off a full schedule of shows, beginning Saturday, November 2, with the creator of Strange Donuts, Corey Smale (all audience members will receive a free donut from Strange Donuts), and musical guest, Yankee Racers. Tickets are available at www.stluplate.com