Our latest episode of The Constant Struggle podcast is up and this time, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dale Wells, improviser and co-founder of The Dandies & Holodeck Follies.
Dale speaks about the benefits and challenges producing live comedy shows in Toronto. We talk about the history of Star Trek improv in the city, about geek culture, and about his show; Holodeck Follies, kicking butt at this year’s FanExpo. Dale and Nick chat about what it’s like to be a Dad artist with a day job. We bring up his love of singing and the various ways in which improv can bring joy to your life.
What a positive guy!
With GREAT shout-outs to:
ROB ARISS HILLS
TODD VAN ALLEN (COMEDY ABOVE THE PUB)
GILLIAN ENGLISH &
Curses! Did you think I didn’t know what you were up to? Well, I’m on to you, buddy!
What you might not know, my friend, is how badly I wanted to bail on it last night. I had it all planned out. I’d show up, ooops! A little bit later than I’d originally planned. Traffic, you know! And it totally would have been OK because it’s only 2 minutes. Those two minutes can easily be filled with more improv, or more break-time, sure. Everyone get more beer!
Well, I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t let you down. Not this time. Well, the material might let you down, but my physical inhabiting of the space at the time as scheduled was not to let you down. I couldn’t give you the satisfaction, of tuning in next month, and listening to me whine about how I STILL HAVEN’T DONE ANY STAND-UP!!! UGH!!!!
You tapped into this weird sense of duty, nay responsibility in me. You knew I couldn’t bail because you know how much I hate it when people fucking bail. I hate it hate it hate it Also, living with the guilt afterwards if I hadn’t done it. I’m very susceptible to guilt, (see: Catholic.)
So I did it. My two minutes (and then some, I’m sorry.)
Are you happy now Dale?
Thank you. I really needed that kick in the butt.
I had a marvellous time last night at Holodeck Follies, the monthly Star Trek-inspired improv and variety show put on by The Dandies. Dale creates this wonderful sense of community in the show, which brings together two of my favourite subcultures; the improv world and the world of Trek. This month, he kicked it up another notch by putting the emphasis on the women of Trek by inviting many talented women improvisers, and other female comics to perform on the show in honour of International Women’s Day.
In a community where we see things like ‘the token woman in an otherwise all-male sketch troupe’ or the ‘obligatory one woman on a stand-up show line-up,’ it’s wonderful to attend a show that not only features women, but celebrates them. Not that this is surprising for the Dandies, or people who follow and respect the philosophy of Star Trek in general, TBH. But The Dandies continually stack their shows with a diverse array of players; and not to fulfil any sort of tokenism, but rather because they know a tonne of fantastically talented and diverse performers.
A personal thrill for me was attempting to stick to my Captain Janeway character; stern and serious, while playing against a sassy and outspoken Lt. Uhura, played by Jamillah Ross, with whom I’ve never got to play, (unless you count on Twitter.) The low-energy, severity of her character is sortof the opposite of the loud-mouthed dweeb I typically portray!
Every woman brought something great to the set, and what a fantastic group of women they were: Tracy Rowland, Deanna Palazzo, Taz Collins, Dana Jean Phoenix & Marcia De. Along with the weekly cast of the USS Albatross and a roomful of trekkies, it was spectacular, supportive show, which I recommend to all; Trekkies and normals alike.
I leave you with the Holodeck Follies traditional exit greeting: Laugh Long and Prosper!