Yesterday’s rehearsal was our final with director Bill Johnson. He was the original founder, teacher and director of the Magic Meathands improv comedy ensemble.
After 8 years of guiding us, he is leaving us behind to let us grow to the next level while he pursues his own opportunities.
Bill taught most of us for years and encouraged us to explore the absurd, the silly and the joyful. Because of that influence, the Magic Meathands have developed a dynamic, high energy that is unique among most improv groups. He also brought his focus to community outreach, making the Magic Meathands the only improv group in Los Angeles that regularly brings live comedy to the very people most in need of joy and laughter. Just this past Saturday, we played to an enthusiastic crowd at the Ocean Park Community Center, a facility in Santa Monica that serves the homeless and mentally ill. Next month, we’ll return to our friends at the Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services facility in Altadena, where they house over 40 boys aged 10 to 18. We first performed for them in early 2008 and continue to visit them several times a year. And finally, because of the variety of our audiences and venues, Bill developed a team of performers comfortable with audiences of different age groups and content preferences. Not too many improv groups have their own rating system for their shows, but the Meathands do to make sure audiences know what they’re getting into.
So yes, Bill created a pretty magnificent thing but the time has come for him to go. So now what?
Always passionate about reaching out to the community and helping children, Bill is pursuing a teaching career at a school in the Coachella Valley where he’s teaching math to struggling kids. Yes, math. We don’t get it either.
Meanwhile, the Magic Meathands have been preparing for this day for some time. Over the last year, we became a self-directed performing group. That means we all share the responsibility of running different parts of the show, instead of Bill serving as sole director and emcee every show. In turn, our shows have been evolving into a completely new format that is bringing out the best in our cast. Simply put, if you haven’t seen the Meathands in the last 4 months or more, you haven’t seen the Meathands!
One of our regular openers for our shows is a game called Objection. It’s also called Cranky Lawyers (cue: grumbling lawyers on-stage). It is perhaps not the most accurate representation of the US legal system, but we’re not that far off.
Since this show was rated Late Night, we somehow got from grilled cheese sandwiches to internet porn. Go figure!
Shane Boroomand plays the judge. The line-up of attorney, left to right: Jim Maloy, Carol McLaine, Paige Kimball, Mary Benedict, Nikki Turner, Liz Gill, Bill Johnson, Corey Blake.
Speaking of which, check out our new Cast page to get to know us better!
We’ve also updated our Shows page to a handy-dandy Google calendar. We have a community outreach show for a middle school, and then we’ve got two public performances at the Mary Pickford Studio: our Family Friendly Show on Saturday, March 10, and our Tag Team Comedy Show with special guests The Callbacks (referenced in the video above) on Saturday, March 17. Both shows start at 8 PM with $7 tickets ($3 for 12 and under at the Family Friendly Show).
Way back in the pre-historic days of 2008, the Magic Meathands had a special guest appearance in Lauri Fraser‘s holiday rap video “Ain’t No Reason”. Lauri is herself a Meathand alum, as well as being an actress, the voice of Jane Jetson, and the creator/host of the live storytelling show and podcast I Love a Good Story.
If you’re sick of seeing Santa in the stores before Thanksgiving, this is the song for you.
We had a fantastic pair of shows with Jump Start and Held2gether the last two Saturdays. The Mary Pickford Studio was packed with very enthusiastic audiences. Thank you to all who came out for two great nights of comedy!
Our next show for all is at the Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica on Friday, December 2nd at 8 PM. Immediately following us are two hilarious improv groups, The Waterbrains (frequently joined by our director Bill Johnson) and Mission: IMPROVable. $10 gets you in for the whole night of comedy. Here’s the Facebook event, if you’d like to RSVP and invite your friends.
We’re also doing a special community outreach show on Thanksgiving day for a church that gives the homeless and needy a big Thanksgiving meal. This will make our third year doing this show. It’s a great way to spend part of the holidays and we encourage you to find a way to give back to your community.
However you spend the day, The Magic Meathands wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!