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!
The New Year is coming! And if the Mayans are right, we’ve only got until December 21 to live it up. Better start scheduling your good times now. We’ve got quite a few planned for you throughout 2012 because if we’re going down, we’re going down laughing!
Our first show of 2012 brings us back to the Westside Comedy Theater, right off the Third Street Promenade in downtown Santa Monica. We hit the stage at 8 PM on Friday January 6th to do a fully improvised show combining short-form games and long-form scenarios all made up on the spot based on suggestions you give us. Tickets are $10 for the whole night. If you hang around after our show, you’ll get to experience two other improv groups, The Waterbrains and Mission: IMPROVable. Each group has their own format and style, so you’re in for a real treat.
Did you get stuffed on Thanksgiving? Did you get trampled on Black Friday?
The holiday season brings joy but it can also bring stress. Shopping, cooking, decorating, family gatherings – these can either be a lot of fun or higher therapist bills in the works. One of the best things to do during this time of year is get out, relax and enjoy some good comedy. Fortunately we’ve packed December with plenty of opportunities for just that sort of solution. Here are the details:
As I mentioned last week, we’re back at the Westside Comedy Theater this Friday night. Santa Monica’s best place for laughs has been renovated with a bar, which is guaranteed to make us seem much funnier. Our show starts at 8 PM and tickets cost $10. Those tickets are good for every show for the rest of the night, which means you can hang around to enjoy The Waterbrains and Mission: IMPROVable, two hilarious improv groups. Three groups all performing improv comedy might seem like much but we each have our own distinct style and format, which really keeps the whole night lively and unpredictable.
Then it’s our popular family friendly night with Jump Start, so you can bring the kids, spouse, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and have a great night out. The show is Saturday, December 10, and starts at 8 PM with Jump Start, followed by us at around 9. Tickets are $7 for the whole show, which is at the spacious Mary Pickford Studio on Venice Blvd. at National in West LA.
And finally, it’s our monthly Tag Team Show where we’rere joined by some of our talented friends. This month, it’s the improv comedy group April’s Fools! Based in the South Bay area, they’ve been bringing laughs to Hermosa Beach and the surrounding area for over 13 years. Don’t miss your chance to see them with us on Saturday, December 17. The show starts at 8 PM at the Mary Pickford Studio. Tickets are $7.
So there you have it! Three opportunities to make the holidays just a bit sillier (in a good way). I hope to see you at one or more of this month’s shows. Each show is a completely unique experience, never to be repeated – just like a snowflake. So try to catch as many of our shows on your tongue as you can! … Wait, this metaphor just took an awkward turn. But if someone shows up in a snowsuit it will be worth it!