This month we are looking at improv acts you must see before the year is out. This week we sat down with a few of ABOB and spoke all things improv and show related
Hello guys, Tell us about why you are called Abob and how did you form?
Rob – When we all met in during a improve course we were massive fans of what is known as the ‘Swarm’ edit. So we decided to become the ‘Swarm’. Turns out that is a VERY famous improve group already. So we somehow became ‘A Bag of Bees’ until we found there are several Bee related improve groups so we used ABOB as an emergency acronym. Many new name suggestions and several votes we still couldn’t settle on a name so we stuck with ABOB. So yes, democracy does work, in a roundabout way.
Jane – The hows and wheres to for as to how we became Abob are lost in the mists of time. We’ve tried to change it but we’re now told by others we’re Abob and that’s how I got my name when I was born. It looks like that’s a family pattern I’ve still to break.
Emma – It sort of started as a placeholder name. But we console ourselves with many google searches to prove that we are the only improv group named ABOB and no one can take that away from us.
How long have you been together?
R – We all did a course together in March and formed our group off the back of that. It started out just meeting to continue the fun of practicing which then turned into shows.
J – Every day feels like the first time. You’d think we’d have gotten better by now, I know
E – I think we’ve always been together. When you have a group mind like ours it’s difficult to discover a point of origin
What style of improv do you do and tell us about your show.
J – The kind of improv we do and the kind of improv we want to do, I think you’ll find are two different things. And I think that’s apparent if you watch our shows.
E – It’s an evolving style, and our coach Keith Malda encourages us to try many different openings.
“Getting up on stage isn’t as difficult as you think it is” – Emma
What are some of the best things about performing improv live and why?
J – I’m there for the therapy. It’s cheaper than actual therapy
R – Firstly – it’s a great opportunity to be silly, which is something that I feel is easy to abandon in the modern world. It’s also a lovely safe space and you get an immediate reaction from the audience.
E – I’m a show off at heart, acting is in my family. I’ve inherited my grandma, and great grandma’s love of a captive audience.
Introduce us to all the members of your troupe.
J – Do you want their real names? I don’t think Witness Protection will like that. Besides, we are legion.
R – As long as we’re careful we should be safe. So besides us there are also Emma, Meredith, Andy, Steve, Amy, Zara and the one with the superinjuction. Colin.
E – There is rather a lot us…
” Every day feels like the first time. You’d think we’d have gotten better by now, I know” – Jane
What do you have in store for 2017?
R – Continued evolution I think. I reckoning we’ll start developing new structures and incorporating narrative elements. Plus we will be even better than this year.
E – More shows! We will be making a few regular appearances at C3’s Sunday night shows (dates to be confirmed). We also have a couple of Lauchpad’s booked in the dairy on 12th and 18th January. Longer term I think we want to develop a proper hour long show for Edinburgh 2018.
J – I don’t even have anything in store for the rest of the week. I need to go shopping. But I’m tired. And it’s too far.
Why do you think the improv scene has gotten bigger in the last few years?
J – Someone told.
R – Pretty much. It’s so fun to do that I think so many people try it and become slightly addicted. That’s what happened with me.
E – Getting up on stage isn’t as difficult as you think it is. The more people who overcome that internal barrier the bigger the scene gets.
Who are your comedy influences and why?
J – I was raised by a constantly running TV when there was a lot of Hammer Horror and Carry On films on. Oh, those 70s. And I used to listen to Who’s Line is it Anyway when it was just a radio show. I’m old. Like a vampire. I come to improv for the blood. And the crisps.
R – Python was probably the first thing that got be interested in comedy. Actually it was probably a spoof-history book that my Mum gave me as a child “1066 and all that” – but that’s probably too niche a reference. So it’s the combination of really detailed specifics and absurdism that really appeals to me.
E – The Simpsons are so funny, the top writers on the show are mathematicians and I saw a lecture at university about the hidden mathematics and physics they slip in. Other than that I go through intense phases of binge watching shows currently watching The League and rewatching Greenwing.
For anyone who wants to get into learning improv this year what do you suggest they do?
R – I started with a beginner’s course with Hoopla which was fantastic. But there a several other providers as well. Try doing a one-off session, or attending a show with a ‘Jam’ advertised as they let you up on stage to see how it feels. Whatever it is, throw yourself into it completely and you’ll have an absolute ball.
E – Start a course or do a drop in, would definitely recommend Hoopla as a good start. It’s like a cult, so be prepared to get totally obsessed, and only want to do improve for at least the next year.
J – Mine your own life for the worst moments you’ve ever experienced. You’ll have comedy gold all over your hands. And the floor. You’ll never get it out of the carpet.
We’re on Facebook as ABOB , and twitter as @ABOB_improv