Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Improv of Chicago: PBFs at Studio Be

No, the title does not mean Peanut Butter and Friends even though it totally looks like it does. It means something so much better, Potential Boyfriends. No, this is not a weird dating thing like many of our "friends" thought when we proposed to go and see them. They are an Improv Troupe in Chicago. They perform at Studio Be on Sheffield on Tuesday nights at 8pm for $7, but don't worry fellow broke people that $7 gets you a free beer at the Karaoke bar down the street. Where you get to drink and sing with them and possibly, if you're lucky, hang out with us.

Now, you're probably wondering why we are talking about this random Chicago Improv Group. What do you care, you live in Germany. But seriously people need to know about these guys and come down and see them. So we thought we would share our experience of seeing them with you.  So let's go back a few weeks to our first time with the Potential Boyfriends.

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012. It is just after Thanksgiving; (in America, sorry again Germany. We do like you.) and what does a person need more after a week with family than a good laugh? So after my friend Shannon (another friend! They do exist. Sorta) introduced me to this show, and I thought, Nora needs to see this and Dan can come. You'll hear more about Dan. Now I am passing the computer to Nora because she got there first and has a fun story,

I actually have many fun stories. But I'll just share this one with you, have to keep you coming back for more. Right, so Dan and I leave pretty early to head down there because we are taking mass transit, and I trust nothing to get me anywhere on time. PBFs is a BYOB (I know right, awesome) so we walk into the Studio Be with our wine and say hello, introduce ourselves, and then belatedly realize that in order to open the bottles of wine, one must have a corkscrew (Katie chimed in with "One must not be an idiot." I know, so mean.). A PBF, Pete, offers to go retrieve their corkscrew for us, and while he does, we chat and mention that our friend told us about their show and she should be coming too.  All of a sudden we hear a CRASH BANG BOOM and some sort of yell that I took as triumphant. I call back "That sounds promising." Turns out, it was. Pete returned with a corkscrew, and we were able to drink our wine. Or, we would have been had we brought cups. Poor Pete was sent on another adventure to go find us cups. (I will cut in on myself with the fun fact that we have never brought cups and last night I just looked at Pete and said in a vaguely pathetic "Pete? Cups?" His so appropriate response was "I should just hand them to you when you walk in the door." See? They are the best.) We stay to chat for a little bit longer and then as more people arrive go in to take our seats. Annd back to Katie. Oh but first, I will tell you that I had texted her "We made friends!"


I did receive that text and promptly ignored it. So, my night begins on the train trying to find Shannon. I live a little farther South than her so she was waiting at a stop ahead of me. Now we weren't trying to take the same train, but I saw her and instantly jumped out of my seat to the door, which was a bit retarded since it takes a while for the train to stop and the doors to open, so everyone on the train looked at me like I was crazy. (Nothing new) I then ran out of train to Shannon, screaming her name only to find her standing next to one of my superiors from work. Now, I did get to find Shannon so win, but I also look like a moron in front of one of my bosses, so lose. We're even though, so the night is off to a great start. I then leave Shannon to go and get her drinks at Walgreens because I think I should get to Nora, since she has never been here before. She will just be alone with Dan. As I walk into Studio Be, I talk to Nick who is handling the money and say, "I have some friends here." He then responds "Oh, you know Nora and Dan." And I am just like, seriously, you guys have been here for 5 minutes. What could you have done to already have them know your names? I am truthfully not surprised but still. It happens every time. Why? We just make friends, awkwardly, every where we go. I just start laughing, and Nick is then confused. I finish paying and getting my stamp for the show and see Nora waving obnoxiously from the Theatre.

Now onto the show. Yes, that was just the pre-show! Now the show goes as follows. There are two opening acts that are anything from a sketch group to a stand- up comedian. This week there was one sketch group and one improv troupe. Both were quite good. We had lots of laughs. One of them was even from Second City's touring company, Nicole Hastings. We thoroughly enjoyed these groups, but they did not top the PBFs. The PBFs were in top form, mainly because of Dan. Dan had the improvisers dream suggestion. The question they asked to the audience was, "It was Thanksgiving last week, did anyone do anything weird or awkward? Dan waited a moment to see if anyone would say anything, but when they didn't, he offered this gem. "I broke up with my girlfriend in a 5 hour car ride. The beginning of the car ride." One of the PBFs, Pat,  went straight to shake the Dan's hand. This led to the way they structure their set, which is by telling personal stories based on the suggestion, and then acting out scenes based on their stories.

So they took the suggestion and ran. There were too many great bits to remember, but this one stuck out for it being utterly ridiculous and hilarious. Nick talked about his last girlfriend, who was on the heavier side and loved fireworks. Fireworks was actually why they broke up. He kept talking during the fireworks, which distracted her from watching the fireworks. (Really? How can talking disrupt the loudest form of boring entertainment.) That is also what Nick thought, which led to their fight and then their break up. So the scene was then based on killing fat chicks and luring those chicks into the basement with fireworks. Machetes were mentioned. It became complete chaos, but the best part was watching Nick, who was not in the scene, turn bright red, not be able to stand because he was laughing so hard imagining his friends luring and then brutally murdering his ex-girlfirend. No one in the audience could even handle the amount of laughter that was occurring. Yes, that bit was a bit darker than their usual...sometimes, but it was amazing.

The other bit we have to mention came from the second week we went. (Yes, we have gone for 3 or 4 weeks in a row. ) Nick and Pete are playing 2 mothers in a scene and the one mother (Pete) is looking to redecorate her child's room now that they have moved out. Pete suggests sex dungeon. Nick, also a mother, starts talking about all the different things one can do in a sex dungeon. He rattles off a few and then ends it with this,"Sometimes you just want to get punched in the butt by a garden gnome." (Do you know what that means? Neither do they.) So, then the rest of the scene is played with Pete trying to get Nick to describe what that euphemism actually means. Nick, obviously having no idea, spends the scene trying not to describe what the euphemism means. The battle between the two makes this scene unbelievably funny. Then right when Nick is backed into a corner and about to explain, Pat runs across the stage and stops the scene. Everyone in the audience laughs and groans because they wanted to know. Joey then runs out and actually explains. (But sorry guys, we don't remember the explaination. Maybe that's a good thing.)

The next part of the night is our time at the bar where we obviously become best friends with the PBFs and by "best friends" we mean, we talked/hung out with them a bit. They are really nice, personable guys. (They might deny that) Okay, if you are not a big improv fan (I don't understand why you wouldn't be but to each his/her own.) there is one other major reason to come out on Tuesday night, and that is to see Nick perform karaoke. There is no one that can beat his performance of "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5. So if you go, don't sing that song. Nick will kill you. He owns the stage. That alone should get you to come and see these guys and get a FREE beer.

Now it is on a Tuesday, so that is hazardous for those of us who work because they might end up at work the next day covered with PBFs stamps all over their face and arms. The stamp ink does not come out easily and forced me (Katie) to wear long sleeves to the office in order to not have my boss ask questions. It also kinda looked like I got punched in the face because the ink smears just fine, so it looked like a little blue blotch on my face. It was very flattering.

So what should you be getting from this long convoluted post? If you are in the Chicago land area, make time on a Tuesday night to see some cheap funny theatre and get a free beer with The Potential Boyfriends. You will see us there, laughing our asses off. How will you know it's us. Just do the #trainwreck hand signal, which goes as follows. Put your arm straight out toward the person you believe is a fellow #trainwreck, and then with your palm facing them, move it in a circular motion. If they are a #trainwreck, they will respond by doing that same hand gesture but with the hand/palm facing themselves. Basically this is silently saying to them "#trainwreck" and them responding "obviously." We hope to see you there!

Check out PBFs Facebook Page Here: http://www.facebook.com/potentialbfs?fref=ts
If you like the page, you will know about all their shows and what not.


Make sure to follow us too on:
Twitter: Andimatrainwrec (Katie), npalmerco08 (Nora)
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