"The 7:30 p.m. show is open to everyone, and we've had everyone in from church groups and family-get-togethers to grandmas and 6-year-old boys who think using the word 'booger' is the funniest thing they ever heard," said Johnny Buschardt, IMPROV EXPERIMENT owner.
A Tulsa native, he's
improv teeth in several clubs across the country the past dozen years, including a six-week stint in Vancouver, Canada, with Stiles and Mochrie.
"Those guys make it very clear: if it's not pretty clean, usually it's not funny.So I thought I'd like to have a place where mom and dad can come and enjoy a show as much as junior, and everybody goes away having had a good time.We want a family of four to come here and spend less than they would going to the movies; come to a place where they're laughing, stretching their brains and they're part of the show." Buschardt
(a stage name) opens his
shows by kicking down that so-called "fourth wall," inviting audience participation and telling them the show is theirs.Each show finds the troupe playing about 18 games -- from a bank of about 350 collected games -- which promises a very different, very interactive program every night. Buschardt
and Anderson both envision a time when members from other troupes would cross over for a night of fun at a fellow improv house.In the meantime, having at least five improv groups in town means healthy competition.
"I think the theater scene locally does have a lot to offer, and we hope to add to that," Buschardt
...Expect to come and be part of the show," says owner Johnny Buschardt, a 1990 Bishop Kelley graduate who's honed his improv skills in Kansas City and Chicago for the last dozen years before opening here Nov. 15.
We pride ourselves on offering a venue people can go to where there's humor everyone can laugh at and no one has to blush at," Buschardt
Several of the members of the IMPROV EXPERIMENT
are (front row, from left) Veronica Combs, Mark Crowl and Jenny Guy and (back row, from left) Eric Peterson, Johnny Buschardt
and Shayne Grier.
...Working in the improvisational field for more than 10 years in Dallas, Chicago and Kansas City, Buschardt, originally from Tulsa, returned to his hometown last summer. His
observation was "this town needs something like this."
"The whole focus was to not only bring improv
to Tulsa, but to make it clear that we're a family-friendly comedy shop," Buschardt
"Too often, comedy these days goes for the lowest common denominator -- the lowest high school humor -- vulgar, cheap jokes that you would hear in a high school locker room.That kind of comedy is often inappropriate for children, grandparents or whoever it might be.
"We wanted to create an environment where everyone in the family would feel welcome, and create a show everyone in the family can enjoy."I basically took the best aspects of all the different venues I've seen or worked in, and something that Tulsa, so far, has never seen before." Buschardt
said a lot of people aren't really familiar with what improv comedy really is.
"Improv comedy is different from standup or sketch comedy.Every aspect of the show is determined entirely by the audience.The audience determines every location, every relocation and every profession," he
"You know you're doing something right when someone in the audience says, 'How do you do that?'" Buschardt
said of the singing game.
"We just hope the audience has as much fun as we do, because each show is different we never know where we'll wind up or who's going to be on stage.
"There's nothing to rehearse and no cue cards.We act as we go and usually something funny happens, sometimes it doesn't, but it usually does."
The club, 6849-A S. Peoria Ave., has only been open six weeks, but Buschardt
said they are starting to see repeat customers, giving them the indication they must be doing something right. "It's hard to find truly fun family entertainment that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.But it's cheaper for a family of four to come here than to go and see a movie," he
Outside the simple settings of the IMPROV EXPERIMENT
, which includes a stage and church pews for sitting, the performers take their zany humor into the community.
"We do so much outside of the club -- parties, corporate events, school assemblies and a lot of practical jokes," Buschardt
quickly adds with a smile, "But sometimes it doesn't."
Some people might have had doubts about a nightclub without booze or smoking, but Buschardt
was optimistic in his
wears all the hats of someone on the edge of a breakdown in the form of partner, promoter, and player, just to name a few.T.I.E. is the culmination of beguiling dreams and hearty experience for our fearless host. Buschardt
has been working with improv groups over for over thirteen years across the country in cities such as Kansas City, Dallas, St. Louis, and Chicago.This is a guy who has performed with troupes whose names sound more like an affront than promotion, such as Comedy Sportz, Improv Olympic, Off The Wall, Scared Scriptless, Sheer Idiocy, and Out On A Limb."We've opened shows and had the opportunity to work with everyone from Eddie Izzard to Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie from Whose Line."But once he
got back home, the idea of a new club could not contain itself.
"We'll probably work in an open mic standup night," offers Buschardt
In fact, Buschardt
likes to promote other groups, such as SuperOvum
and Laughing Matter
.He wants to promote improv across the board as a legitimate form of alternative entertainment.
Classes are a great way to come in and learn the basics of improv
," explains Buschardt
According to Johnny Buschardt
, the audience creates this free style and short form show."It is competition-style comedy," says Buschardt
is modest about his
goals, saying, he's
not looking to play in a 500-seat arena.He
also has an idea as to why family comedy hasn't taken off in Tulsa.