Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thumbs UP Profile - Search Engine Improv

Without knowing any thing about Rochester's Search Engine Improv, I imagine them to be the people that come up with funny endings for Google autocomplete searches (I recommend "Is it wrong to").

Q: How long have you been performing? Individually? As a team? In aggregate?
  • Law: 16 years
  • Cal: 11 years
  • John: 10 years
  • As a team: Just over a year (John joined us this past fall)
  • In aggregate: 16 + 11 + 10 = 37 (Did you ask us this because you can’t do addition?) (Intern's note: Jerks, now the world knows my secret shame.)
Q: I see you've developed some original forms. Can you tell us about them or are they secret?
A: They are secret. We will tell you. Then we will kill you. Our first creation was the improvised sitcom Paul & Vinny Automotive, which we like because it appeals to both hardcore improvisors and Cal’s grandmother. The other forms came out of our love for longform and the Harold, which Del Close insisted that people keep messing with. So we’re messing with it. Continually. And forms keep popping up as a result. Thus far we’ve performed GoogleProv, Tapout, Lazy Susan, and MONSSSSTROCITY. More info on all of these is on our shows page:

Q: Do any of you have any performance horror stories? I take pleasure in the discomfort of others.
A: As performers in last year’s Providence Improv Festival, we saw a show called the “Thibowler Virus,” which was basically 2 improvisers doing beer and or liquor shots after doing as many scenes as possible in 20 minutes, taking suggestions from offers written on cards and doing each scene in no more than a minute or two. Well, we thought we’d tweak this and give it a try at the Rochester Improv Fringe Fest (RIFF) later that fall lovingly calling it “The 52 Drink-up.” Lets just say it went well up until the point where we succumbed to the peer pressure of the audience - who wanted it to keep going - and did twice the “show” we had planned. Cal says it can NEVER happen again. Law says “Never say never.” John says “Woah. Did we have a show that night?”

Q: Do you think there are any important life lessons to be learned from improv? Without getting too sappy.
A: Definitely:
  • Don’t Think / Be Present.
  • Pay attention to what is going on around you.
  • Be willing to shut up once in a while and let someone else steer the ship.
  • Taking care of others doesn’t mean there isn’t any conflict or that you can’t take care of yourself.
  • Life is a Harold!
Q: Your team name demonstrates an uncanny knowledge of the way the interwebs work. Can you teach us?
Sure, but as noted above you’ll be dead before long, so do you really want to spend your last days learning Wordpress theme modification and CSS style sheets?
Left to Right: Search Engine Improv
Search Engine Improv is Law Tarello, Callid Keefe-Perry, and John F. Thompson.  They will perform at the Thumbs UPstate Improv Festival on Saturday, April 9. They can be found on the interwebs at and on Facebook at right here

(Editor's Note: The Thumbs UPstate Intern who solicited this profile died shortly after sending me the text. Her greatest shame was never learning addition. She was two days from the her first improv festival.  She will be missed.)

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