The Force Is Strong With This Comedy Improv Group

(Photo from Crystal Basement Facebook Page)

On the last Tuesday of every month (one week early this time so as not to conflict with Halloween), the members of Crystal Basement perform their hilariously fantastic comedy improv show.  And once a year, that improv show has a special theme: Star Wars!  Typically the Crystal Basement shows are still delightfully geeky but really just about anything can end up in the show.  For the annual Star Wars show, however, every single skit they perform has a Star Wars element incorporated in some way.  Yes fellow sci-fi nerds, it is as amazing as it sounds.  Yesterday’s show featured comedy improv masters Jody, Thea, and Mike on stage, and as an added bonus local burlesque performer Koston Kreme was there to work the soundboard for the show dressed as an Ewok.  Also, there was an additional twist for this year’s show: every time Jody was involved in a scene, he had to perform as a different character from the Star Wars franchise.  He chose characters from all across the films, both old and new, with hilarious consequences.  Probably the best use of this twist was during a scene where Jody, Thea, and Mike had to say each others lines as they dubbed over each others characters.  Jody had chosen to perform as Watto from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and it was impossible not to laugh as Thea had to try to say Jody’s lines for him with Watto’s accent.  Even she could not keep a straight face.  This was absolutely the highlight of the night.

Selecting from their arsenal of improv games – like “should have said”, “interrogation”, and “alphabet” – Crystal Basement performed many different types of fun and wacky Star Wars skits with varying levels of audience interaction.  There were times when all that was needed was the odd shout or suggestion from the crowd, and other times when audience members were invited up on stage – including recurring “voluntold” Mark.  This was definitely an… interesting audience this time around with a few people whose participation threatened to derail the performance, but the actors of Crystal Basement skillfully maneuvered around all obstacles to provide a hilarious show.  I actually laughed so hard I broke into a coughing fit.  They’re that good.

Their venue of choice is Atomic Rooster on Bank street and not only is it a great place to host the show, but it’s perfect for a night out.  As Crystal Basement is not the only performance that takes place at this downtown eatery there is a raised platform at the very front of the room that is usually filled with tables, but for performances it transforms into a small stage equipped with the necessary lighting and sound equipment.  The space itself is unique and artsy as all of the tables have have something interesting painted on them and the walls are filled with artwork.  The art on display is not only available for purchase but also changes from month to month.  For this month’s show the walls were filled with paintings with a rooster/chicken theme as they were created for Atomic Rooster’s annual Cock Show.

But most importantly, there’s good food.  I have gone to Atomic Rooster many times over the past few years for brunch, dinner, and Crystal Basement shows and I have tried a number of their menu items.  I have never been disappointed.  My current choice of meal for Crystal Basement nights is their Tuesday special of a two topping personal pizza and an pint, but it’s always a difficult choice.  But if you’re a dessert lover like me that choice becomes a lot easier.  Although Atomic Rooster has some tasty deserts on their menu, they are overshadowed by the cheesecake.  I am not usually a fan of cheesecake but if someone offers me Atomic Rooster cheesecake I will not say no.  The flavour changes all the time, and this week I got the last piece of a chocolate, banana, walnut cheesecake and only just barely shared with the other people at my table.  Between the apps, mains, and deserts, if you’re ever stuck you can ask the friendly and knowledgeable servers for a recommendation and you will not be disappointed.

So if you’re free on the last Tuesday of every month, come on over to Atomic Rooster for a good show, good food, fun artwork, and most importantly… lots of laughs!

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