Smile Politely

Try Fishing with Dynamite

If Saturday Night Live has another opening sketch featuring Tina Fey as Sarah Palin it won’t be good for anyone. Just as McCain quickly gave a concession speech, so must SNL concede that they can no longer cling to the only thing that has given them decent ratings in years.

So now that the late night comedy show has once again become completely irrelevant, you must be starving for a new way to see great sketch comedy. Well worry no more, because tonight student owned and operated comedy troupe Fishing with Dynamite is once again taking the Canopy Club stage. For only $5, you can be entertained by everything from dick jokes to insightful, social satire. There’s something for everyone!

Smile Politely got a chance to talk to long time member Jon Hansen. See what he had to say after the jump.

Smile Politely: What is Fishing with Dynamite’s mission statement?

Jon Hansen: Basically, Fishing With Dynamite aims to provide the best show possible for our audience. What constitutes the “best show?” Obviously, a show that makes them laugh, but also has a professional feel to it. We want people to leave happy with having seen a hilarious show, but also we want them to be somewhat impressed by the polished nature of the show.

SP: Explain to an incredibly clueless person what sketch comedy is.

JH: Sketch comedy is basically a comedy show that has been written and practiced before show time. Some groups have some improv sets during their sketch shows, and other group allow for absolutely no improvisation. We have no set “improv” moments, but every now and then, the group must improvise its way through a few moments of the show for various reasons: usually when something fucks up.

SP: Where do you draw your inspiration from? From life but also others’ works?

JH: Each writer in the group draws inspirations from different places. Some people write based on real life experiences they have had, some people come up with elaborate concepts and story-lines. I usually am inspired by the blank page in front of me and the rapidly approaching show. I usually just write and see what happens.

SP: Is there a line and when is it OK to cross it?

JH: I’m sure there is a line, but its certainly not well defined. Different people will feel like you may cross it at different times. It’s really hard to judge. Sometimes we’ll read a sketch in practice and everyone will kind of have that look on their face and we’ll know it’s too far. Sometimes we will have no clue that we’ve crossed the line till we hear the audience’s reaction. I don’t think crossing the line every now and then is such a bad thing, it keeps the audience on their toes, or something like that.

SP: Favorite curse.

JH: Fuck. I don’t know why. It’s just so simple, so dirty, so everything. I try to use it sparingly.

SP: Talk about your move to Canopy Club. Are you planning on maintaining a residency? Where were you before? What made you move?

JH: For the first five years of existence, Fishing With Dynamite had a great home at the Channing Murray Foundation. We loved it there and had some amazing shows there. Due to some complications this summer, the Channing Murray decided to book more live music on Friday and Saturday nights. This isn’t to say that they have completely eliminated sketch comedy from their calendar, (as Potted Meat still performs there) but the dates are limited. Having gone to the Canopy Club for the past few years, it was always a dream of mine to move FWD over there. We decided to book a show their this fall, and when the complications arose with the Channing, we decided to make the move for the entire semester.

We would love to establish a fairly permanent residence at the Canopy. It’s a great stage for comedy and the audience can enjoy a cocktail!

SP: Are you still an RSO?

JH: Ironically, Fishing With Dynamite-the group itself-was never an RSO. Instead, we are part of the RSO “Blue Parlor Players.” This RSO began years ago, before Fishing With Dynamite even began. Blue Parlor is a theater production company at UIUC and always hosted Fishing With Dynamite on campus. So, the Blue Parlor Players still exist.

SP: What can we expect from Fishing next semester and beyond?

JH: More consistency with shows. We are aiming to broaden our audience base here in town with a new show every month, and perhaps even performing a show more than once to draw more people. We also will continue to travel to other campuses and perform as well, and hopefully a few more “sketch-fests” like we have in previous years.

Tonight, Canopy Club, $5. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Long form improv group DeBono opens.

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