I’m going to Blog you a tale… a tale of the first time I ever saw Sexual Tyrannosaurus do improv back in 200something. 2008? Back then there were four members of the soon to be stylishly abbreviated Sex T-Rex, and they were all friends of mine, more or less, so they had the pull to get me out to see an improv show. That’s the unwritten beginning to all great tales, by the way. Frodo probably saw some killer Dwarf-prov just before the book got started.
This show was at a place called the Savannah Room, and I think you can still see its husk somewhere along College, west of Spadina. As a side note, in later years, when we’d do our Sex T-Rex and Friends show at the Free Times Cafe, I’d always walk past the old Savannah Room on my way to the show and be reminded of these primordial days with the guys. The Savannah room holds fond memories for me… a lot of Rickard’s White, and some very Heavy Metal wall art. But more than the wall art, there were the shows.
The first shows were all part of the improvisational killing fields of Impatient Theatre’s “Cage Match”, where two teams would take the stage, the audience votes and someone falls out of the running for a cash prize. It was a good environment for a starting team, with built-in fire under the ass, and built-in incentive for attracting a faithful audience. Also good specials on Rickard’s White. Did I mention that already?
So, my friends take the stage, and they get their audience suggestion. They asked the crowd for a movie they liked, and they wound up with “A League of Their Own”. I could be getting this wrong, but I’m pretty sure none of them had ever seen it, so they wound up getting the audience to describe it to them, “It’s an all girl baseball-team during World War II” is what they got.
The details of the set are blurry, but what I can say for sure is that there were a lot of British and German accents of varying quality, someone tried to play Rosie O’Donnell (I’m thinking it was Conor) and it was very, very funny. I do remember heading down to the basement bathroom and thinking, “Man, what a blast that must be- I wanna do that too.” I’m pretty sure I was looking at a decal for some band called “The Knifings”.
The guys had done a good set, and they’d killed my pet peeve about improv- when the audience’s suggestion is ignored. Watching Sex T-Rex was fun for me because I felt like I was in on the joke and knew just as much (or as little, as the case may be) about what was happening as the people on stage. I thought the movie-suggestion idea was great; for one thing, everyone seemed to enjoy proposing movies, and for another, instead of just giving a single kick-off point for a set, it gave a whole parcel of ideas that can be unpacked as much and as faithfully as need be. The team would stick with it for the whole competition, and it remains one of our go-to formats.
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Do we have this on tape? It’s a shame this may be lost to the mists of time. To be honest I don’t remember much about the set other than having a similar rush of elation. The Savannah Room was a hole but I don’t think I’ll ever love a bar venue as much as that place. I wonder if we’ll ever jam a place up like we did the night of finals.