Two years ago John Brennan was over at Timmy Finch’s house workshopping ideas and practicing the free form of improvisation. They tried everything they could come up with and couldn’t brainstorm anything other than the used, blue, and old (but always funny) concepts they perform regularly with Theatre 99. They wanted something new.

Finch looked around the room and found inspiration in a 14-inch-long, six-inch-wide unabridged dictionary. He flipped open the Merriam-Webster to a random page and let his finger fall on a word that he doesn’t remember now, and their minds were blown with how far a random word could be taken with a little imagination.

Because audience members are apt to yell out what Finch calls “lowest common denominators” like bathroom, penis, sex, and proctologist for improvisational players to act out, this idea of shaking up the usual box of suggestions was genius to the two.

Big Dicktionary starts with a bombastic unveiling of the dictionary. Sometimes the ceremonious rite of choosing words entails acoustic guitars, bagpipes, or a cappella performances. Each show is dramatically different from the next, and they hardly manage to pick “normal” words whose definitions are read to the audience and then taken God-knows-where by guys with “Best Local Comic” superlatives attached to their names.

Finch and Brennan have no problem stopping a scene when they think it sucks. There are hundreds of thousands of words to choose from. Some skits last all night and some last a minute. They call each other out on stage and make “oh, that was bad” comments to each other midstream. They don’t care about embarrassing each other on stage, and that’s where the “dick” in Big Dicktionary stems from.

Their first show was at the American Theater and they’re coming home to the big black stage for Piccolo Fringers to enjoy. Finch warns those who go to prepare themselves for the best, most humongous time they’ll ever have. He thinks Big Dicktionary is totally worth $12.

Big Dicktionary • Piccolo Spoleto’s Piccolo Fringe • $12 • (50 min.) • May 30, June 6 at 8 p.m. • American Theater, 446 King St. • 554-6060

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