Improv Smackdown! is a game show-like improvisational competition between six of 12 rotating Theatre 99 members vying for a “who’s the funniest” WWF-type title chock-full of bragging rights. Audience members clap (not whoop, holler, or scream) to determine the winner when the show is over and the hour is late.

  Funnyman Greg Tavares is Bob Barker minus microphone and hot chicks for all four of these Piccolo Fringe showdowns. He has the arduous task of reaching into buckets and pulling out small sheets of paper. Bucket No. 1 is full of numbers one to six. This determines how many trained comedians will take the stage; the second bucket is full of names, deciding who will get up before the audience and act out what’s pulled from the third bucket, which contains improv games.

Go see this show and be prepared for the unusual, like adults speaking in only questions while acting menopausal or manic and pretending to stand in line for an outhouse. This fun, fearless, interactive show is random and unscripted, with the audience yelling out situations, emotions, and stray words that the improv actors have to take and recreate without commercial breaks to stop and think.

  The Theatre 99 troupe members have been training during Monday workshops, regular rehearsals, and weekly live stage performances in Charleston for a while now. Good improv isn’t born, it’s practiced, a lot, and these guys are worth more than the $12 asking price. Check them out now before they realize they’re better than a steak dinner at Denny’s.


IMPROV SMACKDOWN! • Piccolo Spoleto’s Piccolo Fringe • $12 • (1 hour) • May 25, 30 at 9 p.m.; May 26 at 9:30 p.m.; June 6 at 7:30 p.m. • Theatre 99, 280 Meeting St. • 554-6060