New improv group makes it up at Billy D’s on the spot

Standing up on stage without so much as a script or prop sounds like the worst nightmare of many people.

Standing up on stage without so much as a script or prop sounds like the worst nightmare of many people.

Others, however, thrive on it. Some of these ‘others’ can be found in newly-formed improv comedy troupe My Baby’s On That Boat! The group has been getting together to simply play improv games for many weeks, but they are now performing on Manic Mondays at Billy D’s on Fifth Street in downtown Courtenay.

Improv is a unique form of comedy that has the performers making up everything on the spot, often taking suggestions from the audience.

“There’s no script; nothing’s pre-planned,” says Lewis Wilson, a member of My Baby’s On That Boat! “That’s the beauty of improv.” Kim Dias, one of the group’s performers, adds, “It’s so much fun, but so scary. Some of the most terrifying moments of my life have taken place when I’m doing improv.”

“The scene can go anywhere,” says Wilson, and ‘anywhere’ is exactly where My Baby’s On That Boat! goes. The performers have made up songs on the spot, changed accents more times than they can count, and portrayed William Shakespeare wannabes, followed by hysterical laughter every step of the way.

“Sometimes we start giggling ourselves, even when we’re performing,” Dias confesses. “That’s what makes improv so great – the actors are having as much fun as the audience. It’s fantastic.”

“We only started the group recently,” says Wilson, “but we have some very talented performers. Billy D’s took a risk in hiring us and we want to make sure that risk is worthwhile. We’re all working very hard.”

The group, however, has a talent for making hard work look easy. Whether they are creating open scenes — “We just get a prompt and run with it” — or playing theatresports games — “There are some set, sometimes very strict rules, which just leads to comedy” — the performers create characters, environments, and storylines with seemingly no effort.

One-liners are often requoted between the players after a scene, which was, in fact, what inspired the name My Baby’s On That Boat!

“It’s a bit outlandish,” Dias says, “but we say it so much that we couldn’t not use it. And that’s what I love about improv — someone says something crazy and that suddenly becomes your new reality.”

My Baby’s On That Boat! will perform in Billy D’s on July 4, 11, 18 and 25, starting at 8:30 p.m. The setting gives the audience an excellent opportunity to turn the entertainment into dinner theatre. Come prepared for witty one-liners, crazy adventures, and more fun than you can imagine. However, the group does issue a warning – be careful when you take a sip of your drink because you may end up spitting it all over the table when you start laughing uncontrollably.

— My Baby’s On That Boat!