Random Humor of the Theater


In my eight years in the theater more than one hilarious situation has arisen. Whether it be amusing people, sleep deprivation, or just excellent timing I am sure everyone has their share of favorite moments of random humor in the theater.

My favorite just off the wall moment happened during the show "Two Room." The show in itself is not funny. In fact it is quite depressing. I think that's one of the reasons this moment stuck with me, it was one of a few funny things that happen during the course of rehearsals.

For the show we utilized a multi-media approach. That being said we had several scrims hanging around and on the stage. They were being used for projection screens. To strech the scrims we used steel frames and adhered the scrim with 3M spray adhesive. Well for the spraying work we had elevated on buckets to save our knees (there were a lot of scrims). During one of the days during rehearsals the only people in the shop were a single actor from the show, the TD (who happens to be the theater chair) and myself (SM and at that time jr. LD... Way too much work for one person). We took a break and were just lounging on the stage and the TD sits on one of the buckets (harmless enough). So after 10 minutes or so of screwing around we decide its time to get back to work. The TD stands up and the bucket which had been used to elevate the scrims for spraying with adhesive, is sticking straight off the TD's butt. The best part is that the bucket stayed like that for 5 minutes or so.

It may be juevinile, but the actor and myself must have laughed for about 20 minutes. I could barely breath it was so funny.

So that is one of my favorite random pieces of humor in the theater. It may not be spectacular, but if you knew the TD, it is very indicitve of his personality.

Please, I welcome and invite you to post your anecdotes of random humor.
Well, I love how people complain to me the LD that it is too cold, warm, not loud enough, too loud, ect..(you get the idea). Well since our lighting board is situated FOH when intermission comes people come to me to compain about the above mentioned stuff. So this is why I have a few submasters programed to do nothing. I took some tape and labeled the heat, A/C, sound, ect.. So when someone says it is too warm, I just push fader 47 up half way and say fixed!!
The most amusing thing I can remember is the day I discovered that one should remove metal jewelry from their fingers when handling 9 volt batteries(three of them got me at once!)
Mine isn't all that funny, but I'll give it a shot. During the last show I did, we all were getting really stressed out, so, someone brought in an anti-stress kit. Basically, a sign that hung on the wall with a circle on it saying "Bang head here". Man did that come in handy. Unfortunatly, before we realized what could happen should someone follow the instructions to the letter, we taped it to a cinderblock wall, until someone really craked thier head. It was funny at the time.
before our last show, we did a pre show sing on headset. basically me (sound), the lighting ppl and the SMs had headsets, and we were singing showtunes from the show we were working on, once upon a mattress. the rest of the crew backstage, my sfx person and the spot ops were rather freaked out.
Last year during our production of Kiss Me, Kate we had a table break on stage. It was during the spanking scene, where Lilli is leaning over a table as Fred spanks her, and the table top broke clear off of its "stalk." What made it even more amusing was the fact that it was a table dressed up as a mushroom to go along with our outer space theme (now that's a long story).
(three of them got me at once!)

Only 3? Sally. ;-) After every rehearsal, we take all the batteries out of the mics, and connect them into a chain. After the first rehearsal, we were able to light up a light bulb. Another thing we did was I touched one end, someone touched the other and he grabbed another person, then I touched the guy n the middle's neck. Fun times. By the endof the show we had over 1000v at 5a, well beyond fatal.
Another great one that goes down in my memory was, the Sound Op (My roommate) and myself (SM) were on the clear coms chatting our little heads off (it was an insanely tech light show) and I had mentioned something about his lips ( I think that they were narrow and beak like, its something I continue to bring up) and we both hear a voice say "I like your lips (insert name here)" in the sleaziest creepiest voice you can imagine. Initially each of us thought it was the other, only too soon did we realize it was the Director a nice little PHD prof. who had been listening in the whole time and decided to have a little fun with us. This prof is one of the most straight and narrow guys I have ever met. Since it was completely out of character it goes down as one of my top random humor moments.
Well its funny and kind of a waring story. i worked on my first tv show and i was pulling the cable behind the hand held camera its like a 200 foot cable so you can let the camera man walk around the set following the dancers and such. now, i have never pulled cable before and if you do it wrong you can take the camera man with you and a 500 thousand hi definition camera so there is allot at stake. well i was really good at it and by the second day the second TVA who had lots of experiance had to leave for five minutes there are 3 cameras on set one hand held two on a dollys or peds what ever you want to call it. so he leaves were on a break he doesnt come back and were shooting again now i have to do cable for all three cameras but since two of them are staying still ill be allright. well my hand held guy moves and i am doiong a good job but then my ped one starts to move so i quickly let out some cable but to do this i needed both hands so i put the hand held one around my neck for just a second he takes off luckly the other ped camera called a cut and rushed to my assitance. well i didnt break any cameras and i have never been alone on set since. and i have a goofy nickname to go with it nuce boy but hey atleast we had fun and a laugh there was not one dry eye on set for a good 15 minuetes and we all decided to work ot for free to make up for the lost timie due to the laugh any who its a long one but it was very humours to me and the gang

Most of the truly great moments are not - shall we say - appropriate for an open forum. Tantalizing though they were.

One momnt that does go down as one of the better ones occured during a recent one-off show, which none of us really cared about. In our booth, we have those little fans that are about the size of a CD, just to keep the air moving - makes it a nicer place to work during the summer. Anyways, we put one of them by a headset and just left it running. The guys backstage thought that ti was someone making the noise, but we all denied it. So they went searching for the source of the problem - most of them were tearing thri hair out by the end of the show. We never did tell them what it was.

Another great moment was an actor, because he was Danish, who pronouced his 'u's as 'w'. This got rather funnin duing lines from MacBeth such as:

"The be aWl and end aWl here!"
"Sound and fYOWry!"
"Bring me mine armoWr!"

Comedy gold.
We were doing Anne Frank a couple of years ago and all the characters had yellow stars taped on their clothes that the rip off when in the house, but some how, one night, the star ended up on the couch and the lead ended up sitting on it and walking arround with it on prominant display. Even funnier was the way several other actors tried to get it off during the course of the scene! Eventually during the next scene change a tech went out and told her!
One I forgot...

One of our shows had projection in it, and we were running it off the girl who created all of the projections' laptop. So all of a sudden her screensaver pops up; saying: "I bleeping miss you." I laughed until I cried.

And then there was the advent of one Enrique Teamo Bailar - which was our sound guy pretending to be a guy from Nicaragua, who spoke no English - for an entire day. It was hilarious.
It seems like there's always a laugh to be had with 9v batteries. Last year, a fellow sound tech and i enjoyed licking the batteries. We would always try to convince others to join in the fun if they walked by. During a particularly boring rehearsal, we experimented with licking more than one battery at a time. My friend went for the gold and licked four at a time. It caused his entire jaw and neck to spasm and tense up and he squealed with pain. He had the strangest expression on his face while it happened. After his tongue stopped hurting we had a good long laugh.
Speaking of being shocked... its nice to know that the frequency with which you have been shocked in the theater (unintentional) is directly responsible for the $20000 development grant from your school to replace failing instruments. In retrospect it's been worth every penny and new S4.
Probably not directly related, but last night I was at a show, just as the actors were arriving.
Standing at the doorway, I listened as two actors came up the stairs, discussing "Is it electricianist, or something else?" It took them about minutes to arrive at electrician.
not related to theatre...but today at Wendy's this one lady, maybe about 30, it took her forever to order her food, but she didn't order much...she was just slow....pulled up to first window, and was dozing off....she finally rolled down her window and asked if she'd paid yet or not...she hadn't...then she fell asleep at the window....literally, she was asleep...pulling up to the second window to get her food, she rolled one tire over the curb and hit a bush (made funnier by the fact that last year, an SUV ran into the building during a crash....crossed three lanes of traffic and hit a corner of our building...)...at the next window, she was dozing off again, you know the whole nod-your-head routine, and once she got her food she just sat there for a few minutes before pulling off. It took her 10 mintues to get through the drivethrough. We had a good laugh at that!
Was in the band on a review (so we are talking about a comedy production put on by non actors, who are professional adults from a different field all together).

Two of these people got rather close during rehearsals and at one point snuck off between acts for some naught time. Now this time extended longer than the previous act and when the next act was set to rehearse there number, one of the singers (the female component of this couple) was nowhere to be found. The sound engineer and I decided that perhaps we should turn on her mic (she had a lav) to see if we could hear where she was. Well, the sounds that came through the system could not possibly be put into words. Fortunately, they were in a secluded spot in the theatre and could hear the noises. She quickly took her place on stage looking somewhat ruffled and rather embarrassed.

I think there is an important lesson to be had here
So going on the theme of random romance in the theater, often people make the joke about actors and actresses sneaking off togther (its not so much a joke as a fact of life), the year before my freshman year of college, there was a romantic interlude within our department during a production of "A Midsummer's Night Dream." Our Oberon was caught with Hermina under the stage in a less than innocent manner. Low and behold four months later there was a rather, rushed wedding, five months following that... well you can add can't you?
Done that one :D... came out nice and loud over the PA's.
Just as the lead actress was bitching about the crew :D

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