1*2*3 Presents
Drunk Improv II

WHY 123?

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Billed as “a scientific experiment into alcohols effect on comedy,” Paul Anthony first came up with the idea when his comedy troupe (Higher Than The Ground) was performing at an Improv festival in ’93. The different groups from all over North America were playing various games that all looked exactly the same. Born out of boredom and the perverse desire to invent an improv game that would smack some life into this very structured medium that supposedly supported spontaneity, he whispered his idea to long time co-conspirator Devin McCracken.

Video: Drunk Improv Drunk Improv II Intro: Gathering Data
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Video: Drunk Improv Drunk Improv II Outro: Unanticipated Gift
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Video: CBC Radio Report CBC Radio 3: Drinking To Discovery
Flash audio documentary

 Read article from Globe & Mail (2003)

Video: CBC Radio Report CBC Radio Report (2000)
Audio (slow internet)
Audio (fast internet required)

“Right off the bat I thought it was hilarious. And potentially dangerous. From that point on we joked and schemed regularly about it.”

It wasn’t long before they started noticing that alcohol was already being used by virtually every comedian as a tool to ‘loosen up’. Another question arose: ‘If drinking before hitting the stage was almost expected, what is the difference between these so-called professionals and some frat boy goof balls?’

Alcohol was accepted but until what degree?

Paul Anthony: “I wanted to cram as many people as we could into one room under the Vail of entertainment and have them decide for themselves if alcohol is funny or not, and how much is too much?”

Every 3 minutes and at the beginning of each improv they both took a shot of tequila. They polled the audience regularly to find out who thought alcohol was funny and who thought it wasn’t. The end hypothesis? Alcohol can be pretty funny up to 6 drinks, after that? not so much. And after 16 shots in a very short period, completely disgusting. It can cause participants to fall off 6-foot high stages on to their heads, rip each other’s clothes and underwear off and beat each other to a pulp. And this can also cause Paul’s mother to leave and other audience members (as well as technicians) to jump on stage to try and break it up.

“We told the front of house staff that under no circumstances were the stage doors to the lobby be opened or the house lights turned on. The audience them selves had to decide when the show was over, and they did. They even decided to join in!”









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