Monday, December 10, 2012

Ha Ha Hanukkah and YOU (The Audience!)

We had a whole bunch of dreidel-spinning fun at Ha Ha Hanukkah: The Festival of Laughs this year!

Saturday night we had two special events and each one added to the quality comedy

Jeff brought his whole Veterinary office and family out to celebrate the Holidays with us, and he joined us on stage for a hilarious round of Dinner at Joe's!

And Sean decided to celebrate his birthday at the show with a whole bunch of friends and family. He got on stage with us for Animatronic Jamboree!

There are so many choices for entertainment in the Valley, especially around the holiday season, we truly appreciate all of YOU (the audience!) who join us every weekend for some spontaneous laughs!

Join us at the Thursday Night Troupe Comedy Show this Thursday the 13th!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

YOU (The Audience)!

And here is a peek at some of the pretty faces who have graced our stage and walked away with two tickets to come see us again!

Friday, October 19, 2012

New Players Take The Main Stage

This weekend marks an exciting first for us at National Comedy Theatre Phoenix. This weekend our first ever High School Improv League player turned Main Stage player takes the stage in a Competitive Comedy show with the cast of NCT.

Now, if you know NCT, you know we love our Leaguers. It always delights us to see what shenanigins they get up to out in the real world after they graduate. It is always extra rewarding to see them continue with the art of improv and now its extra extra rewarding for the first of the Leaguers take the stage with the big boys.

Mike Warner joins us tonight.

His former 56th Street Comedy Club team mates Caleb Colson, Tyler Fleming and Kaiden Dion wont be far behind as they will join the cast of the Main Stage team this month.

Here they are at last years High School Improv League Tournament.

Sure to become big stars on the Main Stage... congratulations guys!

Monday, October 8, 2012

A New Generation on the Horizon's a pun...

Horizon High School had their first Improv League class of the year.

This being the 5th season of the League, it is also the first year that we have had a complete turn over. Horizon has a big new cast, a new faculty sponsor and it is pretty exciting to see where the team will go from here.

It is really wonderful and rewarding to see the High School League improv teams take their team practices, their shows, and the whole art of improv super seriously. Many of the HSIL performers commit to their teams as faithfully as footballers and baseballers commit to all that running and jumping.

A new season of shows is starting too, which brings the schools together. They get to meet their fellow players and experience the different styles of performance and play that develop among each team.

What happened to the former players who graduated already? Well, some of them perform with improv groups where they go to college... and some will soon be performing for you at NCT! One of Horizon High's 56th Street Comedy Club will officially become a National Comedy Theatre Main Stage Team player later this month. Players from Campo Verde's CopperPocalypse have also joined up, along side the 56th Streeters, in our Thursday Night Troupe.

There's something thrilling about a small army of super talented, super young improvisers that already have years of professional training.... world domination is certainly on the Horizon? (that time the pun was unintentional... but I refuse to delete it.)

Info on the High School Improv League is easily found by clicking here.
Awesome pics and vids of High School Improv League here. and here.

The dudes of 56th Street Comedy Club and the ladies of CopperPocalypse!

An Invasion of Improvisers...

as Captain Hammer says "It's not enough to bash in heads, you've got to bash in MINDS!" and I think that at the National Comedy Theatre we take bashing in minds very seriously, in particular when it comes to improv.

The truth is that there is lots and lots of improvisation out there in the wide world. "You mean besides Whose Line is it Anyway?" you ask. "Yes," I reply, "even besides Whose Line is it Anyway."
Improv Comedy (and even improv that is NOT comedy) exists all over the world and with it comes a whole boat load of improvisational philosophy and technique, games, exercises, show styles, and footwear.

This weekend, we're super excited to be bringing you three kinds of improv coming together in a very cool way. Brian O'Connell of IO West and Camp Improv Utopia will be workshopping with our Main Stage team.

Brian is a working actor, writer, director, filmmaker and improviser in Los Angeles. We met Brian a few years ago at Camp Improv Utopia and instantly connected to the way he performs. Brian, the "Improv Ninja" -as some of our performers geekily refer to him- will join us to share his philosophy and performance style.

"Can I take part in this exciting event as well?" you suddenly ask me.
"Certianly!" I quickly reply, excited by your inquisitive nature!

We're getting more that just a workshop with Mr. O'Connell this weekend-- we're ALSO GETTING A SHOW! The Tri-Theatre Improv Show this Sunday the 14th at 7:30pm

What makes it TRI and not BI...? few close friends from Phoenix's Torch Theatre will also be joining us for the show. It's going to be a whole lot of improv brain power coming together in one place....

Join us, wont you? Bash in comedy minds!

Friday, September 21, 2012

... from 13 to 113 to One N Tem... Improv Comedy Workshops For Everyone!

A busy week this week for classes and workshops at National Comedy Theatre and all around the Valley.

Tuesday: High School Improv League Class at Perry High School
AND Level 1 Workshop at NCT

Wednesday: Improv Workshop with the Improv Club at Sun City Anthem in Florence
AND Team Practice at NCT

Thursday: Speaking and presenting improv games and exercises at One N Ten Mesa
AND Thursday Night Troupe practice

Friday & Saturday: Shows

Performing improv is great fun and fans creative fire. Performing gives you the laughter of the audience and the delight of creating comedy with your fellow improvisers. And sometimes you get to pretend you are a "1920's gangster-slash-Leprechaun." It's tough to beat that.

TEACHING improv means setting other people on fire with insiration and positivity... as long as it is metaphorical fire and not actual flamible fire.
And really, once you have mastered that "prohibition-era mythical imp" character, you owe it to posterity to pass on the gift... am I right?

The High School Improv team at Perry High School and their team, the "PerryWinkles," has been part of our League going into their 3rd year. They have a new Team Captain, a batch of new recruits and after their workshop on Tuesday I can report that they have a really positive attitude and a good sense of team spirit.

We practiced scenework and games for their upcoming show with Basha High School- the proceeds are all going to charity. Check it out here.

Their Captain and some of their veteran players gave really insightful feedback and critique on the scenes and games we worked. It always my heart grow three sizes when I hear a High School Improv League Captain remind her team to "watch for opportunities to play with status." "remember to develop the relationship" and "dont forget to play with levels visually in your stage picture" it makes a teacher's heart go all a flutter.

I'm looking forward to working with them again next Tuesday to polish games for their upcoming competition at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

The new Level 1 Workshop also kicked off Tuesday evening. Its always great to get a new group together. The last Level 1 for the year is scheduled for October. You can find out more about our classes here.

Wednesday I drove out to Sun City Anthem in Florence. I've been coaching the SCATS Theatre Group there for about 2 years now.

The group is tons of fun to improvise with. They love to laugh and, I will tell you without hesitation, between the High School kids and the senior citizens... the seniors come up with the raunchiest suggestions. Between them and everyone else, really. It's a bawdy crowd up there in Florence. This week we worked on games for their upcoming Open Mic night.

Thursday night we went to present some improv at the One N Ten meeting in Mesa. Improv and the little communities of improvisers that come together can be a super positive experience, especially for teens and young adults. It was great to take a group of players over there to share our own stories and introduce the kids to improv.

We also had really solid Main Stage Team practice and Thursday Night Troupe rehearsal this week... busy, busy! The good news is that each experience brings us more positivity, stronger focus, new perspectives and sharper improv wits! All of which we will bring to bear at the shows this weekend!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

in 1492 Colubmbus Sailed the Ocean Blue and Longed for a Cooler Beverage and Hilarious Comedy...Right?

Voyage to Columbus Day Comedy and claim your Limited Edition NCT Beverage Koozie (while supplies last)

Friday and Saturday October 5 & 6 7:30pm & 9:45pm

We've been waiting for the perfect opportunity to "officially" celebrate the opening of the Lounge and give away some adorable little beverage Koozies so...

Bring your Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria over to National Comedy Theatre to celebrate Columbus Day and discover the Lounge!

Much as America existed before Columbus found it, the Lounge has been open for a few weeks... but have YOU explored it yet? Bring a flag and claim a piece of NCT for Spain, or Canada, or Chandler... just like they did it in the old days.

Our first 50 SuperFans at each show will walk away with a cusom NCT beverage koozie, while supplies last.

tickets are available online!


came from humble beginnings:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Auditions... a splendid turn out

Auditions... ah, they come but once a year. This year we are fortunate to be casting for our exciting new opportunity, the Thursday Night Troupe, as well as the Main Stage team. The possibilities are endless... as possibilities should always be. And gosh, we had a great group to choose from. It was a tough call and, more so that usual, we wish we could have taken everyone. I know you will join us in congratuating thenew members of our Thursday Night Troupe: Ariana, Ellen, Angelie, Chris, Summer, Ricky, Matthew, Sara, Marcus, Jonathan and Joshua. Check out the TNT performance on October 18th for s peek at the talent thats coming your way! And, be on the look out on Friday and Saturday nights for our new Main Stage cast member, Mr. Mike Warner

Thursday, August 2, 2012

TNT at NCT... whats awesome about the Thursday Night Troupe

TNT at NCT: the Thursday Night Troupe kicks off their performance run Thursday August 9th at 7:60pm gosh. golly. i mean... my goodnight stars and garters... i am just so darn excited for the Thursday Night Troupe to kick it off on Thursday 8/9 at 7:30pm... with this show the TNT will take their place in the regular rotation of rad comedy shows that we put on stage at National Comedy Theatre.
this is a really great group of up and coming improv comedians. rehearsals with these guys have been funny, light hearted to the point of distraction and full of laughs. which is, i guess, how comedy rehearsal should be. most of the time.
The TN Troupe has got some faces you might recognize and some new faces you will be happy to meet. NCT PHX has the Main Stage Competitive Comedy Shows, the Midnight Shows, and soon the MashTerpiece Theatre and First Time Film Club BUT... there is always room for more comedy. the TNT at NCT show is going to be a different cup of tea with a format that is uncompetitive. i recommend you come and see the show!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Events at National Comedy Theatre

The Lounge is OPEN! Enjoy some San Tan Brewing Co. Craft Beer We are excited to announce that the Lounge is open! Join us at the Competitive Comedy shows Friday & Saturday nights at 7:30pm or 9:45pm to feast your eyes on all of the Loungey goodness and sip a cold one from San Tan Brewing Company (from Chander, AZ!) The concession area has been expanded and our lobby remodeled. In addition to our awesome new look, National Comedy Theatre will now be serving local craft beers and other selections as well! Make reservations today: Level 1 Improv Comedy Class Begins Monday August 20 meets every Monday night from 7:30- 9:30pm for 6 weeks $175 Class fee Improv Comedy Class is a fun, unique way to sharpen your wits and your performance skills. In National Comedy Theatre's Level 1 Improv Comedy Class you will learn concepts and techniques that increase your potential awesomeness on stage, in the class room, the board room, the living room and beyond. Through interactive, no pressure exercises and games you will learn the techniques used by the professional improvisers and comedians at National Comedy Theatre. Classes are kept small so that you are guaranteed stage time and one-on-one instructor feedback. In this Comedy Class you will not sit back and listen to lectures, you will get on stage, get working and learn how to create comedy. Class size is limited. Call or email today to register. Additional dates in September, October and November. Click here. 602-374-5638 Audition to join us at National Comedy Theatre Sunday August 26 1:00pm Call 602-374-5638 or email to sign up National Comedy Theatre is expanding their performing teams and holding auditions to join the Main Stage Team or the Minor League. No experience is necessary. A positive attitude and big energy ARE necessary. Selected performers will participate in weekly rehearsals. The Midnight Show: No Holds Barred Improv Saturday July 28th 11:45pm Only $10 18 & up Experimental longform comedy with no Brown Bag Foul... watch your favorite hilarious comedy team churn out insane hilarity baseon on a single suggestion!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lounging... Its fun to reinvigorate! National Comedy Theatre Phoenix is in year four and we felt we were ready and excited to push it to the next level. We did some cool stuff this year, we built the stage and updated our lighting. That wasn’t the whole idea though… we actually started the process of planning the Lounge sooooo long ago… Simple plan (yeah right) move the ticket booth to the current concession area and remodel the Blue Room into a cool, classy, comfortable lounge where we will serve our regular concessions and soon, beer and wine as well. Our vision was for a place our SuperFans to relax and be awesome before the show, at half time and after the show in a place that invited hanging out and having conversations. As always, we started off by not only putting the cart before the horse but we pretty much put the cart in the middle of the living room before we even thought of finding a horse… that’s how we roll. Not purely by choice, but there it is. In hindsight, ripping out the wall was probably, logically, the LAST step to undertake… but the opportunity to hit something with a sledgehammer isn’t one to pass up lightly so that ended up being the FIRST thing we did… and as such we ended up with a big black plastic sheet up in the hall for a couple of awkward weeks. There are no old adages about knocking down walls. If only Benjamin Franklin had once said “we who knocks down walls before first furnishing the room within has black plastic sheeting in his future…” we may have thought twice about the fun of sledgehammers. And if old Ben had also offered a quip about how “finding a commercial style bar is darn near impossible, so get your Home Depot credit card in order before you take hammer to perfectly good wall…” we might have had an easier time of things. Luckily Ben DID say “beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy” so at least we had motivation! Finally things have started to take shape. We found a cool old bar at Stardust that had obviously been salvaged from the house of some very fancy and elegant human being. Lucky for us, that human being decided to get even fancier and more elegant and donated their vintage hardwood bar to Stardust where we snapped it up gleefully. We set to seeing it upcycled and repurposed it to fit our room. “youre going to paint that beautiful wood?” is an indignant phrase I heard a fair few times during our build out process… yes. Im going to paint that beautiful wood. Look around… this place is a festival of color, life and fun… this “elegant” and “fancy” hardwood bar was probably perfect for the stoic English gentleman who recently had it ripped out of his palacial estate… but for us it’s a bit too stodgy. It needs to get on board the NCT phoenix train. So I painted the beautiful wood, built an extension, and pilfered the cabinet doors to, as The Dude would say “really bring the room together.” And now the finishing touches are being finally touched. Im doing what I do best, rediscovering and repurposing long forgotten items and bringing them into our world. The result is coming soon, and it will surely be cause for celebration, casual hanging out, and further moving NCT into the realm of greatness.

Monday, May 7, 2012

High School Improv Legue Rides Again!

This years High School Improv League Champions, the Horizon High School 56th Street Comedy Club will send two teams of their very best improvisers to go up against the professionals of National Comedy Theatre on our Main Stage! Friday May 18 at 7:30pm & 9:45pm Get tickets HERE. The very best player from each High School Improv League Team will take the stage at National Comedy Theatre for our 4th Annual All Star Show! Saturday May 19 at 4:30pm $5 Get tickets HERE Recapping all the fun we could pack into a 2 day Tournament!
Horizon's 56th Street Comedy Club are our 2012 Tournament Champs Campo Verde's Copperpocalypse took home the Franken Trophy A special award was given this year. Our first Lil Trops Award recipients demonstrated friendship, leadership and kindness- turning their improv teams into mini-families and also reaching out to other teams within the League to make the League itself a mega-mini-family... From Desert Vista Tracy & Emily showed alot of determination and good old fashioned Moxie! Our only 1st year team. Greenway's Damon & Sam took home Lil Trops Trophies, and Cesar took home a tiny foam finger Award Basha High School gave Brigitte "Bam" and teacher Mrs. Schwartz the award Lani took home the award for Perry High School and new player Alli took home her own tiny foam finger award, as did Team Captain Katie. Our Franken Trophy Team from Campo Verde sent home Lil Trops Trophies with Afton, Cayli and Jamie as well as a tiny foam finger for Corinne Centennial High School's Captain Weston, the engine of his team, took home a trophy Agua Fria High Schools Captain Stephen and Maya won their Lil Trops awards and From Horizon tiny foam finger awards went home with Mike and Tyler, Lil Trops Trophies went to Teacher Mrs. Colson, Captains Caleb and Ryan and Alex it was a very exciting weekend and we cant wait to do it all again next year.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

FrankenTrophy- a Legacy

as a fan of found art- upcycling- and the joy of giving new life to the misfit toys of the world we started a tradition in our 2008-2009 season of the High School Improv League... The Franken-Trophy!
Each year our Tournament Champion team takes home a real, store bought trophy and their name is engraved on our eternal plaque in the hallway at National Comedy Theatre... the second place team takes home a piece of origional art created by NCT Director, High School Improv League administrator, instructor and coach Krissy Lenz... the Franken-Trophy!
Each year Krissy digs around in garage sales, attics, thrift stores and goodwills looking for the forgotten trophies of days gone by. In the past year, friends and family have begun sending their old trophies to NCT hoping they will be used in the famed mash-up... we are now up to our eyeballs in discarded but rediscovered symbols of glory. From its humble beginnings through today the garbled-gold grandstand, like the Improv League itself, grows larger and larger and better and better. And, hopefully, serves as a mangled reminder to us all that there is no such thing as failure, only opportunity. forgotten things are given new lives. and... not all those that wander are lost. (yes, we DID just reference Lord of the Rings.)
(yes, Krissy is crying... she cries every year when she has to say goodbye to her seniors)
(here the Agua Fria Cold Water Comedy Team smile with their Franken-Trophy) You can join us at this weekends High School Improv League Torunament Saturday April 28 & Sunday April 29 12:00- 3:00pm $3 All Day Admission Teen Improv Comedy Teams from Horizon High School, Basha High School, Centennial High School, Agua Fria High School, Greenway High School, Campo Verde High School, Desert Vista High School, Perry High School, and Mountain Pointe High School will be performing improv comedy! learn more, call 602-374-5638 or email

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Improv Comedy Helps With Interview Skills

Resume Bits Blog Karen Austin shares how Improv Comedy Class at National Comedy Theatre can help with job interview skills...

What I Learned From Comedy Improv About Interviewing

Today I took a comedy improv class at the National Comedy Theater in Mesa. There were so many great connections between improv and interviewing that I had to share them right away.

One of the first exercises we did was a group activity to get comfortable looking silly and to make failure acceptable (even celebrated!). Treating failure as an acceptable part of achieving a goal removes fear, plain and simple. If you stretch yourself out of your comfort zone frequently, you will learn to accept failure as a part of success, making it a much smaller force during an interview.

Another set of exercises were focused on getting "out of our own head" and learning to trust our gut. Here are the tips I took away to use in an interview:

1.Listen. Really listen to what is being said and pay attention to what is going on around you. If you are thinking of what you are going to say or worrying about saying the wrong thing, you take away your greatest asset: understanding. Understanding questions and situations is critical. Giving your focus and attention to the OUTSIDE takes all the power away from any negative self talk you might do be doing otherwise.

2. Trust you know what you need to know to respond to a question, without a doubt. All you have to do is pull the information out. Consider trying some word association exercises. You don't have to prepare in order to get a word that makes sense or relates - it just happens. In fact, the less you think about it, the more related the word ends up being!  The same thing happens with interview questions - the more you trust your answer and less you over thinking, the more logical and appropriate your answer will be.

3. Don't try to give a "wow" answer or anything off-the-wall to stand out. Logical answers that closely match the content of the question are far better and cause way less stress.

4.Confidence sells. Make eye contact and answer with confidence. You are talking about you in an interview (a subject you are the number one expert in)so answer with complete confidence.

5. Repeat the question at the beginning of your answer. It will help you settle (let those nerves go away!) and it will help focus your answer (as well as show that you listened).

6. Stay positive. Avoid saying no. Try saying statements that start with"yes, and...". Why? Because "no" ends the conversation. Once you've said "no" there really isn't anything left to say.  "Yes, and"... Allows you to add a new thought or turn the conversation in a new direction. Handy! Isn't it better to keep the conversation rolling and maybe grown into something both parties can agree on? Special note: of course this won't work for those disqualifying questions where the right answer is to say "no", but you get the point.

Last lesson - try something that makes you a little uncomfortable every once in a while. Stretching is the fastest way to grow! Happy interviewing!

Thank you, Karen! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

can you feel the love tonight?

if not, you will be able to feel it on the 10th, 11th and 14th!

Its time for the annual Valentines Shows!

Friday the 10th and Saturday the 11th at 7:30 and 9:45 for only $12-$14 you can experience the magic of the Valentines Shows...
whats special about them? games like Video Dating Service, where two players will try to convince you of their extreme date-a-bility, Pick Up Lines, where both teams will try to wow one lucky audience member with their charm and grace or Soap Opera Digest, where an amnesiac will have to awaken in a world turned upside down with intrigue, gossip and romance!

in my opinion, though, the best part is the NCT Rose Ceremony- at these shows teams can only get points when they earn YOUR roses!

 Its an exciting way to start your Valentines week with a bang.
and then
you can join us on February 14th- ACTUAL Valentines Day- for the Pink Elephant Show!
at 7:30pm, one show only, for only $10!
We're taking the popular Elephant Show for a love themed spin-

its great for a date, if you have one.
its great for NOT having a date, because who needs that drama, am i right?
its great for everyone.
so get tickets already!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Level 1 Workshop- 2/2

How many of you made a New Years Resolution to do something NEW this year? Maybe lose some weight? Get out there and start building confidence in yourself...???

Lets be honest, we all did! and NCT can help you get a head start! Forget about that Jillian Michaels DVD you havent taken out of the plastic yet- give Improv Comedy Workshops a try!

Its easy, its FUN and its 100% guaranteed to get your 2012 started off on the right foot- so sign up today!