Yes But Why ep 171: YES BUT WHY LIVE – Austin comedy in the 90s

Ever wonder how Austin got to be the thriving improv city that it is? In this special LIVE SHOW of Yes But Why Podcast, Amy Jordan interviewed some of the OG Austin improvisers about how the Austin Improv Community got started and the ups and downs of drama from the very beginning! This one gets JUICY!!

from left: Amy Jordan, Estevan Chuy Zarate, Catherine Zarate, David Lampe, Mike D’Alonzo, Shannon McCormick, Megan Flynn, Les McGehee,, Tyler Bryce

In this episode, we chat about the experiences of Estevan Chuy Zarate, David Lampe, Shannon McCormick, Megan Flynn, Catherine Zarate, Tyler Bryce, Les McGehee, and Mike D’Alonzo. This show was recorded on Thursday August 8th at 9:30pm at the Hideout Theatre.

Estevan J. (Chuy) Zarate is an actor/director/coach from San Antonio TX. Chuy has been improvising for audiences for 29 years. He is a member of The Big Bash at The Hideout Theatre, The Known Wizards (Merlinworks faculty troupe), ¡Zarzamora! and more duos than he can count.

David Lampe has been performing in, directing and teaching improv in Texas since 1981. David started with the Comedy Workshop in Houston and went on to establish the first professional improv troupe in San Antonio. In Austin, David was one of the earliest members of Monk’s Night Out and a founding member of Heroes of Comedy. He travels to festivals both nationally and internationally with his troupe ¡ZARZAMORA! 

Shannon McCormick is an improviser as well as a film and voice actor. Shannon started his Austin improv journey at the Hideout Theatre in 2000 and he joined We Could Be Heroes at the end of that year. Shannon currently performs regularly with Shana Merlin in their troupe, Get Up.

Megan Flynn is an award-winning improviser with 30 years of experience in the Austin improv community.  In Austin, Megan has performed in thousands of improv shows with ComedySportz Austin and Girls Girls Girls Improvised Musicals.  She has also performed in LA, New York, Atlanta, Seattle, and Lindsborg, KS, among the most memorable. 

Catherine Zarate is a long time Austin improviser but she doesn’t perform as often as she’d like to anymore. She was with a ‘Monk’s Night Out’ B Troupe called ‘Inflatable Egos’. She has been seen on San Antonio stages with ‘The Oxymorons’. She is also in a married duo called ’20 Years and Counting’ with Chuy Zarate.

after the improv jam

Tyler Bryce lived in Austin when it really was weird. But then, in 2001, he moved to NYC to study improv at the UCB, the PIT, and Magnet.  Since moving back to Austin in 2012, Tyler has been active in the scene, performing regularly in Flying Theater Machine, ComedySportz Austin, and the sketch comedy show Fuck It’s Hot. 

Les McGehee is an author, comedian, and improvisation pioneer who has entertained and trained millions of happier people.  Les’ National Comedy Theatre and ComedySportz teams have toured around the US and 14 other countries. Les also wrote a book called Plays Well With Others (A Grown-up Handbook of Improvisation and Play, Dalton Publishing).

snapshot of those of us who stood around and talked after the show. from left – Amy, Catherine, Chuy, Shannon, Lampe, and Mike

Mike D’Alonzo is a founding member of The Knuckleball Now, and a long-time veteran of the Austin improv scene, as an original member of Austin Theatresports (then We Could Be Heroes), Gravy, and sketch troupe Catch 24. He has had sketches on Comedy Central and NBC. A short film of one of his sketches, “Nougat,” won the Midnight Shorts Competition at SXSW and toured with “Spike and Mike’s Festival of Animation.” He is also a former member of LA Theatresports with Impro Theatre.  

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(production notes: recorded live with the Rodecaster and 4 MXLbcd1 microphones at Hideout Theater, Austin, TX)

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