Improv Asylum will treat your funny bone

Boston troupe to appear at Cape Codder Resort

February 2010 by John Watters, Barnstable Patriot

It used to be that catching an evening's entertainment on Cape Cod in the middle of winter was a very difficult thing to do. But for the last few years, the Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis has had a remedy for the cabin fever that you catch from watching television shows like The Bachelor and The Biggest Loser.

This year is no different as the Mid-Cape resort offers weekly entertainment brought from over the bridge that is sure to please.

Whether your taste is audience participation murder mysteries, magicians, illusionists, stand-up, or improv comedy theater, the Cape Codder has something on the menu for all.

This last weekend the comical antics of the Boston-based Improv Asylum lit up the stage, much to the delight of the near-packed house. The result was a laugh riot that warmed the audience after they had come in from very cold conditions outside.

Improv Asylum bills themselves as a cross between Whose Line is it Anyway and Saturday Night Live. The group performs rehearsed skits (that ask for just a few interjected suggestions from the audience) to full improv where the audience creates the entire scenario.

The comedy theater group started performing in Boston 12 years ago and has put on 3,500 shows aross the country. The Asylum, which has about a dozen members that rotate between shows, has been highlighted on HBO and was recently voted the “Best Comedy Act” in Boston.

No two shows are alike, and the 90-minute path the improvisational troupe takes can run the gamut of both low- and highbrow hilarity.

The group asks audience members for ideas or situations they have experienced. If the response is too broad, they seek a response that is extremely precise. “What’s the best thing about your wife?” can't be answered with, “She's a nice woman.” The actors want to sharpen the focus down to a more specific trait so they can hone their comedy to a personal edge.

There can be embarrassing moments, but at all times the zany scenarios bring the house to laughter, including those who have been chosen to participate.

The Cape Codder Resort puts out a sumptuous buffet the audience enjoys before the show, making the whole evening a complete dinner show package. It’s possible to get a lower-priced show-only ticket.

Improv Asylum will make three more stops at the Cape Codder this winter and spring: Feb. 20, March 20, and April 24. Performances take place in the renowned Emerald Room. Doors open at 7 p.m. For tickets ($45 plus tax and administrative fee), call 508-771-3000 or 888-297-2200.