Tongue in Chief improv group offers fast-paced, comedic fun at the Chief Theater in Steamboat Springs |

Tongue In Chief improv group offers fast-paced, comedic fun

Tongue In Chief Players Katie Carroll, Drew Mcelheny, Mike Denova, Avery Cavendar, Joe Haines and Kyle Noblett take a break during rehearsals as they ready for their Thursday night improv performances during the month of February. The shows are free to the public with a suggested donation for the nonprofit Chief Theater.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — One great thing about improv shows is that the audience can choose to be part of the crazy fun, or they can just sit and enjoy it, according to Steamboat Springs improv veteran Calder Young.

But Young said the audience shouting out “gynecologist” and “plumber” for improv fodder does get a little old.

“That’s people’s go-to … embarrassing stuff,” Young said with a laugh.  “We try and ask people to think a little more creatively because it’s gonna be disgusting, and we’ll do it.”

If you go

What: An Evening of Improv featuring the Tongue In Chief Players
When: 7 p.m. Feb. 21 and Feb. 28
Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.
Cost: Free, donations accepted

Young and his Tongue In Chief Players improv colleagues perform at 7 p.m. every Thursday night in February for an Evening of Improv at the Chief Theater downtown.

This year, the Tongue In Chief players are doing their February shows in the vain of “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” the popular show that has comedy teams competing against each other with a judge buzzing them in and out of comical situations.

Katie Carroll and Young love directing their troupe of 12 amateur comedians and actors. Carroll said audiences should expect something different every week.

She described a typical sketch where audience members are asked to pick a genre of movie and the movie title for a “foreign film dub” improv.

“Two players will be in the movie scene, but they can only speak gibberish,” Carroll said. “There’ll be two other players on the outside who’ll be translating the closed caption on the film that you’re watching at home”

Fans of the Chief Theater may have seen the Tongue In Chief players during the Super Fun Steamboat Shows and other events throughout the years, but in February, it’s all improv, all night. And, you never get the same comedy twice.

“When you add a zookeeper to a mission on the moon with a Civil War battle … that has a lot of laughs in it,” Young said.

And if you think the Tongue in Chief players just show up for performances and hit the ground running, you’d be wrong. After a long day’s work in their real jobs, the players attend rehearsals to keep their minds nimble.

“We do a lot of energy and mind warm-ups,” Carroll said. “We have games called ‘word ball’ and ‘zip zap zap,’ and it’s meant to build team focus. It’s basically two hours of playing make-believe.”

Admission to the Thursday shows are free, but a donation to the nonprofit theatre is encouraged. The bar will also be open each night.

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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