Last Friday I had the extreme pleasure of being a guest on Yes, There Really is an Answer, Kalamazoo's ONLY weekly online trivia contest featuring some of the funniest improvisers Southwest Michigan has to offer.

Friday's episode featured the Link Larkin of Kalamazoo, Bannon Backhus, as our wonderful host, and Lizzy Honoway, improv goddess extraordinaire. Backhus is a full-time member of Kalamazoo's Crawlspace Eviction improv team and admits that the best part of hosting Yes, There Really is an Answer is not feeling embarrassed about not knowing the answers to the questions. When it comes to trivia, Backhus admits he has, shall we say, niche knowledge. "As long as the questions aren't about things that the average person cares about, I'm great at trivia!"

As the "guest," I was allowed to remain good old Stefani Bishop. Lizzy Honoway, on the other hand, was tasked with taking on the character of a Cartoon Voice-Over Talent, a character she named Dolly Rainbow, for the entirety of the show. In typical improv style, the audience was allowed to interact with both Ms. Rainbow and myself, and as you can watch below, hilarity ensued.

Having started in stand-up comedy around Kalamazoo, Honoway decided to give the "next scariest thing I could try" three years ago."I started taking classes through Crawlspace Theatre in January of 2017 when they were still teaching out of the Park Trades Center. Then I auditioned for an open spot in Crawlspace Eviction around November of the same year and I have been performing with them ever since. I am also a member of another Improv team called Family Secret who have been together for about two seasons now, as well as a sketch comedy group called The Dormouse Theatre."

Three comedy troops sounds like a lot of work, but not if you love it. "The 'Yes, and' mantra makes it so anything you say or do will be supported with enthusiasm - and that makes not knowing what the hell you’re doing up there a lot less scary."

Obviously COVID-19 has taken a toll on the comedy/theatre world. What do these two performers hope to see in the future of comedy? Bannon says, "Comedy--of any kind--is not only an art form but also, dare I say, one of the better ways in which to explore philosophies and ideas, so one of my hopes for comedy is that it becomes more respected.:

As for Honoway, she's hoping for a resurgence of interest in all of the performing arts. "I hope that with the current happenings of the world, major changes are made in the demographics of performers, producers, owners, etc and that community support for these changes continues to flourish. I hope that the future of comedy can be used to lift up those who have been neglected, and to give them a platform and a voice to be heard. The improv scene in Kalamazoo needs to have more representation of people of color and from the LGBTQ community. These have been unprecedented times, we cannot just go back to how things have always been because it's easy for the majority to do so. I'm looking forward to the changes that this movement is bringing. Also - please f***ing vote."

When all of this is over and we're allowed to gather again, consider heading out to your local theatres and share a giggle. Any chance I get to hang out with a group of people betting they can't make each other bust a gut is my kind of night. I might have blown a few answers during my guest appearance on Yes, There Really is An Answer, but I had a lot of laughs. And that's what its all about.

LET'S PLAY: Punk Rock Band - Or Medical Term?

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