The National Improv League, a ground breaking Latino based comedy competition that brings 14 performers, a referee, a special guest and an all inclusive audience to The Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe in the East Village. Conceived, directed and produced by award winning writer, director, producer Felix Rojas, The NIL combines just about every element of comedy into a very neat yet chaotic stew of hilarity. Although most of the players in the league are Latino, make no mistake, this show gives a new meaning to the word diverse.
The Game begins when the Referee comes on stage and goes over the rules with the audience. He explains that if there are any audience members under the age of 12 The Moral Slipper or The Chancleta will be in effect. The Moral Slipper, a red slipper given to an audience member to throw at a player to stop the action if the player says or does something offensive. After the audience gets the run down the ref introduces the special guest who comes out and does an opening monologue ala Saturday Night Live. After the monologue the games begin.
Three teams of four players take the stage and are given situations suggested by the audience with the help of the Ref. Each team tries to out duel the next and win the evenings competition. There is also something called an “Anything Goes”, which is a segment of the show where each team picks a player to do whatever they choose to do. It can be comedy, poetry, dance, music or anything else. Each team has a chance to steal points with “The Anything Goes”. The “Anything Goes” gives the show a very unique twist.
Although the format sounds familiar this show leaves you feeling like you’ve never seen anything quite like it. What makes it unique is Rojas’ attempt to bring improv comedy to an audience that has never really been exposed to it. The improv comedy genre has always been a staple in the more traditional artsy venues and neighborhoods. Latinos in particular have had very little exposure to this very funny genre. Rojas says “it’s great to see the looks on peoples faces when they’re exposed to something they’ve never seen before”.
The show is filled with unique characters and rich performances but what stands out most is the role the audience plays. The audience is so involved that they seem to almost get equal time. In some shows that may be a negative but in The NIL it is utterly hilarious. The room literally becomes one in this juicy Sunday afternoon comedy.
The players are Jessie Cotto, Katie Fabel, Herbie Quinones, Aldo Marachlian, Jose Calderon, Eric Nieves and Bob-a-Fini and guest players Sara Contreras, Peaches Rodriguez and Victor Cruz. The man who keeps the game moving is comedy veteran and NIL Ref Kenny Ortega and this months special guest is Grammy Award winning Composer, Arranger and Trumpet player Pete Nater. The show is co-produced by one of NYC’s most influential comedy promoters, Eduardo Infante.
The National Improv League
@ The Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe
236 E. 3rd St. between Ave B and C
Sunday July 31st
Doors open at 4pm
$10 in advance $15 at the door
Complementary wine from 4pm to 4:45pm
ADVANCE TICKETS AT: www.thenationalimprovleague.com
Press inquiries and press tickets contact: Felix Rojas – firstname.lastname@example.org