This past week at the iO Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, the improv group of Drunkards and Dragons got together to give their audience a beer-filled comedy adventure. Feeling brave that night, I decided to check it out and report back on what I witnessed.
Drunkards and Dragons is composed of Breon Bliss, Ryan Marisco, Gian Molina (he was also a part of Doctor Who Live), Mike Schramm, Markeia McCarty (she was also a part of Doctor Who Live AND Comic Book Live; very busy in the nerd improv), Justin Michael Terry, Nathan Hillen (who was performing his last show with the group), and Leanne St. John.
So the way Drunkards and Dragons works that makes it unique among other improv groups and great for anyone who is a fan of table top role playing games, is the addition of a 20-sided die. They bring out a giant, inflatable D20, and this helps create the improv with the audience shouting out suggestions, and the die roll (tossed by an audience member) will then decide which suggestion is chosen. Roll a 10 or higher and that audience member in the back’s idea is used, roll a 9 or lower and you have the audience member in the front’s idea instead. It’s very interactive, the audience is almost always participating, and also, every time the die is rolled everyone must yell “HUZZAH!” and take a drink. This causes everyone to be loud and have fun while taking part in the show.
Another element of the show is that the story, besides being weaved by the fate of the die and the improvisation of the players, is that the audience gets to create the heroes and villain of the piece. This is how we got Stella (named after an audience member’s favorite beer) the Draconian Slave, and Tera Patrick (when asked for someone’s favorite porn star, this name was shouted instantly and without hesitation) the Hobbit Bartender of a Strip Club as our heroes, having to confront the villainous Demonic Psychic, The One. Finally, suggestions for the title and magical item are given, and we have The Bacon of Dextonia.
With the heroes and villains created, the show began and we entered Dextonia, a world of magic, strange creatures, strip clubs, and cars powered by magic axes. We find that Tera Patrick is unfulfilled working at the strip club, whose only claim to fame is Slayabitch the Hobbit Stripper that is famous for being gross. Meanwhile in hell, The One is trying to figure out his premature problem in the bedroom when he hears of the magical Bacon of Dextonia and its powers. Elsewhere, Stella is slaving away building a pyramid for a sex-crazed tyrant, and discusses with his fellow slaves how he has a destiny. Sadly, every time he speaks his fellow slave is whipped, but the flogging of his fellow slave allows him to escape. Our players are on a date with destiny, and it looks like she ordered the bacon-wrapped lobster.
While running away, Stella finds an old farmer who gives him the engine of his broken down truck, which just so happens to be a magic axe. The One decides to send his assistant to the surface to find the bacon for him, and to show her he means business he throws things around telekinetically (with help from the cast as they picked up chairs and each other). The audience enjoyed this bit so much that the cast couldn’t help but make the players-as-telekinesis have to hold things for as long as possible. Tera Patrick and Slayabitch decide to leave the strip club and venture forth to find a new life with their Bacon of Dextonia as a snack. When The One’s assistant finds them, a slaughter ensues as Stella stumbles upon their plight and saves them from the assistant.
When their car won’t start and a strange, near-nude dragon-man stands before them, Slayabitch and Tera Patrick realize Stella’s golden axe can fix their car so they may flee Dextonia. Our heroes are united and drive on. The One’s psychic ability alerts him of his assistant’s failure, so he decides to take matters into his own hands and brings along his other assistant (the twin of the deceased assistant) and son (who happens to be Stella’s sex-crazed former master). Thus we enter the endgame of the session.
The One encounters Stella, Tera Patrick, and Slayabitch, and is able to get the Bacon of Dextonia. Sadly, the audience rolls terribly and Stella is unable to stop The One from gaining its power. He grows three times his size, and with a side effect that could have been either him becoming a woman or breathing fire, the fate of the roll was fire-breath. The One uses his fire-breath to spread chaos until Slayabitch decides to try and seduce him with her dance; the audience somehow rolls a 2, which has the dance be terrible and The One begins to wipe everyone out with telekinesis. Thus evil wins the day and we end our session of Drunkards and Dragons.
This event was great, filled with plenty of laughs and energy from the cast and audience. It was a packed house and everyone was ready to play. I cannot recommend this show enough; I know people who don’t like improv that would love to see this purely for the gaming elements and drinking. You can like the comedy and know nothing of gaming. I know that the Drunkards and Dragons, Doctor Who Live, and Comic Book Live will be performing at Gamex 2012 this weekend, so if you’re going to be there, you should see them all. All three of these shows I’ve covered at the iO Theater have been wonderful, so go check them out. If you notice some of my pictures are blurred, it’s mostly due to the laughter from what was occurring on stage.
Also, I checked out another show there called the Competitive Drinking Film League, who play a movie and have a drinking game for the movie. I was there for The Mighty Drunks, where we watched The Mighty Ducks and got divided into Team Ducks and Hawks to drink during different scenes. Next month is the Over the Tap: Over the Top drinking game! Give them some love and watch, it’s a free show with two dollar beers. Go see all the iO Theater shows!