January 3rd, 2015
Big News! We've been sitting on a big announcement for a while now because we've been waiting to get all our ducks in a row with all the legalities of it all... but we can't hold back the news any longer, so screw it! HTA has been invited to attend Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival and San Francisco Sketch Fest and we could not be more thrilled to attend! We've been eyeing up these festivals for years now, and to get invited to go down and see some of the best Sketch in the world, performed by some of the best performers and then get to show what we do too is a huge honour!
Just to give you an idea of some of the star power at these festivals, here's a short list of some of the performers: Maya Rudolph, Cristopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Weird Al, Penn & Teller, Bill Nye, the cast of News Radio, Broken Lizard, Cary Elwes, the voice cast of Animaniacs, Angela Kinsey, Kristen Schaal, Casey Wilson, Dani Pudi, John Cho, Janeane Garofolo, Jennifer Tilly, The Groundlings, Upright Citizen's Brigade, Sasheer Zamata, Garfunkel & Oates, Margaret Cho, Maria Bamford, T.J. Miller.... and seriously, the list goes ON and ON and ON..... It's gonna be bonkers. You can read all about Chicago SF here, and all about San Fran SF here.
In anticipation of that, we sat down with a comedy blog based out of Sydney Australia called Illegitimate Theatre to talk about our group, our upcoming journey south (and the legal headache associated with it), our writing process, what makes us unique as a troupe, and a lot more. You can listen to the whole interview in their INAUGURAL podcast below. Bonus: We also give some scoop on the long-in-the-works sitcom pilot we've been working on.
And stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter over the next month to follow our journey and hear all about this crazy month.
Want to skip to a specific topic?
1:00 - How's the sketch scene in Canada?
2:15 - How did you guys get started?
3:38 - What is your writing process?
5:20-What are some of your favourite sketches to perform?
8:50-How your particular performance style produces a different audience experience than most other sketch.
10:50-What's been the hardest part of preparing to go to Chicago SketchFest?
13:00-What have been your comedy influences?
17:50-Tell us about your TV pilot.
20:45-What's with you guys doing stunt work as well?
December 11th, 2014
Merry Christmas from HTA! To thank you all for your part in an exciting year for HTA, we're launching a brand new Video Sketch today. Children, share it with your parents. Parents, share it with your kids. Head on over to our Web Vids section to watch it now!
Funny or Die!
October 19th, 2014
Today our video "Pizza Shack" was launched on Funny or Die's Youtube channel. Funny or Die has been really great with allowing content creators a moment in the spotlight by showing our videos mixed in with all their in-house content. It gives us a way to connect to a wider audience than ever before. For instance, in the day it's been up it's already got twice the views it ever had on our own YouTube channel! Our partnership with Funny or Die is just beginning. This fall we plan on churning out a ton of new YouTube content, even better and funnier than anything we've produced so far! By a factor of at least 37. Maybe even 38. So stay tuned! If you haven't already, subscribe to our YouTube Channel to get the content as soon as possible!
And if you ended up at this site for the first time because of Pizza Shack, welcome! Take a look around! Hope to see you again soon!
Off to Ottawa!
September 11th, 2014
This year HTA took the summer off to recharge our batteries, and boy are we glad we did, because this is gearing up to be a busy fall! First on the docket, we're flying out to Ottawa for the Canadian Comedy Awards where we're nominated in the category of Best Sketch Troupe. The awards show is Sunday, September 14th, so keep your fingers crossed that night!
Up next on the docket is a quickie performance at the Manitoba Actra Awards Gala. If you happen to be an Actra Manitoba member, see you there!
Then at the end of the month, we're travelling to Seattle for our AMERICAN DEBUT at the Seattle Sketch Fest. We couldn't be more excited to dip down into the Ole US of A for the first time to show 'em how us Canucks do it up here. Details and ticket info here.
We maaaay be doing a show in Winnipeg towards the beginning of October. And right now the plan is to put on another show around Christmas, like we did last year. We'll keep you posted when we know more.
Also, (lean in, this part's a secret) HTA has been busy at work on something huge and exciting. As a hint, it's a continuation of something we started working on way back in 2011. We haven't been allowed to spill any beans on any of it this whole time, but we've been working on it in the background for 4 years now and if things go our way over the next month or so, we may FINALLY have some reportable news for you. The extra devoted followers know what we're talking about. (Wink).
A summer off!
July 14th, 2014
So Winnipeg Fringe is once again upon us, but this time, for the first time in 6 years, HTA is taking the summer off! Alas, it's true, no HTA show at the Fringe this year. It's not you! It's us! We just needed a summer off for the first time in forever.
With that said, Ryan and Garth are the only smart ones actually taking the Fringe off. The girls all have other shows in this year's Fringe, and here is your guide to seeing them, and filling the HTA-sized hole in your hearts, (and your Fringe programs):
As always, Jane's sister-troupe Outside Joke is doing their unparallelled musical comedy at the Fringe.
Venue 20: Rudolf Rocker Cultural Centre (91 Albert St. 3rd Floor)
Shannon has created a mime troupe from 4 talented hearing-impaired performers and together they have developed a mime sketch comedy show. Not only will it be hilarious and scratch a lot of the same funny-itches that HTA does, but it's sure to be an eye-opening, interesting experience!
Venue 24: One88 (188 Princess street)
Jacquie's projects will be more like our set-to-music movement pieces. But significantly less funny... on purpose! This piece will be a "Victorian Gothic fairy tale told through theatre, movement and the dusty sounds of an old Victrola."
Venue 6: The Tom Hendry Theatre at the MTC Warehouse (140 Rupert Ave. at Lily St)
Happy Fringeing! And we'll be back in the fall with lots of exciting news! We promise.
The rule of three!
June 17th, 2014
It was announced this morning that HTA has been nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for best sketch comedy troupe in Canada, for a third time! In comedy writing, the "Rule of Three" dictates that all things are funnier in threes, and we couldn't agree more. So this bodes well for us. We can't wait to head to Ottawa later this year to show what we do and to see all the other amazing acts that are nominated. Should be a good time!
Now is also the perfect time to mention that this Saturday is our super fun mash up show with Outside Joke, Jane's improv family. This show is gonna be unlike any other we've done. It's not just us doing a set, and then OJ doing a set, we're actually mixing and matching, and OJ will be deriving inspiration from our sketches, as well as our previously unseen, unhatched sketch ideas from over our 8 years of writing. It is BOUND to be a fun crazy night full of "never to be seen again" moments. Get your tickets now, because they won't last long. Keep in mind, HTA is NOT doing Fringe this year, so this is your ONLY chance to see us until this fall! Get on it!
March 7th, 2014
Man, we must be having fun, because last time we checked, it was November and we were gearing up for our Christmas show, and now, suddenly it's March. In the meantime we travelled to Vancouver, for their inagural SketchFest, where we had a great time, performing there for our first time, and to a sold out crowd, to boot! Thanks for the warm welcome, Vancouver! Right now we're grearing up to head back to Toronto to perform at our third Toronto Sketchfest. Click here for more info and to buy tickets.
We also just released a brand spanking new YouTube video! Head on over to our Web Vids page to check it out!
Alas, this spring and summer we'll have a very different schedule than usual. We won't be performing at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival (as we have for 5 years in a row) due to scheduling conflicts. But watch for Jacquie and Jane to make appearances on The Irrelevant Show. Find our more here.
Then, this summer, we also won't be performing at the Fringe (as we have for the past 8 years). But we WILL be doing a joint show with Jane's improv family Outside Joke in June. It's gonna be off the hizzy! Find out more here.
Looking ahead further into the fall we've got lots in the works! Touring, video sketches, Winnipeg shows, lots! Check back here and like us on Facebook to be the first to hear about it all!
Nice Is Over-Rated
November 20th, 2013
We're very excited to announce our next show: "The Naughty List." This holiday season we've decided to help you cut through all the Christmassy smarm with a little cynicism and inappropriateness. Come join us Thursday December 19th, 8:00pm at the Gas Station Arts Centre (River and Osborne) for a collection of our most adult, our most off-colour, and our least Santa-approved sketches from our 8 years together. Tickets are $15.
Brilliant local comedian Chantel Marostica (left) will get the evening off to a nice adults-only start. Then join us afterwards for Christmas baking and egg nog (one of the best ways to get rum into you).
Okay maybe it's not all cold misanthropy: Bring a non-perishable food item and we'll get it to Winnipeg Harvest. But that's it for heart-warming! No warm hearts after that!
This show may be the only way to survive the onslaught of cloying sweetness this holiday season!
Fringe Tour Recap
September 11, 2013
What a summer! HTA returned from a long, crazy tour that saw us selling out in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton. Our primary goal of the tour was to get more people to hear about us, and it's safe to say that more people know about us than before! Head over to our (newly updated) Reviews page for a recap of some of the great things reviewers said about our show this summer.
To the left you'll see a handy dandy graphic with some fun stats from our tour, for the numerically inclined.
So what now? Our goal this year is to continue what this tour started, we are focusing all our attention on casting our net wider and wider. That will come in a couple different forms. First, we're applying to festivals like they're going out of style. Our goal is to travel to a ton of sketch and comedy festivals this fall and into next year. Stay tuned to details on that.
Secondly, some time this fall we'll be releasing another YouTube video, and don't be surprised if a few more follow this winter.
The Dog Days of Fringe
August 20, 2013
Well, what a crazy adventure this has been. Saskatoon ended on a great note, with us selling out our last few shows. The Saskatonian audiences were fantastic to us and we'd all love to head back there again.
After Saskatoon we hopped in our truck and headed off to Edmonton, where we were greeted with what we determined to be Winnipeg on growth hormones. The vibe of Edmonton is very much Winnipeg, but everything is just bigger. Higher population, taller buildings and definitely a bigger Fringe Festival. This Fest is massive, and a lot of fun. But with the size of the festival comes a lot more competition. Even just finding a place for posters is pretty much impossible. And the poor patrons are bombarded from all sides by eager performers handbilling their shows. But in spite of it all, things have been going great for us.
We have been reviewed three times, all with fantastic things to say. The Edmonton Journal calls us "impressively sharp, bright, funny." The weekly magazine VUE says "the troupe delivers a tight performance that speaks to their talent and dedication." And the Edmonton Sun, which had plenty of nice things to say predicted "Get tickets for this one early - it won't take long for word to get around." Turns out this is true since, as we write this, we are gearing up for a sold out performance tonight. The fact that we could sell out at a festival where no one had heard of us previously, and there are 214 other acts to compete with is very exciting for us, and we can't wait to perform tonight.
Only 5 more performances left at this festival (tonight included) and then we return home. This fall and coming winter is a bit of a mystery for us, but it will likely include more touring. We'd like to hit up several international sketch and comedy festivals throughout the year. We'll tell you more as we find it out.
But first thing's first, let's finish up Edmonton right. So anyone who knows someone in Edmonton, send them our way. Happy Fringeing!
On the road
August 7th, 2013
Well we're two thirds of the way through our run at the Saskatoon Fringe and we're having a blast. This is a beautiful little city with some fantasticly welcoming people. The Fringe Festival here is one of the greatest street-festivals we've been to. The challenge, unfortunately, as the performers have all found out, is letting the Saskatonians know that there is THEATRE being put on at this "street festival." But with that said we've been very fortunate with our audiences, selling out a few, and going very close with all the others. Our press coverage has been great and people who have come to see our show have had really great things to say.
Now, with only two shows left in this charming little prairie city, we begin to turn our attention towards the mega-festival that is Edmonton Fringe. We have yet to venture to Edmonton, but we've heard great things about the festival and the amount of people chomping at the bit to see plays.
The challenge THERE will be getting noticed in a sea of competition. In Saskatoon there are 34 plays, in Edmonton there are 215. If you live in Edmonton, or know anyone in Edmonton, we'd love your help in letting Edmontonians know about us. We know that people willl laugh their asses off at our show, the challenge is just to get those people to hear about us in the first place. So help us get the word out!
Tickets are now on sale for Edmonton Fringe, so go to our Fringe page for all the info you need and links to buy tickets!
Up and running
July 23rd, 2013
So we're off to a great start. Our show at the Winnipeg Fringe got started last week, to great success. We've sold out every show so far and the reviews have been out-standing. The Winnipeg Free Press says "Every freaking thing they do turns to comedy gold" and CBC says "they draw from a razor-honed toolbox of movement, voice, intelligence and timing to cut the clearest diamond of funny from any concept. You may fall in love." We couldn't be happier with how it's going.
Advance tickets are almost all sold out, but head over to our Fringe page to get the links to the last remaining tickets, or be prepared to line up early (usually about half an hour before they go on sale, which from Wednesday the 24th onwards, will be 6pm (so be there by 5:30)).
On top of our nightly Winnipeg Fringe performances, we're spending our days rehearsing our "Best Of" material which we'll be taking with us to Saskatoon and Edmonton Fringes right after Winnipeg. It'll be a totally different show than Winnipeg, filled with our "Greatest Hits" from over our 7 years of Fringeing. If you have friends or family in either of those cities, consider letting them know about us. We'll thank you, they'll thank you. It's a win win. It'll be your good deed for the year.
Once more unto the breach.
July 17th, 2013
The Winnipeg Fringe begins today, which means tonight is the premiere of our brand new self-titled show! We're very excited for people to see our new sketches with somewhat edgier material. We're not talking porn here. We just mean that we tried not to play it "safe."
Press coverage for our show has already been great. Metro ran a feature on us today which discusses our boundary pushing this year a little more. Click below to read the article. More articles coming from other media later this week. Follow us on Facebook to read them.
If you're in Winnipeg and you don't have your tickets yet, get on it! Lineups last year were crazy. Some diehards were lining up four hours in advance in the hot sun! While we obviously greatly appreciate the dedication, all that can be avoided if you just buy advance tickets while they're still around. Half the tickets are available in advance and half are on sale a the door, so get your name on one of those advance ones now!
After the Winnipeg Fringe we're moving on to Saskatoon Fringe and then Edmonton Fringe where we'll be performing a set of "Best of" material from over our 7 years of Winnipeg Fringes. We're super excited to show our stuff to these new cities. Get all the info you need here.
nudie high art poster is here!
June 24th, 2013
Our yearly Fringe poster has arrived! Photographed by the incomparable Ronnie Abelada. Enjoy! (But not too much.)
Here weeee goooooooooo!
June 10th, 2013
Well, the summer Fringe season is barelling towards us and we couldn't be more excited about it! Yesterday, to celebrate the start of our busy summer season, we launched a brand spanking new YouTube video entitled "Pizza Shack." Head over to our Web Vids page to take a look. We worked with the multi-talented Sean Skene on this sketch and we really hope you like it!
In just over a month the Winnipeg Fringe will start, which kicks off our three-city Fringe Tour to Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton. We've never been able to get to either of those last two Fringes before so we're so excited to check you guys out over there, and show you what we do! For all the up-to-date info on the Fringe, check our our handy-dandy Fringe page.
In the coming weeks will be a lot more exciting announcements and surprises, so stay tuned. And as always, the best way to keep up to date is to like us on Facebook. See you soon!
All You Need To Be Is Hot
April 30th, 2013
Last night our episode of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival aired, in which we played Alan Thicke's vapid entourage who assist him in his attempt to save the world. Hope you had fun watching it. If you missed out, or want to watch it again, the entire episode is now up on the CBC website. Click over to our "Web Vids" page to check out the link for that episode, and our appearance at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival before that.
While you're on that page, take a look at the other web vids we've created, including our sketch entitled "Torture" which seems to have taken off in it's own way. In the last year it's accumulated 13,000 views, to a total of 16,000 views. That's more than all our other videos combined. And sure, most of those views are coming from German men aged 45-64 who have just finished watching a bizarre German-language all-female prison torture grindhouse video. And sure MAYBE they're not catching all of the subtleties of our commentary on English grammar, but we're happy to enlighten and entertain whoever may happen upon our material. And if we can kill just one sicko's boner with a video about English grammar, then we've truly succeeded.
On a related note (about YouTube videos, not sicko's boners) in the coming weeks we'll be launching our first new web video in almost 2 years. So subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure you don't miss it. And at the very least, like us on Facebook. It's the best way of staying up to date on all things HTA.
Tune In To Save the World!
April 19th, 2013
Comedy Fest is over for another year, and we had a blast. We learned the hard way to never put the number 13 in your title, because we were beset by a series of calamities right before going on stage, not the least of which was Ryan being on death's door with the flu. But we pulled it out and we're pretty sure no one would have known, had we not just written it here.... damn. Thanks again to the great people from the Winnipeg Comedy Fest for having us back year after year.
On the theme of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, if you recall a whole year ago (feels like forever) we performed in the WCF televised gala "Save the World Telethon" alongside Alan Thicke. It was a career highlight for all of us and we're VERY excited to tell you that it's finally airing. Barring any Queens' Jubilees (see last year re: being preempted) it SHOULD air on Monday, April 29th at 9:00pm across Canada on CBC. So set your PVRs, mark you calendar. It's for real.
We just watched a screener copy of it and especially given that the producers of the fest asked us to write our musical number, learn the choreography for it and perform it about 2 weeks before the show, we're pretty durn proud of how it turned out. So tune in and laugh along with us, or at us, as the case may be.
And if you still haven't checked out our appearance and last year's festival with Andrea Martin, it's online! Dooo iiiit! Click here.
Ps. A movie that Ryan was in (as well as a billion Winnipeg performers) and that Jane's Improv troupe Outside Joke helped develop the script for, is heading to theatres this weekend. It's called "My Awkward Sexual Adventure." The Toronto Star says: "filmmaking sparks and a combustible cast set this rom-com blazing." The best way of supporting the Canadian film industry is to go see Canadian movies on opening weekend. And you don't even have to go to some sketchy art house to check it out. It's at the main theatres! Click here to find out where.
Under New Management
March 22nd, 2013
It's been a crazy, fun, whirlwind winter for us. We just got back from Toronto SketchFest where we performed to some fantastic audiences. Then the following weekend, we joined our friends (and Jane's improv alterna-family) Outside Joke to perform alongside them as part of their "Season of Yuks" at the Gas Station Arts Centre. We had a GREAT time and we all promised to team up again soon. And in a few weeks, we'll be performing again at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, in a show entitled "A Baker's Dozen: 13 Delicious Sketches." This is the show to invite your uninitiated friends to. We'll be performing our 13 most popular sketches, so it's not to miss for both the diehards AND the noobs.
Also, this week, we managed to find the time to film two new sketches for YouTube with our friend Sean Skene. We plan on releasing those this spring, hopefully along with a third, which we will film once the weather improves. We can't wait for you guys to see the new stuff. It should be pretty great. If you haven't checked out our previous 3 Award-Winning YouTube sketches, what the hell are you waiting for!?
We also have big news.
While we were in Toronto in December, pitching our TV pilot to broadcasters, we also took a fourth super top-secret meeting that we can now tell you about! We met with entertainment manager Perry Zimel of "Oscars Abrams and Zimel Talent and Literary Management Company," one of the foremost talent agencies in the country. We all fell in love with Perry's attitude, enthusiasm, and intelligence, not to mention his depth of knowledge and experience in this industry. Perry began his career with the Kids in the Hall and still manages a number of them today. He also has a roster full of international multi-award winning actors, directors, producers, composers, designers, writers and directors. (Clue: Perry got thanked at the Oscars last year!) Thankfully, Perry was also taken with us, and we recently decided to make our relationship official. Like, Facebook official! So, HTA now has a manager! We are very proud and excited to be working with the incomparable Perry Zimel as our manager, and his cohort, the delightful Karen LaRocca as our agent.
This is a big step in the career of any entertainer or group of entertainers as the case may be, and we couldn't be more thrilled about where this new path may lead us. So stay tuned!
Toronto Sketch Fest
January 21st, 2013
Happy New Year! Regardless of what happens in the coming weeks on the Pilot front (still waiting to hear back) this is already shaping up to be an exciting year for HTA.
This morning, Toronto Sketch Fest (which we participated in back in 2009) announced their line up of acts and so we can now tell you that HTA is one of the 5 "featured" acts of the festival. We're very excited to be heading back to Toronto for the third time in 7 months to perform for an audience that hasn't seen much of us yet. It'll be great to show what we do over here in the prairies all by our lonesome to the massive sketch comedy community in the Big Smoke, and also to watch as many acts as we can and see what they're doing these days. Fun fun.
Any Toronto fans, or even Toronto-bound fans, be sure to check us out. The festival runs from March 7th-17th. You can get your passes already by clicking here. And find out the other acts performing at the fest here. See you soon, Toronto!
December 11, 2012
What a whirlwind week. So our week in Toronto pitching our show to broadcasters was a great success. We met with Global (Shaw) on Monday (aiming for a show on Showcase, which they own). On Wednesday we met with CTV (Bell) in the morning, (aiming for a show probably on CTV itself, but possibly Bravo or Comedy, which they own). And we rounded out the trip with a pitch to CityTV (Rogers) Wednesday afternoon. All the executives we met were very nice and had lots of good feedback, comments, and questions. As surreal as it was (it was like living an episode of Seinfeld) we felt pretty comfortable in the room, and felt good after each meeting that we had presented the ideas how we wanted to. Can't ask for much more than that.
(A fun added bonus of the CTV pitch was getting to tour through the Much Music building on our way to the boardroom. Our inner Electric Circus dancers were beaming).
Then, when we got home, we set to work crossing all the Ts and dotting all the Is of the pilot script we wrote, as well as the written pitch materials (that are there to remind them exactly what we discussed in the meetings). And we sent those off today. Now the ball is in the court of the broadcasters. There are a million factors outside our control that will affect whether the pilot gets greenlit or not. But we feel like we've done everything we can, and we're really happy with our concept, our pitch, and our script.
So, a reminder of how it all works from here: if a broadcaster does like our premise and script, then they would greenlight a pilot (a sample episode), which we would film to give them an idea of what an episode would look like. Then if they like THAT, they would order a season, which, in Canada, is typically 13 episodes. And that's the point the public would get to see it. So that's quite a ways away still, but at least now we're one step closer!
No idea how long the waiting game will take, but we most likely won't hear anything until January. We'll be shocked if any of us have any fingernails left after Christmas. Keep your fingers and toes crossed and we'll let you know as soon as we hear anything.
Here we go
November 30th, 2012
We apologize for the lack of updates. This fall has been a whirlwind of work on the pilot. We've been toiling away crossing all the Ts and dotting all the Is. And it apparently payed off! We're very excited to announce that this weekend, we're flying to Toronto to meet with Global, CTV and CityTV about our sitcom concept. This is what almost two years of work has led up to, so it's very exciting (and obviously daunting). But we feel really strongly about what we've come up with and we're confident the networks will like it! So from Monday December 3rd to Wednesday December 5th we will be accepting donations of "good luck vibes" made deliverable to the Greater Toronto Area.
On other fronts, this Tuesday, December 4th, the next season of the Winnipeg Comedy Fest starts airing. No word on when our Alan Thicke-hosted "save the world telethon" singing and dancing extravaganza episode will air but we'll let you know as soon as we find out!
Speaking of saving the world: the day after we get home from Toronto we have a performance as part of a fundraiser benefit for Growing Opportunities International (GO!) which raises money to build a home for street children and orphans in Tanzania. Definitely a worthy cause but if you don't want to come for the world saving, come for the comedy! The night is hosted by our multi-talented friend Aisha Alfa who is absolutely hilarious.The night will be capped off by Winnipeg R&B songstress Flo. Find out more about the event here.
September 13th, 2012
Just wanted keep all you lovely readers up to speed. We're presently back, hard at work, on draft..... seven(?) of our TV pilot script. Each draft we write keeps getting funnier, tighter, and more viable as a series. We want to take the time to really do this right, because you don't get to pitch a show twice, it's gotta be amazing right out of the gate. Our script renovation is going so far as to entirely re-write one of the five characters, and to change the premise of what these characters are all seeking to accomplish together. Big stuff, but the script is feeling better and better every time. Our goal is to be done these fairly massive changes by the end of the month, and pitching in Toronto shortly thereafter.
Also, if you missed our appearance on the CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival (recorded in April 2011) then click here to check out the episode online. We're right up after the first commercial. We'll let you know when we hear anything about our 2012 episode airing. It may not be for a while though, so don't go on a hunger strike until then or anything. Thanks for visiting the site. More news coming soon!
It was the best of times (Pt. 2)
August 28th. 2012
Good news and bad news again, but the opposite this time. Last time our appearance at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival was set to air on CBC we were pre-empted by the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee Concert. But that same night we won the Actra Golden Boy award for Best MIP Short Film for our video shorts. This time the bad news is that we're coming home from the 2012 Canadian Comedy Awards awardless, BUT the good news is it looks like our special is finally set to air tonight!
The Awards were lots of fun this year. Highlights include the opening performance by Alan Thicke and a sea of spandex-clad aerobics dancers of Alan's 1980s Aerobics-Concert-Tour hit "Sweaty and Hot." Check out this sweet link for an idea of what we mean. Also, the brilliant Sean Cullen hosted a side-stage talk-show where he interviewed a series of comic nominees. Not only was it absolutely hilarious (he's seriously our new hero) but the bit ended with him surprising guest Colin Mochrie with the Dave Broadfoot award for comedy genius while his teary-eyed, and equally surprised wife Debra McGrath looked on (adorably). The whole moment was touching and inspiring, and of course, hilarious.
The troupe who DID take home the award for Best Sketch Troupe was Toronto's Falcon Powder, which features Scott Montgomery of Royal Lichtenstein fame. The members of Royal Lichtenstein are like our Winnipeg Sketch Comedy forefathers and foremothers. They were doing awesome sketch comedy when we were still angsty teens! We are friends with all of them now and we have a huge amount of respect and admiration for what they did. (We're making it sound like they're 400 years old. I think they're maybe 7 or 8 years older than us, but generations are quick in the sketch comedy world!) Anyways, super huge congrats to Scott and all of Falcon Powder.
Now, as for tonight, expect more hilarity from the likes of Cathy Jones, Jessica Holmes, Gavin Crawford, George Westerholm and two pieces from (our new hero) Sean Cullen. Not to mention host Andrea Martin, who herself contributes an awesome musical number. It's a great night of music and comedy, so check it out!
Ps. Now that we're back from Toronto we'll be diving back into Pilot Mode. So expect some news in the next couple months regarding our ongoing efforts to get a TV pilot made. You can read all about it here.
Headed to the Big Smoke again
August 22nd, 2012
We're off on another adventure to Toronto. This time, for the 2012 Canadian Comedy Awards,where we are nominated in the category of Best Sketch Troupe. The awards are at 7:00 on Sunday night (EST) so keep your fingers crossed all Sunday evening!
While we're there, we're also performing at our regular Toronto haunt: The Comedy Bar. Toronto fans, come check us out on Saturday night (the 25th) at 7:00 pm. Details here.
Also, and we are saying this tentatively since we have been burned before, APPARENTLY our episode of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival is set to air this Tuesday, August 28th, on CBC. But then again, the Queen might decide to have yet ANOTHER Diamond Jubilee festivity and pre-empt us again. So we'll see. But set your PVRs just in case.
Wish us luck!
Another Fringe down
July 30th, 2012
Another year, another great Fringe. We had a blast this year performing to some really fantastic audiences. Huge thank you to the super fans who lined up early to be able to get into our shows. In some cases, they showed up FOUR HOURS early! That's nuts. But the good kind of nuts! Seriously, thank you.
Although Body Language is all done, that's not the end of us for 2012. We don't have anything concrete to announce yet, but our intention is to perform again in Winnipeg some time again this year, probably around October or November.
Other than that, it's now back to Pilot Mode. After a short R&R break, we'll be back in the writer's room, polishing up our pilot script in preperation for pitching in Toronto this fall.
Speaking of Toronto: all Toronto HTA fans, we'll be there is just under a month for the Canadian Comedy Awards and we'll be performing on Friday the 24th at the Comedy Bar. We'll post more details soon.
Again, thanks to everyone for your awesome support. This year has been amazing so far, and it's far from over!
Fringe in full swing
July 23rd, 2012
Well the 2012 Fringe is up and running and so far we're having a blast. The audiences have been amazing, giving us lots of energy to perform this really physical show. As of now, pre-sale tickets are sold out for every day except Sunday July 29th, and those are likely to disappear soon too. Which means that at-the-door tickets are likely your best option. We've had to turn away 30-50 people from every show so far, so if you're looking to come, please make sure you show up at least 1.5 hours before the showtime to ensure you get your tickets.
Also, the reviews are in. CBC says we are "skilled, experienced performers delivering a series of flawlessly-enacted vignettes." The Winnipeg Free Press says: "Winnipeg sketch-comedy masters Hot Thespian Action hit the stage with the guaranteed fringe hit Body Language.... If you’re already a fan, you have your tickets. If you’ve never seen Hot Thespian Action, what are you waiting for?" Indeed, what ARE you waiting for? Get on it!
We'd like to also recommend a few shows for you:
Ryan's other show "The Seducer's Diary" has gotten great reviews, singling Ryan out every time. It plays at Venue 8, the Rachel Browne Theatre.
Finally, we'd like to recommend our very dear friends, clowns Morrow and Jasp who are putting on a show entitled "Of Mice and Morrow and Jasp." If you think clowning doesn't sound like your cup of tea, we seriously encourage you to give them a shot. They're amazingly talented, and not even the slightest bit creepy! It's a Fringe show experience unlike any other. Check it out at Venue 17: the Colin Jackson Studio at PTE in Portage Place.
Tickets now on sale for "Body Language"
June 20th, 2012
Tickets went on sale this morning for our new Winnipeg Fringe offering "Body Language," presented at Venue 18: the Gas Station Arts Centre. Everything you need to know about the show as well as links to buy your advance tickets can be found here.
And for the theatrically gluttonous, this year, since it's the 25th anniversary of the Winnipeg Fringe, the Fringe is putting on an event that they've called the 25 Hour Fringe, where you can literally Fringe for 25 hours straight. You can start watching shows at 11am on Saturday the 21st and finish watching them at 1pm on Sunday the 22nd. A little too crazy for you? Well you could also just do the overnight portion. Why would you want to do that? Well, because in a fit of madness, HTA agreed to be a part of this insanity. So we will be performing at some point in the middle of the night on the 21st (or should we say, the early morning of the 22nd). It's a bunch of really great acts, and a good price for checking them all out together! Read more about this lunacy here.
More Fringe updates soon!
It was the best of times...
June 12th, 2012
So, the Queen did in fact pre-empt us tonight. We apologize to anyone who tuned in and was sorely disappointed to see a lavish concert staring the worlds' most famous and well-loved musicians and comedians instead of us. But of all the people to be pre-empted by, we'll take the queen.
The silver lining was that while we were not being on TV we were receiving an award from the Manitoba branch of the Canadian actor's union ACTRA for the three video sketches we made last year. Not too shabby!
As soon as we hear anything about when the episode IS finally going to air, you'll be the first to know. Well actually, our Facebook page will be, so "like" us there to stay in the loop. But you'll be the second to know, we swear!
Tonight's (not) the night!
June 12th, 2012
UPDATE: Seems as if the CBC deems the Queen more important than us afterall. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert is presently airing, and it seems doubtful they'll interrupt it at 8 to air our episode. So, for now, tonight appears to not be the night. We will keep you posted if that changes. And we will obviously let you know when and if we hear of a NEW air-date.
Despite the TV scheduling gods plotting against us to make this the hardest to find show ever, (as of now, the guide on most TVs still lists the Queen's Jubilee Concert as the programming for tonight on CBC) we've been assured that our episode of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival IS indeed set to air tonight at 8PM CST and 9PM EST.
If you've discovered our site from having watched that episode, welcome! Take a look around, and then like us on Facebook so you can stay up to date on our comings and goings!
The most major of our recent comings and goings is that last week we found out we were nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Sketch Comedy Troupe in Canada, for the second year in a row! We'll be travelling to Toronto in August for the ceremony, where we're up against sketch troupes Falcon Powder, Jape, Peter n' Chris, and Uncalled For.
As for upcoming comings and goings, HTA is returning once again to the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. Our brand new show "Body Language" is set to premiere July 18th at 7pm at the Gas Station Arts Centre on River and Osborne. Tickets go on sale June 20th, so set a reminder!
Looking for updates on the TV pilot we're developing? Check out this page to learn what's going on and how you can help!
Thanks for tuning in tonight! See you again soon!
Comedy Fest finally set to air
June 6th, 2012
Frantic Films and CBC have finally announced that our episode of Winnipeg Comedy Fest from last year "The All Star Super Good Musical Variety Special" is set to air! Tune in on Tuesday June 12th for some comedy of the singy-songy variety. 9:00 PM all over the country except for Labrador which is 10:00. But check your local listings to be sure. The evening is hosted by sketch comedy legend Andrea Martin and features performances by Sean Cullen, Jessica Holmes, Cathy Jones and more!
Later that week we'll also have the honour of hosting the annual Winnipeg Mayor's Luncheon for the Arts. Find out more HERE. Should be a great event.
Also, two of our video sketches have been selected as part of the National Screen Institute's Online Short Film Festival. Find out more about the festival HERE.
And in the next week or so we should be able to reveal our finished poster graphic for our 2012 Fringe show "Body Language." Hold on to your butts. It's gonna be a good one! For a teaser pic, check out our Facebook page HERE.
More updates coming soon!
Alan Thicke is our hero
April 14th, 2012
Our performance at Thursday night's Winnipeg Comedy Festival "Save The World Telethon" gala was a success. Working with Alan Thicke was, collectively, a career highlight for all of us. Jane is still speaking in her spot-on Alan Thicke voice that she honed while standing in for him in rehearsals before he arrived Wednesday night. We think she may have actually forgotten her real voice. The whole night was a blast. Big thanks to Frantic Films and the Winnipeg Comedy Festival for asking us to partake. Hopefully it will air sometime this decade.
Speaking of long delayed TV appearances, our musical gala from LAST year's Winnipeg Comedy Fest looks set to finally air. Rumour has it June 14th is the date. We'll keep you posted as we get closer to.
April 5th, 2012
Things could not really be any busier right now for us. They've been so busy in fact, that until now, we haven't even had time to update you on our next performance, which is actually just a week away! It kind of just materialized out of nowhere, and since the moment we were asked to do it we've been running around like chickens with our heads cut off getting ready for it.
We're very excited to announce that for the 4th year in a row we'll be performing at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival. Our involvement has gotten amped up every time we've returned and this is a whole new level. In fact, we're pretty sure it's a career high for all of us. Alan Thicke, star of TV's Growing Pains is hosting next Thursday night's "Save the World Telethon" televised gala performance at Pantages Theatre. And we've been recruited to play his "entourage" as he hosts, as well as to perform a big song and dance at the end of the show that we've written especially for the night. It's gonna be a blast and we're excited for you to see it. For details and to buy tickets, click here:
Apart from preparing for that (which would be a big enough job on it's own) we're also in the final stages of polishing off our pilot script and finessing our pitch so that we can fly to Toronto as soon as Comedy Fest is wrapped to meet with the big four networks. We're very excited about that and can't wait to update you on how it goes. Keep your fingers crossed. Actually, please just keep your fingers crossed for the entirety of April. We'd appreciate it. You'll adapt.
Emerging from our cave
February 27th, 2012
Like the bleary-eyed groundhog who recently emerged from his hole to inform the world we'd have a short winter this year, HTA is just now emerging from our intense writing period where we buckled down and wrote the whole damn TV pilot! Having never attempted something that ambitious, we had NO idea what to expect, but we're very pleased to inform you that we're quite happy with our "finished" product and we think you will be too. We say "finished" because there are still many hoops to jump through on the way to getting this show on your TV, (next step, flying to Toronto in early April to pitch the script to networks) and through the process, many things are likely to change. But for now, what we have is something we really think you'll like, and we can't wait for you to see it.
Now a few odds and ends.
Our appearance on the televised 2011 CBC Winnipeg Comedy Fest musical gala is still coming. We'll be sure to update you when we find out when. We've heard that CBC is really happy with it and wants to give it a good publicity push. So we just have to be patient while they figure out when to air it.
Winnipeggers, if you haven't already, head on down to McNally Robinson and pick up the final issue of Sandbox Magazine. Not just because there's a nice final writeup about HTA, but because the magazine is (was) fantastic and will be greatly missed.
Lastly, we're excited to announce that, despite our pilot commitments, HTA will indeed be returning to the Fringe this summer once again, this time with something a bit different. Not a gritty drama or anything, but definitely a change of pace. We're excited about the possibilities. Much more info to come in the months ahead.
Things are just ramping up this year, so stay tuned for many more updates very soon!
HTA on the Uniter's 30 Under 30 List
December 1, 2011
HTA was thrilled to discover that we've been selected this year among the 30 people and groups that make up the University of Winnipeg's Uniter's 30 under 30 list; a list that "feature(s), in no particular order, a group of Manitobans who are 30 years old or younger who are making a difference and impacting their community in some way, or who are outstanding in their field – whatever that field may be." Sounds good to us! Thanks Uniter!
Also, we just got our hands on a sweet preview copy of the CBC Winnipeg Comedy Fest Musical Gala which will air in the next couple months. It turned out really great. It was sad to see the whole show, which was two hours live, get cut down to 45 minutes for TV. All the acts lost lots of really good chunks, but we're really happy with what they kept of ours. Congrats to Frantic Films and CBC on the production. Can't wait for it to air. We'll obviously keep you posted as soon as we find out when, specifically, that will be. But in the mean time, you can check out this preview clip.
Lastly, a mini update on the pilot: All this fall, HTA has been working hard to get ready to write our TV pilot this December. We've been studying and disecting examples of great TV writing, reading up as much as possible, and even practicing by plotting out hypothetical spec scripts for existing TV shows. And In two weeks time we're finally officially locking ourselves in a room for two weeks and getting this baby written. It's scary, fun, daunting and exciting all at the same time. We can't wait to see what comes of this writing process. Send us your comedy vibes starting on December 12th!
Last chance to catch some HTA
October 22nd, 2011
Tonight is HTA's last live performance for the next while. After tonight we'll be buckling down to write our pilot. So come on out and see us off, and help support the Winnipeg Fringe Festival while you're at it. Tickets are $18. The show begins at 8:00, at the Warehouse Theatre.
Last week we were in Toronto for the Canadian Comedy Awards. We had a fantastic time, both performing at the Comedy Bar, as well as attending the awards night. Sincere congratulations to PicnicFace who took home the "Best Sketch Troupe" prize. To have even been considered among the best sketch groups in Canada, given how little we've been seen on a national level, was a huge honour. We certainly hope to follow in PicnicFace's footsteps over the next couple years on our way to our TV show.
Now wish us luck as we get to writing it! As always, if you want to support us in a more tangible way, just click the PayPal link to the left to donate! Thanks for your support!
Busy times for HTA
October 6th, 2011
Ontop of working on writing our TV pilot (which you can still donate towards by clicking the link to the left, hint hint) HTA has 3 big events this month.
First up: tonight we'll be participating in the Winnipeg Reel Pride film festival short film competition. Our three most recent YouTube sketches were selected to compete for a cash prize (chosen by audience support). Join us at the Gas Station Arts Centre to view them on the big screen and cheer as loudly as you can! Here are the deets:
Reel Pride 8th Annual Short Film Competition
Gas Station Arts Centre
445 River Ave. Winnipeg, MB
Admission by donation
Next up, we're flying to Toronto to participate in the Canadian Comedy Awards, where we're nominated for Best Sketch Troupe in Canada. Not only are we going for the awards ceremony, but we'll be performing while we're there. If you're in the Toronto area, come check us out at the Comedy Bar. Here's the info!
Hot Thespian Action at the Comedy Bar
Saturday, October 15th
945 Bloor St. W. Toronto, ON
Lastly, but not leastly, upon our no doubt triumphant homecoming (see? We aim to make you laugh. Have you SEEN our competition?) we'll be mounting an hour long show at the MTC Warehouse (Tom Hendry Theatre) for two nights only. A mix of some the biggest hits from this summer's Fringe Best of Fest winner "A Show of Hands," along with a few of our alternate Best Ofs that haven't been seen in a while (and that lots of you requested after Fringe)! It's a night of our most top notch material and it should be lots of fun for everyone. Come out and support the Winnipeg Fringe, and see HTA for one last time before we retreat into a dark cave for a few months to buckle down on this pilot script. By the way, have I mentioned you can donate to that? Any way, here is the info:
Hot Thespian Action in BURNT CD
October 21st & 22nd
Tom Hendry Theatre at the MTC Warehouse
140 Rupert Ave. (at Lilly). Winnipeg, MB
Tickets $18 | $14 early bird (until Oct 14 at 11:59pm) (Here)
Call 942-6537 for more info or visit www.winnipegfringe.com
Hope to see you out!
Another Fringe gone, exciting stuff ahead
July 25th, 2011
A huge thank you to everyone who came out to see "A Show of Hands" at the Winnipeg Fringe this year and helped make this Hot Thespian Action's most successful Fringe yet. Between the multiple 5 star reviews and huge loud audiences, we had an awesome time. And it seems you did too!
Now HTA is switching gears. This fall we begin work, in earnest, on our TV pilot. We have the details all sorted out, we just need to actually get it written. This fall we'll publicly announce some of the details about our project. We're really excited to show you what we've been working on!
This pilot would not be possible without all the amazing support of our fans who have contributed to our pilot so far. As we write this, there are 5 days left in our IndieGoGo fundraiser. And through it, we've raised more than $6000. But we have lots more to raise. So if you're reading this, and you like the idea of having some Hot Thespian Action in your life every week, please consider donating whatever you can to help get this TV pilot off the ground. You can do so by clicking here.
Now, we'd like to take the time to officially thank all those who have contributed to our fundraiser so far.
George Hudson, Michael Duggan, Liette Kelsch, Maureen Hardy, Susan Loewen, Ken Mandziuk, Corey Birch, Kaj Hasselriss, Dean Harder, Jamie Pearce, Chris Loewen, Colin Connor, Laura Lussier, Philip Olcen, Kimberly Halpenny, Alexis Martin, Chris Werstiuk, Heather Witherden, Lizabeth Kogan, Ben Myers, LATravel Group, Rick Morgan, Robb Paterson, Sharon Pearce, Linda Hahn, Clare Lawlor, Peggy Miller, Brandy Schmidt, Corey Quintaine, Filip Tretjak, Mandi Maxwell, Jen Brocklehurst, Lindsay Brown, The Collins Family, and Tim Loewen.
And also a big thanks to many who contributed but who do not want their name publicly revealed.
And a huge "oh my god, you're amazing, how can we ever repay you?" thank you to
who took generosity to a new level and just floored us with her insane (in a good way) contribution(s!). Cathie, we all owe you huge, and we can't wait to write a part for you in our pilot!