Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

Lost Ogle Q & A: Red Dirt Improv

For the few of you that know me, you know that I am a comedy nerd. I’m a big fan of the stand-up comedy, but recently I have been getting into improv. So it makes me happy that the Red Dirt Improv is holding its Third Annual Improv Festival Oklahoma July 28-31 at the City Arts Center (on the State Fairgrounds).

I interviewed James Murray, one of the founding members of Red Dirt Improv and IFO for this Ogle Q & A. In this interview we discuss improv, Heidi Klum’s skin secrets (Hint: it’s Seal juice), and how turn a regular bathrobe into a Snuggie (Hint: turn it around).

1) This is the 3rd year of the Red Dirt Improv Festival; how did this get started?

The members of Red Dirt Improv knew that there were several improv comedy groups in Oklahoma, but there was very little interaction between these groups.  We thought it would be fun to invite all the groups we could find to one location to do a big show.  We also thought it would be neat to get some big names in improv to come teach classes at our festival, so the first year we invited Joe Bill (Chicago) and Jill Bernard (Minneapolis).  We decided to call it Improv Festival Oklahoma, to celebrate the variety of improv Oklahoma had to offer.  We put our information out there and invited groups to apply.  Not only did we get several Oklahoma troupes to sign up, but many out of state troupes as well.  The first year had a total of twelve improv acts over the course of a Friday and Saturday night.

The first year was an awesome experience, so we decided to do it again the next summer and slap the word “Annual” on it.  The Second Annual Improv Festival Oklahoma grew to eighteen acts.  This year (the Third Annual Improv Festival Oklahoma) we’ve expanded to three nights of improv, featuring twenty six improv performances.  This year will be the biggest improv event Oklahoma has seen.

2) Why should I come to the improv festival? I have “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” on DVD.

It’s hard to knock televised improv games too much, because many of us got our start in improv by copying games we saw on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”  Some of the suggestions on TV shows are provided by the audience, but some are just provided by producers.  One advantage to going to live improv is that you’ll have a chance to provide the suggestions, and know that the shows are being created for your audience.  Part of the fun of improv is knowing that scenes are being made up on the spot, which is much easier to verify in person.

3) Who gets more chicks, Improvisers, Stand-up Comics or Jim Traber?

Improvisers get a lot of chicks for short periods of time.  Improvisers basically lie as a hobby, and sometimes this ability can be used to attract others.  This often bites them later.

Stand-ups probably get more chicks that stick around longer.  They practice doing things well, and make improvements as necessary.  I’m sure there’s a Dr. Phil explanation somewhere that would explain why these relationships might last.

Jim Traber is on the radio.  It’s hard to meet chicks on the radio.

4) Have you ever stuck your face in front of a box fan to make yourself sound like a cyborg when you talk?

I always try to sound like a cyborg when I talk.  But thanks for the box fan tip, that will help out!

5) How big is this festival going to become?

Festivals like Out of Bounds in Austin and the Chicago Improv Festival have multiple venues with competing shows over the course of a week or two.  We’ve got one venue over the course of three days.  Improv Festival Oklahoma is certainly smaller than other improv festivals by comparison, but improvisers get (to) perform and see everyone else perform.  We definitely like to see our festival grow each year, but there are advantages to hosting a “small” festival like we do.  Our basic plan each year is to showcase as much improv as we can without going broke.

6) What’s better, long form or short form improv?

I personally enjoy performing and watching both long form and short form improv.  Short form is able to provide quick blasts of funny moments, where long form has more time for characters to breathe and develop.

7) What is your favorite emoticon?

I like : |

It gives the reader no information whatsoever about a person’s mood.  It’s the poker face of the emoticon world.

For more information about the festival visit the website.


  1. If Rick Mitchell attends, will Marisa hotbox him in hopes of having an intimate conversation?

  2. Is it just me, or is Red Dirt Improv represented by a picture of a protest at Hooters? Call me daft but I don’t see a connection.

    • There is no connection. I googled, “Sexy Improv Girl” and that was a picture that came up. I thought it was funny, so in it went!

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