Boys from land of 10,000 lakes make huge splash |

Boys from land of 10,000 lakes make huge splash

When you’re looking for true improvisational comedy trust the Stagebenders are the best.

Kim Thomassen and Gust Alexander come from theater backgrounds and with that experience coupled with a quick sense of humor has allowed them to break that third barrier and use the audience as the basis for their act.

They started out in the land of 10,000 lakes: Minnesota. They found their calling in Southern California only because you can only go so far in Minnesota. They’re a great comedy team in fact the last of the treat comedy teams. Comparisons were made to that of being a contemporary version of Abbott and Costello (well, OK, more like Costello & Costello).

Television and film appearances include “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” ABC’s “America’s Funniest People,” MTV’s “The Jenny McCarthy Show,” filmmaker Roger Nygard’s “Trekkies 2” and the Coen Brothers’ “The Naked Man.”

They have been featured in national publications such as Esquire and, believe it or not, Mechanical Engineering. Their pilot, “The Stagebenders TV Show,” might be picked up by a major network, possibly TBS since it already has “Lopez Tonight” and next month Conan O’Brien.

Their best work, though, is the live act. Seeing them go through their routine is fascinating to watch especially if you’ve never been in a sketch comedy act. When I bring them up on stage I usually refer to them as “700 pounds of Las Vegas showgirls rolled up into two, bald, fat chubby guys who are the funniest duo on the planet.”

Sometimes the Stagebenders will invite both audience and other comics on the bill to be a part of their act which is a little unnerving. It’s always fun to see how an audience member called up on stage will react but with a comic it’s different. One must toss out their entire act and just be opened-minded enough to let the scenario play out. We’re used to set material to get the crowd laughing but that doesn’t work when the audience is yelling out what character you’re supposed to be playing.

They’ve developed an almost cult-like following that over the years has grown to include actress Geena Davis, 1960’s rock band members of the Kinks and even Improv founder Budd Friedman. That is always a good thing, making Budd crack up.

And if having the Stagebenders wasn’t enoug,h we’re also getting yet another improvisational comic. Oh sure, Chipper Lowell is an experienced entertainer when it comes to juggling but he too feeds off his audience.

Chipper literally grew up traveling out of a suitcase with his mom and dad who performed in circus and arena shows all over America and abroad. Chipper’s father was a professional clown and stage actor while his mother performed an “iron jaw” act, literally hanging by her teeth high above crowds.

I am a huge fan of time travel movies and came across a pretty good one that was on the Gospel Network called “Time Changer.” It was part of the Christian channel’s programming, and I liked it even with the obvious religious message which was cool actually. And that speaks volumes coming from an “Oy Boy.”

Over the years Chipper has racked up and impressive list of stage shows in Atlantic City, Reno, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, New York, Aruba and Nassau. He has received many awards including Lake Tahoe Action’s “Specialty Act of the Year.”

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