Meet the Inmates: Andy Bridges
Monday, April 04, 2016
Role: Main Stage Tech Director, House Teams Performer, Laugh Boston Talent Coordinator
Techs: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays
Tenure: Been with Improv Asylum since 2012
So you’re kind of like a Jack-of-all-trades at Improv Asylum. Could you give me a brief rundown of all the different roles you have down there?
I used to be an usher down there for two years. While I was doing that I started to work on this show ‘Movieoke’. It was like karaoke but with movie clips. So I’d be up in the office researching movie clips and putting them together with subtitles. That was fun- that show came and went. Then I started doing tech and I moved on to that. Similar to the ‘Movieoke’ gig, I got asked to write the cards for ‘Show Against Humanity’. So that’s a fun little creative outlet. I have a list on my phone and I hope no one finds it. It’s very weird and out of context. And then for Laugh Boston I’m the Talent Coordinator, which means I’m just the driver. I pick up and drive the comics.
So if you had to choose one of these roles to be your favorite, which one do you think resonates with you most?
Definitely making the cards. I can pretty much just write whatever. There are times when I would write something and be like, “I will run this by someone because I’m not sure if this will slide.” So that’s the most fun. Teching can also be very enjoyable. I also do House Teams and, as fun as it is to perform, I also really like being behind the scenes and being involved that way, just playing music down there. The Main Stage show we just put up is the first Main Stage show I’m doing tech for. I’ve had people come up to me and send emails or tweet at Improv Asylum asking, “hey do you guys have a playlist of the music you played at the show the other night? ‘Cause it was awesome.”
Yeah, the music is awesome.
When you first started teching for shows, did you find it difficult to sync the tech with the content? How does tech improv compare to acting improv?
Yeah, it’s tricky to tech improv. When I first started, part of me always felt guilty. Like everyone’s loving this scene, they’re loving it and having a good time but, I have to end it ‘cause I have to keep the timing down. So that part was weird. There’re a lot of variables. Scenes have to be a certain time limit, you have to end with a laugh. If they do a five minute interview, the scene usually needs to be at least five minutes. There’s a lot of different things to take into consideration: If there’s a big laugh before five minutes, do I end it there? Or do I think they have more in them?
Do you believe you need to be just as in sync with the performers as they need to be with each other?
Oh, yeah. I’ve been doing it for a couple years now and I like to think I’m a lot better at it now. If there’s a scene going on and it’s really funny and I want to end it, but then there’s a big laugh and someone walks out on the scene, I try to hold it for them and see what they have to bring to the table.
What is your biggest pet peeve inside and outside the Improv Asylum world?
I have so many dumb little pet peeves. I hate when I’m with people at a bar or something and they’re like, “Alright, let’s leave. Let’s head out.” And you’re all ready but then they’re like “Oh hold on, I want to talk to someone” or someone else walks past you and your friend starts talking to them, and then the conversation starts getting more detailed, and leads to other conversations...I’m a big fan of the Irish exit. Don’t say goodbye to everyone. That, and in the theater, when people in the audience talk during shows. It’s one of those things that everyone does to a degree. You might say “Oh, I never talk during a show,” but you might, to your friend, and you’re having such a good time that you might not even realize it. Talking during shows really gets beneath my skin.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Boston?
I like taking aimless walks. On any given day if I have time to kill, I usually try to go down to Jamaica Pond. It’s really nice, just walking down to the pond and walking on the side streets with those huge mansions, thinking “Maybe one day. Probably not, but maybe one day.”
So how many shows do you think you’ve been to at Improv Asylum? Hundreds? Thousands maybe?
It’d have to be thousands. Low thousands. I mean I’ve been there for four years, I’m pretty much down there 365 days a year.
What is your favorite part of working at and being a part of the Improv Asylum family?
Just that, that it is a family. I’ve made so many good friends here, so many good opportunities. Before I worked here I worked at a deli-type place for five years. I thought that was gonna be it. It’s a real bummer of a place to work, and I had no idea this whole community existed. I grew up in the South Shore so coming up here and being able to meet everyone...I just can’t imagine what my life would be like if I wasn’t working here. I think it’d be a lot sadder.
Same. I can definitely say the same. I just started working here two months ago and it’s such an uplifting place to work.
Yeah, and you fit in really quickly too. You just get this vibe. Like wow, people here are really nice and cool. When I was working in retail and stuff like that I was like, “I don’t like this job, but I could never work a corporate job. It just seems so blegh.” Then I came here and I was like, “well this is probably an exception.” It just feels like a big dorm room, and the people who live above you also pay you.