Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sean Astin at JesterZ Improv Comedy Club

[Sean Astin performed at the JesterZ Improv Comedy Club in Phoenix, AZ, May 5, 2016. Here's a report from an attendee.]

Loyals on the Loose!
by Laura Lawson

"Hobbits really are amazing creatures, as I have said before. You can learn all that there is to know about their ways in a month, and yet after a hundred years they can still surprise you at a pinch.”
—My thoughts, after seeing two performances by Sean at JesterZ. 

I have great faith in Sean’s efforts and abilities, but once again he has not only risen to the bar, but tripped, leaped, and threw himself right over the top of it, with an adorable abandon that Cheyanne Witte and I were delighted to witness.


It was a bit of a last minute decision for us to attend Sean’s appearances at JesterZ Improv.
His two performances there would be benefits for #Run3rd. When we tried to buy tickets for both shows, the evening one was sold out. Fortunately, the owners were kind enough to work with us to be able to attend both.

The day was to reach 100 degrees, there in Mesa, but that did not deter us from arriving 3 hours early. At that, we were not first in line! A nice crowd gradually joined us. We had a great time getting to know the others in line and had fun talking about all of our favorites Sean movies. We were eventually let in and able to take our seats. The crowd was encouraged to bid on items to benefit #Run3rd, to put suggestions in a hat, and to ONLY have cameras out during the introductions.

Finally, the Jesterz for the first show were introduced. The last one was Sean, and he came out with much grand flourishing and posturing—and then left!!

Okay. Then he returned, and the show began!

My only experience with improv is the hilarious styling of "Whose Line is it Anyway?" (This is a show that always has me laughing so hard that I get asthma! I adore it!)

From the first skit (is that the right term?) until the last, the laughter never stopped. Sean sang and danced and quipped with the best of them. On the few occasions where he hesitated, the other jesters stepped right in. Sean did have to be reminded a few times that this was a family show!

At one point the MC stopped the show because he saw a couple of cameras out. It was Mindy Przeor, holding a phone so Sean's daughter could watch via Skype, and the wife of the MC/ co-owner of JesterZ! It shows how serious they were about cameras, and shows how difficult it is to see the audience! I believe that the venue held less than 300 people. Cheyanne and I were in second row center. With the stairs there, we had no one in front of us and could prop our feet up! We chose to sit there again for the second show.

I wish that we could remember all of the specific skits. They all blur between the two performances.

At the end of show 1, people could greet all of the jesters including Sean, as they exited. No photos or autographs were allowed because of Sean’s upcoming attendance at Phoenix Comic Con. Cheyanne and I went about last. I told Sean that he had done really well, and he said that I am "too easy". Guess I am, where he is concerned, But he did do really well! I also asked about his hoarse/sore throat. He said he didn’t feel sick, just sounded funny. He arranged for us to be able to wait inside for the 2nd show rather than go wait in that very long line outside. (Thank you, Sean!)

The 2nd show was a bit looser (still family friendly, mostly) and the audience a bit rowdier! There was a good bit of LOTR referencing, a good many Sean crushes expressed by the cast, lots of hand-holding and bro-love! Yes, said a jester, Sean hugs were every bit as good as you would expect! Said of a few kisses, too!

Some things that I remember: Sean chastising Cheyanne for taking multiple photos! "Just one!", Sean said and gestured! See photo! Much dancing and singing! Romantically, silly, Urban Rap!!!. Figure skating lifts!-everyone in the cast wanted to hold Sean!!

The crab fishermen skit. The one about the apricots, and what eating too many of them can do too you..... Scrapbooking, A-Zephyr! The wonderful, manly Hawaiian dancing/ Luau tour guide. Sean,s Spanish speaking. At one point during one of the singing skits Sean got so into his song he turned to the keyboardist and told her to "pick up the tempo!" then continued singing! It all happened so very fast! Show 2, the first phrase "suggestion" pulled out of the hat, and read by a woman jester was " I love spam and reeses." That was one of mine! Sean’s response was: "sounds kind of fruity, to me"! At the beginning of the 2nd show, Sean looked at me and said "3 hours?" We guessed that he had finally seen our message that we were there, 3 hours before the show!!😊

One neat thing was that when I had picked up my rental car that morning, the young man at the desk asked what I was in town for. He was very interested when I told him and, to my surprise, he came up to me right before the 2nd show! He and his wife were able to get tickets. Afterwards, I introduced them to Sean, and later got an autograph for them. That was fun! They were seriously thrilled!

We waited awhile before saying our good-byes to Sean. At that point he had signed the raffle items for winners, and was taking photos and signing an autograph for friends, family, cast members. He is always so generous with us, and we tried not to be too greedy. I love my photo with him. I still think of his mom when I see him, and hope that all of our collective Loyal Love helps him. He recorded a lovely video for Cheyanne’s daughter. As always, tried to fit so much conversation in such a tiny bit of time!

This improv thing was a side of Sean that we had not experienced before. We knew he was quick-witted and funny, but the guts it takes to put it all out there and to carry it off so well was more than a delight. I know that I want to see more of this side of him!

I’m so happy to have shared this experience with Cheyanne!❤️

For now, Laura Lawson, for Loyals on the Loose, signing off!


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