Real Live Action

Slide Show 3: A Night of Improvised PowerPoint Comedy


Little Mountain Gallery; September 8, 2017

Samantha Peng
Image Courtesy of
Blind Tiger Comedy

Slide Show 3: A Night of Improvised PowerPoint Comedy sold out quickly — and for good reason. In my experience, improv shows are a hit or miss and this one hit the mark. Produced and hosted by Stacey McLachlan and Max Mitchell, in association with Blind Tiger Comedy, the show featured six talented improvisers — Tom Hill, Nima Gholamipour, Ese Atawo, Jenny Rube, Denea Campbell and Ryan D. Anderson.

PowerPoint slides, featuring questionable WordArt, were provided to each of the improvisers, forcing them to act out a coherent storyline to match the surprises appearing on the slideshow

The first thing that struck me arriving at the show was the cozy hole-in-the-wall atmosphere of Little Mountain Gallery. To its advantage, it is a small establishment. The intimacy of the space gave me the impression that I was being let into an exclusive event.

As I stood by the entrance waiting to be let in, I could hear upbeat music, laughing and excited chattering coming from inside. Once in, I was greeted warmly by McLachlin, the host of the show, as I settled into my seat.

McLachlin really was the star of the show. Her lighthearted humour and ability to seamlessly transition from in-charge to quick-witted was admirable. She also had a knack for improvising silly questions to ask the show’s performers: “If you could have an extra thumb anywhere, where would you put it?”

“I’d put it near my butthole,” delivered Gholamipour without hesitation. And that was only the beginning of the night.
All six of the improvisers left the house howling with laughter. They all had the ability to make jokes at their own expenses, using awkward pauses to their advantages and weaving their unexpected WordArt images into their performances. You could tell this wasn’t their first, or even twentieth, rodeo; they were well-seasoned actors who were adaptable to audience interruption and dead ends in humour. They reeled in their audience and made us believe in their stories.

At one point, Campbell, who was pretending to host a film festival, made me forget I was watching an improv show, and not the breakdown of an insecure, kind of delusional, film festival producer.

The location was cozy, the people were friendly, but more importantly, the performances were hysterical. I never expected WordArt, PowerPoint and improv to make such a weirdly hilarious combination. But that’s the beauty of improv: you can make anything funny with a little imagination.