Though the ’Boro might be a funny place to live, it’s not known for an abundance of comedy options, live or otherwise. Sure, George Manus Jr.’s Out Front is missed by those who frequented the venue, and Sam Clemens keeps busy running The Murfreesboro Tribune, but who are the dedicated funny-makers in 2017?
If you’re looking for a laugh in Murfreesboro, M-Prov (Murfreesboro Improv) might just be the tickle your funny bone needs. It’s an entity that M-Prov member Andrew Thornhill says “started initially as a group of guys who wanted to perform comedy in Murfreesboro.”
“We all had some form of comedic experience, but none of us really knew the intricacies of forming and running a group,” Thornhill says of the team. “We started with five people: E. Roy Lee, Sam DiMartino, Dan Jones, Gavin Dillinger and myself. We met in Roy’s kitchen and goofed off for a few months before we finally were able to book a show at the Center for the Arts, who have been super-accommodating since the get-go.”
He tells the Pulse that between himself and Lee there’s two decades of improvisational experience, earned through failed jokes and tested bits at the Nashville Improv Company. He shares that DiMartino has a humble following through his YouTube channel, Jones does voice actor work, Amanda Tucker performs various tricks of physicality with hula hoops, and that Dillinger is a writer.
Andrew adds “We’re all extremely creative folks who use improv as not only a chance to be funny, but an outlet for unbridled creativity in a setting where it’s okay to explore different options and work together to create something truly unique.”
As a unit, the team is looking to learn and grow, which has had them doing the Whose Line Is It Anyway? style of stuff and branching out into material that warrants a loose script—like last February’s combo-holiday package We Love You, President Groundhog that combined video, games and everything else.
The members see the M-Prov group as a way to get better at their individual hobbies by creating a “no filter” atmosphere that encourages quick-on-your-feet thinking while serving as “an exercise in trust, honesty and vulnerability.”
Because they don’t limit themselves, they see a motley crew of demographics that has packed several theater bookings. Past events like the Geek Pride Parade and the Discovery Center’s Shakesbeer have shared space on the calendar with the Mayday ’Boro Comedy Night – M-Prov’s regular variety show that mixes stand-up with sketch performances.
“Well, we certainly aren’t rehearsing in a kitchen anymore,” Thornhill says. “The group has succeeded in doubling in size and then some. We’ve seen cast members come and go and we’ve had a lot of fun in the process. Our first year of shows were pretty rocky at times. We weren’t sure if Murfreesboro even wanted an improv group. And I don’t think Murfreesboro knew if they wanted one either! Now, we like to think people know what they’re getting into when they come to an M-Prov show.”
In addition to booking events, the group also offers workshops for people who are trying to make their daily grind a little less stale.
For more on Murfreesboro Improv, visit mprovboro.com.
See the show:
Mayday Brewery hosts the group’s Boro Comedy Night, an evening of standup, improv and sketch comedy, every third Friday, the next one coming up Aug. 18.
M-Prov also has a Sept. 29 date scheduled at the Center for the Arts.