When the Boat rocks you.

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"Smart. Irreverent. Fast. Hilarious."

Boat is the Brooklyn, NY-based sketch trio made up of Amos Vernon, Mike Lane, and Nunzio Randazzo. The three met when they were attending different colleges in California and formed Boat when they independently moved to New York to pursue their comedy dreams. All are performers at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York, and Vernon is a contributing writer for the Onion.

Weekly NYC audiences and NCCAF crowds for the past three years have enjoyed sketches from Boat. Boat shows feature "solid acting, sharp writing, and polished sketches that continually defy expectation. A Boat show is like trying to get in front of a runaway freight train. We’ll rip the laughs from your stomach whether you like it or not," according to the men in white.

Since joining forces more than three years ago, these stellar sketchmakers have been official selections at such festivals as Chicago Sketchfest, New York City Sketch Festival, San Francisco Sketchfest, and our very own North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival. The three appear this year at the NC Comedy Arts Festival for the fourth time. What are the gentlemen of Boat excited about at NCCAF this year?

"Fun crowds! Time Out! The Station!"

Boat performs at DSI on Friday 2/8 and The ArtsCenter on Saturday 2/9.

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— Contributed by Joe Dawson

RISK! with Kevin Allison (The State, MTV)

Heartbreaking, vulnerable and hilarious, “RISK!” is a live show and podcast in which guests tell “true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public.”  The guests for the show at NCCAF include NCCAF Favorites Jane Borden (Junior Varsity, TIME OUT NY) and Josh Gondelman (Modern Seinfeld Twitter, Rooftop Comedy).

Kevin Allison, the creator and host of “RISK!,” is a veteran of the 1990s sketch comedy troupe The State. He has also appeared in Reno 911!: Miami, VH1’s Best Week Ever and HBO’s Flight of the Conchords. He created “RISK!” in 2009 when he realized the power of direct, honest storytelling.

Following years of telling stories through the guise of outlandish characters, Allison followed, fellow member of The State, Michael Ian Black’s advice to drop the characters and tell stories as himself.

“Suddenly, I was looking right into the eyes of audience members. We were reacting to each other, like friends. After the show, people didn’t just say, ‘That was funny,’ they said, ‘Thank you. That really got to me.’ I was finding the meaning in my own experiences and the people listening felt like they’d lived through these things with me. The more I worried I was taking a risk with a story – because it was too emotional, too provocative, or just too nuts – the more the audience lit up,” says Allison on the “RISK!” website.

The show’s website describes “RISK!” as “just about the most cathartic, laugh-out-loud, anything-goes kind of smorgasbord you’re likely to see anywhere.” “RISK!” has been compared to “The Moth” and “This American Life,” but Allison claims it’s less polished, sometimes less palatable, than those shows, and more closely resembles“Mortified,” a stage show in which adults share their childhood writing and art. North Carolina audiences would most-likely compare it to “The Monti.”

Since the creation of “RISK!,” shows have featured stories about subjects ranging from meth addiction to bad dates, and performers such as Janeane Garofalo, Lisa Lampanelli, Kevin Nealon, Margaret Cho, Marc Maron, Sarah Silverman and Rachel Dratch. It’s expanded to include monthly shows in both New York and Los Angeles, and the podcast receives hundreds of thousands of downloads each month.

This is a must-see show for fans of comedy, storytelling, or of simply being human.

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— Contributed by Rebecca Collins

Repeat Offenders

Casual Sex Offenders

Casual Sex Offenders may be “required” by law to inform you they’re coming to Carrboro to perform for the third year in a row, but, you know, no big deal.

This group of talented improvisers hails from New York, where Casual Sex Offenders was formed during a UCB class in the summer of 2009. The members of the group have also trained at the Second City, the Annoyance Theatre and iO. The current members of the group are Ken Beck, Dave Bushnell, James Coker, Shalyah Evans, Geoff Ross, Austin Rye, Staci-Lyn Smith and Marshall Stratton.

In addition to hosting a monthly show that features improv, sketch, standup and storytelling at the Creek and the Cave in Queens, Casual Sex Offenders has also performed at the Del Close Marathon, the Boston Improv Festival, the Washington Improv Theatre, the Up the Creek Festival, the UCBW Cagematch and the Magnet Inferno.

Casual Sex Offenders perform montages with a documentary-style opening.

We try and play pretty loose, sit in the scenes we’re enjoying,” said Ken Beck.

Beck said that performing at NCCAF has been a major highlight during Casual Sex Offenders’ time playing together, and that he and the other members of the group can’t wait to return to Carrboro (not only to perform, but also to sink their teeth into chicken cheddar biscuits from Time Out).

“People should come out and catch our set because they’ll get an hour and a half of fun [including the other two acts, Red Letters and Popular Science].” BUY NOW

— Contributed by Rebecca Collins

Entries are being accepted for “Occupy Conan”, our fan-sourced episode. 
Content has included live action, animation, stop-motion, and of course, child ninjas.

The deadline for entries is 3pm EST / 12pm PST on Jan 4. 

North Coast hits NC

North Coast

It seems that the greatest fear of many improvisers is the possibility of having to rap in a scene, but not for the members of North Coast, New York’s only freestyle rapping, beatboxing and long-form improv team.

“I think our show is kind of its own beast. It’s not standard musical improv. It’s not standard long-form improv. It’s North Coast. It’s a whole different kind of experience,” explained Boris Khaykin, one of the members of the group.

2013 marks North Coast’s third performance at the NC Comedy Arts Festival, but the group—currently comprised of Jonathan DeMuth, Shaun Fisher, Boris Khaykin, Oscar Montoya, Julia Morales, Angie Randazzo, James Robilotta, Rachel Rosenthal and Douglas Widick—was created in 2009. The team regularly performs at the UCB Theatre, the PIT and the Tank Theatre. They have performed at festivals such as the Del Close Marathon, the Women in Comedy Festival, the New York Musical Improv Festival and the Boston Comedy Arts Festival.

North Coast fully embraces the obvious connection between improv and freestyle rap, and creates exciting, engaging and downright awe-inspiring shows that leave audiences and fellow improvisers alike wishing they themselves had better rhythm.

“For people seeing us for the first time, I think they are a little shocked by our energy and excited at how different it is!” said Khaykin, (who is also performing solo during NCCAF standup week). “Our opening is so high energy and so different from other acts, that my favorite moment is when people have never seen us before… and they see the opening for the first time! They are usually quiet through each verse because they are trying to listen to every little rhyme and take it in—and then the opening ends, and they explode with applause. It’s so awesome to experience that with them. It may not be our first time experiencing it, but I love it every time.” 

North Coast will “make your gut bust and your head bop,” so you don’t want to miss this show! BUY TICKETS NOW

— Contributed by Rebecca Collins