Last night, I had the chance to attend a Somerville Theater screening of Trust Us, This Is All Made Up, an indie film about two gentlemen, TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquasi, who put on a two-man show that is completely improvised, starting the moment they get up onto the stage in front of a live audience. It was produced by my colleague Adam Roffman, who also programs the lovely Independent Film Festival of Boston.
The film was a great exploration into the joys, the perils, and the intricacies of improv comedy. TJ & Dave speak insightfully about the process of collaboration and about the characters they try to create. But if there’s one thing that the film impressed upon me, it’s the following: Improv comedy (especially long-form improv comedy) is very, very difficult. What TJ & Dave do is unique and impressive, and there are moments of absolute brilliance during the show (one iteration of which is presented completely uncut during the course of the film). But there are perhaps equally as many moments of painfully awkward silences and jokes that fall flat.
Still, none of that is the fault of director Alex Karpovsky, whose great camera setup and editing faithfully capture the mood and energy inside the theater. As a “concert” film, the film was actually quite impressive. If you’re into improv comedy and the process behind it, the film is well worth your time.
Also, the film’s distributor, B-Side, is pursuing an interesting strategy, allowing people to receive screener DVDs to host private/public screenings before the film actually goes on sale on February 16, 2010. Check it out on their website.