In the words of my 8-year-old son Jaxson, “Mom, I have never laughed this hard in my whole life.” My whole family was laughing during our visit to the Atlanta Improv Club for the monthly Phat Kidz Comedy Show. The “Kidz”, ages 6-17, showed quick wit and the ability to think on their feet as they each performed a short comedy routine in the first half of the show and then collaborated on team improv scenes in the second half.
The show’s host and executive producer is Quincy Bonds, aka “Pookie” from Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. Bonds developed the Phat Kidz Comedy program to give talkative and energetic kids a creative outlet for self-expression. He kicked off the show with a brief warm-up set and introduced the comics, whose stand-up routines covered relatable subjects like school drama and celebrity gossip.
My 8-year-old sons and 4-year-old daughter loved the improv games featured in the second act, which was a cross between “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and “In Living Color.” The audience participated by giving ideas to the young comedians as they asked for them, like movies, colors and topics. My crew had a blast giving input into what they were seeing unfold in front of them. Two audience members joined the fun onstage during certain scenes, but my kids just enjoyed watching the performers create and improvise. The Atlanta Improv opens its doors at 4 p.m. and the two-hour show starts at 5 p.m. Audience members sit at tables, and can order off the club’s menu, which includes chicken wings, quesadillas, burgers and salads. Kids interested in joining the Phat Kidz Comedy team can participate in working rehearsals, which take place at the Omen Agency in Castleberry Hill, on select dates. Visit the website or call for details.
Phat Kidz Stand Up and Improv Comedy Show
56 E. Andrews Dr. NW, Atlanta
Last Sunday of each month, 5-7 p.m.
Adults, $10; ages 5-17, $5; ages 4 and younger, free. $10 service fee per table.
– Marteeta Cannon Spradling
A recent Friday night at The Basement Theatre in Buckhead was laugh-out-loud, snort-soda-out-your-nose funny. During the Family Improv Show, kids as young as 4 called out answers to questions posed by the adult actors onstage who wove the audience suggestions into comedic scenes. (What’s your favorite place to shop? What’s a good pet name?)
Throughout the show, audience members volunteered to assist onstage by providing sound effects on the microphone or by moving actors’ limbs when they played mannequins. From our seats, we even got to decide when actors should stop what they were doing during a game by yelling “Freeze!”
Before the show began, every attendee was asked to write a movie quote on a slip of paper and put it in a jar. The grand finale scene featured the actors incorporating those lines, from animated kid movies to serious dramas. Kids got excited when they heard their quote being used on stage in unusual scenarios. It was, according to my daughter Leah, age 11, the “funniest thing in the world.”
Advance reservations are strongly recommended since the theater is small and walk-ups can’t always be accommodated. A bar serves adult beverages and snacks, along with candy and sodas for kids. Teen improv classes are taught at the theater, and the Family Improv Show is a popular choice for tween birthday party outings.
Family Improv Comedy at the Basement Theatre
175 West Wieuca Rd. NE, Atlanta
Fridays, 8 p.m.; $10
– Dalia Faupel
The Youth Improv Troupe of Act 3, made up of local middle and high school students, perform family-friendly improv shows several times a year. Audience participation is encouraged, and all ages are welcome. Auditions for the troupe are held each May, and current troupe members interact with potential members during the process. Weekly rehearsals focus on specific elements of improvisation. Check website for upcoming shows.
Act 3 Productions Youth Improv Troupe Shows
6285 Roswell Rd., Sandy Springs
The Final Laughdown takes place at 6 p.m. the last Saturday of each month, February through May. Ages 3 and older are welcome to watch high school age improv troupes battle each other in a comedy competition for points (but everyone wins!) One-hour improv workshops for beginners take place before each monthly show ($25) and participants can then stay and catch the show for free. Atlanta Workshop Players teach ongoing improv classes and has resident troupes: one for ages 9-12 and one for 13 and older. These troupes perform at Kids Cabaret performances several times a year.
Atlanta Workshop Players Final Laughdown
8560 Holcomb Bridge Rd., Alpharetta
Adults, $12; ages 18 and younger, $8