Unscrewed Theater is definitely unscrewed (and funny too)



On January 31, 2014 I was supposed to attend the grand opening of the new digs of this Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed improv comedy group at 3244 E. Speedway (across from the Loft Cinema).  However, there were intervening circumstances since the Tucsoncitizen.com was suddenly shut down that day without any warning to us loyal bloggers. (My life that day got a bit “unscrewed” so I guess I can identify. I should have seen the humor in it).

Luckily I had been invited to attend their UT VIP preview opening, and finally last night was able to catch up with this lively group of comedians, who like to stand up (or sit) on their new stage and have lots of fun. And they had been entertaining folks around Tucson for 12 years in different locales, before building their own theater in midtown.  And it is their 12th anniversary celebration this weekend.

Info: http://www.unscrewedtheater.org/. Shows are every Friday & Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for only $5/person.  You can buy tickets online or at the door. There’s also an “uncensored” (adults only) show at 9:30 p.m. on the 4th Saturdays of the month, which is tonight. Also check out their FB page for updates, photos and contests to win tickets. They offer improv classes, are available for hire, and rent out that theater space as well.

And here’s a 5/15/14 link to an interview about this theater troupe on Az Illustrated Arts: https://originals.azpm.org/p/azill-arts/2014/5/15/35302-az-illustrated-arts-thursday-may-15-2014/

Here a recap of last night’s show (at least what I remember happened, as it all happens so very quickly and hilariously on stage). The Host was Michael Pierce, with Scott, Gail, Jessica, Mary, Rob, and Chris. For over an hour the actors improvised comedic “games” on the stage, with the host asking for suggestions from the audience.

– Press conference by reporters of a guy (who doesn’t know he’s Robert Downey Jr. announcing the opening of a hedge hog farm).

— ABC, in which three of the women actresses had to speak sentences 1st starting off with the letter “L”, in alphabetical order till they finish their autobiographies. The 2nd sentence started with “M”, then “N”, etc. till they returned to the letter “L”. A bit of a challenge to remember the order of the 26 alphabets.

— New Choice, where three of them acted out working at an IRS office (non fun place), and how to handle downsizing and fighting for their jobs. The actors had to change their statements two or three times whenever the Host yelled “new choice”.

— Mannequins doing the “Monster Mash” with two volunteers (Stewart & Gabe) from the audience manipulating Rob and Gail’s bodies as Frankenstein and Dracula.

— World renowned novelist Scott creating a Shakespearean story entitled “Killer Penguins”, with three actors behind the typing novelist acting out his story of a Duke/Baron/Earl, speaking Shakespearean English. The two rivals in this story (Gail & Mary) ended up in a banishing hole of all places. But what happened to the penguins?

–A sci fi scene on the Bridge of the Star Trek Enterprise, with Chris only being able to say “I love spam” or “How about that?” and Jessica replying “Don’t do that” or “What if?”, and Captain Scott trying to get the space ship into warp speed to avoid a giant space platypus.

–Objection of everyone arguing the merits of Gum drops vs. Cheetos, and someone else objecting to their statements with their own valid reasons to like either food. Host/judge Mike had to “sustain” or “overrule” each and every objection, as in court.

— A blues singing game about a rocket scientist, with four of them rhyming phrases, accompanied by Mike on the guitar

— Audience volunteers Gale (male) and Gail (female) an elderly couple on stage, with Chris being the woman and Gail being the guy (odd gender switch) re-enacting their first date at a romantic (?) Red Lobster restaurant. The actual couple had to press a bell or a buzzer regarding correct or incorrect statements being made by the actors, to attempt to find out what really happened on that very first date.

— Elimination in which 5 characters acted out a play about a couple on a Love Boat, being offered shuffleboard and pina colada cocktails, as well as room service. The audience then clapped to eliminate the actors one at a time, till only Scott was left tirelessly acting out all the roles. Whew.

–Finale: Beasty Boys when they all rhymed names with one syllable, such as “Joe”, “Bryce”, “Steve”, “Mike” and “Chris”. For example, to rhyme with Bryce, someone said they had to eat rice. To rhyme with Mike, someone rhymed he had to take a hike. Jessica won that round, as each player left the round when he/she could no longer think up a rhyming phrase.

A few of the audience members raised their hand when asked how many people had never seen a show before last night, but most of the crowd obviously were returnees. Because this is an improv group, each show is unique, “one time and one time only”.

Congrats to UT improv troupe for their passion and dedication to bring laughter to the people of Tucson, and for finding this new home for themselves on Speedway after 12 years of being homeless. Check out their family-friendly show tonight at 7:30 p.m. or the uncensored one at 9:30 p.m.

And prepare to laugh a lot.

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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for Tucsoncitizen.com for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).


  1. Dropped by again tonight to see 10 students perform from their 8 week Level One class, prior to the regular NBOJU troupe. Very funny show hosted by Chris S. telling the audience that on stage was “someone you possibly love”. They performed a game of 4 guessing in gibberish one person’s job, locale & weapon, then Objection, the all knowing Oracle, Switch Left, ABC, a panel of experts, with Beasty Boys at the end. Congrats to this new class of improv performers, ready to take Level 2 and Level 3 perhaps.

  2. I used to play with the troupe, and I know for a fact that you must have remembered all or nearly all the games that were played based on the length of that list! Impressive memory (/note-taking?) work.

    Thanks for this excellent write-up! I’m glad you finally made it after the earlier mishaps.

    • I take notes even in the semi dark, recording who was in each “game” so I can refresh my memory when I write it up. I also have a pretty good memory anyway, but it’s fading a bit as I age. I attended a few shows back when NBOJU was performing for free at the Executive Inn Suites and at Revolutionary Grounds. Thanks for commenting Elio, I think I remember you.

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