Journey to the ‘Milky Way’

Blacktop Comedy hosting inaugural improv festival
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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Milky Way Improv Festival

What: Inaugural improv festival hosted by Blacktop Comedy

When: Shows 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6, and 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, April 7

Where: Roseville Theater, 241 Vernon St. in Roseville

Cost: $12 per show, $20 pass for the night, $40 festival pass



You may not even know it — that is, if it’s done well — but improvisation is prevalent in American movies and television shows.

“Casablanca’s” classic ending was improvised. More recently, improv has made appearances in “Get Him to the Greek,” “The 40-Year-Old-Virgin” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Some of our most-loved comedians are also famous improvisers: Steve Carrell, Seth Rogen, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell.

Blacktop Comedy in Roseville has been building the local comedy scene with its offerings of classes, workshops and shows. The group is hosting the inaugural Milky Way Improv Festival from April 5-7, giving people more opportunities to see what improvisation is all about.

“I think Blacktop is different in the fact we are trying to cultivate a very supportive improv community,” said founder Paul Burke. “We truly love improv, and think it’s a beautiful comedic form. We’re not interested in being famous. We’re interested in producing and having the best improv comedy in the region. We want people leaving the theater thinking, ‘I can’t wait to be a part of that again.’ We believe everyone can improvise; you just need the right teacher.”

The Milky Way festival will feature three nights of comedy shows from local and national acts. Troupes from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Reno and other California cities will perform.

“These are teams that have never performed in Sacramento or Roseville, but are some of the premiere groups in L.A. and San Francisco,” Burke said.

Each performance will showcase two or three groups, so each show is different. Classes will also be offered on Saturday and Sunday, ranging from two to four hours and costing $30-$40. All events will be held at the historic Roseville Theater.

“The community should check out this festival because the variety of talent,” Burke said. “We have improvised Shakespeare, improvised rappers, an improvised movie, an improvised apocalypse survival story. … This festival is the first of its kind, and we want (the public) to be a part of it. It’s a chance for (someone) to say, ‘I saw that! I was a part of that! They used my suggestion!’”