Geek Week VI festival accentuates the funny (and the accent is British)
The sixth annual Geek Week celebrates everything geek for four days starting Wednesday at Central Square’s ImprovBoston — improv, musical theater, sketch and standup comedy and storytelling that celebrates science fiction, fantasy, comic books, anime, video games and superheroes.
For anyone keeping track, this is an epic display of geekery, since the sprawling, nine-day Cambridge Science Festival started April 20 and ends Sunday as well, giving the city a five-day rest before the May 4-5 Internet culture conference, ROFLcon, arrives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (along with its own Nyan Cat flavor of ice cream from Toscanini’s, which created an Internet-flavored ice cream for the meme conference in two years ago).
Festival organizer Kevin Harrington not only launched a website, Facebook page, Tumblr and Twitter feed this year, along with recruiting and vetting performers, but wrangled many through performances at the recently wrapped Boston Comicon, spoke about the event at Harvard and cheer led Tuesday’s anime trivia night at All Asia.
“Sooo tired,” Harrington said, citing a line in the classic Geek: “I’ll sleep when I am dead.”
Via Twitter, he also narrated how he geared up for the craziness due to come as trivia wound down: “Okay, cue the montage music … [plays “The Anvil of Crom” and puts on Rambo headband, glasses and pocket-protector].”
Geek Week is drawing talent from as far away as Greensboro, N.C. In fact, it’s drawing talent from overseas, as opening night includes Brits Paul Gannon and Richard Sandling for the eclectic pop culture celebration of “Geek Night Out” and “Richard Sandling’s Perfect Movie,” which includes the live reproductions famous movie scenes with minimum budget but maximum enthusiasm. (There’s a guest spot from Boston’s own Ken Reid planned.)
Gannon is a standup comic, director, producer and with writer with credits with the BBC, ITV — and, for the truly geeky, can be identified as a zombie in the film “Shaun of the Dead.” Sandling is an award-winning standup comic, writer, actor, director whose latest project had him, according to Gannon, “trapped in a cottage in Wales without a phone for a week writing a horror movie for a welsh rap group.”
Geek Week begins with at 8 p.m. Wednesday with standup comedians performing “Comics on Comics,” described by ImprovBoston officials as “the geekiest standup comedy imaginable,” covering such things as comic books, movies, video games, role-playing and action figures and created by standup veteran Tom Franck, who can himself claim the ultimate nerd comedian status: an appearance in a “Green Lantern” comic book labeling him top comedian in the DC universe.
The week continues with Thursday standup comedy from The Nerds of Prey and a sketch comedy show from ImprovBoston regulars Sawyer and Hurley called “The Complete Works of Batman (Abridged)” that looks at the on-screen appearance of the super hero superhero favorite from the introduction of “The Batman” in 1939 to the campy 1960s and dark 2000s.
Friday night in the studio features Sarah Koske’s humorous but scientifically and medically based lecture on the “Virology of Werewolfism.” It describes the history of werewolfism, symptoms of clinical disease, pathophysiology of the condition induced by the virus and even addresses treatment and prevention. Her talk is followed by an appearance from pedantic New York humorist Jennifer Dziura, best known as co-host of the Williamsburg Spelling Bee, considered the first adult spelling bee. This piece, “¡The Punctuation Show! (How to Use Tiny Symbols to Make Meaning Without %$^&#* Up),” looks at the major punctuation marks as well as those that never quite took off and runs through some unorthodox uses of punctuation.
Friday Night closes on the Mainstage with standup comedy from Anthony Scibelli and a Harry Potter-themed sketch comedy show: “HufflePuffed!” from Mon Frere, of Greensboro, N.C.
Saturday includes “Thunderstood,” a multimedia experience by A.J. Schraeder, and fictional comedian Andrew 12-Sided Dice Clay sharing raunchy rants about “Star Trek,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “Doctor Who,” “Krull” and “Batman.”
On Sunday, “Uke Skywalker Meets Mando Calrissian (in the Cloud City)” performs a series of short, improvised scenes — with puppets — based on audience suggestions and inspired by song. The evening continues with a performance of Vagabond Theatre’s “True Believers,” a play telling the story of the lives of star-crossed lovers, psychotic fanboys, aspiring comic book artists, cybernetically enhanced humans and girls who dress like Princess Leia intertwining over a weekend at a comic book convention.
There are also workshops, including standup master classes and a look at “The Business and Craft of Writing” with Kevin Maher, an Emmy-nominated comedy writer for HBO, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, AMC, among others, who says he “edited a book about superheroes, wrestled a turkey with Adam Sandler,and wrote 100 haiku about Batman (on a dare).” His workshop addresses everything from what to ask in a job interview to “How writing for TV is like working at Pizza Hut.”
Geek Week begins Wednesday and runs through Sunday. Tickets cost $18-$12 and are available at improvboston.com or by calling (617) 576-1253.