Real Housewives of Improv!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

There are two kinds of people in the world–people who love reality TV drama, and LIARS! Both kinds of people are welcome at The Playground Theater’s own Real Housewives of Improv. I asked Allie Romano, one of the show’s creators to tell me the behind the scenes secrets of Real Housewives.

Q: How did you come up with the name/concept?

A: A bunch of the girls who founded the group were just graduating from Second City’s conservatory. Lauren Lonergan, one of our founding members, is OBSESSED with the Real Housewives franchise. She knew she wanted to do something improvised related to the series. We all met up for the first meeting in January of 2016, and RHoI was born!

Q: What is your best memory from this show?

A: We have a very particular form where we interview an audience member about their hometown and then bring a “lost” episode of the Real Housewives of that town. But sometimes, we have to change the form up a bit (whether due to time restrictions or guesting on another show). One time we opened for a very thematically specific show, where we had to improvise based off of a song that the group who performed before us lip syncs at the end of their set. The “suggestion” song that we received was My Heart Will Go On, so we OBVIOUSLY performed Real Housewives of the Titanic. I think all of us remember that show fondly because we still had the structure of our form but we got to play in a different time period/level of absurdity (one of us decided to be Celine Dion and another was Unsinkable Molly Brown). We made each other break like crazy during that show, and sometimes when we want to mix things up, we decide to do a Real Housewives of a Historical Event/Movie/Book form.

(Wow, I really wish I had seen that.)

Q: How long has it been running?

A: We had our first show at the Playground in spring of 2016 after meeting up that winter to come up with the form and rehearse. We have essentially been 2 Fridays a month at 8 p.m. at the Playground ever since (over 3.5 years!), and we have also had runs at the Annoyance and been annual participants in CIF and Women’s Funny Fest.

Q: What are you most proud of about this show?

A: Improvising a Real Housewives episode could very well turn into a twenty-minute mockery of women and their backgrounds. Our housewife Marley came up with this example, which pretty beautifully encapsulates why we are so proud of this group: “There was one time that the audience wasn’t offering a hometown and Firas Alexander, who was running our tech, yelled out that he grew up in Kuwait. We interviewed him, and I was terrified that we (as a group of American women, none of which are of Arab or Western Asian descent) wouldn’t be able to find humor that respected and honored Kuwaiti women. I remember us being humble, breaking the fourth wall, and leading with what is universal about housewives, and we pulled it off with total fidelity to Firas’ interview. It makes me so proud to perform with smart women who care about the cultural aspect of our show and making responsible comedy!”

If you haven’t left this page to buy tickets to RHoi then what are you doing?! Catch them every other Friday at 8pm!

-Lizzie Kaniecki, The Playground Theater’s performance and special events blogger