Humor Troupe Set To 'Freeze' For Rim Audiences

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With a few props or none at all, the Humor Me comedy troupe is just a few weeks away from being ready to entertain Payson audiences with bona fide shows fit for family viewing.

(You can catch them now at their 1 p.m. Saturday practice at the Fireside Espresso.)

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Kathleen Kelly and Jim West regale the audience with their rendition of "On the Cover of the Rolling Stone." The chorus went something like this: "Rim Review, wanna see our picture on the cover, Review, Wanna get five copies for my mother, Review, Wanna see our smilin' face on the cover of The Rim Review."

"I'm Irish and we come from "ceilis" where everybody from all ages comes and does their thing -- tells stories, sings songs and has fun," said Humor Me founder Kathleen Kelly.

"Ceili (pronounced kay-lee) is Gaelic for people gathering to celebrate and have fun," she said.

Kelly and her eight brothers and sisters, her grandparents and the neighbors would all sit on the front porch when she was a child every weekend at a ceili.

With a heart as big as Ireland, Kelly wants Payson residents to bring their talents to the troupe to enjoy the same experience.

The plots vary in game-like skits the troupe is learning. The skits have names like freeze, hesitation, author and vacation slides.

Freeze was the hands down favorite in a quick poll of last Saturday's actors.

Two actors begin. One very quickly thinks up a character and the other must be quick to respond.

When another troupe member gets an idea they yell out freeze.

The first two actors stay in position and the new actor taps one of them on the shoulder and a new skit is off and running again seconds later.

"Put on your hat and take your medication," one improv actor admonished another. She might have been a nurse.

When her partner for the skit mocked being drunk she said, "No no no! You are supposed to take your medication with water or juice not bourbon!"

Freeze!

The new actor said she was a retired elephant poop scooper.

Improv is the word and a quick thought process is the key.

Three freezes later the two actors on Fireside's stage were talking about "rolling drunks." From there they went to baseball and ended the round discussing the length of caterpillars.

Age 20-somethings to seniors are part of the troupe.

There are ventriloquists, jugglers, musicians and, of course, comedians. Kelly is an emergency room nurse (a job that she said requires a certain sense of humor to handle the stress.)

By day you might find the performers working at the casino, building your roof, planning your party at Kohl's Ranch, or taking care of you if you, God forbid, have to go to the ER.

Juggler Pam Barnes joined Humor Me for the first time last Saturday.

"I've always enjoyed acting," Barnes said with a smile. "(Kathleen) wants me back, so I'll be back."

Musician Jim West claims Kelly "suckered me into (Humor Me) from the very beginning."

"I don't know if it qualifies as being on a honey-do list, but it's fun," West said.

Some people may have seen troupe member Stormy Storms hamming it up at the casino where she said she is known for wearing funny costumes on holidays. And she is a member of the Red Hat Society so she knows about having fun.

Gigi Grubbs tagged along with her friend to see last Saturday's practice.

"I sat here and thoroughly enjoyed it," Grubbs said. "I plan on coming back to watch next week."

Diane Anderson watched with a different thought in mind. She said she is getting her courage up to join.

"It certainly is creative," Anderson said. "It takes courage to do what they are doing. I love it and it's what Payson needs."

When Kelly feels she has seven solid members who have learned each other's strengths and weaknesses, she said they will be ready to do Friday evening gigs at Fireside and perhaps Saturday evening gigs at Kohl's Ranch Lodge.

Then, ventriloquist Ila Carpenter. with her doll Susie or Dominic Ciaccio, may play show tunes to warm-up audiences for the improv acts.

"I think we should have a live theater here in Payson, but improv is something we can do without theater techs and without props," Kelly said. "It's better to perform in a small place because you can just have a real down-home feeling with the audience."

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