Sunday, 31 May 2009 20:41

"Got Jokes?" Brings Comedy to Tampa Bay

Written by  Joshua T. Gillion
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The Cast of Got Jokes?TAMPA, FL - If laughter is truly the best medicine, these guys should require a prescription. Got Jokes? is a rising star in the comedic sky, and one of the Tampa area's premiere improv comedy troupes. If you're looking for a side-splitting good time, they deliver!

A Got Jokes? show is high-energy, in-your-face improv comedy driven by crowd participation. The audience is involved with everything from scene suggestions to direct  interaction in the show, with fans getting on stage and exchanging quips and lines with the cast while they react and mold their show around whatever they are given. The cast of Got Jokes? is a mix of stand-up comics, spoken word artists, trained improv comedians and actors that have come together to create a unique comedic expression. They obviously have fun on stage, which adds to the show’s energy and vibe.

Got Jokes? has found a faithful following in the Tampa Bay area, and has performed at top venues like Sidesplitters Comedy Club, and A-list comedy club The Improv in Ybor. And they have more on the way.  Beginning June 7th, Got Jokes? will be hosting The Big Bang Show, an amateur variety show/competition, the first Thursday of every month at 7 pm, at Nova 535 in St. Petersburg. This promises to be a great evening of laughter and good times!

Got Jokes? also has two more shows upcoming at The Improv, on June 24th  and July 22nd, don't miss it!

Daniel “Motown Pride” Jefferson, founder of Got Jokes?, answered a few of our questions, giving us an insight into the history of Got Jokes?, and a look at where they are going.

TAMPA BAY INFORMER: What do you think is the best description of Got Jokes?

Daniel DANIEL "MOTOWN PRIDE" JEFFERSON: Got Jokes? is an interactive comedy experience whose goal is to unite the masses through laughter.  We take the best elements of short form improv, standup and musical expression to give the audience a polished product that pushes the envelope on creativity.  Got Jokes? is simply whatever you want it to be, with our creative spin.

TBI: How would you describe your cast?

DANIEL: All-Stars, in every sense of the word.  I was lucky to pull the cream of the crop from the Tampa Bay area. They are uber-talented individuals who have shown tremendous loyalty and dedication toward making my dream a reality.  For most of them, my dream has become their dream and I can never thank them enough for that. I am happy to say that I consider every member of the group family. 

TBI: What do you think makes Got Jokes? stand out as unique?

DANIEL: Our approach to comedy has always stood us apart from any improv  troupe I’ve had the pleasure of watching. When I created the group I wanted to create a diverse unit that could perform in any venue for any demographic. I have always appreciated diversity and wanted to see what would happen if I assembled contrasting comedic styles and different artists (poets, actors, stand up comedians) into one room and reinvented the art of free style performance.  The result was something unique that is very difficult to emulate.  It’s a deep culture that you feel when you see a Got Jokes? show. It makes you want to be a part of the action, which is the purpose of improv comedy in the first place.

TBI: What led you to start Got Jokes? When, how and why did you start the group?

DANIEL: Ironically, it really didn’t have much to do with comedy.  As a professional spoken word artist I was interested in creating new avenues for fellow performers in my genre. I also wanted to find a method to work with some of my entertainment friends who were professional comedians. Improv appeared to be the perfect middle ground.  Being a fan of improv, I began to brainstorm ideas to take the genre to new levels. I scoped out the two year plan for Got Jokes? in one plane ride to Texas. The rest is history. So Got Jokes? was and still is based on the premise of celebrating diversity and unifying art forms.
 
TBI: What are you hoping to accomplish with this group?

DANIEL: World Domination! [laughs] I am actively growing the Got Jokes? brand. We are excited to be bringing Got Jokes? troupes to the Jacksonville, Sacramento and New York markets in 2010. Our flagship troupe in Tampa will be taking our show on the road, actively touring colleges and comedy clubs across the country. There are also plans to have a television presence. I won’t be satisfied until we transform all of our cast members into Improvisational Rock Stars and the groundwork is set for generations of future Got Jokesters.  We are also looking to strengthen our connection with the business sector and get more involved with corporate team building programs and special events.

The Cast of Got Jokes? During a ShowTBI: Are there any moments or performances that stand out for you, looking back over the career of the group so far?

DANIEL: The greatest moments of the group for me will always be found in the original practices. The energy level was so raw and energetic, you would feel it the moment you entered a session. The prevailing feeling in the air was that something special was evolving. Everyone knew that the potential for greatness was off the charts.  We knew the life of the group at that point would completely be determined by execution and dedication.

TBI: What are your hopes for the future of Got Jokes?

DANIEL: Longevity, excellence, unity  and sincerity.  If we continue to focus on those objectives, the sky is the limit!

TBI: Where do you see Got Jokes? In a year? Five years?

DANIEL: In one year, the average person in the Tampa Bay area will have heard of us. In five years, we will be a global phenomenon.

TBI: What do your fans have to look forward to in the coming weeks and months?

Daniel: We will continue to press the envelope with innovation. Technology will become a more integral part of our show and the cast will continue to expand its repertoire of games and characters.  Fans will be treated to two top notch shows at the Tampa Improv. They will also see us expand to at least two new venues that will quickly become the standard in Tampa Bay nightlife.

TBI: Got Jokes? had a regular gig at the Hip-Hop Soda Shop.  With their unfortunate closure, have you found a new home yet?

DANIEL: That’s a great question. We’ve been really excited about the feedback we’ve received from the nightlife community in the Tampa Bay area. We are currently in negotiations with a couple key players and will be making some groundbreaking announcements soon. At the moment, we are focusing our attention on making our show at the Tampa Improv on June 24th one for the ages. We will be unleashing brand new games, introducing new Got Jokes? cast members to the mainstream and giving our fans an experience that will easily be the highlight of the summer. Only at the Tampa Improv does one see the entire Got Jokes? roster no-holds-barred. The top comedy venue in the Bay partners with Florida’s premier Improv troupe. That’s a match made in heaven!

TBI: There have been rumors of a partnership with Nova 535 … what can you tell us about that? The Cast of Got Jokes

DANIEL: Beginning June 7th, Nova 535 will begin its first season of The Big Bang Show. The concept is very progressive which makes it a natural fit for Got Jokes?.  Every First Thursday at 7pm, the Got Jokes? cast will host an amateur variety show competition. Think Gong Show meets American Idol meets Whose Line is It Anyway? It’s an original contest that brings the excitement of watching contestants try to realize their dreams while allowing the crowd to become an interactive part of the show.  Every week we will be joined by a celebrity judge who will join us for some Got Jokes? mayhem and cap the show off with a crowd moving performance.  Nova 535 is simply one of the most beautiful venues in the St. Pete area. We feel honored to be a part of another fresh approach to nightlife and expanding our reach to the St. Pete audience. 

TBI: Is there anything else you would like to add for your fans?

DANIEL: My greatest supporter has been my 8 year-old son.  I love being his superhero and I never want to let him down. I won’t let him down. So again, I want to thank all of our fans for providing me with the support necessary to show my son that following your dream is one of the best jobs on this Earth.

Got What? GOT JOKES!

FOR MORE INFORMATION, check out the Got Jokes? website at http://www.gotjokesimprov.com/

Photographs by Brian Leighty www.bwlphotography.com

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