Article: "Playing for laughs"

Playing for Laughs
Q&A with Russ Faillaci, Rocky Mountain News

Westminster troupe relies on old formula for comedy: improv

Westminster's new Madcap Theater is truly a labor of love. Owned by four married couples (and several Impulse Theater alumns) the improv comedy theater opened July 15. Like its Denver predecessor, Madcap offers five fast-paced shows a week, in the style of ABC's "Who's Line Is it Anyway." Entertainment reporter Erika Gonzalez talked with co-owner Russ Faillaci about bringing unscripted humor to the suburbs.

Question:  Why take a chance on opening this kind of comedy outpost?
Faillaci:  Well, I've grown up in this area and I kind of know how the people in this area like to stay in the area, especially if they can find something high-quality. And with the growth of Lafayette, Louisville and Broomfield, this just made sense. This is the perfect venue for us. The (Westminster) Promenade is an entertainment mecca. It's just crazy on the weekends.

Q:  So how's business?
Faillaci:  We were wrong. No, it's progressing nicely. Our shows haven't been sold out, but each week the crowds are getting bigger and bigger. As people discover it they get attached to what we do. We have repeat customers literally every weekend. We're building a lot of momentum for sure.

Q:  What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Faillaci:  Educating people about what we are. More times than not, people are calling and thinking we do stand-up. I performed at Impulse for five or six years and people knew what it was. It was never a question. I thought that would follow us here.

Q:  What's it like to have so many couples working together? Does it create a more loving atmosphere?
Faillaci:  It actually does. It's been a lot of fun so far. But maybe call me in a year and we'll talk about it.

Q:  Where do you see the theater in five years?
Faillaci:  Boy, i would just like to see it as a Westminster landmark—as a place where people go on first dates, where families go to gather and where companies come because they know they can have their function here. I'd like to have a strong troupe about 15 deep, so there's not any scheduling issues. I haven't missed a show yet. And I'd really like to be known for offering some of the best improv in the city.

Q:  I'm assuming you're witty and quick on your feet, so say something funny.
Faillaci: (Laughing) That's a hard one.

Q:  Your suggestion is cow.
Faillaci: My wife is sitting here and she looks like one.

Q:  Isn't that comment going to get you in trouble?
Faillaci:  I'm saying that because she is the exact opposite. She is a beanpole.

Q:  I think that got you out of sleeping on the couch tonight.