Riotous sequel pokes more fun at Jackson life

By on April 14, 2015
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Last year’s cast included Lauren Conrad, Jessie Lestitian, Josh Griffith, Cady Cox, Andrew Munz, Caryn Flanagan, Morgan Graham, Kjera Strom-Henrie, Amanda Flosbach and Kari Hall.

Jackson, Wyoming – The voices entered through a window — a guy and a girl who’d clearly been drinking. It was 1 a.m. Andrew Munz grabbed his phone and started recording. It wasn’t a break-up, or make-up, or even quite a hook-up.

“It was the type of conversation that no doubt has gone down anywhere at 1 a.m. in Jackson,” Munz said.

That recording, with identifying details about the couple removed, offers the dialogue for one sketch in a new show opening this week featuring all the things and moments that make you think, “That’s so Jackson.”

I 2 Can Ski Forever is written and produced by Munz and Josh Griffith. The idea for the sketch comedy show came after Munz and former Jackson resident Emma Pope wrote and performed a similar style show in 2011 about being single in Jackson.

Last year’s I Can Ski Forever was entirely dedicated to poking fun at Jackson, opening with a cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” with a refrain about being proud to be a local.

The show sold-out four times in the Black Box Theatre, including an extra production added due to demand.

“Jackson has its own character and its own culture,” Munz said. “The moment we start to celebrate that or poke fun at it, everyone wants to be involved. We’re saying the things everyone wanted to say for a long time.”

To meet the demand, and use the abundant amount of material Munz and Griffith stored unused after the first show, they are producing a sequel. This time it’s on the Center Theater mainstage, partially funded by $1,000 raised in an online campaign. The new location will offer more seats, but also the chance to include videos.

Last year, the show featured a sketch about a ski movie audition. This year they were able to create a version of a ski movie to show. While Munz wrote much of the staged material, Griffith created the video pieces.

The different perspectives of Munz and Griffith make the show successful, said Munz, a Jackson native and non-skier, while Griffith is a transplant and snowboarder. Together, they are able to accurately address different aspects of Jackson culture from insider and outsider perspectives.

“When the audience trusts you to take an idea and run with it, they want to see you do unexpected things,” Munz said. “The only success with improv is when you are being accurate. That’s when you laugh the most — when it’s something you recognize and you feel like you are part of the joke.”

The key is toeing the line in being funny, but not offensive. To do that, they try to keep the sketches general, instead of singling out specific, identifiable people.

A sketch about Old Bill’s Fun Run featuring two competing nonprofits sitting side by side offended some people last year, Munz said. The skit showed the nonprofits trying to woo a kale-carrying yogi by offering her spots on their boards. She wasn’t interested, she told them, because she was already on three boards. People felt that Munz shouldn’t have made fun of volunteer board members, he said.

“People passionate enough to be on multiple nonprofit boards is unique to Jackson,” he said, “so when we pull those things out of our hat and show them on the stage it’s tricky. You want to ride the line where you want them to understand the joke we are going for, but you don’t want them to think we are being offensive.”

This year’s show features new sketches on juicing and raw food — a local juicer is providing samples before the show. They also are tackling the “Cache Creek poo fiasco,” Munz said, and there is a sketch called “No Ambition, Seasonal Position.” The show opens with a number inspired by a famous Disney movie, but set in Jackson and filmed at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

The cougars who prowled throughout the show last year are back with a few nips and tucks and played this year by Caryn Flanagan, Madelaine German and Erika Pearsall.

There are a few favorite sketches returning from last year, but it’s mostly new cast members, musical numbers and videos.

“We just have so much to say about Jackson,” Munz said. “It’s a town that lends itself to comedy, where you always get this clean slate, wash-over every season. There are new people that come in all the time, but they are all fitting into these archetypes. Especially in Jackson, you want to fit in, so you change your lifestyle so you don’t stand out and so you can be a local. It’s a unique town in that everyone wants to claim it … And that’s what makes it so easy to parody. There are a lot of archetypes of certain personalities in town.”

I 2 Can Ski Forever, doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday. $20 in advance, $25 day of the show. All seats are general admission.

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