It’s that time of year again! Out of Bounds Comedy Festival is in full swing and bringing all the laughs over the Labor Day weekend. The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival is a seven-day, multi-venue festival of all things comedy. The lineup features hundreds of the world’s best in improv, sketch, and stand-up acts from August 28 to September 3 in Austin, TX.
One of those featured main acts includes NYC-based comedy sketch troupe, Kids These Days. Kids These Days features comedians from some of your favorite late night comedy talk shows, including “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” “The Tonight Show with Trevor Noah,” “The Opposition with Jordan Klepper” and many more. The full lineup includes: Ana Bretón (“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”), Jack Blankenship (“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Funny Or Die”), Scott Hercman (“The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”), Rachael Burke (“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”), Sabeeh Jameel (“The Opposition with Jordan Klepper,” “Passport Control”), Adrian Frimpong (Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, The PIT), Lida Darmian (Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, The PIT, & Magnet Theater), Maggie Maxwell (Boogiemanja, Co-Host for “Would You Rather…?”), Sascha Garrey (Writer, Performer, & Musician from Vancouver) and Nick Reichheld (“Instinct”/CBS).
We had a chance to chat with Kids These Days about how they got started, what to expect and coming to Texas!
When/how did Kids These Days start? What brought it on?
Jack Blankenship: Our wonderful friend Rachael assembled all of us together based on our individual strengths, not only as writers and performers, but also as nice humans.
Maggie Maxwell: I met Rachael Burke a couple of years ago in a character performance class at UCB, as well as our fellow teammate Sascha Garrey, and adored them both. Rach is such a powerhouse in all she takes on, and so when she asked me to be on a new team she was forming, I didn’t have to think for more than the second it took to say “yes.”
Adrian Frimpong: For me, mid-February, but I hopped on about three weeks into rehearsing for the first show.
For those who haven’t seen your show, how would you describe it?
Jack Blankenship: In our most basic form, we are a sketch variety show. Over the course of one of our shows, our audience can expect a mixed bag of original songs, celebrity impressions, dance numbers and even a man throwing hot dogs and taking his shirt off. We are wacky.
Maggie Maxwell: I would describe the show as a wild and weird sketch show that’s as dumb and silly as it is smart and astute. We have sketches that take on the hypocrisy of progressive men who still ironically patronize women in their effort to signal what an ally they are…and then we’ve got one that’s mostly about a dude who just really likes hot dogs. We run the gamut, so long as we think that gamut is fun.
Scott Hercman: Messy — there’s usually a big mess on stage at the end of every show. But our sketches are really non-stop fun with so many different and unique voices, there’s comedy for everyone.
Adrian Frimpong: Precisely executed silly goofs’n make’em ups. And if can be sung, it’s getting sang.
You all are coming from comedy shows yourselves. How does that work infuse the work with Kids These Days? How is it different?
Jack Blankenship: Kids These Days is such a different experience from everything else we do professionally. We can throw the wildest ideas around at a KTD pitch meeting, and we will find a way to work it into our show.
Scott Hercman: For me, it’s really different; a lot of TV comedy these days is reactionary to the news cycle and with Kids These Days we really get a chance to develop jokes and premises and almost a whole world or weird and unique comedy.
What’s been the best part of being part of these group and performing together? What’s the creative process like?
Jack Blankenship: We have been fortunate enough to make our sketch group a very positive ensemble. We are all very friendly towards one another and listen to all suggestions on how to better our shows and feature the brightest spots out of all our performers. We cultivate our ideas into sketches over the course of one month. We go through multiple pitch meetings, tons of rewrites, and sketch rehearsals that can last for six hours at a time.
Nick Reichheld: The best part of being in this group and performing with them is how well our senses of humor mesh together to create something unique and fun. There’s a good balance of similar and different ideas that are always delighting and surprising us through the creative process. It’s purely fun, exciting, and collaborative and brings genuine joy to everyone in the group when we create and perform. It’s a special thing to be able to do with a group of your best friends.
Maggie Maxwell: The best part of working together is that I think my teammates are just like…nice and fun and talented and I like hanging with them. Umm yeah, I like it. And then I love that we get to make these great shows together. It’s very satisfying to see what we can create each month. We’re really supportive of one another and I feel that is not only just a positive energy to be around but also is the ripe environment in which to do good work. We can give each other, always knowing best intentions, constructive criticism as well as kudos and laughs.
Scott Hercman: The best part is that creative process, sitting together in a room presenting our sketches, riffing on new jokes. The end goal is always to make the audience laugh but there’s a fun rush of presenting your sketch to your friends and making them laugh first.
Adrian Frimpong: We all are extremely funny but also decent human beings to hang with. Outside of comedy, I’m friends with everyone. The process is pretty simple: pitches, write, read, rewrite, rehearse, perform, with rewrites in between the final rehearsals. Eventually, a sketch has to be put down so others can get written.
Sabeeh Jameel: For a lot of us, what brings us together is a desire to keep creating and collaborating. Even though we work on different productions and may spend our day jobs working with very funny people all day, I’m always excited to keep investing my creative energy into writing and performing with different groups and voices. I’ve never seen a group meld and work together as well as this one — having worked with sketch teams, improv teams, and TV productions of all sorts, I can say that’s hard to come by.
Had you been to Texas before? Are you excited to be performing in Austin at the Out of Bounds Comedy festival?
Adrian Frimpong: I’m from Houston, but getting to come back to perform in Austin feels like a homecoming. I remember Out of Bounds Comedy Fest from way back when, and thought how cool it’d be to perform in it.
Jack Blankenship: I’ve never been to Austin before. Austin is such an enigmatic city, we are fascinated with all of the neon signs that decorate the horizon.
Maggie Maxwell: Never been to Texas before, very happy to be here, and I am so happy to be performing at the festival! They say Texas is big but the environment at the festival has been cozy and nice, so I’m enjoying the happy medium!
Scott Hercman: I came to Austin three years ago as a production assistant for “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and it’s been a real humbling experience coming back here three years later as a performer. To see how far I’ve come professionally, as well as coming back with this awesome group.
Sabeeh Jameel: I’d heard amazing things about the comedy scene in Austin, and was looking for the opportunity to come here and explore it. OOB has been above and beyond accommodating and provided us with resources and support that were simply too hard to pass up, and the level of talent it draws excites all of us to put forward our best shows this Labor Day weekend.
What’s next? Where can we find you or Kids These Days next?
Jack Blankenship: We have a monthly show at the PIT striker stage in New York City. Tickets sell out every show so make sure to buy them in advance!
Scott Hercman: Sky’s the limit for this group of amazingly talented group of Kids. We are all really hard workers and love what we’re doing. That mix is rare to find, and I think we all get the sense that something really special is happening every time we perform together.
Adrian Frimpong: In New York SketchFest!!!
Catch Kids These Days at the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival at the Fallout Theatre on Saturday, September 1, at 10 PM and Sunday, September 2, at 7 PM. Get tickets to the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival here.