The long-running Olympia improv troupe Scatterbrains, which disbanded in 2008, will reunite Saturday night for “An Evening of Alternative Facts.”
Name aside, the free event isn’t intended to poke fun at politics, but it was the state of the nation that inspired the group to come back together for an evening of comedy and music that will also feature members of Olympia improv collective Lady Town.
“After the November elections, I was feeling pretty yuck,” said Kris Mann, one of Scatterbrains’ co-founders. “I said, ‘You know what? I just want to do something that’s positive,’ and one of the things that always made me happy was doing improv.”
The show, with skits and songs shaped by audience suggestions, doesn’t just aim to lighten the mood, though. It’s also a benefit for local nonprofit organizations, which will be showcased during the performance and at tables in the theater.
“We want to provide an evening where everyone can laugh, which is really warranted right now, and we want to pay it forward and do something positive in the community,” Mann said.
In its heyday, Scatterbrains performed at Bumbershoot, Bite of Seattle and First Night Tacoma, and doing up to 40 shows a year at venues from Olympia’s Midnight Sun Performance Space and Traditions Cafe to Seattle’s ArtsWest Playhouse and The Bathhouse Theatre.
“It was great,” said co-founder Jed Stickgold. “It was a lot of fun. No one was quitting their day jobs, but we were hoping to get close for a while there.”
The group, formed in 1995, specializes in short-form improv, performing a mix of sketches and improvised songs led by co-founder Dave Beacham on guitar.
“One of Scatterbrains’ claims to fame is our musical comedy,” Stickgold said. “That’s really what sets us apart from the other improv groups out there.”
The group takes audience suggestions, not just for subject matter but also for musical style.
“We do a song called ‘Serenade,’ where we pull a random individual up on stage and get their name, their occupation and a hobby,” Beacham said. “Then we’ll make up a song on the spot. It’s completely off the cuff.”
Saturday’s show will end with another different-every-time musical segment called “Not Sold in Stores,” in which Beacham and company invent a series of songs in the styles of various artists.
“It’s really fast paced and fun trying to make up 10 songs in four minutes,” he said.
Saturday, the three co-founders will perform with Ladytown’s Rebecca Rogers and Amber Sayman. The evening will also feature music by Olympia’s OF Trio and the opportunity to learn more about local nonprofits Camp Quixote, Community Youth Services, the Family Support Center, GRuB (Garden-Raised Bounty), Habitat for Humanity, the Olympia Free Clinic, SafePlace and the Union Gospel Mission.
Scatterbrains disbanded when its members’ lives changed, but this show just might be a new beginning.
“We’re keeping the door open,” Mann said. “As long as the glucosamine and the Ensure last.”
An Evening of Alternative Facts
What: Scatterbrains Improv Troupe — joined by members of improv collective Lady Town — is getting back together for a night of comedy, music and fundraising.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Black Box Theater, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia.
Tickets: Free with donations to local nonprofits accepted.
Information: 360-528-1814, washingtoncenter.org.