Hugs and Pullups: The Yeeaahh! Magazine Interview
(The following interview appeared in a 2009 issue of Yeeaahh! Magazine, a fictitious publication devoted to debating, debunking, and deflowering the wide world of performance in the greater Chicago area.)
If you were an Oriental rug, what would you eat for breakfast? If you play the theme song to “Happy Days” backwards, is there a hidden message from Fonzie’s grandpa? These are just a few of the mysteries Hugs and Pullups, a Chicago-based improvised comedy troupe, is determined to solve. The team, taught by improv coach/rodeo enthusiast Lindsay Williams, has been presenting its unique brand of improv comedy since 2009, when an aligning of Saturn’s fifth and seventh rings caused a disturbance in Earth’s magnetic field to bring the talented improvisers together. After weeks of extensive bribery, Yeeaahh! Magazine convinced the members of Hugs and Pullups to sit down for a rare interview.
Y!M – First off, thanks so much for being here.
H&P – (Produces chewy granola bar from pocket, opens it, takes an hearty bite.)
Y!M – So, I guess the first thing your fans want to know is: What’s with your name? Where did that come from?
H&P – (Through a mouthful of granola) Diapers. Mostly.
Y!M – (Laughing, clearly charmed and delighted) How delightful! But really…
H&P – (Opening a bottle of Mountain Dew with an ironic air of smugness) To be honest, Jane, we just really enjoy hugging each other. The “pullups” part is due to the fact that there’s a pull-up bar mounted in our rehearsal space. Put the two together and what have you got?
Y!M – Comedy genius.
H&P – (Draws a long pull of Dew, holds it for a moment, then swallows.)
Y!M – Where did you all meet each other?
H&P – We met during an improv class at iO in Chicago. It was Susan Messing’s Level 2 class on Sundays. One particularly rainy afternoon, we were sitting in the front row of the Del Close Theatre watching the ceiling leak. The dripping mesmerized us. It was steady, like a metronome. Each tiny bead of rainwater hung from the black paint just long enough to let the previous drop hit the tile floor below. The resulting puddle shone the reflections of our eager young faces, and we felt that it was, in fact, our destiny staring back at us. “These faces,” the puddle subtly proclaimed, “are meant for great things.” So Courtney Fontaine heeded the call, sent out an email, and thus was born the comedy powerhouse you see before you today.
Y!M – You make it sound so easy! Surely you guys have faced some difficulties along the way, right?
H&P – (Tearing open a bag of Andy Capp’s Hot Fries) You’d be surprised, Rachel. (Grabbing a few of the crispy treats, using them to gesture while talking) I mean, we’ve had some personnel changes along the way, but the process has actually been more fun than anything else. (Stuffs fries in mouth, continues to mumble through a mouthful of food) Most of the people in this community are super friendly, so when you are a group of close friends working towards the common goal of having fun, it’s just a matter of finding a stage to play on at that point.
Y!M – (Avoiding flying crumbs) Do you have a favorite place to play in Chicago?
H&P – (Now sweating quite violently from the Hot Fries) Um…wow. There are just so many places to play in this city. Like, tons of places. We play pretty regularly at The Playground Theater, and…uh…our shows at The Spot always seem to go well…(Produces a spotted handkerchief, dabs forehead). Anywhere we can, really…
You can contact Hugs and Pullups via e-mail at: HandPComedy@gmail.com