According to Kent Welborn, the mind behind the samurai host of the new "Laughing Dragon Cake Samurai Fun Show" at the Bovine Metropolis Theater tonight, the intention is not to make fun of Japanese culture. "We're trying to celebrate it," he amends, "and we're trying to get laughs by making the character really true to that culture."
If that's the case, then it's a good thing Japanese culture is pretty hilarious.
Like all Samurai, host Kensei (an actual Japanese word that means something like "master of the samurai sword") wields a sword, although in this case it is an imaginary one. "Throughout the show, he has bits where he'll take an imaginary Katana and cut objects in half, so to speak," says Joshua Robinson, the Bovine's PR Director. "We use a little sleight-of-hand to make that happen."
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But despite his actual-Japanese-word name, Kensei's defining characteristic is probably that he doesn't speak English -- or any identifiable language, for that matter. "I'm way into Samurai movies," Welborne explains of the inspiration for the character. "I just watch a bunch of that stuff. So Denise, our executive producer, wanted to come up with something kind of Japanese-seeming with a bunch of words and crazy adjectives in the title, and I just thought, gosh, wouldn't it be fun to do someone Japanese, like a samurai character. And then I just speak gibberish -- because I can't speak Japanese, but I can speak Japanese-sounding gibberish pretty convincingly." (He can, in fact -- the brief demonstration he did for us was pretty awesome.)
It's a seemingly random setup for a showcase of three in-house "teams" doing long-form improv -- as opposed the the quicker games and conceits of short-form improv like Whose Line is it Anyway?, long-form takes a single audience suggestion and lets players make up scenes and riff for an extended period -- but since long-form improv tends to be loose and meandering, it's also a good way to tie it all together. Or perhaps, in this case, to imaginarily cut it in half.
The Laughing Dragon Cake Samurai Fun Show plays tonight and every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Bovine Metropolis Theater. Tickets are $7. For more information, call 303-758-4722.