In September Harrison Brookie went to the Boston Improv Festival. He’s at it again this weekend as he heads down to the Charleston Comedy Festival in our home state of South Carolina. Once again he’ll be performing with the lovely Paula Pazderka, the Artistic Director and School Manager of the DSI Comedy Theater in North Carolina. Here’s a write up about their show in the Charleston City Paper:
As with any good comedy team, Paula Pazderka and Harrison Brookie of Pound for Pound are well-balanced. In fact, when they first started the team at DSI Comedy Theater in Chapel Hill in 2010, they both weighed exactly the same. A few pounds have snuck up on them over the years, but the name stuck. “The idea of a two-person show is that it has some balance and some back-and-forth,” Brookie says. “The scenes don’t really seem to have a leader or follower. We are both on the adventure together.”
After meeting at DSI, the pair started the team in an effort to do something different. “The DSI style is very fast-paced, and often very large-group oriented, and there are not as many smaller teams,” Brookie says. “It’s often very light comedy, where it’s focused mostly on finding the fun. Although I love that style, I was looking for someone who might be interested in doing a more challenging two-person show, maybe more focused on characters, focused more on the idea of finding something the audience likes.”
Pound for Pound starts out their shows by asking audience members to share something they love in the hopes that the audience will actually care about the show on some level. Brookie says they rarely get jokey answers to the query. “We’ve actually gotten a lot of genuine responses,” he says. “I think if you asked them, ‘What’s something that you want,’ or ‘What’s something that you like,’ or ‘What’s something you desire,’ maybe you’d get some jokey answers, but we’ve gotten some pretty real answers.”
These days, Pazderka works as the artistic director and school manager at DSI, while Brookie recently moved back to his hometown of Greenville, S.C. Finding the city lacking a regular improv comedy show, he founded Alchemy Comedy, which hosts weekly shows and classes downtown. While Brookie and Pazderka now live several hours apart, it’s only added to the pair’s comedic chemistry. “We both know we don’t get to perform together much anymore, so we go full force on stage,” Brookie says.