After a five-year hiatus, Anchorage’s premier sketch comedy troupe, the PoGo GoGo Co. is dusting off the cobwebs to come out of retirement. The collaborative, which is currently made up of seven members whose day jobs range from barista to budtender, sports a brand-new cast of writers and actors. In fact, the only remaining member of the first iteration of the troupe is Anthony Lounsbury. A veteran of the Alaska theatre scene, Lounsbury wanted to do something he felt would push him out of his comfort zone.
“What’s really hard about sketch comedy versus improv or stand-up is that you really have to rely on the people you’re working with because if someone doesn’t show up to rehearsal or doesn’t write the part of the script they were supposed to then things can go really wrong,” explained Lounsbury.
Although Lounsbury is the only remaining original member, he is one of three of the troupe’s trained actors. Hannah Colver and Rebecca Gamache both grew up around local theatre doing performances but like Lounsbury, they longed for something different.
“Theatre in Alaska is amazing but for me personally, I wanted to do something that is new material every time,” said Colver.
But the PoGo GoGo Co. isn’t made up of only theatre vets. Newbies like writer Summer Thomas are seizing their opportunity to earn their chops.
“So, I got brought in specifically as a writer because Anthony and Hannah were trying to find more female voices and I tend to do more political satire with my writing. I just feel really lucky that I was invited to be a part of this group because I just think they are really funny,” said Thomas.
Rounding out the intelligent humor of Thomas is resident stand-up comedian Ben Farleigh, whose epic quaff alone could draw a hearty chuckle out of Ebeneezer Scrooge.
“Yeah, I hopped on board because basically I had a bunch of free time after I bailed out of the AK Comics,” said Farleigh as he gingerly pulled a pipe out of his fanny pack and took a hit. “Plus, the cool thing about this is that you’re always changing the lines to make them better – like if you have a line but someone comes up with a funnier one during rehearsals than that becomes the new line.”
The constant redrafts not only allow the PoGo GoGo Co. to carefully craft the best knee slappers, it also enables them to take their themes to some pretty crazy extremes.
“With the first group we did a show that basically combined Mardi Gras, Fur Rondezvous and St. Patrick’s Day all into one big sketch. So, we came up with this weird, weird concept where a leprechaun got kicked out of leprechaundom and like had this epic journey,” laughed Lounsbury.
For their upcoming performance at Out North on Friday, July 6 there’s no telling what the creative crew will come up with.
“We’ll probably just be cramming and rehearsing every day this week,” said Farleigh with a grin.