SAK Comedy Lab

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SAK Comedy Lab (SAK) is a 250-seat Improvisational Comedy (Improv) theater in downtown Orlando, Florida, listed as "one of Orlando's most popular entertainment venues" by 10Best.com and has been named amongst the "50 best comedy clubs in America" by clickitticket.com. SAK's most notable alumnus is actor Wayne Brady, who has played as a guest player in several SAK shows since finding fame as a performer on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Let's Make A Deal, Chappelle's Show, and other projects.[1] SAK's regular performers are referred to as the SAK Ensemble.

SAK runs an improv training school, SAK University (SAK U), which features four levels of core classes and two advanced Conservatory classes [2]

Shows[edit]

SAK's main show is the Duel of Fools. This show features two teams of three improvisers, one host/ referee, and a piano player to add music. SAK will often feature a different ten p.m. show that offers a different format other than the standard Duel of Fools.

While Duel of Fools runs continuously, the club also rotates other temporary shows through its repertoire. These have included the 2007 Rub a Dub Dub, a show in which players dub their own lines over health films and silent movies. The Lost Comedies of William Shakespeare, directed by David Charles in 2006, was a parody of Shakespeare's work, in which the performers synthesized a five-act play from audience suggestions.[3] The show received positive reviews[4] from the Orlando Sentinel. The players created a Broadway-style musical in Fourplay: The Improvised Musical, which ran during the summer of 2006. Also in 2006, were You Bet Your Asterisk, an improv game show, and SAK Request Live.

Seasonal shows at SAK include variations on Duel of Fools, such as Love for Fools (Valentines Day), Yule of Fools (Christmas), Midnight Halloween Torture Show, and Mardi Gras SAK Style.

Other continuous programs include Lab Rats, a show for invited graduates of SAK's improv training school, and Generation S (Gen S), a showcase of the best of Lab Rats and special invitees who are being trained to join the ensemble.

Company History [5][edit]

SAK Theatre enjoyed its humble beginnings in Buffalo, Minnesota when a troupe of four individuals with a background in evangelical street theater began performing at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in 1977. After a few years, opportunities arose for SAK to perform at multiple festivals simultaneously. The original troupe trained additional performers and SAK grew from four members to twelve.

In 1982, while performing at a festival in Largo, Florida, entertainment scouts from the Walt Disney Company came looking for entertainment acts to populate the World Showcase at the newly opening Epcot Center. SAK Theatre Company was now an official corporation and moved its base of operations to Florida.

For seven years SAK produced, performed, and managed live audience participatory comedy shows for Walt Disney World in the United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot and Italy Pavilion at Epcot, as well as countless other shows performed in and around the parks. SAK also continued to appear at festivals, expos, and fairs around the world well into the 1990s, and was employing over 30 full-time performers, production, and office staff.

In 1991 after the Disney contract ended, SAK Theatre Company opened the SAK Comedy Lab on Church Street in downtown Orlando. This first venue was a 99-seat comedy theater dedicated to performing original comedy plays (many developed through improvisation) and improv shows. It was at this time when the SAK signature improv comedy competition, the “Duel of Fools," was born. Every Friday and Saturday night for the past 23 years, two teams of improvisers have battled against each other to see who could make up the funniest scenes, sketches, and songs based on audience suggestions.

Since its inception in 1991, the “Lab” has grown to become one of the largest theaters and training centers for improvisation in the Southeast. It currently serves over 30,000 patrons a year as well as major Central Florida organizations such as the Orlando Magic, Florida Hospital and Darden Restaurants with its team training and corporate comedy shows. SAK is currently experiencing unprecedented breakaway growth and looks forward to entertaining Orlando audiences for another two decades and beyond.

Location[edit]

The original SAK Theater was located on Church Street in downtown Orlando. The company quickly outgrew the space, and moved to its second location at 380 W. Amelia Ave,[6] which led to parking difficulties during events at the Amway Arena.[7] SAK moved to its current location, 29 S. Orange Ave., in early 2010.

Current Ensemble Members[edit]

The SAK Professional Ensemble plays weekly, Thursday through Saturday night. The current cast includes:[8]

Notable SAK Alumni[edit]

Many of SAK's former ensemble members moved on to careers in acting, film, and other performance roles. These include:[10]

*Ian Covell

References[edit]

External links[edit]