Rob Gagnon is a nice guy. He probably will deny this statement but there’s really no avoiding it. After all, how else can a grown man teach preschool if he isn’t patient and nice?
A Moment of Clarity Leads to Austin
Why is he teaching preschool? Well, it’s because he’s playing the long-game with his comedy career and has been carefully honing his craft since college. He’s always been a fan of comedy. As a very young child, his dad would watch comedy movies like Ferris Beuller’s Day Off with him during lunch breaks. This moments had a profound effect on young Rob Gagnon. As you would expect, he became something of the class clown in high school. Afterwards he went on to college. Shortly after he graduated with a degree in history, Rob Gagnon, won a comedy contest.
He soon realized that if he wanted to grow as a comedian, he needed to get to greener pastures. Gagnon sat across from me at Mr. Tramps and reflected on his decision making process, “I knew that if I wanted to hone my skills, I’d have to leave Connecticut. The scene just wasn’t strong there. I wasn’t ready for New York or L.A., and needed time to improve my writing and timing. I heard that Austin had a lot of mic time and I decided to make the move.”
As with several of my previous articles, when Gagnon came to Austin, he linked up with the folks at The New Movement Theater. There he learned The New Movement’s unique brand of long form improv comedy. The ad hoc style of comedy has helped Gagnon out tremendously on stage while performing stand-up. It’s allowed him to develop a certain level of situational awareness which allows him to adjust to the mood of the room on the fly.
So what about all that vaunted Austin comedy mic time? Rob Gagnon has taken full advantage of it. He’s known to do multiple open mics in one night, is frequently on stage at showcases around town and has never forgotten his roots at The New Movement Theater. In fact, one of Gagnon’s signature shows, Stoned vs. Drunk vs. Sober (SVDVS), is a bi-monthly event that’s usually at the theater when he’s not taking it on tour.
Stoned Vs. Drunk Vs. Sober
Gagnon enjoys putting on SVDVS. “It’s pretty easy for people going because it’s all in the title,” He tells me, “People know the archetype of the stoned, drunk or sober comic.” What they don’t know is that while Gagnon does include the archetypical comic to each team, he adds a teammate that may break the mold. Using two people on each team like this keeps the audience on their toes.
New audience members may also be surprised to know that Gagnon also likes to incorporate social media in Stoned vs. Drunk vs. Sober. He reads a tweet, and the comedians take turns building on the tweet in a stream of consciousness exercise that can get pretty twisted. In a nutshell, it’s a variation of a short-form improve game called I Can’t Beat That, in which the cast takes a gesture from the crowd and try to top each other in their explanation of what they’re doing without repeating it.
Remember how I stated that Rob Gagnon is a nice guy? He’s also a caring and safety conscious guy. He always makes sure comedians who are in a state of mind that prevents them from driving home on their own have rides. In the past he’s personally made sure a performer or two have made it safely home.
Fortunately for you folks reading this, Rob Gagnon is hosting a Stoned vs. Drunk vs. Sober on July 26th, which is this Saturday. The show starts at The New Movement Theater at 11pm.
If you would like more information regarding Rob Gagnon, his shows and appearance; or if you want to find out more about The New Movement Theater, their shows or classes click the links below.
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