Rob Gagnon & Ariel Greenspoon Redefine the Art Form

August 9, 2019

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Rob Gagnon & Ariel Greenspoon

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Valerie Lopez

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This interview marks a lot of firsts as far as Comedy Wham interviews go:

  1. First time interviewing comics who are married to one another
  2. First time featuring special guest co-host, Travis, a budding comedy fan
  3. First time where the project to be promoted is an art show
  4. First time featuring excessive use of a flatulence "sound effect machine"

Valerie Lopez interviewed Ariel Greenspoon 2 years ago when she was still a fiance and interviewed Rob Gagnon earlier this year. Both have had impressive comedy backgrounds and if you don't know about their respective early starts even before arriving in Austin (separately), we recommend you take a listen to their previous Comedy Wham interviews. They're a delightful appetizer to this slightly more feisty one.

Of how her relationship to standup continues to evolve, Ariel specifically notes "Me getting up as a character, I feel more powerful, and I feel more capable and more confident." Which might explain why she took a break from standup and focused her energies on improv groups, and notably Garage, the weekly all-female improv show at The Fallout Theater. Recently however, she's enjoyed performing standup again as her own confidence in herself (despite a deep-seeded hatred, apparently) has grown.

"Me getting up as a character, I feel more powerful, and I feel more capable and more confident." Ariel Greenspoon

Rob meanwhile, has continued to diligently encourage failure by way of his experimental comedy show, Sandbox, while also continuing to co-host Stoned vs Drunk vs Sober and a number of other shows. Standup has always been his core skill and yet, he finds himself redefining the expression of art form (more on that in a bit), and perhaps, his standup will change as well.

On a personal note, I've grown to love Rob and Ariel as unwitting mentors to my son - who they met at one of Rob's shows, Laugh, Darnit about 2 years ago. Over the last few months however, they've taken Travis under their wings with grace and kindness and a LOT of fart jokes. Rob is well-known and highly regarded for hosting Sandbox, an experimental comedy show at The Fallout Theater that welcomes failure (and success, mind you). In my own efforts to find some suitable summer distractions for my son, I asked Rob if he'd be open to having Travis and me do a sketch. Rob never says "No" to anyone, so we were in. Ariel often does a performance of her own on Sandbox, so we've all spent time together, shared a sandwich or two and gotten to be friends. And after four appearances on Sandbox as the "Jeff and Kathy Chit Chat Show", you can hear the easy camaraderie in this interview between the 4 of us. And that easy camaraderie is exactly what we'll miss about Rob and Ariel as they make their way with the brood of cats and Windows 95 to the cooler and more politically open-minded state of Colorado, and specifically to Fort Collins. Fort Collins is home to a growing comedy scene and within reach of Denver's rich comedy scene and Ariel and Rob have connections of their own, so finding spots to perform is not going to be difficult for these talented performers. If you're curious about Fort Collins, you can listen to our chat from the 2018 Altercation Festival about the growth of the scene with Jacob Erdman. When I asked what it means to leave behind a comedy scene at the top of the sand pile for a much smaller comedy scene, Rob jumps in to answer with a sparkle in his eye "it's good to have some of these creative restrictions because they force you to use different tools to become, a little more well rounded or try something new, new failures." No doubt that as they've done here in Austin, Rob and Ariel will create some beautiful moments for their audiences. We can't wait to hear about how Frank and Hat are received!

"It's good to have [some] creative restrictions because they force you to use different tools to become, a little more well rounded or try something new, new failures." Rob Gagnon

As another sign of new beginnings (in lieu of fond farewells), Rob is sharing something very different with us - his art. In fact, this weekend, you can see Rob's experimental, and--based on the interview--fairly cathartic, art on display. And we're assured that Ariel will have a small corner as she, herself is an artist and has been exploring works on larger and larger canvases. Why art? Rob says of the need to express himself through art "Art is like food, and we need to be eating every day, we need to be breathing every day."

The day is nearing that Ariel and Rob will pack up the belongings and make the long drive to Fort Collins. If you have a graduation, bar mitzvah, album release party, wedding, or other momentous occasion, they've assured us they will come back to visit for it. I've already secured a position on the calendar for a middle school graduation in May, so you may want to get your calendar invites ready so we can keep them on a regular visitation schedule to Austin. Goodbyes are so hard. It's gonna be hard not to miss Rob and Ariel.... I dare you. Their final appearances in Austin include:

  • Final Sandbox at Fallout Theater - August 13, 2019

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