Ranger Danger and the Danger Ranger are from Los Angeles and consist of Luis Cortes and Drew Coolidge. These partners of ten years are laser-sharp storytellers with a muscle for punch-lines that amazingly manages not to cripple their professional-grade plot and character development under the weight of their comedic chops.
In front of a packed house on Friday night, they took the suggestions “subway” and “basement” and weaved a should-be humdrum tale of two guys trapped in the basement of a subway restaurant which had us all secretly begging for blackout to wait until the characters reached freedom. Silent prayers for a distracted tech-person filled the narrow cracks between grand mal convulsions of laughter.
It was up there with the hardest I’ve ever heard a theater audience laugh (nearly matched, to DuoFest’s credit, later that night by Magnet Theater’s Trike). Ranger Danger and the Danger Ranger managed to elicit a mania so frothing that upon blackout, I nearly expected everyone in the audience the start indescriminantly punching each other’s grinning teeth out.
I caught up briefly with Cortes. When I asked some version or another of “How do you guys do it?” he replied, “We just always try to tell a good story. When you tell a good story and let the audience help guide you, it’s really not that difficult.”
By contrast with our other DuoFest favorite–Boston’s Two Gentlemen, who wielded deft irreverence for the conventions of improv to create a psychedelic masterpiece–Ranger Danger & The Danger Ranger capitalized on every classic improv trick in the book. They operated with scene-economy, resource-optimization and infectious confidence, making the 60-seat PHIT space feel like a fucking stadium, in which we were watching a pair of rock-stars knock fastballs out of the park with upside-down guitars and illegal pyro.
Stay tuned to #DuoFest2014 for buzz on tonight’s final shows. For tickets, visit duofest.com/2014/tickets/