by Joe Moore

What’s ups, Pizza Nuts?! So my entire life I have never liked black olives. I don’t know why, but they just tasted like high-class garbage to me. For some reason this all changed…and that reason is pizza. I called in an order to pick up and out of nowhere just blurted out “A large pie with peppers, onions and black olives.” The pie changed my life…and now I can eat olives.
Well enough talk about miracles, let’s talk about Beirds. Philly improv group Beirdo features Dennis Trafny, Kevin Pettit and Daniel Jaquette. Dan moved to Minneapolis a few months back, but these gentlemen are still together in spirit. The power-trio will be physically reassembling for this year’s Chicago Improv Festival and they are holding a fundraiser TONIGHT at 8PM at the Arts Parlor, which will feature one metric ton of fun from a bunch of great acts. In order to celebrate the event on Friday, Beirdo let me inside their inner circle to talk a bit about pizza. 
Ever wonder what would be on a “Beirdo” pizza? Answer below:

Pizza Pal Joe Moore: How much do you like pizza?

Dennis Trafny: This much (Joe, if you could include a picture of a person holding his or her arms like shoulder-width apart) 
Kevin Pettit: A whole Bunch!
Dan Jaquette: I like it like a mountain man likes bear traps and being alone with his thoughts.

PPJM: You are going to Chicago. What are your opinions on “Deep-Dish Pizza”?
DT: I think there should be a giant layer of sausage patty on everything. 
KP:  Deep Dish Pizza I view as the fat cousin of East Coast Pizza.  I haven’t seen him in awhile and I’m very excited to rip into his saucy middle with my teeth.
DJ: I have a high opinion of them because they look more like pie, and I also love pie. Especially pizza pie!
PPJM: What day is/was “Pizza Day” in your house?
DT: I lived in a home so not sure about house. (Joe, I lived in an apartment complex. If you reword it I can maybe answer better.) 
KP:  Pizza day was Fridays and I assume my parents still order pizza for five every Friday to fill the void me and my two brothers have left.
DJ: For a long time, every Friday was pizza and movie night for my wife and I. Now we are trying to be more spontaneous, so it could be any night.
PPJM: If there were a pizza named “The Beirdo” what kind of pizza would it be? What kind of toppings?
DT: sawdust + maple syrup + chainsaw oil + arm hair  
KP: The Beirdo SHALL be a pizza.  I’m upset it isn’t already.  It will have bacon, pepperoni, jalapenos, and sweet BBQ rib meat on it and should be served with a side of ranch for dipping.
DJ: It would have extra sauce because we are so saucy and also extra cheese for the same reason. Also, a stuffed crust.
PPJM: What is your favorite appearance of pizza in pop culture (music, TV, movie, etc…)
DT:  It’s appearance in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game was beyond unrealistic but notable. 
KP: Pizza’s best role in television would have to be in the cartoon series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Michelangelo sure loved his pizza and that love was contagious!
PPJM: What is your favorite pizza place?
DT: Gino’s East in Chicago. Kevin, would you like to go there with me? No? Dan, do you want to go there with me? I did ask you first.  
KP: Tacconelli’s has been one of the greatest pizza experiences of my life.  AND it is BYOB so, you can have as many balloons as you want!  This ensures a fun pizza experience.
DJ: In Philly it was Little Italy, here in Minneapolis it’s Pizza Luce.
PPJM. Anything else you’d like to add?
DTAdd to what? The pizza? Our statements? Have you ever conducted an interview before Joe? You need to be more specific.  (Also, don’t include any parathenicals; those are for you only.)
KP: There is a midnight showing of TNMT at the Ritz or somewhere the night of our show.  I propose we party after the show, get some pizza and go see the movie!
DJ: I lived in Japan for 2 years (no big deal) and they put strange things on pizza. Once I had tuna and corn. Tuna wasn’t great, but corn was surprisingly good. Also, I always think I’ll like BBQ sauce on pizza, but then I never do. I do not like “white pizza” because I like sauce a whole lot. I’ve tried gluten-free pizza before and I don’t like that either, but I’m glad that those with gluten intolerance still have a pizza option that won’t terrorize their innards. I once saw a squirrel eating a pizza like a human and I laughed at that, I think my wife took a picture, but I don’t have access to her photos so I can’t send it along, but I’ll describe it for you. First, to set the scene. It was in Madison, WI. For those that have never been to the Midwest, I’m sorry you won’t be able to accurately envision this anecdote. Anyway, there was a tree with bark and everything. In this tree there was a squirrel. He had in his little squirrel hands a piece of pizza and he was holding it by the crust and eating the cheese parts like a human. I sometimes wonder if it was a human who was Kafka’d into a squirrel but didn’t want to give up pizza. I hope that squirrel survived the winter and lived to eat more pizza the following spring. 
Awesome! One of the best groups of Pizza Pals a fellow could ever ask for, hands down. Be sure to come out and wish them well TONIGHT at the Arts Parlor at 8PM!! 
Joe Moore is a pizza enthusiast, host of ‘Guilty Pleasures’ and head writer for sketch comedy team Dog Mountain.