The N Crowd has a weekly Friday night show at 8pm at the Actor’s Center. This April marks the 9th anniversary of their short-form improv show (think: ‘Whose Line’ games). This February, the N Crowd will be performing at the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival. Visit their website phillyncrowd.com.
WitOut: Who is your comedy inspired by?
Vegas Lancaster: Lewis Black, I think I was trying to emulate him when I first started. The political humor always makes me laugh. He has this way of building energy that is really impressive. His timing is amazing. He starts down low and builds up to a crescendo of emotion. A crescendo of anger. I have a smile on all the time, so I don’t know if angry works best for me. But the building of emotions up to the level of fireworks for something as silly as candy corn is really cool. Comedy in front of a live audience and the shared experience of laughter is what I really like. I think it is very special.
WitOut: Who are your other favorites?
Lancaster: I would have to say Steven Colbert and John Stewart. They take such a dry, otherwise boring material and make it super entertaining. The make things people should know about interesting to hear about. Comedy is such a silly field and they are doing important work at the same time. Other than that, I would have to say I also like Flight of the Concords.
WitOut: What is your favorite type of comedy?
Lancaster: I watch comedy cartoons late at night. I also really enjoy live comedy. The experience of laughing with an audience feels really special. It is easy to stay home and watch YouTube videos, but I hope we always have live entertainment because I think it is really special.
WitOut: What is the main difference between The N Crowd and Whose Line is it Anyway?
Lancaster: We can say dirty words. It’s also really special about The N Crowd that the majority of our audiences every week are people who have never been to an improv show.
WitOut: What do you think is The N Crowd’s success mantra for bringing new people and turning them into improv lovers?
Lancaster: Everything we are doing is based off of audience suggestion. At the beginning of the show we will ask for a relationship between two people, or a word. We try to get on their level and take their verbal and non-verbal feedback. Whatever they are responding to, we hit on and keep doing.
WitOut: What is your favorite controversial issue to talk about?
Lancaster: I really like hitting on current events. Whatever is on people’s mind in the past week; some things I don’t want to gross people about by talking about it soon. It is really easy to do that during improv because you have to make stuff up. But I also like to do it in standup.
WitOut: Is there any particular show or topic you can remember when you really pushed the limits?
Lancaster: We do so many shows, I forget what we did after we are done. The audience hopefully remembers forever. A couple weeks ago I was doing jokes about Rich Incognito and his racial jokes. We Occupy Wall Street. Election season is also a fun time for us.
WitOut: What side is The N Crowd on?
Lancaster: As a group we do not take any political affiliation. The demographic of the N Crowd, I think, aligns pretty well with the political demographics of Philadelphia. The N Crowd, LLC has no political affiliation.
WitOut: If it weren’t Philly, what city?
Lancaster: That is really difficult to say. The N Crowd is a Philadelphia grown show; we are an independent comedy group. We are close to NY, there is a lot going on up there. In a city like NY, or LA you have got a whole industry for entertainment and a whole industry preying on them; there is a lot of
nonsense. You don’t have so much of that in Philly. The comedy scene has been growing steadily for the past few years. It is more of a niche to fill here. There is a lot of great stuff in Philly. There is room for us to do our thing.
WitOut: What are some of your favorite comedy groups in Philly?
Lancaster: Suggestical, they make up a musical on the spot.
WitOut: Anything else you would like to leave our readers with?
Lancaster: We put on a fun show, if they haven’t seen it. It is all about coming out and laughing!
More about The N Crowd:
From Philly Improv Festival