The riff off

Chad Comstock

PHOTO/Brad Bynum

Chad's Movie Show is a monthly event at Studio on Fourth, 432 E. Fourth St., which features local standup comedians riffing on TV and movie clips. The next event is on Nov. 22 at 9 p.m. $5. Comedian Chad Comstock is the host and organizer.

Tell me about this event you’re doing over at Studio on Fourth.

I don’t know if you remember Mystery Science Theater?

Of course.

Well, that was one of my favorite things when I was a kid. But then we didn’t have cable so we just had to watch crappy shows, and then I’d hit the mute button and one of my favorite things was hanging out with my buddy and just making up dialogue for the shows. It was like, this show is wack, and we’re all pretty funny, we can probably make a better show than this because we’re 10 years old and think that we’re amazing. So that’s what we’d do every afternoon after school. We’d go and have a Little Debbie’s brownie and start making up TV shows.

What kind of shows would you riff on?

Usually just garbage cartoons or Saved by the Bell, some awful show. That kind of stuff, garbage '90s sitcoms. It was fun to do serious shows too. We'd do Law & Order. We'd have no idea what was going on. We were too young to grasp what was happening, but it was just funny to say somebody was getting arrested for farting.

That’s great. How does the event work?

Basically, I go through and I pick a director that I’m fond of or one I don’t care for, or a genre. … The last one we did was the movies of John Hughes. I take six to eight comics. I pick out 16 or 18 clips that are between three and five minutes that are just dialogue clips from those movies and I cut the sound and then two comics go up side by side facing the screen with the audience, and each one has a microphone and they make up the dialogue for the characters. And then the audience votes with applause, and whoever wins moves on. It’s like a little tournament, and if you win the whole thing you get to do half an hour straight of stand-up because most of the people are comics.

Tell me a little about you.

I grew up in Reno. I started doing standup here and about a year into that, I decided to move to Austin, Texas, and I was doing standup there a ton, and I was doing these kinds of shows there, too. I like doing weird shows because people get sick of hearing everyone’s crappy jokes five times a week from the same people, so it’s a good way for people to workshop a little bit and get better at riffing, and it gives us a break from hearing the same jokes that you told two nights ago in the exact same order. I did a Law & Order SVU show where me and one other comic sit in the green room while the audience watches an episode of Law & Order, and we'd get as drunk as we can, and then we'd do a Q-and-A and synopsis of the episode even though we didn't see it.

You haven’t done that one in Reno yet?

I haven’t done that one in Reno yet, but that one will be pretty soon, I think.