One night a month, Angelenos have a chance to see President Donald Trump in a very different light: as an improvisor
The Pack Theater, which opened last year, has been hosting “Trumprov” since the election. In it, the improv team Rat Throat welcomes Donald Trump as one of its members – even though sometimes he can be a little bit difficult.
“What might he do in a scene? He might completely ignore what you just said. Or he might interpret it in a way that’s completely different than what was expected,” said Pack Theater owner Miles Stroth. “He might leave the show.”
In fact, he has. Chris Corbin, who plays Trump in the show, has left to go to the bathroom and came back five minutes later. He tweets from the stage. Taps himself out of scenes.
Stroth got the idea for the show after seeing Corbin, on Rat Throat, perform as Trump in another show. Corbin, an actor who’s been on “Jane The Virgin” among other things, went from playing Trump in a sketch before the election – to making it a regular thing.
At first Trumprov was weekly and more based in politics. And because of that, it was draining, Corbin said.
“I was doing everything real,” Corbin, 35, said. “I was listening to all the news. I inundated myself with every podcast, anything on Trump, every news story.”
Corbin thought about quitting the show. He just felt it wasn’t hitting.
But then they decided to change things up.
“Now… we do a caricature of him,” Corbin said. “We make him really misogynistic, really insane and poke as much fun at him as we can – but not do it in a real way, not attacking his politics as much.”
On a recent Wednesday night, the theater was about half-full, all hollering for Trumprov to start. Corbin comes off stage and grabs a Make America Great again hat from a guy in the audience and plops it on his head.
When he doesn’t like an improv game, he makes it known.
“I don’t understand what’s happening anymore. I’m done with this. Scene is over,” he says on stage. “This is not the kind of improv I’m used to. I like ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway.’ Drew Carey is making America great again.”
Corbin thinks part of the reason the show struggled a little in the beginning is that people in L.A. were finding it hard to laugh. Now, this stuff seemed very real.
It wasn’t long ago that the Pack was doing a sketch about Trump, showing a post-apocalyptic world — complete with “Wizard of Oz” metaphors — where Trump became president.
“I think people are still super sensitive – don’t know how to think or feel about this,” Corbin said.
Nowadays, like tonight, people are laughing in Trumprov. Trump is ridiculous. He’s loud, crude unpredictable – and he’s funny.
“I’ve had people come now and thank me afterward – like ah, it’s so nice to be able to laugh at this,” Corbin said.
Trumprov is 8 p.m. — 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Pack Theater in Los Angeles. See the schedule at packtheater.com.