If there's anyone we'd like to see be funny for a continuous 48 hours, it's Dallas actor and improv comic Jeff Swearingen. He's a funny guy on and off a stage, but especially on. And starting at 8 p.m., Friday, October 7, he's going to try to be funny and to stay awake for a long time, performing a 48-hour benefit marathon of improv comedy called Whole Whole Lotta Improv at the cozy Cox Building Playhouse in Plano. It's all for charity, with 100 percent of the box office take going to Orphans Outreach, which offers education and humanitarian aid to at-risk kids around the world, primarily Guatemala, Honduras, India and Russia.
Joining Swearingen for the comedy laugh-a-thon will be actor Brad McEntire, who performs with Swearingen as a duo called Fun Grip, plus members of The Victims improv group, including John Rawley, Brian Kinkade, Elizabeth Robinson, James Chandler and a dozen others. The idea, says Swearingen, is to create a 48-hour improvised play with a running plotline and a constantly changing cast of characters. "I don't like the Who's Line Is It Anyway? stuff, the short-form improv," says Swearingen. "We'll do more than have someone hand us a hairbrush so we can do something wacky with it. We'll be going for one continuous story thread."
Does he expect to have people in the audience at, say, 2:30 a.m., Saturday or 5:30 a.m., Sunday? "I hope so. I would love there to be an audience both nights from 3 to 6 a.m. But even if there's not, we'll still keep going till 8 p.m., Sunday night," says Swearingen.
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He also plans to keep updates on the marathon going on Twitter and Facebook as it happens.
Bathroom breaks will be allowed for the actors. And Swearingen's looking for donations of java and snacks from local coffee emporia. "I'm also encouraging people to bring me coffee," said Swearingen. He plans to be the only actor to last the whole 48 hours. Everyone else onstage will be taking shifts and grabbing naps.
If he makes it through the marathon, Swearingen next will be starring as twin brothers in the Gerald Moon comedy Corpse! at Theatre Arlington, opening October 28.
A $10 ticket to Whole Whole Lotta Improv gets you in for however long you want to watch, starting at 8 p.m., Friday, October 7. A $20 ticket gives you in-and-out privileges over the three-day event (you might pick up a sandwich for Swearingen while you're out, too). Tickets available at funhousetheatreandfilm.com or at the door at the Cox Building Playhouse, 1517 H Avenue, Plano.