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Comedy Show Review: Dasariski

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No one likes the word ‘slow’, right? Put ‘slow’ in front of ‘drivers’ or ‘internet connection’ or ‘children’ and absolutely no good can come of it. And ‘slow improv’? If you’ve seen a handful of improvised comedy shows, you’ve probably fallen victim to a dullard that makes it feel like time has stopped. Slow improv isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. That is, unless you’re Dasariski.

In fact, slow is just how iO West’s premiere three man improv team, Dasariski, would like to take it. Good news if you’re a nervous prom date, but not so hot for a Thursday night comedy audience hopped up on cheap PBRs from the bar. But if that’s true, then why is the 10pm Thursday night slot so packed that people are sitting three abreast and every step deep on the large staircase adorning the western wall? Because Bob Dassie, Rich Talarico and Craig Cackowski (as in DASsie-talARIco-cackowSKI) know what you don’t, idiot: slow doesn’t mean bad. For Dasariski, slow can mean incredible.

What happens on those Thursday nights is truly a clinic for young comedy students eager to jump on stage and cram jokes down an audience’s gullet. Scenes - sometimes 8, 10 minutes long - are built organically and honestly, with a focus on characters and relationships that allow the room to fall silent at times, without ever feeling uncomfortable. In fact, even in scenes of low (but focused) energy, the breathing beats add a tinge of tension that heightens the eventual joke. And rest assured, there are more than enough jokes.

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On this night, the three men embark on a journey throughout Las Vegas. They begin as tourists with little to no street savvy who are quickly taken advantage of, and as the show goes on to span 45 minutes they toggle between the call girls of the Strip, the security men who protect the casinos, and a brief interlude with the hobo group that may or may not be behind the famed tiger attack on German magician Roy. The guys are so comfortable with each other and in their own skin that, especially in the security scenes, they allow pregnant pauses and quiet moments of agony to play as a fourth character, infusing each scene with a noble desperation that is so often lacking in the laff-a-minute shows around town.

I hope the men of Dasariski don’t read this and secretly think I’ve just been calling them old for four paragraphs, because nothing could be further from the truth. Bob, Craig, and Rich play a deep-dish Chicago style of improv that has largely faded from the LA comedy landscape, and that is not a good thing. But regardless of their form or their feel, these men are outright hilarious. They accept every scene with a certain amount of mystification and candor, and thoroughly seem to enjoy the discoveries along the way. There are small bumps and hiccups, as in any show, but these men do more than pass them over with a frightened grin, they embrace them and use them to propel the show forward well past the line in the sand where other teams would have fallen in on themselves. They work hard, they play slow. They are Dasariski.

Dasariski plays every Thursday night at 10pm at iO West in Hollywood, (usually) does a monthly scripted show as well. For more information, tickets, and a schedule, check here.