Laughter From The Desk of...Kyle Gossett (#okciLaughDesk)

Laughter From The Desk of...Kyle Gossett (#okciLaughDesk)

  • May 22 2020
  • Written by Kendon Lacy
  • (1 Vote)
I've often heard it said to "work with people that inspire you." Well, I'm super fortunate to get a chance to do that. I've also heard it said to "create art with friends." Well, I'm also super fortunate to get a chance to do that. Basically when it comes to collaborations, this guy spoils me. This month, for our monthly meet the staff blog series titled "Laughter From The Desk of...", I had the opportunity to share some laughs with my best friend and OKC Improv Musical Director, Kyle Gossett. Often around OKC Improv you don't hear my name associated with project and not also hear Kyle's name with it as well. I'm not ashamed of that at all. We work really well together. We've also gotten to travel together and started many troupes and projects including "BitSing: A Musical Improv Party, The Big Dumb Improv Show & we even took the lead on OKC Improv's first all LBGTQ+ show titled "Live Out Proud!" If you're newer to the OKC Improv scene, you might not know that Kyle has some pretty deep roots in the development of OKC Improv as to where it is today (which we talk a bit about in the interview). Besides his work with OKC Improv, Kyle also works at Grace Church in Yukon s their Minister of Music & Communication. He's really one of the most genuine and funniest people I know and that's probably why we became such close friends. Also, fun fact: It's almost his birthday (May 31st)! Here's some highlights from our conversation:

KENDON:
Hey Buddy! Thanks for doing this and Happy "Almost" Birthday! So, I always like starting with getting a little background from the person I'm sitting down with. Yes, I know quite a bit about you but I feel like there's always something more you can learn about people (even close friends). That said, let me start by asking, what got you into improv and how'd you even hear about OKC Improv?
KYLE: I was in a production of Hair at Reduxion Theatre Company in 2011 with Cristela Carrizales. She was in a group at the time called Villain: The Musical that did improvised musicals with the bad guy as the main character. They needed a pianist to sub for them at the Colorado Music Festival, so she put an ask out on Facebook. I replied "...well that sounds like fun!" Before you know it, I was in a rehearsal with the group, and we all clicked really well. I soon joined as their permanent Music Director, and started taking improv classes with OKC Improv. I had a little experience from playing some improv games in high school, but nothing beyond that. As soon as I joined OKC Improv, I was hooked. And I haven't stopped since.
 
KENDON: Getting "hooked" is definitely a trend with OKC Improv for sure. I know that feeling. You've served multiple roles in OKC Improv throughout the years, I'm sure this is a tough question to answer but if you had to pick ONE favorite memory what would that be?
KYLE: This is a very unfair question to answer, because I've had more fun moments at OKC Improv and with the people of OKCI that I can count. For me, I think one of my favorite moments was back, when I was Program Director for OKC Improv, we had just finished producing an improv festival. I remember vividly being at an after party with Sue Ellen Reiman, our Managing Director. She looked at me, with a drink in hand, very proudly, and said "we did it!" And we cheersed. It's a random moment that sticks out in my brain that makes me smile. There's so much hard work behind the scenes that goes into making OKC Improv happen, and some of the best moments are when it's done and you get to look back and say "damn... we've really done something special here."
Kyle performing with After Hours: Musical Improv (photo by Benji Sukmanee)
KENDON: That was a amazing time and a fun Festival! We had a full house that final night. A lot of people might not know this, but you're actually the person that started the OKC Improv community Facebook group. Talk to me about how important the OKC Improv Community has been for you personally.
KYLE: Ha! I did start that group. I started the OKCI community Facebook Group on my laptop sitting across a table with Jeanette Schrieber at Beverly's Pancake House as we were planning the first OKC Improv Winter Festivus. 
 
I think the community has been super important just in that it's where I've met so many friends and amazing people. I met my best friend, Kendon Lacy, through improv, and that's a pretty big deal. For the most part, everyone is so supportive and truly wants to see you succeed. The community at OKC Improv was literally there for me at my best and my worst - through an early period of unemployment, to barely scraping by for several years, to where I feel I'm much more on my feet. I'm kind of overwhelmed at the moment to say how much the community means to me so I'll say this. There's never been a place in my life where I've felt more accepted, encouraged, and nurtured as I have amongst my peers at OKC Improv.
 
KENDON: Your best friend is Kendon Lacy?!? I hear that guy's a hack! Haha. Hey! It's National Buy An Instrument Day so I've got a 3 part question musical question, so get ready!
1) (Not technically a question) Give us one word that describes what it's like to be the musician of a musical improv show.
KYLE: Alert.
 
2) How many different instruments have you played in a single show? What were those instruments?
KYLE: I think back in the Villain days, I played the keyboard, guitar, accordion, and ukulele all in one show. Of course, this doesn't count all the different settings you can do on a keyboard so... that's a whole other question! Lol
 
3) Besides keys and guitar, what other instruments do you play (by "play" I mean instruments you feel comfortable playing in a musical improv show)?
KYLE: I could get by on a ukulele, banjo, probably a bass... accordion, melodica (done that one!), probably a Marimba or Xylophone if I had access to one. Maybe a recorder if everyone was in for a really bad time.
 

Kyle with the cast of Villain: The Musical promo shoot (photography by Devin Stickland)
KENDON: Hahaha! I think everyone has a flashback memory of a recorder experience of some sort. Also, I remember a Villain show (which might be the one you're referring to). It was before I was performing with them. There were multiple instruments were strung out around the Reduxion stage and whatever instrument you were standing next to at the moment was the instrument that you created the next improvised song with. It was a great show and super memorable. Speaking of memorable musical improv shows, I'm throwing this question out there...soooooo...forgive me.....What is your favorite musical improv show you've performed that will always be unforgettable to you?
KYLE: This question is unfair and I'd like to report it to the unfair improv questions police!
 
KENDON: Ha!
KYLE: There was a show at the Dallas Comedy Festival I think in 2014 or 2015 with Night Rhymers (RIP). We had Corie Melaugh on keys and so I was doing singing improv. A majority of us had just taken Susan Messing's Stage Pretty workshop, all about creating beautiful stage picture in your improv. So we were all primed for some ridiculous, pretty choreo. We had such a good time that show, and I'll never forget Ryan (Croft) and Kellen (Hodgeson) down on the floor playing dancing possums, while Cristela (Carrizales), you, and Heather (Winstead) were doing things on stage, and I was standing on a chair yelling "KILL THE POSSUMS" as Corie played this ridiculous dubstep number on my old Korg keyboard. When you say it out loud, it makes no sense, but it just stands out as one of those shows you'll never forget early on.
 
KENDON: YES! I remember that moment! I think it was my first or second Festival to perform at. There were so many amazing moving parts to that show. We partied hard at that after party as well. Haha.


Kyle performing with Kendon Lacy at OKC Improv's Winter Festivus 2019 (Photo by David Joplin)
Well, we've partied hard in this interview as well. This has been super fun. To wrap things up, I'm wanting to start a tradition of doing "5 Things" to close out interviews. Since you are the Musical Director for OKCI, I can't think of a better ask for than to ask for 5 names for made up musicals that you know could win a Tony Award just on their title alone.
KYLE:
1. Tony Awards Bait, The Musical!
2. Forget About It! A New Yorker Musical
3. Disney the Princess the Musical (no literally, the princess' name is Disney)
4. MORTGAGE, a followup musical to RENT
5. BOBBY BROWN, the Whitney Houston Musical 
 
KENDON: I really need to see a Disney Princess who's name is "Disney." I feel like she is the most basic of princesses! Thanks again to Kyle for taking time out for this. Be sure to check in next month where I'll be interviewing another member of the OKC Improv staff.
 
Facebook: facebook.com/kyle.gossett
Twitter: twitter.com/numbersarebad (@numbersarebad)
Instagram: @kyleagee

You can catch Kyle regularly performing with Kyle & Kendon (acting), Kyle & Kendon: The Musical (singing/acting), YOUsical: The Improvised Musical (Music Director), BitSing: A Musical Improv Party (Music Director/Singer), Tally (acting) at OKC Improv.
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Want to see when a Kyle Gossett troupe is performing? Visit okcimprov.com/shows
Want to sign up for an OKC Improv class? Visit okcimprov.com/classes


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