Prior to Improv Against Humanity’s move to the Vogue Theatre in downtown Vancouver, Ian Boothby (author and creator of “No And”) wrote: ‘This is a show that started at a small-ish restaurant and sold it out. Then it moved to a larger venue (420 seats) and sold it out regularly. Now it’s moving to a venue with over a thousand seats. No matter what happens from this point on, this is an amazing success story for improv. I hope it becomes an example of what happens when a good idea is done with a cast having a contagious good time and that’s very well marketed”
The success story that Ian refers to is the story of The Fictionals, a Vancouver comedy company that began in 2010. And at the centre of the Fictionals is its leader, Daniel Chai.
I sat down with Daniel at Cafe Deux Soleils after a weekly “Hot Improv” show. As the host of the show, Daniel is a study in motion, connecting with each member of the audience, facilitating the talent and production on stage, and methodically updating all of the Fictional’s social media platforms. Even after the restaurant has cleared and I prepare for this interview, Daniel is updating the facebook event with a post show photo.
Daniel is a confident salesman. There’s no doubt in his mind that the Fictionals are worth your attention. “I’m working with the funniest people in the world,” Daniel tells me.
Daniel has a background in marketing and journalism. Unlike other improvisers that may shy away from the off stage responsibilities, Daniel manages the Fictionals with a business mind set. He works tirelessly to promote a show. He admits that he’s only satisfied if he’s done everything he can to get the word out. He tells me: “Whatever I can do to make a show a success I will do.”
The Fictional’s flagship show is Improv Against Humanity: Live and Unsanctioned (IAH), a live fan show that incorporates the popular game, Cards Against Humanity.
When I met with Daniel, it was a little over a week leading up to IAH first show at the Vogue Theatre.
My questions focus on his journey but I can tell that he’s uncomfortable to reflect back on his success because all of his energy is looking forward.
Taking IAH to the Vogue is a true accomplishment. It’s also a test. Can an improv show attract almost a thousand people every month? (The Vogue Seating Capacity is 1,137)
“The reason why I do so much promotion and marketing,” Daniel admits, “is because I want to make sure we have a nice strong audience. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to producing for the Fictionals. There’s a certain marketing way that I like to do to promote a show. I believe in momentum and getting the message out beyond our current fan base.”
“If for some reason this all ended, I’ll know I did everything I could. I gave it a 100%. No regrets”.
The Fictionals are anything but over. With a talented cast, crowd-pleasing shows and a tireless leader – the Fictionals will be around for a very long time.
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On February 17, Improv Against Humanity debuted at the Vogue Theatre with an awesome turn-out of 700 excited fans. (The Fictionals biggest audience yet).
Next Improv Against Humanity: Live and Unsanctioned at the Vogue Theatre is on Thursday, March 26th!