Ever wonder what the hit ’90s sitcom Seinfeld would be like if it took place in Halifax? If so, Leftovers Comedy have you covered.
The improv comedy group’s Seinfeld-inspired show The Halifax Chronicles: An Improv Show About Nothing was performed on Friday at the Bus Stop Theatre. The improvised show took the structure and character-types of a typical Seinfeld episode while incorporating Halifax-related elements.
“It’s just about the most popular TV show in the world,” said Eric Garf, who played the Jerry Seinfeld-inspired character in the show.
“We’re all huge fans of that era and the sitcom format. The fact that it’s a ‘show about nothing’ makes it easy to improvise, because you can do basically anything with that premise.”
The sold-out show contained two episodes with improvised plots suggested by audience members.
Each episode started with Garf doing a monologue based on the audience’s suggestions, which included such Halifax themes as the waterfront wave, Gus the museum turtle, Pizza Corner and the Blue Nose Marathon.
The show then dove into a plot based on these themes. Characters would enter and exit sporadically, and a rotation of props were used to move the story along. Each episode had a beginning, middle and conclusion, while still being completely improvised. Between scenes, a bassist would play the Seinfeld theme song.
While the show aired more than 30 years ago, Leftovers Comedy was still able to sell out a show where the audience of 89 seemed to laugh at every Seinfeld reference. Troupe member Taylor McMillen attributes this to the show’s continued relevance.
“It’s a show about the mundane lived experience that often doesn’t get talked about in movies and TV,” said McMillen, who played a Kramer-inspired character. “That’s what makes it so special. There’s something in these characters everyone can still relate to after all these years.”
“I think if the show was on TV today, though, it would have to be totally updated,” added Garf. “That’s sort of what we’re trying to do. With some of the scenes we do, we ask ourselves ‘how do we play this style in a modern context, but also in our hometown?’ ”
Throughout the two weeks the group spent rehearsing the show, they ran into some difficulties.
“Using names that are not our real names made it hard to remember how to address each other,” said McMillen. “That and the lack of audience feedback. We get so involved in what we’re doing, it’s hard to tell if it’s actually funny, or we just think it’s funny in the moment.”
Throughout the show, spectators laughed, chuckled, and even roared. Eager applause followed every scene. Audience member Alex Naus thought the Friday show was one of the “best improv shows I’ve seen in a long time.”
“I watched Seinfeld when it was airing and I thought they had the characters spot-on,” said Naus. “You could feel the energy of the classic characters we know and love, but they were saying things those actual characters would have never said, like ‘I’m meeting her at Pizza Corner.’ ”
Coming up on March 20, Leftovers Comedy will perform The Halifax Chronicles: Episodes 3 & 4 at Bus Stop Theatre. Tickets cost $17.31 and can be purchased online.
About the author
Kaitlyn MacNeill is a fourth-year journalism student at the University of King's College living in Halifax, Nova Scotia.