We had the good fortune of connecting with Krissy Lenz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Krissy, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
Comedy clubs all over the world are a gathering place in the community to share laughter. We at the Neighborhood Comedy Theatre take a bit of extra pride in offering all ages and all audience comedy shows, which means that everyone is welcome to gather and laugh at our little comedy theatre. NCT also strives to always be creating comedy that “punches up” and values positivity. Improv classes and teambuilding experiences for all ages, from 7 to 77, are another way to add to the community by teaching the values of listening, trust, positive agreement and team work. The more laughs, chortles, guffaws and giggles in the world- the better!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Improv has impacted literally everything in my existence. When I was 14 a friend took me to my first ever all ages improv show on a Friday night. We attended a teen improv class on the Saturday afternoon that followed and I have never stopped performing and practicing spontaneous, interactive comedy since that weekend in the early 90’s. I met my husband, Dorian, at an improv comedy show. He is also an improviser and we have been performing together since THAT day in the LATE 90’s. We started our comedy theatre in our hometown at the same time we started our family… that part, at least, wasn’t in the 1990s. NCT has been in the Valley since 2008 and we found a home on Main Street in Downtown Mesa a decade later in 2018. Our kids take improv classes and perform on our stage, they enjoy the shows and my teenager has recently started participating in shows as “Professor Voice.” For us, it has always been a family business that we all love to participate and play in. There have been tons and tons of bumps along the way. Opening in the midst of a giant recession that saw many of the businesses around our first location closed and abandoned was a real bummer. We closed our doors in March 2020 due to the pandemic and havent been able to host a show on our stage since then. However! We keep the laughs going through all of this and lean hard on the most important rule of improv… “Yes, And!” Whatever life throws our way, we say YES, AND.. how can we make this funny?
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oooooh… this is SUCH a good question. I would absolutely show off the aweseomeness of Downtown Mesa. For food we would for sure visit Worth Take Away and Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken… both delicious and right next door to Neighborhood Comedy Theatre. We would also be sure to visit Mangoes and Tacos Chiwas, Republica Empanada and Myke’s Pizza. For daytime drinks, coffee at the Nile, Lost Duchman Cofee and Jarrods Coffee Tea and Gallery. Shopping at Atomic Age Modern and Buckhorn Vintage and DT Mesa Fest Artist Emporium. We would visit the I.d.e.a Museum and the Arizona Museum of Natural History… panning for gold there is my favorite. For nighttime drinkies we would visit Oro Brew Co, Chupacabra Taproom, 12 West and Cider Corps… and thats not even all of the dining, shopping, entertainment and nightlife in Downtown Mesa. You can literally wander around for a whole weekend and not run out of fun things to do and great things to eat… I forgot the Farmers Market and Flea on Saturdays!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to offer my Shoutout to the improv community across the Valley and across the country. Improv has gone from something you could only explain as “not stand up” or “kinda like Whose Line Is It Anyway” to something that has awesome theater spaces and communities all over the world! Improvisers, Directors and owners of theaters regularly come together to discuss how to best serve our audiences and our performers. The National Improv Network, the Phoenix Improv Festival, Camp Improv Utopia and all the awesome folks who support all us crazy improvisers are the BEST and most supportive humans out there.
Boyd Harrington, Krissy Lenz