Monday, May 18, 2015

Wits Review

Happy Monday!  It's been so crazy and hectic the last week or so, I realized I never really shared about our night out at Wits last week.  It was a lot of fun, so I thought I'd do a little recap today before it's no longer fresh in my mind!

If you're unfamiliar with it, Wits is a radio show that is broadcast locally on Minnesota Public Radio and I believe is syndicated in other NPR outlets as well.  It's been kind of described as the younger, hipper version of a Prairie Home Companion.  It's a similar concept, there are guests that come on and do sketches and skits with the regular host and his troupe.  We had a chance to go a couple of years ago when the guests were  Kristin Schaal and Rufus Wainwright.  This time the guests we had a chance to see were Danny Pudi from Community and local singer Har Mar Superstar.

The taping takes place at the Fitzgerald Theatre in Downtown St. Paul, the same theatre where a Prairie Home Companion is taped as well.  It's such a charming theatre.  The last time we went, we had general admission seats and were up in the balcony, which wasn't actually a bad place to be, but this year we decided to splurge a little bit on regular floor seats and I will say - totally worth the upgrade!  The atmosphere before the show is a ton of fun, you're encouraged to use Twitter if you wish and they project everyone's tweets (hashtag Wits of course) up on a screen and it's fun to watch for your name.  A DJ from one of our local stations plays a bunch of upbeat dance music and it's just super fun to hang out before the show.

The house band comes out and plays a song to get everyone all pumped and warmed up and then the host, John Moe, comes on stage and kind of explains for anyone who hasn't been to a show before what's going to happen, he explains that it's a radio show and that there may be re-shoots at the end if there are any mistakes, that kind of thing.  Then they bring out the guest stars and start the show.

They do a couple of sketches and skits, interview the guests and the music guest gets to perform a couple of songs.  We had not seen Har Mar Superstar live before and let me tell you - he is amazing! He's a machine up there.  Danny Pudi is also hilarious - nothing like his character Ahmed from Community at all.

One of my favorite things about going to Wits is they let you bring food and beverage from their snack bars into the theatre and you can consume them all during the show.  The beer is cheapest before the show begins, they run a happy hour.  So we had one before and grabbed another during intermission.  Another thing I've learned in the couple of times I have attended now - sneak out during a skit to use the restroom.  The ladies room at the Fitz is TINY, so unless you want to spend the entire intermission in line, it's best to go a different time!

After intermission they do some more sketches, play a game or two with the guests and then the musical guest gets to sing a few more songs.  They close the show with an audience sing-a-long. This time they did the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back".  After the show is over they do the re-shoots if there are any, this time it didn't take too long at all.  And then that's it.  The whole thing probably lasts around 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  By the time they edit for radio though, it is only an hour long.  It'll be fun to listen to it later to see what changes they made!  Overall it's a super fun experience.  I'm looking forward to seeing who is coming next year and will probably make plans to go again!  
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