A Side of Beacon

An article about Einstein Simplified triggered my Google alert for my own name and a Twitter notification that the group’s handle had been mentioned. The story appeared in The Daily Beacon, the student newspaper at the University of Tennessee.

I can tell from the story that reporter Eric Gibson must have attended our show on Tuesday, January 6. He described a scene in which I played a patient at the ER. I remember the scene better than most because I recognized the voice of the audience member who suggested my quirk. It was my friend, retired Einstein Simplified member Todd Covert. The reporter must have interviewed Todd before the show.

“They started off … in a bar called Manhattan’s which was over in the Old City years ago,” Todd Covert, a retired troupe member, said. “There was a guy who came down here from Second City in Chicago who put an ad saying, ‘If you think you’re funny, come and audition.'”

“So they started the group and were always looking for members to come in.”

After watching one performance, Covert’s wife went up to troupe leader Paul Simmons and confessed that Covert was funnier than any of them. Simmons called him over to talk.

“I auditioned and joined the group, and I was in the group for 10 years,” Covert said.

The group is currently made up of eight regular members. Like other similar versions of improv comedy, they use games between the members, and sometimes the audience, to make people laugh.

One popular game audiences can expect is “Doctor’s Office,” where one member has to determine the ailments suggested by audience members. Frank Murphy, a troupe member as well as a local radio personality, was plagued by a condition that forced him to repeat every question he was asked, but in reverse.

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