John Hollingsworth and Dave Lane know all too well what it’s like to laugh till it hurts.
One of their most popular comedy sketches involves walking through a multitude of mousetraps barefoot and blindfolded.
It’s comical and painful, said Hollingsworth. “But you get used to it after a while and I’ve never broken a digit, just drawn blood.”
He’s part of a trio of local funny guys making a name for themselves in Canada as The Fidgits improv comedy troupe.
Three or four times a year they add The Mousetrap Game to the end of their two-hour show. It’s a fundraiser with audience members purchasing mousetraps for anywhere from $5 to $100 each, depending the price set by the charity.
All the traps are placed on stage and the troupe’s third member, Chris Reid, guides the two through the maze.
“The thing about improv is you have to do what the other person says,” explains Hollingsworth. “If Chris says do a log roll, we do a log roll, and all these mouse traps start going off.
“Dave has a long beard and he always winds up with one in his beard.”
No real harm is done because the wooden traps are designed to snap little mouse bones, nothing human-sized.
Still, it’s a painful experience, and Hollingsworth says he is only able to repeat it because the sketch gets such a big laugh and raises a lot of money for good causes.
Finding a steady supply of mousetraps hasn’t been a problem since the Victor pest control company heard about The Fidgets’ snappy sketch and pledged a lifetime supply.
“They send them to us free by the crate,” says Hollingsworth. “Victor said they’ve never seen anything like this.”
He first got involved in improv at university. He liked it because it’s unscripted and unpredictable.
“Really, it’s a dangerous form of entertainment,” he says. “It’s risky. You have to quickly decide what you’re going to do as you walk onto the stage.
“And I like it because we get to be crazy and make people laugh.”
Years ago, he started his first improv troupe in Sarnia called No Laughing Matter. It lasted five years before disbanding. It wasn’t long before the late Jim Stokley urged Hollingsworth to put a new group together and hold an improv night at the old Industry Theatre.
That was eight years ago and it proved such a success The Fidgets were born. They’ve since done several tours across Canada.
The Fidgets plan to perform the Mouse Trap Game sketch at their next charitable event, on March 19.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Fidgets’ fundraiser for Lambton College nursing students volunteering in Guatemala.
WHERE: Sarnia Library Auditorium
WHEN: March 19, 7:30 p.m.
TICKETS: $10, available at The Book Keeper. Mousetraps are optional and cost another $10 at the door.
The Arts Journal reflects all the great things that contribute to Sarnia’s cultural fabric. Got an idea? Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or call 226-932-0985.