Winging It

Lindsey Hunt came to Houston with nothing but a dream and a suitcase full of ambition. After performing with a comedy improv group in Dallas, he set out to start his own club, which he hoped would become nothing less than the Second City of the South.

Not seeing many improv groups in our neck of the woods, he placed a classified ad announcing auditions. From those brave enough to show up, Hunt cast a group of 11 salesmen, brokers, IT guys, students, TV producers and strip club DJs. According to enlistee Gustavo Roman, it was the sheer strength of Hunt's conviction that persuaded him to sign on. The fledgling comedians learned improv games on the promise that Hunt would find a club.

And find one he did: a former haunted house, next door to the gay bar Venture-N. He christened the place Main Street Improv, and the day before it opened, the stage collapsed during rehearsal. But Hunt rebuilt the stage in time for the group to perform before a crowd of 100 friends and family.

Then, nothing.

Without an advertising budget, no one knew they were there. And people driving by shouted "faggot" to the crowd outside during intermission, assuming they were from the bar next door. But Hunt kept the place afloat on the salary he makes at Reliant. He paid his cast in beer as they slowly built an audience by word of mouth alone.

Then Tropical Storm Allison hit. And September 11. Not to mention the continuing light rail construction.

Daunted but not defeated, Hunt is sticking it out, and his audience is slowly starting to return. He's even getting phone calls from people who want to know when their favorite troupe member is performing. And if you ask, Hunt will tell you about his big plans to keep them coming back to Main Street Improv. He's going to do sketches, produce a radio show, set up a projector and show fake commercials -- the list goes on.

No doubt he'll find a way to pull it off.

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Dylan Otto Krider