(After) General Fools Festival: Red Hot Riot

By now, we’ve heard a lot about the General Fools Festival, from my article in the current issue of the prairie dog to the couple of blog posts I did about the out-of-town improv artists performing and the big finale for the festival.

It’s a big festival, and there’s a lot more to it than what we’ve covered. Check out General Fools’ site for details.

But the fun doesn’t stop when the last show of the festival wraps up on Saturday. Red Hot Riot, Jayden Pfeifer’s monthly variety show, is happening on the next night in the Artesian.

So, as soon as the improv festival that Pfeifer and his fellow Fools have put together is done, he’s going up again the next night. Takes some guts, but he was largely motivated because of the talent that will already be around for the festival; specifically, General Fools members Mike Fly and Michael Grajewski. (Regina’s Black Drink Crier is the musical guest for this show.)

“There’ll be all these talented people in town,” says Pfeifer. “I can just sit back and make smarmy comments, which is kinda what I do now: bring people onstage and talk shit.”

I can attest to the fact that he’s being self-deprecating there: from the first edition of the live talk show, featuring former Saskatchewan Roughrider Matt Dominguez as the special guest, it’s been evident how much goes into putting this show on.

That kept Pfeifer from doing the show for a bit. While he had the idea for a live talk show in Regina two years ago, the work that would go into mounting a monthly production like this kept him from getting it started. Eventually, it took him setting a date to get the ball rolling.

“I put the date out there, and now, I have to do it. Now, it feels like it can self-perpetuate a little bit.”

Pfeifer hosts Red Hot Riot and does it well. When Pfeifer started doing the show, he discovered immediately one way to get into the talk show host mode, something that’s been a friend to the likes of Johnny Carson and countless others: the suit jacket.

“It literally changes your physical demeanor. When I put the jacket, I stand still. I gesture evenly, instead of just going, ‘You know what I mean? You know what I mean? Eh.’ I gesture evenly. I take little pauses. It just makes you do it. It’s not anything I’m doing.

“It makes you want to keep the lines of the suit clean and not jump around like an idiot, so you just calm down a bit, speak a bit more succinctly, express your ideas a lot clearer, because the suit makes you feel more professional. I love it.”

The General Fools Festival starts today, Wednesday, June 15 and runs to Saturday, June 18 at the Artesian. More information can be found at their website. Red Hot Riot runs at the Artesian on Sunday, June 19.

Author: James Brotheridge

Contributing Editor with Prairie Dog.