From Joe:

The Time:  The early 90s.  The Place: Seattle, Washington.  A new type of music was making itself heard, not just in Puget Sound, but around the country...and around the world.  This music, this..."grunge" expressed what a new generation was feeling about the world they'd been handed.  Groups like Nirvana, Mudhoney and C + C Music Factory channeled their anger and isolation into songs the likes of which America had never heard.  Seattle was once again on the map.

Our story begins after all that exciting stuff.  Our story begins in the late 90s, by which time Kurt Cobain had blown his brains out and grunge music had been replaced by Hanson.

Once again, Seattle was lacking a cultural identity.  Sure, everyone knew the town loved coffee, but that was about it.  It was time.  Time for a new direction.  Time for a new voice.  Time for the Sketch Comedy Boom.

Following the surge in popularity of the storied sketch collaborative Bald Face Lie, performers around Seattle began to think, "Hey!  We wouldn't have to pay royalties if we just tossed off a few crappy original sketches!"  This widespread mode of thinking led to the emergence of a host of sketch groups.  Groups like Kazoo!, The Habit, Pork-Filled Players, Lo Blo, Some Kind of Cult and The BeeGees. 

During this Laughquake, a plucky little theater company called Naugahyde Productions had been struggling to produce fringe theater.  After impressing the world with their productions of The Immorality Plays and Four Firsts, the good people of Naugahyde realized they didn't give a thimble full of rat turds about Grand Artistic Expression and decided to just jump on the sketch comedy bandwagon. 

Beginning with the graham cracker crust of comedians already within the group (Marcea Pierson! Brent Johnson!  Carrie Houchins-Witt!  Also, Deni Mayer), Jose and Joe--the plucky, frighteningly sexy duo who had forced this idea on the rest of the group--pulled superstars from around the city to supply the creamed cheese, eggs and vanilla in this delectable cheesecake of laughs.  Kim Nyhous!  Skot Kurruk!  Lisa Sanphillipo!  Director Patrick Broemeling!  (Also John McKenna and Brandon Whitehead, who agreed to slum it for a couple sketches.)

And thus was born...Disgruntled Bit-Players!  (Just to clarify, "bit-players" is one hyphenated word, with the emphasis on the word bit.  Sorry, the author gets irked when it's mispronounced.) 

DBP!  Who weren't quite as handsome as The Habit.  DBP!  Who never sold a sketch to HBO like Some Kind of Cult. DBP!  Who fell apart after five shows when half of their members left town. 

What does history say of the Disgruntled Bit-Players?  Well, they put together four and a half good sketch shows.  They picked up even more hilarious performers (Marty Mukhalian!  Jeremy Young!  Evan Mosher!  Val Bush!  Suzanne Cohen!) and a feisty lil' stage manager named Tim Long.  They seemed to genuinely dig hanging out together.  And they foiled the evil machinations of Lex Luthor and his Legion of Doom.  (One or more of these accomplishments may actually have been the work of the SuperFriends.)

Joe currently writes for New York Family.





© 2011 Disgruntled Bit-Players


From Josť:

Wow, Joe, that was really wordy.

Former editor of the Seattlest, you can now find Josť at the Seattle Star as well as in various shows around Seattle.