Get to Know: The Encyclopedia Show

The Encyclopedia Show is a live variety extravaganza that commissions local and touring artists and experts from all the performance disciplines to activate their individual talents to present a different verbal encyclopedia entry each month. A breakout hit at Austin’s ND@501 Studios, The Encyclopedia Show is making a special appearance at ColdTowne Theater on Wednesday, the opening night of Austin Sketch Fest. We asked E Show co-host Michael Graupman, what’s the haps, yo.

How did get you involved with the Encyclopedia Show?

Michael Graupman: The E Show was started in Chicago a year prior to [show co-host] Ralph [Hardesty] and I moving down to Austin by two of our best friends who are also writers/poets/comedians. They were curious if the show was replicable in other markets, and it turns out that it was. We were the second of the (so far) 15 cities to start up E Shows that follow the same basic format and season topic list. Our show just happens to benefit from the amazing talents of Austin’s comedy, literary and music scenes all together.

What’s your writing process like?

MG: Ralph and I have been writing together for five years now, on and off, and we spend too much time together, usually in the car going to events or parties or shows. Most of our ideas come from riffing on an idea that one of us thinks is funny and the other one building on that. We also have a great team of regular performers that help us with brainstorming and joke development. We’ve luckily built a lot of trust and respect for the collaborative process.

What are you looking forward to at Austin Sketch Fest?

MG: We don’t always get to see all the the sketch shows in town, either from being busy or finding out about them after the fact. So having them concentrated in one festival is so great. Also: Paul F. Tompkins.

What can we expect from your ASF show?

MG: We’re doing a Best Of version of The E Show with greatest hits from the third season. We invited back contributors that absolutely killed at each of their given nights, so you’ll get to see how they handle a variety of academic themes including: Punctuation, Spices, Pflugerville, Brains, Exercise and The Civil War.

List 5 things about The Encyclopedia Show, of which only 3 are true.

In 2010, we won an Austin Chronicle “Critics’ Pick” Award as “Best Advocates of Drinking and Fact Checking.”
Our two biggest inspirations for the show are Pee Wee’s Playhouse and The Muppet Show.
Ralph and Mike have never dated; and in fact neither of them are gay. Geez.
The Encyclopedia Show is overseen by the omnipresent Institute of Human Knowledge and Hygiene.
We will fight you.

The Encyclopedia Show performs at ColdTowne Theater on Wednesday, May 23th at 10 PM, with Hot Property. Tickets HERE.