COMEDY: Lead McEnroe


I’ve always been a fan of improv, and while I would never consider myself a connoisseur, I have attended enough performances to have a favorite part. I always eagerly await that magical moment when the performers ask the audience members for a suggestion. I normally dwell a second too long and come up with the perfect idea right after someone else has already called one out. When I attended a recent performance of Lead McEnroe, I did not make that mistake this time. I shouted out the very first thing that came to mind: pickles.
And so began Lead McEnroe’s performance. The group is comprised of skilled comedians who play off each other well, knowing when to take the spotlight and when to let their fellow cast member shine. The skits flowed together seamlessly, and on more than one occasion the audience actually roared with laughter, an impressive feet to pull off in the small, black box style Magnet Theater. They have mastered the art of long-improv, leaving no dull moments and making uncomfortable pauses hilarious.
I left the performance with an overall feeling of satisfaction. I had been thoroughly amused, and was able to enjoy a glass of wine at my seat during the show. What more can one ask for? My only complaint is that the routine never once mentioned pickles, nor did it use the tasty snack as a theme, or even reference the vinegar-soaked vegetable in a non-PG sense. I found myself enjoying the show so much, that this realization didn’t hit me till towards the end, but once it did, it gave the show an almost too-polished feel. It made me momentarily wonder if the routines I’d seen were too well rehearsed for the suggestion to fit in at any point, but I also realize that it could have been a genuine oversight by a group of performers caught in a moment. Either way, the show definitely left me satisfied and was well worth the $5 admission.

Lead McEnroe performs Friday evenings at 8:30 PM at the Magnet Theater. For more info, go their website

Elizabeth Sorrell

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  1. In true improv comedy, as opposed to the fast food version portrayed on programs such as "Whose Line is it Anyway", the suggestion from the audience is meant to inspire the first line of dialogue only. While it is dissappointing for one's suggestion not to be elaborated upon ad nauseum–and, yes, there are meany options with the word, pickles–that suggestion is merely intended as a jumping off point. Straying from the original suggestion often indicates strength of dialogue, character and direction of story rather than ignoring the audience.
    I will agree with the reviewer that the group is insanely funny and quite talented. As an improv actor myself, who is often let down by goofy toilet humor improv, i find Lead's form and approach to be sophisticated, accessible and inspiring.

  2. Lead McEnroe is a uniquely creative group of guys with the ability to play off of each other in a seamless, not to mention hilarious manner. The direction in which they take their scenes never ceases to amaze me and the other actors are always ready for it.

  3. HF is absolutely correct regarding the use of a suggestion given by an audience member. Most imrpov neophytes have only “Whose Line is it Anyway” in terms of pre-existing knowledge, and are not versed in the ways of long form improvisation. It should be noted that many long form groups do not take audience suggestions at all.

    As for Lead McEnroe, they are standouts in a field over-saturated with immaturity, both in terms of performance skills and subject matter. Improv is huge right now, particularly in New York City, with studio’s such as The Magnet Theater, UCBT, and The Pit training large number of students in the art of not only improv, but also sketch comedy, coaching, and directing. With this popularity comes a wave of performers who see a show on a Friday night and automatically assume “I can do that.” While I fully believe in the idea of getting a group of friends together and putting on a show, I am also convinced that simply going up on stage, taking an audience suggestion, and spouting “comedy” for half an hour can be disastrous to those that are not properly trained or simply do not have the proper tools, desire, or ability to merge as a group and put out quality improvised comedy. Lead McEnroe has clearly taken a professional and serious approach to the art that they perform, and it shows in each and every performance, from always playing at the top of their respective and collective intelligence, to fully supporting each other onstage.

    Some other stand out groups that are getting some well deserved attention recently include the Magnet team’s “Four Track” and the late “Statue’s of Liberty”, UCBT teams “Death by Roo Roo” and “Rueben Williams”, and, though not improvised, The PIT’s stand out sketch group “Harvard Sailing Team”. All of this popularity and press is signaling to me a comedy renaissance in NYC and all over the US. Apparently, it’s a good time to be funny.

  4. With seamless transitions and consistent hilarity Lead McEnroe has succeeded to entertain me week to week. I only wish there were more chances to see them through out the week.

  5. Great as usual guys! Keep up the great work! As someone who will never forget the businessmen shanked with a pen during the bank crisis, I wish you all the best!


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