Mandy Sellers, Adrianne Gagnon, and Erin Goldsmith comprise the improv triad We’re From Here. Here being Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which means they will be very nice and their pockets will be filled with duck coins.
LAFF: You’re not from here. You’re from Canada! Which, to a lot of us down here in Texas, is a land of mystery and enchantment. (Basically we’re jealous of your ice skating ability and your non-bankrupting health care.) What’s your take on the American mythology of Canada? Do you get a lot of oohs and aahs for being from the Great White North?
What’s actually funny about that is that only two of us are from Canada. Erin is actually from Long Island originally, but moved to Toronto to study at The Second City in 2007. We make it less complicated by saying we’re from Toronto, given that’s where we started performing together.
There is the age-old stereotype that all Canadians live in igloos and say “eh” all the time, but it seems that Canada has been made fun of more realistically in the past few years and we find it quite hilarious. For example, the character of Robin from “How I Met Your Mother” is “Canadian” and the writers use this to great effect in a lot of episodes (Fun Fact! Cobie Smulders, who portrays Robin, is a Canuck in real life as well!). “30 Rock” has also used Canada as a source of humour in the past few seasons. (See how we used “our” instead of “or” for the word “humour”? That’s the Queen’s English!)
We don’t typically see ourselves as different from any other American troupe just because we’re Canadian, but there are definitely different tones and textures to Canadian groups, and we do find that American audiences enjoy seeing groups from different countries perform, even if that country is so similar to the US, like Canada. From a comedic perspective, however, a lot of our humour (there’s that “our” again) is pretty universal.
The one funny thing we do find though, if we are the only group from Canada playing a festival, then that festival can say they are “international”. So you’re welcome, America.
LAFF: What’s the best part about traveling to improv festivals with your troupe?
Erin moved to Chicago last year, so the best part about us going to festivals together is that we actually get to BE together. More often than not, the only times we see each other are when we travel to festivals. This will be the fourth festival we’ve performed at so far this year, and the fact that we get to hang out for a few days in awesome cities like Austin AND we also get to perform is amazing.
LAFF: What do you feel is different about performing in an all-female troupe versus a co-ed one?
There typically seems to be a lot more give and take in an all-female troupe than in a co-ed one. Not to say that happens all the time, but we see a lot of co-ed teams, both in Toronto and in other cities, where the females aren’t as aggressive as the men and tend to take a backseat in the show. All of us currently perform in co-ed troupes, and we are all quite aggressive performers, so when we perform together we’re able to put a lot of energy into our show, but with the knowledge that we are able to take our time to listen to each other and know that no matter what move is made it will be supported 100%. You don’t always get that in a co-ed troupe, although there are definitely exceptions and we’ve all been lucky enough to perform in supportive co-ed groups, which only makes performing with females that much more powerful.