You know that one feeling you get when you first wake up? The one where you can’t remember who or where you are? Yeah. I woke up to my roommate pounding on my bedroom door. He yelled “Chris is looking for you” and everything came rushing back. I’m Laurel Posakony and I’m at home in my bed, not Salt Lake City bound on Southwest flight 4056 for Duofest like I’m supposed to be.
Several frantic phone calls and incorrect login attempts later, I’d booked myself a new flight to Utah where I’d meet my duo partner Christopher George, who was already in Salt Lake City like the good little scout he is.
Chris picked me up in a sexy, new rental car. He was the third person ever to rent it and it made for a nice vacation from the beat up van I drive at home. I’m the one who beat it up, so the experience is really on me. We headed straight to the theater, since I’d already missed about a half a day of festival activities by sleeping through my alarm.
Salt Lake City Duofest was held in an arts warehouse called Sugar Space. It sits tucked in the back corner of a pretty residential area. So residential, in fact, that local teenagers on scooters greeted us as we pulled into the parking lot. The whole thing really added to the ambiance.
The space is awesome. Seriously. The festival’s creator Danielle Susi-Dittmore really nailed it. It’s a massive warehouse style building, but inside it’s got everything from a stage, to a kitchen and loft. The loft was sectioned off to act as a green room for performers, so I rushed up there first thing to get ahold of one of these goodie bags I’d been hearing about.
We saw a handful of awesome shows. Born and raised in San Diego, I might be a little biased when I say Sad Boys was my favorite set of the night. Their improvised pop punk songs really capture that iconic I-wanna-fight-my-dad sound.
I know we’re there to do improv, but my favorite part of festivals is always exploring a new city with improvisers. Armed with our festival badges and niche pop culture reference t-shirts, we headed to Beer Bar in downtown SLC to celebrate the first night of shows. Utah has some weird drinking laws, but that didn’t stop any of us from doing what improvisers do best: hang out in bars.
Chris promised me we’d only stay there for one drink; we had a long day of exploring and improvising ahead of us. We headed home to our Airbnb near the theater and made myself at home in the basement bedroom we shared . I still managed to forget my toothbrush in Chicago despite having an extra six hours to pack.
Chris and I woke up and headed immediately to find me a toothbrush. Next on the list: Sweet Lake Biscuits and Limeade for breakfast. Only about half of the SLC residents I spoke to had been there before, but it blew our socks off. I got an avocado toast situation and Chris ordered biscuits and jalapeño limeade.
This was pretty much the Merit Badge Mormon tour of the Salt Lake City area. We hit up everything from the Gilgal sculpture garden to Temple Square. We watched people get married, listened to the 1,776-pipe organ play, and I accidentally sat in the lap of a giant Joseph Smith meets sphinx statue where I should not have. I am deeply sorry.
We finished off our Mormon adventure with a trip to Beerhive Bar. I’m not totally certain what Salt Lake City’s connection to bees is, but I expect a lively discussion in the comments. I had a campfire whiskey that ruined my esophagus, but tasted pretty great.
Chris and I had our Merit Badge set in front of a massive audience. I’m not sure what all Danielle did to advertise this festival, but it worked. A ton of SLC natives watched me wrestle my scene partner and lose. Understandably, I will be needing a rematch next year.
Bruce Campbell Soup made me laugh so hard I spilled Diet Coke in my lap.
The show ended with a very sweet speech made by Danielle, who organized this entire kickass festival. She got the standing ovation she deserved before we pushed into the lobby for cocktails and bits.
Chris and I passed out in our Air BnB beds before another day of transportation chaos.
Thank you for Danielle, Calvin, and anyone who had a hand in making this great festival possible. I loved every minute.
Laurel Posakony was born and raised in San Diego, where they performed at Sidestage Improv (now Old Town Improv Co.) and coached Finest City Improv's Mattress Emporium. Last year, they moved to Chicago to major in Comedy Writing and Performance at Columbia College and continue their improv studies. They are a graduate of iO, The Annoyance, and The Second City's Conservatory program. Today, they can be found performing with Columbia College's Droppin' $cience at the Annoyance, with A Lot in Chicago, and around the country with their duo Merit Badge.