Some swell feller named Michael Strangeways reviewed Annex Theater’s production of The Half Brothers Brand Old-Time Variety Show (running through August 30) for ya, so take a gander at that after you slop the pigs. Right now, I’m happy to bring you an interview with Troy Mink, who you may know and adore as the simultaneously shocking and engaging Carlotta from several productions.
In this late night show, sort of a live action Hee Haw but of course better, he plays Grandma Half. Though since he’s playing a female character, I should probably instead reference Hee Haw Honeys. Yes, that was a real TV show. Ask Kathie Lee Gifford. She played Kathie Honey. Go ahead. Totally ask her. She loves to remember her bad show business decisions.
Now let’s find out what Mr. Troy Mink (aka not Kathie Lee Gifford) has to say about his new role.
Avi Danger: What drew you to this project?
Troy Mink: A co-performer who I absolutely love working with from Carlotta’s Late Night Wing Ding and current member of The Half Brothers, David Nixon, initially asked me to be a part of the project. So that combined with my positive performance experiences with the other two members of the band Rick Miller and John Aukerman made it a must do!
AD: Were you a bluegrass fan before the show? Did you grow up with it at all?
TM: I did grow up with a father who was a huge fan of bluegrass but my mom and two brothers thought of it as “a bunch of high pitch whining.” I became more interested in it in the past few years while developing a gay country music character named Marty Truck.
AD: How has it been working with The Half Brothers?
TM: It’s been incredible working with them. They’re such incredible musicians and lyricists with incredible senses of humor and with keen observations on the concerns of the day.
AD: With live TV, anything can happen. So can audiences expect you and the other cast members to do any improv within the show?
TM: Yes, my character has no script as the writers/creators of the show were counting on me to improvise my role as that is what I’m primarily known for, original character improv.
AD: How does director Scotto Moore work with you all in terms of improv being an element of the show?
TM: Scotto, bless him, has had the patience of God working with me as far as I’m concerned. He’s used to working mainly with a script and actors I believe, whereas the less rehearsals the better for me as an improvisor. Doing any scene the same way more than once feels somehow like cheating or being uncreative so for me It’s been a challenge in that way. Scotto has been excellent in working with in this respect.
AD: How is Grandma Half different than Carlotta?
TM: This has been one of the more difficult tasks, trying to stay away from the Carlotta character and yet still be a “funny old Southern woman.” I was cast, as I understand it, because of or as an inspiration from Carlotta so the main thing is visual. Carlotta’s mouth is more rectangular and Granny Half’s is more of a tight pucker, a la Teri Dory another character of mine. Also I use a totally different wig and dress color. Carlotta is all about wearing red and this character wears baby blue. She also has no need to be as three dimensional or developed as Carlotta so superficial things are enough to differentiate the characters.
AD: Speaking of great ladies, how is Grandma Half different than Indira Ghandi?
TM: She loves beef tallow and pork renderings.
AD: Is Grandma Half single and available?
TM: Luckily I had no need to delve that far into this character but the dude under the makeup is!
AD: As we’ll be seeing Grandma Half in the kitchen, would she agree the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?
TM: As she would say, “Cookin’ helps but back home in Arkansas helpin’ a man plow forty acres and spread a field of manure will get you hitched right quick!” A man loves a woman who can hold a good day’s work!
AD: How romantic! Thanks, Grandma. I mean Troy.
You can get more details about the show and snag some tix over over yonder.