Clanging with Josh Radnor and Dion Flynn

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


When was the last time you laughed uncontrollably and hysterically? On Monday night, I witnessed great comedy on stage at The Peoples Improv Theater, thanks to Josh Radnor and Dion Flynn. "Clanging" was the name of the game. It was one of the most quick-witted exchange of words, rhymes, alliteration, jokes and references I've ever seen in real life.

I've always enjoyed comedy, but I prefer a specific type of humor that does not involve excessive crude humor about sex, farts and d*ck pics (okay I'm taking a mini jab at a certain type of comic). I shouldn't have to apologize, because I personally enjoy an intellectual type of humor with wit (N.B. Woody Allen, Larry David). "Clanging" was the perfect example of intellectual humor that is fast paced and quick-witted; you just have to keep with up them and try to laugh and breathe at the same time!

“CLANGING” refers to a mode of speech characterized by association of words based upon sound rather than concepts. For example, this may include compulsive rhyming or alliteration without apparent logical connection between words.

JOSH RADNOR (How I Met Your Mother, Liberal Arts) and DION FLYNN (Late Night With Jimmy Fallon) have been clanging together (almost daily) for more than 15 years. If you love language, improv and talking about the spirituality of nonsense — you must be here for the stage premiere of this compulsively hypnotic pursuit.

It was a brisk Monday night and I arrived twenty minutes before the show and as I was walking towards the theater, I saw Josh Radnor on his phone outside. It just seemed like such a normal thing, but I didn't want to pester him either, even though I may have things to say to him. So I decided to go against my instincts and entered the theater. Condensation overwhelmed my glasses, as I took them off to acclimate, I soaked in the environment. I was in an improv theater surrounded by photos of comedians and motivational quotes. I picked up my ticket and lined up with the rest of the eager fans. I was excited and nervous at the same time. Admittedly, I've seen some terrible comedy before, but I knew deep in my gut that this will not be anything like those experiences. I had this intuitive feeling that Clanging will be something different, something special.

As we finally entered the room in a single file, I grabbed a second row seat and plotted myself into a comfortable sitting position. There was a jazz trio playing upbeat jazz and I kept tapping my fingers to the happy music. The mood was set and we were waiting patiently, we were just ready to laugh out loud. After fifteen minutes, Josh and Dion were finally welcomed to the stage. They entered the stage with some lighthearted choreography with some quasi tap dancing and general messing around whilst sipping on bottled water. It was so endearing and it already set the tone for the show.

They started off by introducing themselves and told the story of how they met each other (not how they met the mother!). They met at the NYU Graduate Acting Program and Clanging was born from a simple discovery of a glove. There was some more exposition and then the Clanging began with one single word (I don't remember the word! It started with 'T'). The idea starts with a word and it evolves into different words and sentences and jokes and rhymes and it just keeps going and going. The only rule is you can't stop. You can clang back the same sentence as before, which is totally legitimate, but you cannot stop. This is the basic concept of improv = thinking on your feet. How can one think that quickly and be funny at the same time? It's just mind-boggling. I was in awe and hypnotized. The possibilities were endless and unbounded and you just want it to go on forever.

That was my experience with Clanging, watching two best friends doing what they do best. It was pure enjoyment, entertainment and 100% stimulating for the brain. This gives me faith in live comedy again. There were explosions of laughter throughout the show, occasional interactions and exchanges with audience members and it was just an utterly unforgettable night of joy and laughter. I am so thankful to have seen this and experienced this in person. I look forward to future Clanging sessions and I hope more people get to enjoy this genius comedy duo.