On Stage

Canada or Bust

Help! I’m American!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

When asked if he’d consider deflecting when he takes his “Help! I’m American!” sketch comedy show north for a five-month Canadian Fringe Festival tour later this spring, actor and improviser DK Reinemer admits that the original title of the one-man performance piece was almost “American and Looking”—indicating he’d be up for moving to Justin Trudeau’s stomping grounds if he met the right gal.

These insights, among others, can be gleaned when the former Bellinghamster and current Los Angeles resident debuts “Help!” April 21-22 at the Sylvia Center for the Arts and Sun., April 30 at the Upfront Theatre.

While the concept for the collection of sketches first came about during the angst of the recent election, Reinemer says the high-energy show is only “slightly” political.

“I’m not a very political guy, and ‘Help! I’m American’ is really just a sketch variety show having little to do with actual politics, and more to do with what it’s like to live in America and to be an American during this political shit storm,” Reinemer says. “I said that to make sure people aren’t expecting Weekend Update or The Daily Show.”

While love, the sinking of the Titanic, and wishing to be Canadian are among the topics audiences can expect to encounter when procuring tickets for the show, viewing it might also help distract people—at least temporarily—from the constant influx of bad news. That’s what creating it did for Reinemer.

“I was two pages deep into another argument on Facebook about the election, when I thought to myself, ‘This is not healthy. And it’s never going to stop. I just want to do comedy.’ So, creating this show has definitely helped distract me from dwelling on the overwhelming barrage of negativity coming from all sides of the spectrum.”

Returning to Bellingham to launch “Help! I’m American!” has also been helpful when it comes to keeping it real. In addition to hanging out with his sibling and fellow improviser Yonk—with whom he’ll be doing a “Reinemer Brothers” show Thurs., April 27 at the Upfront—he’s already spent some time onstage as an Upfront alumni.

In addition to realizing how encouraging the Bellingham community is when it comes to supporting the arts—something Reinemer says is definitely in shorter supply in Los Angeles—he notes that he felt the same excitement onstage at a show he was in last weekend that he did when Ryan Stiles opened the theater nearly 14 years ago.

“There’s nothing better than walking out onstage to a packed Upfront Theatre crowd,” Reinemer says. “Everyone is excited, the energy is almost palpable. So it’s basically the same, but now they sell hotdogs at the front.”

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