XVR27's Improv Interviews - Don S. Davis - Chit-Chatting

Whose Improv Is It Anyway? : Original On-The-Spot Satire

An Interview With Don S. Davis

Chit-Chatting & Random Comments

http://www.com-www.com/whoseline/ & Mensa Improv SIG

ChivalRuss: To start, I'll tell you what I have set up and maybe that'll help with the target. The site is set up as an improv site ("Whose Line Is It Anyway?" type of thing) - how to, preparation, presentation, closure, at least four variations for each game; I have seventy up, including four that I developed myself with a second grade class I was teaching at the time. I figure, if it works well for second graders, it should work well as introductory for adults.

Don S. Davis: Sure.

ChivalRuss: The interviews I have set up are to give acting hints depending on the specialty, obviously, of the person I'm interviewing. The site is totally non-profit and is connected to a Mensa improv acting special interest group that I recently started up.

Don S. Davis: A Mensa group, huh? So this is intelligent people.

ChivalRuss: Well, I won't speak for myself, but I don't restrict membership into the Mensa group to just Mensa members - I want to share the information with everybody. So, that's what I'm going to do and I'll probably put the interview into the Mensa bulletin.

Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Don S. Davis: [I handed him my card.] [Looking at the other sites on my card ...] This is a great program - "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy".

ChivalRuss: Have you ever seen the video? Do you have an opinion on it?

Don S. Davis: I used to watch ... it used to show on the PBS station out of Seattle that we got up in Vancouver.

ChivalRuss: They did release the full six episode series on DVD.

Don S. Davis: Oh, really? That'd be a great one to have - I did watch all six of them.

ChivalRuss: It had a really nice tribute to Douglas Adams on it. His death was a tragic loss. But I do still need to pick up his most recent book. They checked out his computer and found out all of the stuff that he'd been working on and published all of his unfinished works - set up a college fund for his daughter (so I've heard).

The tape recorder throws a fit ...

ChivalRuss: [Noticing something wrong with the recorder] That's weird...

Don S. Davis: Did I break it?

ChivalRuss: Hmm... well, it's going OK now.

"The Singing Detective", "Monk", & "Cop Rock"

ChivalRuss: Do you have a favorite television series?

Don S. Davis: Yes, "The Singing Detective", which was a British series about this crazy novelist detective named Marlow who has horrible psoriasis and was in this hospital in a ward with other patients in England, but it was a stream of consciousness type of thing. Have you ever seen "The Singing Detective"?

ChivalRuss: No, I haven't.

Don S. Davis: You need to get a copy of it. It starred Michael Gambon.

ChivalRuss: Is it on video or DVD?

Don S. Davis: It's on video but you may not be able to get it over here. I'd think you could because it showed on PBS over here. Y'know, at one point the doctors, for example - and this is typical of it - at one point they're talking about his condition and the doctor and a nurse is there and he goes from talking realistically about, y'know, his hip has got problems and his hip has got problems and [singing] the hip bone's connected to the thigh bone and then, all of a sudden... it goes from being terribly real until this stupid music comes in [singing] the thigh bone's connected to the, etc. And then, all the nurses and the doctors and everybody, but the poor patient who's lying there, is dancing to the thing. And then as they finish the dance, it segue ways right back to the doctor saying "... and now this, and we've got to do something about this, and hey let's go on over to here and check the next patient..." and it was just done smoothly and I like that.

ChivalRuss: Just out of curiosity, have you seen "Monk" yet?

Don S. Davis: "Monk"? No. Never heard of it.

ChivalRuss: It's on USA Network and it's been on about four weeks. Tony Shalhoub plays this obsessive compulsive detective.

Don S. Davis: I loved him in "Wings"; he was the taxi driver.

ChivalRuss: I've actually been taping it each week. The basis is that his wife was killed a number of years before and he was a little OCD before but then he basically went over the edge with it. And they explore the comedic aspect of it but they also have it affect his ability to see detail because he totally takes in everything he sees. And it sounds like the same humor style as "The Singing Detective". Not as much stream of consciousness, but the same humor style.

Don S. Davis: Well, y'know, Bochco tried to do what "The Singing Detective" did with "Cop Rock" and it was horrible.

ChivalRuss: They made, what, two episodes of it?

Don S. Davis: Yeah, yeah. But "The Singing Detective" was wonderful. And there was another one by the same people over there called "Spank The Monkey" which is about World War II and British bureaucracy in the war department. I like stuff like that.

Poetry & The World Today

ChivalRuss: Have you ever considered or done any writing?

Don S. Davis: I've written screenplays. I've written poems. When I was six years old, on Christmas day, I walked down to the breakfast table and I announced to my family, because my family all got together on Christmas day, that before I died, I was going to paint a great painting, carve a great sculpture, and write a great poem. And I love poetry; I read a lot of it. I especially like Frost and Sandberg; Carl Sandberg and Robert Frost - it's because of the age I grew up in. But I like James Joyce and I like D.H. Lawrence. I like Jack Kerouac. I'm at that age, y'know, I'm sixty years old. My world is a world that's dead. Y'know, you're living in the new world; your world's alive and your world talks about the brutality of mine, but you make us look like babes in the woods. Y'know, in my world when I grew up, people didn't bust into fourteen-year-old girls' bedrooms and kidnap them at gunpoint and kill them. And you didn't have people sending anthrax letters through the mail. We may have had it, but the world at large didn't know about it.

ChivalRuss: It wasn't as prevalent.

Don S. Davis: Yes. And it is now. And my world, when I grew up, most young people thought that if they found something they liked to do and worked at it, they'd have a better life than their parents. In your world, you realize that reality says you're not going to have as good a life as your parents because there are too many people now with too few resources to allow anyone but the very brightest to come up with something new that gives them enough money to be able to build a life of security. Most people your age don't feel like that's out there for them. Now, maybe you do, because you're a Mensa person, but my son who has average intelligence, he feels like he'll never have the money that he has known as my child and the standard of living that he had living with his mom and dad.

ChivalRuss: Being an elementary school teacher, I know I'll never see the money either.

Don S. Davis: There you go. But you see, when I grew up, even an elementary school teacher, who right now you see that as probably meaning in many ways that you're probably going to be living slightly above the poverty line, at best you'll probably be in the lower-middle class as far as your standard of living and your quality of life. When I grew up, the world was your oyster. Even if you were going to be a high school teacher, a high school teacher had a canoe, he had maybe a few years old car in his garage, but so did everybody else. Now, somebody's on TV saying that if you don't drive a brand new Mercedes that costs $70,000.00, you're not a success. Well, [that's crap]. We've been given unrealistic expectations to judge our worth by today, you're age has. My age figured as long as you can get up in the morning and face the day without hurting somebody else, you were OK.

If you'd like to contact this website:
  • PLEASE NOTE : This site is NOT officially affiliated with either "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" series. Click here to return to the Improv Don S. Davis Interview.
    Click here to return to the Improv Interviews List By Name.
    Click here to return to the Improv Interviews List By Profession/Skill.
    Click here to return to the Improv Interviews Main Page.
    Click here to return to the Improv Main Site.
    Click here to return to the Hotel XVR27's Humor Floor.