Player Spotlight: Tom “Whooping” Gough

Posted on 01. Jul, 2011 by in Blog, CSz Culture

Because of being weaned on massive doses on Monty Python as a youth, thank goodness improv came into my life giving me a channeled outlet for my bountiful inherent silliness.  If I didn’t get into improvisation in my early 20′s, I probably would have had to do some regrettably spectacle-like things in malls or other inappropriate public places.  I’d say I was on the verge of becoming a street mime, but to this day, I consider mime not my strongest improv skill.

As I “season,” I’ve evolved from being the manic, throw-my-body-around-recklessly-for-laughs guy–I even had a hand in breaking a couch at the very first CSz-San Jose workshop ever –to being a quirky character guy.  It took a few lessons to learn this and sometimes I still forget it.  Until moving into the current Camera 3 space, I used to do a forward roll onto the stage at every team introduction.  Then one day, it just got a little too complicated.

Player since: The dawn of time, the first pages of the book of CSz Genesis, the CSz-SJ Big Bang – Sept 17, 1987

Favorite Game(s): Lie Detector, Town Meeting, Tag Team Psychotherapist – Pretty much any game that is not Boo-Yay! and that we haven’t played in a while.

Favorite CSz Moment: Seriously, favorite CSz moment?!?!  Did you note my starting date?!?!  Speaking as a slightly elder statesman, the adrenaline markers in my memory tend to run deep into the early days so I’ll just list a few moments (one from each CSz venue and a few others) that are known by moment titles – “ZZ Top Gives Directions,” “The Catbox Soliloquy,” “The Triple Bagger Night,” “What are you clipping your toenails fish?,”  “LA Tourney Shakespeare/Revolving Doors-oooh!,” “A Box of Creons,” “The Chicago Brawl,” “The Vegetarian Briss,” ” My Mom the Reaper,”  “Story #5,” “A Bidet?,” “Boneless Boy,” “Object Tag – A Prosthetic Leg,” “Elvis Stamps – The Rock Opera,” “The Dr. Dre Debacle,” “Midnight Show – (inappropriate word) Mints,” “Shakespeare Google,” “Give up Ref,” and most recently “Call it Macaroni.”

"My favorite photo from the Milwaukee National Tournament 1989" --Tom as "Cockroach" in Superhero

Insider Statz: Without getting ridiculous about it, I always root for the audience to give us really fun, unusual, challenging suggestions.  Things not so obscure or so esoteric that the rest of the audience doesn’t know what it is, but something that most everybody can recognize, not in the forefront of obvious, but on the fringe of recognition.  Many suggestions (mostly high-tech or gamer type stuff) make me fearful.  But panicked unfamiliarity can occasionally be fun too.  The exciting exchange between audience and players is what keeps me coming back all these years.  As evidenced from the above list, I was reffing the night an audience member gave us her prosthetic leg for object tag. Classic!  Moments like that make life worth it.  That’s why I still do this crazy thing.

This really happened...

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