One of the greatest pleasures of last year’s inaugural Portland Sketchfest was the arrival of Nacho Gold, a troupe of sharp comedic minds from former members of the beloved local sketch outfit the 3rd Floor—including radio personality Ted Douglass, improv wizard Jason Rouse, and Huffington Post contributor Lori Ferraro. The group is kicking off a new show this week at the Siren Theater, tackling such hard-hitting subjects as chili dogs, baby teeth, and children’s television. We caught up with Douglass to talk about this semi-new troupe.
MERCURY: Nacho Gold was born out of your previous sketch group, the 3rd Floor. How did you get started?
TED DOUGLASS: The 3rd Floor was around for 20 years and we put that to bed in the summer of 2016. A few months later, the cast of the last 3rd Floor show—the final run, which ended in December 2015—got together, and we just got to chatting and sketch ideas started coming up. We decided then that this particular group of people had a great time putting a show together, so why not continue?
How do you put together a show like this?
The writing process lasts about a month. Then we gather once or twice a week in my basement and pitch sketches. It’s an old-school writers’ table kind of thing. At the end, we’re sitting there with a stack of 40 to 60 sketches and then we do old-school anonymous voting. From there, we get into rehearsals and so much more can come out of that.
We always say that the show is written and directed by the group, because even if one of your sketches didn’t make it in the show, you’re still going to be writing within the rehearsal process, bringing new angles, new jokes, or a new character to the show.
You’ve been doing sketch comedy in Portland for some time now. Do you or anyone else in Nacho Gold have aspirations to get noticed outside our city?
Certainly if an opportunity presented itself, we would all have to ask that question. But at this point in our lives, a lot of us have careers and families, so it’d be a little harder than when we were in our 20s and actively looking for that. If someone came along and said, “You’re really great. What about developing a TV show?” we wouldn’t all go, “Yeahhh, I could probably make that work.” In the meantime, we’re happy to be here and putting shows together.