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Sue Holland

Disney's Comedy Warehouse

The Who, What, & Warehouse Players keep 'em in stitches

Friday, March 12, 2004
By Sue Holland, staff writer


Photo by Sue Holland.

The Comedy Warehouse is a very popular club at Disney's Pleasure Island, and based on audience response at most shows at least half of the guests have attended shows there before. There are many reasons why people return again and again, but those reasons would not exist nor would matter if the cast was not consistently giving top-notch performances night after night.

Known as the Who, What & Warehouse Players, the cast consists of 10 full-time improvisational actors, at least three keyboard players and several “subs” to fill in as needed to cover for absences. Many of these “subs” are former full-time Comedy Warehouse actors, which helps ensure show quality does not suffer when a regular performer is away.

On any given night either seven or eight actors will be working, with five appearing in each show. Although this is an ensemble cast, many repeat visitors develop their own lists of favorite performers, based on the actual shows they've seen as well as their own individual sense of humor. In my case, the more shows I saw, the more I appreciated what each person brought to the cast. In this article you will meet many of the talented people you will see onstage at my favorite comedy club.


Brian opens a show. Photo by Sue Holland.

Brian hails from Orlando and has been working at Comedy Warehouse since 2002. Prior to joining the cast he worked at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles and toured several other comedy clubs as a stand-up comedian. He's also appeared on numerous television sitcoms, including Seinfeld. After moving to New York City, Brian spent four years performing on Broadway as Vince Fontaine in the revival of the very popular Grease. When he has nights off from the Comedy Warehouse, he continues to headline at comedy clubs around Florida and occasionally out of state. Brian is an incredibly funny man and if any actor is going to say or do something hilarious but somewhat shocking—by Disney standards)-—there's a very good chance it will be him!


Carol Stein on the keys. Photo by Sue Holland.

Originally from Miami, Carol Stein joined the Comedy Warehouse cast as a keyboard player in 1990. She is very popular with audiences, and improvises just the right music to accompany the lyrics being created by the actors. From 1975 until 1990 Carol traveled throughout Europe and Asia performing for a wide variety of clients. She recently recorded a new CD called The Jazz Lady. When not working at the Warehouse, Carol performs concerts as a soloist and also with a jazz quintet and orchestras. For more information on Carol, including upcoming performance information and a complete resume, her Web site is CarolStein.com (link).


Christine Decker. Photo by Sue Holland.

Christine Decker is from Cambridge, New York, and first joined the cast of the Comedy Warehouse in 1990. Before moving to Florida, she performed in regional theater in Massachusetts, Vermont, New York and Arizona. She trained in improvisation at Dudley Riggs' Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Christine is a resident company member of Orlando Theatre Project, where she recently gave an outstanding performance in the role of Margrethe in Copenhagen and appeared as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie. I had the pleasure of seeing Copenhagen and was amazed at Christine's excellent dramatic performance.

In addition to her work in Florida, Christine is an actor at Oldcastle Theatre Company in Bennington, Vermont. Currently, Christine can also be seen as the nurse in the Disney commercial for Florida residents. This commercial runs fairly often in the Orlando area and even in my town three hours away. Set in a newborn nursery, Christine is the surprised nurse when an infant asks where he is, and then cheers when she says “Florida” because he knows he can get a deal on a Walt Disney World pass.


John performing in Actor's Nightmare with Mary. Photo by Sue Holland.

John is one of the newer members of the cast, but is so talented you would never know he has only been in the cast for one year. I first saw John perform within his first month or so, and was impressed with his expertise with the various structures and his sharp sense of humor. John is also very agile, often dropping to the floor in a theatrical fall that is sure to get a laugh. Before coming to Florida, he performed in a number of off-Broadway productions in New York City, and did some writing for television.


Joy sings with Matt. Photo by Sue Holland.

Joy Anderson joined the Comedy Warehouse cast in 2001 but was a familiar face to many guests due to her other roles at Walt Disney World. Originally from Cary, Illinois, Joy moved to New York City and worked as one of the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. After moving to Florida, she worked in Epcot Street Theatre and in the Beauty and the Beast stage show at the Disney-MGM Studios theme park. She is probably best known for her wonderful French maid character Gabby at the Adventurer's Club in Pleasure Island. There have been other maids since Joy left to join the Comedy Warehouse cast, but none are Gabby!.


Krista interviews someone from the audience. Photo by Sue Holland.

Krista joined the cast in 1992 and hails from Snellville, Georgia. She has worked in theme parks most of her career, spending two years at Six Flags Over Georgia and four years at Opryland in Nashville. With a very quick wit and an uncanny ability to silence unruly or obnoxious members of the audience, Krista is probably best known for her beautiful singing voice. A long-time Comedy Warehouse regular once commented that when Krista sings, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and another quipped that Krista could sing the phone book and it would be pure entertainment! When she's not at work at the Warehouse, Krista performs at conventions and is busy raising her young children.


Lisa with Mark Lainer. Photo by Sue Holland.

Lisa is the other newer member of the cast, just finishing up her first year. Originally from Texas, one of her popular characters is a former Texas beauty queen with big hair. She also is hysterical parodying Anna Nicole Smith as a talk show host. Lisa has worked at the Soulfire Dinner Theatre and appeared in commercials. Hopefully she'll have a long engagement at the Comedy Warehouse, because she does a great job.


Mary Thompson Hunt. Photo by Sue Holland.

Mary Thompson Hunt grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, and has been in the Comedy Warehouse cast since 1990. Prior to moving to Florida, she worked with a number of improv groups in New York City, including Broadway Local and Unexpected Company. While there, she worked with Steve Purnick and Mark Lainer, who are former Warehouse full-time cast members who now appear as subs as needed.

Mary has appeared in numerous television shows on Nickolodeon and also the movie Earth to the Moon. She does voice-overs at Epcot, so chances are when there is an announcement about an upcoming event the voice you are hearing belongs to Mary. She also performs at many conventions and shows on Disney property and elsewhere, in addition to working as a sub at the Adventurer's Club and the Magical Gatherings dinner at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Mary is extremely talented and has given consistently excellent performances during the 12-13 years I have been visiting Comedy Warehouse. Mary is also an active fundraiser for HIV/AIDS research. To raise the money, Mary is a long-distance bicyclist; I wrote about one of her rides last year (link and link).


Jake and Matt tell a story. Photo by Sue Holland.


Philip opens a show. Photo by Sue Holland.

Jake, Matt and Philip are also full-time actors in the cast, and each of them are excellent and very popular with the audience.


Jim Roberts. Photo by Sue Holland.

Jim Roberts works part-time as a keyboard player, with Jamie also filling in on the keys as needed.


Jamie. Photo by Sue Holland.

Together, these talented people form a cast that creates first-rate shows night after night. Whether you've enjoyed improv comedy at other clubs or this will be your first experience, you cannot beat the Comedy Warehouse for great entertainment—thanks to these people.

Eventually many actors leave to pursue their careers elsewhere, and the next article will feature some of the former cast members with an update on what they have been doing since leaving the Comedy Warehouse.


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Sue here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sue has been hooked on Walt Disney World since her first visit in 1972 with her parents and younger brother. She kept returning more frequently until she moved to Florida in 1986.

After joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in 1997, she now visits almost monthly. She also spends time at the DVC's non-WDW locations, and is experienced with the Disney cruise ships.

She takes many of these trips on her own, but she's also toured WDW with large groups of people, including families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

She works as the Administrative Services Division Head for a large residential facility administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families. She currently resides in Southwest Florida with her teenage son.

Sue is one of our most prolific trip report writers. Read her trip report archive here.

You can contact Sue here.

Get the latest info about the resort at “Park Update: Walt Disney World.”

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