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'Babushka' returns to comedy scene for annual improv set

The space between holidays is usually quiet on Buffalo's arts scene, a time to digest the year's cultural output and ready ourselves for the offerings of the new year.

One notable exception comes this weekend from "Babushka," a periodic improv comedy show devised by Buffalo actors and Eclectic Improv Company veterans Don Gervasi and Tod Benzin.

The show, different every time, thrives on audience input. It is, as the duo describes it, "an entirely improvised one-hour play" in which Gervasi and Benzin play "all the characters themselves, on-the-spot, taking the audience on a longform roller coaster ride of spontaneity and discovery."

This is undoubtedly risky business for any performer, given the unpredictability of a crowd's mood and the worthiness of their suggestions. But the pair has the mirth and high likelihood of excessive alcohol consumption in the lead up to New Year's Eve in its favor -- the more you drink, the funnier they sound -- presumably one of the reasons the duo has chosen this festive time of year for one of its rare appearances on Buffalo's comedy calendar.

"Babushka": The comedy duo of Don Gervasi and Tod Benzin, performs at 9:30 p.m. Dec. 30 in  CSz Buffalo (Buffalo ComedySportz), 4476 Main St., Lower. Tickets are $9 to $17, with more information at or 393-8669.

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