This Saturday, John and Dolly Brennan will put themselves through one hell of a road trip for a great cause.
The Brennans—co-owners of Front Porch Improv and avid bikers—will hop on a tandem bicycle and ride from Charleston back to Savannah.
Biking 100 miles is already quite a feat, but on a tandem bike? And with your spouse, no less?
“We’re hoping no spouse arguments,” laughs John.
“I already booked therapy!” joins Dolly.
This ride might test the longevity of the Brennans’ marriage, but it’s also for a good cause: the funding of Front Porch Improv’s new theater.
For three years, Front Porch Improv has been consistently splitting Savannah’s sides.
They’ve gone through some location changes in the past year, bouncing back and forth between venues. Now, though, they’re ready to settle down and make it official with their own studio.
The space, next to Revolution Yoga Studio on Victory Drive, would give Front Porch Improv a permanent home in the Starland District. Problem is, the space doesn't have bathrooms or an HVAC system. To remedy that, the group is hosting several fundraising events through the rest of the year to build out their space.
When it's all said and done, this new performance space will be a huge deal for Front Porch Improv—and our community.
“The goal is just to have our own comedy hub,” says John. “A place for stand-up, storytellers, improv, people from Atlanta, Chicago, New York, L.A. We’ll have friends, and even people who don’t know us, reach out and say, ‘Hey, I’m in town this day,’ but we don’t have a home. So it’s like, ‘This stand-up comedian is coming through and he’s free Thursday,’ and we have to move heaven and earth [to schedule him] and we won’t even get anything from it. We want to be the magnets.”
John notes that Theatre 99, where he got his start, is the model for Front Porch Improv.
“Theatre 99 is our only example, really, that we have in a small town,” says John. “In Atlanta, there’s Dad’s Garage, which we love. But that’s a big city. Charleston is the closest to the version of what we’re doing here. And they’re psyched to have peers like us.”
The bike ride is a nod to how John and Dolly met—Theatre 99 was above the bike shop where Dolly worked. John proposed to Dolly after a bike trip to the Palisades in New York, and bicycles were on their wedding invitations.
On Saturday, John and Dolly will begin their bike ride at 5 a.m. There will be costume changes every ten miles, and they’re asking for donations per mile, ranging from 25 cents to $1, to help them reach their fundraising goal of $5,000. Four friends have also committed to riding 100 miles to support the cause.
“We have two ways people can get involved,” says Dolly. “They can come see us cross the finish line and high-five us, and they can follow on Facebook.”
For John and Dolly, it will be a labor of love.
“It hurts your butt,” says John.
“There’s no way getting around it,” says Dolly. “Your butt is going to hurt.”
“The goal isn’t to get this to feel good,” stresses John. “We’re going to be in a lot of pain. The goal is to raise money.”
Follow John and Dolly at Front Porch Improv’s Facebook page this Saturday for a live look at their journey.
Other upcoming events include:
Pure Barre + Improv
Oct. 4, 5:30 p.m., 210 W. Victory Drive
Free, suggested $20 donation
Savannah Scavenger Hunt
Oct. 5, 3 p.m., Johnson Square
$15 per adult, $5 per child 12 and under suggested donation
Glow in the Dark Show
Oct. 11, 8:30 p.m.
Cosplay Speed Dating
Oct. 24, 8 p.m., the Wormhole
Get Lucky Comedy Show
Nov. 2, 8:30 p.m., Ghost Coast Distillery
Front Porch Golf Tournament
Dec. 6, noon, Crosswinds Golf Club
$50 early bird