Before I was in the Chainsaw Boys I wasn’t. This is my way of saying that I was not a founding member. It was however, filled with my friends and I went to see them perform a number of times in the early part of their run.
That summer, it was sometime in the 1990’s, they were doing a ten week run at a space on the lower east side called the candle factory, or perhaps it was the candle room. In any event, it was aptly named, as it was comprised of exposed wooden planks and floorboard and one matchstick away from a horrific blaze. Additionally there was no AC or back entrance. This space is now a very chic restaurant with no fire hazards. Or so I would guess, I can’t afford to eat there.
I was asked if I would do the lights for them one week, which I did. The next week, one of their members, Karen Bergreen, who is now a noted stand-up, could not perform so they asked if I would sub, which I did.
Over the ten week run, I did five shows. A fellow improviser, Todd Stashwick asked me if I was in the Chainsaw Boys to which I replied, “I don’t know, you’d have to ask them.”
At the end of the summer, Mike Bencivenga was asked if he could put together a show for a venue downtown. He asked the Chainsaw Boys and another group to do to short sets, which we did.
While at drinks afterwards, they asked Mike, his then girlfriend Karen, Bethany Pagliolo and myself to join. Consider this the secret origin of the Chainsaw Boys. I guess it’s not really a secret, you can tell whomever you like.