Sweaty Dee is a solo, character-based improv show featuring Randy Wood. In it, Wood portrays the character Jeremiah “Sweaty” Dee, a “clumsy, disheveled” attorney who is “a self-described ‘expert on most things.'” Based out of Seattle, Washington, Wood will perform in the 10:00 PM block on Saturday, August 15 at the 2020 Countdown Improv Festival. In this spotlight interview, Wood talks about solo improv, TikTok, and who Sweaty Dee will be voting for this November.
Your real name is Randy Wood, but improv audiences know you best as the character Sweaty Dee — and soon, our audience will, too! How did Sweaty Dee come to be and what should people know about him?
Randy Wood: I used to produce a monthly variety show called “Spectacular” at the now-closed Pocket Theater in Seattle. I would host the shows as various characters, and in between other acts, I’d do a short sketch. One of the characters I played was a super villain named “Skull Laytor.” In one one sketch, he finds that his castle is being repossessed by the bank so he hires the service of the worst lawyer of all time–Sweaty Dee. Sweaty evolved from that show into the character he is now: a clumsy, disheveled, and self described “expert on most things.”
What do you love most about solo improv? What would you tell someone looking to try it for the very first time?
RW: I got my start in performing by doing stand up comedy, so I got very used to performing solo. One thing I really love about stand up, and solo improv, is that you have total control of what’s going on in the act. If a bit is going south, it’s up to you to cut it short or take a new direction. It also forces you to be very in-tune with the audience because they are your scene partner. As for someone trying it for the first time — it can be very scary, but the wonderful thing is your voice, and your voice alone, is going to shine the whole set. If it seems daunting, but you want to try it, start with a super short set, like 3-5 min. And there’s lots of opportunities to explore this online right now, like FB or Instagram live. Go for it!
You’re doing a lot of videos on TikTok. For those unfamiliar with the medium — like, for example, your festival producers — what is it, how does it work, and what do you like about performing on it?
RW: TikTok is like a cross between Instagram and Youtube with an emphasis on trends. For instance, if a dance or piece of audio is trending, everyone finds a way to interpret it in their own way. There is an algorithm that helps connect users to your content (and you to other users). Also, I get feedback instantly (kind of like an open mic where people are constantly yelling out what they like or don’t about the act) from users in the comment sections of videos — which has really helped me hone my act.
Who is Sweaty Dee voting for this November? He seems like a guy who would never vote for a major party candidate.
RW: Sweaty Dee has been his own write-in candidate for every Presidential election since 88.
Finally, who do you think will be entered into the Countdown Improv Festival Hall of Fame this year?
RW: Joe Exotic.