Director, writer, actor, playwright and stand-up comedian Andrew Munz is a self-proclaimed improviser who says he prefers to keep things loose and off the cuff.
“Improv is a little bit like backcountry skiing, in which you use your techniques, but you don’t necessarily have a structure,” Andrew said.
You are doing everything you can not to die, but you are trying to enjoy it as much as you can just to reach the end. And then you have stand-up comedy, which is like skiing at a resort where there are paths, there’s a sense of structure, there’s a way to get up and get down. And the similarity there is that standup has a lot of techniques.” — Andrew Munz
“Almost Homeless,” is Munz’s fifth comedy special in just four years and takes on the unfortunate housing crisis affecting many in modern-day ski towns like Jackson Hole.
An inescapable hazard
Munz’ new one-man show pokes fun at the seemingly inescapable hazard of losing one’s housing in the Tetons. He said he aims to dissect the general concept of home and what makes Jackson such an attractive place to live both in the present and historically.
“Calling the show ‘Almost Homeless,’ obviously, there’s this sense of an actual home.” Munz said. “Four walls, shelter, etc., and then there’s a concept of home, a metaphorical thing. What holds us to a place? What is a place that feels like home? And why does it feel like home?”
Connecting the present with the past
To be fully present with an eye toward the future, Munz said his philosophy is to be aware of the past.
The local creative has delighted in digging into his hometown’s past — especially the story of the original owner of the Pink Garter Theatre.
Paula Jeffrey, a larger-than-life personality, opened the Pink Garter in 1959, making it the first live theater in Jackson. Munz said it was a smashing success and a central part of a thriving local arts scene at the time, with three 500-seat auditoriums in downtown Jackson that were operating seven nights a week.
He said it’s important to make sure that he carries forward some of that historical energy.
“There is so much that we need to remember and I feel like it’s my responsibility as a kid who grew up here to make sure that that enters into general knowledge,” Munz said. “I wanted to create something that represented a bit of what old-time Jackson was, a bit of the older culture that we’ve established in this town, and that I feel like we’ve lost a little bit of.”
‘Your brain will eat its young’
The Pink Garter Theatre is now home to the non-profit Tumbleweed Creative Arts, where Munz is the founding executive director. The organization’s mission is “to give local artists the opportunity to share their talents regardless of the genre.”
It’s been about a year since the group gave new life to a then-dormant Pink Garter, which had been closed as a fully-fledged venue since 2020. In a short amount of time, the non-profit collective has offered a variety of artistic shows, including Munz’s original Icelandic play, ‘Saga.’
Munz said his goal is to provide an outlet for the community that offers an inclusive space to share ideas and nurture creativity.
“What I’m hoping to do is give people the tools, the stage and the opportunity to really take their own ideas and put them forward. Because I always say ideas, they die in the brain if they do not get out. Your brain will eat its young and you need to get them out of there. You need to keep them alive because otherwise they just kind of vanish.” — Andrew Muz
“Almost Homeless” debuts this weekend over in Victor, Idaho at Pierre’s Theater on Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27 with another two shows coming to Jackson the following weekend at the Pink Garter Theatre on Friday, Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 3.
Listen above for KHOL’s full conversation with Tumbleweed Creative Arts’ Andrew Munz.