IndyFringe: Glad Libs with your Hostess, Jan Shirley Ann

This is part of IndyFringe 2022, Aug. 18-Sept. 4 (individual performance times vary) in downtown Indianapolis. Details and tickets at

By Wendy Carson

Janai Downs has created her own brand of comedy, which she has named, AutoBioComedy comprising on several very funny stories about her past. Growing up in Gary, Indiana. in the shadow of the Jackson family makes for great story fodder.

Her life is a mixture of opposites: She has gone on nine different mission trips but she doesn’t care for being outside in nature (it’s dangerous); she wants a pet monkey but is terrified of monkeys; she’d love to own a moped but would never drive it anywhere.

Perhaps her biggest desire, though, is to host a game show. Now that she has an audience, her wish is coming true – and we are all a part of it.

Yes, “we are all a part of it” means that there is audience participation. While I know this can freak out several people the means of playing are simple and fun for all. 

Our hostess reads out a characteristic (someone without holes in their jeans, someone who has a dog, someone without a Facebook account, etc.) and all the audience members who fit in that category raise their hands. She then selects two players to come up.

Once you are at the podium (make sure you don’t look at her notes!), she will simply ask for you to give her some sort of word and will use whatever the fastest person to ring in says. This is much like a game you might have heard of where you input parts of speech so you can’t get the answer wrong.

After all of the blanks have been filled, the resulting story is read out to the delight of all.

This show is a fun family event for all ages. Remaining performances are Friday evening and Saturday afternoon at the IndyFringe Theatre, 719 E. St. Clair.


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