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Sock Monkeys Attack Restaurant Diners

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By Lana Flowers

BENTONVILLE — Paris Hilton committed murder — with a pickle — on Sesame Street on Saturday night.

Or, at least, that was the scenario that members of the Sock Monkey comedy improv troupe had to act out at World Garden restaurant in Bentonville.

“Everything you are about to see up here is completely made up,” said head Sock Monkey Tim Keck, the former Rogers police chief.

He started by asking the audience for random words. Such was the case with the Paris Hilton pickle murder. Keck asked the audience for the name of a celebrity, an unusual murder weapon, a place and a time.

Other improv members had to act out each word as part of a scene, and the 60 audience members were laughing so hard it was difficult to hear parts of the improvised skit.

“This is not scripted, not rehearsed and they have no idea what they are going to have to do when they get up here,” Keck said of other Sock Monkeys.

Sock Monkey Kim Gordon said she uses the improv performances as a creative outlet, as she has two children both younger than 3 at home.

“I like to get out of the house and be with adults. Me and Tim also worked together in leadership consulting and started doing improv just for fun,” Gordon said.

“I am a planner and an organizer, but when we are up here, you have to just go with what your partner does,” she said.

The Sock Monkeys first invaded World Garden in June. World Garden owner Rick Boosey said he wanted a live performance to bring in customers on what normally is a slow night for his family restaurant, which does not serve alcohol.

“We are competing with everyone who is over at the pizza place drinking beer,” he said, as he pointed to another restaurant across the parking lot in the Metro Market shopping center in Bentonville.

The Sock Monkeys now perform one evening each month and will return to World Garden in August.

Colby Spongberg of Rogers and his wife, Trista, attended the Sock Monkey performance Saturday as repeat customers.

“It was hilarious,” Trista Spongberg said.

She gave two thumbs up to the “arms through” skit in which a character makes an ice cream sundae. The trick is, the person who can see the sundae ingredients cannot use her arms; another Sock Money stands behind her, view blocked, and can use only her arms to assemble the ingredients. Chocolate sauce, ice cream and front-row audience members, got slightly messy during the skit.

Colby Spongberg said he does not mind that he and other audience members might be called on to do sound effects or contribute words and ideas for the improv skits.

“I like the fact that they incorporate the people who come to the shows into the acts. I would definitely recommend this to my friends,” he said.

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