After Hours with the One Night Stanleys

Steve Lucero - Photo by Amy RomeroSteve Lucero had earned a bachelor's degree in physics and applied math from the University of New Mexico in 2006 and was considering pursuing a master's degree in medicine and physics. Then he was watching a show on the Cartoon Network at 2 a.m. one night/morning and decided to take the LSAT.

A year later, he was a student at the UNM School of Law. Now a 2L, he enjoys the small classes and friendly atmosphere and has taken a liking to intellectual property.

It was with a similar methodology that he entered into the unpredictable realm of improvisational comedy four years ago. While eating chicken wings after working out at a gym, he read an advertisement for improv classes at the now-defunct Gorilla Tango Theatre. He signed up and after learning the basics he began performing at the theatre.

After Gorilla Tango closed in early 2007, he moved to the Box Performance Space and joined up with three other comedians to form the One Night Stanleys, which has become one of the premier improv groups in Albuquerque. The foursome performs on a month-on/month-and-one-half-off schedule, arriving on stage with no script, no predetermined agenda, relying on the audience and their own wits to keep a stream-of-consciousness dialogue going. Their next run at the Box begins at 9 p.m. on Nov. 15 and runs every Saturday through Dec. 13.

Lucero, who plans to take the patent bar exam in January, also is performing at the Box as part of "The Q," an improvised soap opera with an ensemble cast. The soap opera in search of a storyline will be starting its second season at 9 p.m. Nov. 7 and running on Friday evenings through Dec. 5. Also performing in Q is Brian Close, a 2L.

Despite the seemingly nerve-wracking nature of performing improv, Lucero maintains it's not as hard as it looks.

To prepare, he keeps abreast of current affairs and stays up-to-date on movies and books.

"Giving a speech is harder than doing improv," he says. "It's much harder for me to talk to people rather than in front of them."

For every person who attends the Box shows, he receives 25 cents.

"I don't do it for the money," he admits. "I do it for the love of the game. At $6 a ticket, it's cheaper than a movie."

In the photo: The One Night Stanleys, l-r: Steve Lucero, Joe Carney, Nando Fresquez, Alex Knight