Joshua Raoul Brody

Musical Director since 1986
Coach since 1988

Joshua Raoul Brody has been accompanying the members of BATS Improv since long before its origin — he first worked with Barbara Scott when she was with the legendary Santa Cruz troupe Screaming Mimis in the late 70s, and soon thereafter joined Reed Kirk Rahlmann (and BATS alumnus Brian Lohmann, as well as Greg Proops and Michael McShane) in Faultline.

BATS founding member William Hall and his fellow Fratelli Bologna guested at a Dumb Songs Festival thrown by Brody’s band, the STUPEDS, in the early 80s. One of Brody’s first contacts with his wife, Juliana Grenzeback, was when she was BATS’s first producing director/stage manager/chief cook & bottle sweep, and he shared accompanying duties with Joe Paulino and Michael Whiteley.

Joshua came to improv from the pop music field, although he was always attracted to bands with a comic/theatrical flavor — the Mothers of Invention, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Moving from New York in 1974, following a brief stay at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Joshua discovered the Bay Area to be a hotbed of comical musedy acts. He quickly found work as musical director for the Pointless Sisters and the Rick & Ruby Show (who later found a smidgen of fame on the Pee-Wee Herman HBO special).

With Rick & Ruby, he went on tour with Robin Williams, both opening the show and accompanying Williams on a couple of songs. This led to an appearance on Mork & Mindy and other TV exposure, a period Joshua refers to as “when we were almost famous.” Through Williams, Joshua met and began accompanying LA improv groups such as War Babies and the Comedy Store Players, but it wasn’t until he met Lohmann and Faultline that he began to pursue the craft of improv accompaniment regularly.

Joshua is currently BATS Musical Director, accompanying many if not most of their Main Stage shows. He also is a teacher of song improvisation, often with Barbara Scott, and the two of them are members of the a cappella improv choir Tonal Chaos. He is principal accompanist for True Fiction Magazine (of which he was a founding member), Awkward Dinner Party, and other Bay Area improv groups.

Outside of his improv work, Joshua composes for film, video, corporate events, and multimedia; is part of the quartet Tango No. 9; accompanies wacky multi-instrumentalist Ralph Carney and lounge mega-legend Mr. Lucky; and was cover boy for Orchestra Nostalgico’s CD Club Foot Orchestra Plays Nino Rota.

Brody and long-time collaborator Merle “Ian Shoales” Kessler received rave reviews for Slouching Toward Disneyland, their most recent “one-man show so big it takes two guys and a six-pack of beer to do it” and are currently plotting to revive their mock folk act, And They’re Cops!, about which he says, “We wanted to be the Steely Dan of the 2000s, but it looks like they’ve got a lock on that title themselves, so we’re hoping ‘Steely Dan of the 90s’ isn’t taken.” They are also the musical arm of the syndicated public radio show Philosophy Talk.