It can be tricky to share the stage with a puppet. As half of the long-form improv duo Josh and Tamra, Josh Cohen, a former muppeteer with Jim Henson Studios, juggles an array of foam-and-felt alter egos that can get a laugh before they open their hinged mouths. It usually falls to his partner, Tamra Malaga, to keep their scenes grounded, setting up the pins so that Josh's characters can knock them down.
Josh and Tamra are one of the more consistently funny teams in the improv world; their talent, combined with the inherent comedy and accessibility of Josh's puppets, make their show a sort of gateway drug for further explorations in improv. They've been performing together since 2000, as husband and wife since 2007. Now Tamra is at home in LA with their first child, so DSI founder Zach Ward will step in to handle straight-man duties, going mano a mano with characters such as Sarah Bear, Grandpa and Lil' Man, who was recently featured in an admirably bizarre web promo for Carl's Jr. Shows are Thursday and Friday at 9:30 p.m.—Marc Maximov