Thanks for the Laughs: 27 Years of Comedy Leaving Cowtown

Four Day Weekend Comedy
Four Day Weekend | Image by Four Day Weekend Comedy/Facebook

Four Day Weekend, the renowned comedy troupe that has been a beloved part of the entertainment scene in Fort Worth for the past 27 years, will depart from its current location in Sundance Square in July.

In an exclusive interview with The Dallas Express, David Wilk, co-founder and cast member of Four Day Weekend, discussed some of the troupe’s highlights, upcoming changes, and insights into keeping a positive perspective.

Since its establishment in 1997, Four Day Weekend has brought laughter to over 875,000 audience members through 7,500 performances. The group has also participated in more than 2,000 corporate events and manages to entertain roughly 650 individuals each weekend.

Over the years, Four Day Weekend has received numerous accolades, including presenting the “Yes, And…” keynote address to Congress in 2011, being awarded the Key to the City in 2013 for being “Fort Worth’s Greatest Ambassadors” by former Mayor Mike Moncrief, headlining the 2015 Armed Forces Entertainment Tour (Kosovo, England, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, NATO), and performing for two U.S. presidents, George W. Bush (2011 and 2013) and Barack Obama (2011).

Four Day Weekend has called Fort Worth home since the troupe performed at Casa Mañana’s 99-seat theater for their first three years before moving to their 212-seat theater, which they lease from Sundance Square Management.

Wilk explained that they had rebounded from the pandemic lockdowns. Their Fort Worth location currently operates at an 86% sell-out rate, and their Dallas theater maintains a 92-week sell-out run.

“The people are attending,” said Wilk. “We don’t have as much walk-up traffic, but we remain a destination point.”

Despite Four Day Weekend’s overwhelming success, the management company notified Wilk in a cut-and-dry phone call that they would not be renewing their lease — a decision that surprised the troupe.

Sundance Square Management “called and told me, ‘We will not be renewing your lease as of July 31,’” explained Wilk. “They said they would be sending a letter, but I have yet to see a letter.”

That was approximately three weeks ago.

When asked where he sees the Fort Worth troupe going, Wilk replied, “We are looking at every option possible,” whether that is building out a space, partnering with existing theaters, or looking into corporate spaces.

“Everyone has been so kind — my phone has been ringing off the hook,” said Wilk. “We have options.”

“The number one priority is to find a home in Fort Worth,” said Wilk. “Fort Worth is our home. We started in Fort Worth. The community has been great, and the city has been so generous to us.”

When DX asked how he keeps his sense of humor in something that is clearly a disappointment to him, Wilk candidly replied, “Humor has been my defense mechanism my whole life. Being the little guy in school, how do you not get picked on? You make jokes, right?”

“So, yeah, this is a terrible situation. It’s gut-wrenching — so painful. The longest home I have ever lived in… GONE. I have to make a joke about it so I know it will be okay,” said Wilk.

The essence of what Four Day Weekend does, however, goes well beyond telling jokes. There is no script. Wilk explained that they make relatable connections with the audience: “We have a shared experience together, and that is where the humor comes from.”

Four Day Weekend, in simplest terms, is the “ultimate shared experience of co-creating the show together,” said Wilk. “Each show is fresh and new. The collective energy of the audience… it is magical.”

“For 27 years, it has been a joy in Fort Worth, and now we must ask ourselves, ‘What’s next?’ Improv teaches you to fail fast and move forward,” added Wilk.

“In improv, we say, ‘We don’t know where we’re going, we only know where we’ve been,’ so it’s imperative to learn from where you have been so you can use it where you’re going,” said Wilk.

Looking back to where the group of four men started and how they have grown their cast and popularity, Wilk has nothing but humble gratitude toward the journey, both then and now.

“We started out literally like a boy band, just four of us,” Wilk joked. “We were just friends who wanted to put on a comedy show. Now we have three full casts who work simultaneously.”

They maintain a Fort Worth troupe, a touring troupe, and a troupe in Dallas, where they have a second location.

Three of the original four founders of Four Day Weekend remain: David Wilk, Frank Ford, and Troy Grant. The fourth member, David Ahearn, did not return after the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Wilk, Ford, and Ahearn wrote Happy Accidents: The Transformative Power of “YES, AND” at Work and in Life, a book that became a national bestseller in its first week in 2017.

“If you told me when I was that kid starting out that 27 years later people are going to be asking you questions about where’s the next space… I’m blown away that we’re here,” Wilk said.

Part of what makes Four Day Weekend a success is its ethos of laughing with people rather than at them.

“I have no desire to hurt anyone — we like to elevate people,” said Wilk. “I even say in the opening of each show, ‘Hey, we’re going to give you a break from politics. We don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat — let’s throw that out the window. For an hour and a half, we are going to just laugh together as Americans because we have so much more in common than we do our differences.’”

Wilk is full of gratitude when he speaks of Fort Worth and the community. When asked what he would like to say to those saddened that Four Day Weekend is not having their lease renewed, there was no joking in his words, only genuine appreciation.

“First, thank you. Thank you for 27 years of making all our dreams come true,” said Wilk. “That show far exceeded anything we ever thought it would be. Thank you.”

“Second, if you have not seen the show, you have two months left. Come out and see it. The third thing is, if you don’t make one of the shows, we are going to land on our feet, so come see us in our new space… wherever that may be,” he said.

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