Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Wednesday November 15, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Our community is filled with people who have an insane amount of comedic talent, but maybe they’re also good at other things? Have you considered that? Long-time Musical Megawatt performer Olivia Petzy sure has! That’s why she’s putting together THE BIG TALENT SHOW! this Friday, 11/17, at 11:30 pm. It’s going to showcase our performers’ other talents and well, let’s just have Olivia tell you about it herself…

What is your experience with talent shows in the past?

I have never been in a talent show, but I love the idea of people wanting to show off their special skills and gifts — something about that is so sweet and wonderful to me! I attended the Miss Pennsylvania pageant almost 15 years ago and I swear to you that I think about it once a week. It was so incredibly bizarre but the participants took it SO SERIOUSLY and I loved it.

I feel like most performers have special skills we always hope we’ll get to use but don’t, so I wanted to put on a talent show to give everyone a chance to show off. I also wanted to give people who aren’t on teams a chance to perform on the Magnet stage.

Will this show feature strictly Magnet Theater members or will outsiders be involved as well?

This edition features all Magnet community members!

What are some non-comedic talents can we expect to see at the show?

I don’t want to give anything away but audience members can expect to be blown away by people’s hidden skills and talents! We’ll see people dancing like no one is watching, singing like they’re in the shower, playing instruments like they’re in fifth grade band and more!

What does your role consist of as the host of the talent show?

As the host, I am the mama bear to all our talented people, helping everyone feel loved and safe to shine bright like a diamond. I’ll announce everyone, help the audience get to know every performer, facilitate the judging of the “winner” and dazzle with a talent of my own.

Catch THE BIG TALENT SHOW! this Friday, Nov 17th, at 11:30 pm!

Tuesday November 14, 2017, 1:57pm - by Magnet Theater

You may know Molly Kiernan from seeing her perform at Megawatt with Scout or with Chillionaire on Magnet Sketch Teams, plus, she’s directing the upcoming show This Is Serious! (A Comedy Show). In addition to all of that, Molly is the creator, host, and namesake of Molly’s Guilt Free Comedy and Ice Cream Social, a comedy variety show happening this Friday, 11/17, at 6:30 pm. It’s going to be hilarious, heartwarming, and for a good cause. Find out more about it right now!

Tell us about your show!

I began producing this show a year ago, in part as a way to celebrate my own recovery from an eating disorder. Discovering comedy and the Magnet was such a huge part of my healing process, so it felt fitting that everything would come together in a Magnet show. The show has evolved as sort of an opportunity for everyone there, audience-members and performers alike, to take time out to celebrate themselves and each other. I hope people will see it as one hour where they put aside whatever they may be beating themselves up over that day.

This is a high-energy and very silly variety show, where top NYC comedians will perform characters, improv, dance and more. The performers include some of my all-time favorites: Anna Neu, Lee Hubilla, Mia Bloomfield, Amanda Melhuish, Jesse Roth, Natasha Vaynblat, Brian Urreta, Lou Gonzalez and Eleanor Lewis.

Before the show, there will be a free ice cream bar in the lobby, with ice cream donations from The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and Ample Hills Creamery.

In the past the shows benefits have gone to Project Heal – what is the new charity that you will be donating the proceeds to?

This show, half of the ticket proceeds will be donated to Everytown for Gun Safety.

What message(s) do you want audience members to take with them after the show?

We all deserve to take care of ourselves, laugh a lot and eat dessert!

How does this show differ from a traditional improv show?

This show will have some improv and some scripted performances, including characters and song.

What would be the next best food after ice cream, in your opinion, to serve at the event?

Can my answer be more ice cream?

Come see Molly’s Guilt Free Comedy and Ice Cream Social this Friday, Nov 17th, at 6:30 pm!

Thursday November 9, 2017, 10:20am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

What’s your name?

Lanee’ Sanders

Which team or show are you on?

Nitro Girls

Where are you from?

Quantico, VA (where they pretend to shoot the hit ABC thriller Quantico)

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I dabbled in improv in high school and sketch comedy in college. When I moved to New York a few years ago, I figured I could probably trick strangers into being my friends by attending weekly improv and sketch comedy classes with them.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Performing in any capacity? Since middle school. Writing? I don’t know. Aren’t we always writing? I wrote a novella called “The Bear Figurine” in the 5th grade, and even though it’s essentially a rip off of “The Indian in the Cupboard”, that’s probably when I first felt like a writer.

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

Mindy Kaling and Martin McDonagh. What a diverse team we’d be!

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I think I’d do a really good job writing for Niecy Nash. If you know her please pass this self-endorsement along.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

When a scene takes a dark, hilarious turn out of nowhere.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Oh man. It would be upbeat…something you’d dance to. Like Jock Jams meats Jamiroquai meets the song “Fergalicious.” Pitchfork would give it a really bad review.

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

Why are you here?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Probably eating chocolate chips in my bed, half-watching bad TV while trying to figure out how to get pictures of my butt off The Cloud.

What’s the best Wi-Fi name you have ever seen?

Unfortunately my memory is not great, so I’m going to have to say my current one, which is Zamunda.

Wednesday November 8, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Don’t you DARE call for a car home just yet because you *have* to stick around for One More Drink. This Friday, your best friends Megan Meadows and Hannah Wright are hosting a variety show that, for real, you can’t afford to miss. We chat with the show’s hosts about what’s in store, what they like to drink, and other hot goss. You’ll have to join them this Friday, 11/10, at 11:30 pm for the full scoop though.

Can you tell us a little bit about your show?

H: Our show is like a topical variety show meets a fun Friday night party! We are basically just being our ridiculous selves, discuss recent events in the ALWAYS HILARIOUS/TERRIBLE NEWZ, and highlight a bunch of different kinds of talent (drag queens, “experts”, etc.) It’s a good time!

M: You know how you go to like the best party of the year and nobody ever stops talking about that party because the hosts are so beautiful and the hosts are so hilarious and and the hosts are actually Princesses disguised as paupers? That’s our show. With a bean dip.

H: We might not have a dip this time though because Megan proved she could not handle the responsibility and lost it last time.

Both of you have experience with sketch comedy — how does that compare to putting on a variety show like One More Drink?

H: It’s totally different! When I was on sketch teams at the Magnet, I got really comfortable writing and performing a certain way, and always playing a different character. With this show, I’m basically just being myself and trusting my OWN comedic voice. It’s scarier but more rewarding!

M: We get to be drunker. And heckle the audience. ( I went to school for PR, so I know how to sell a show.)

What are some new things you’re hoping to bring to your upcoming show compared to the previous One More Drink show?

H: We have a bunch of different performers in this show, an amazing drag queen who will be performing, and a bunch of new REASONS TO PARTY. Last show we thought we were all gonna die because of climate change, and now we realize we will all die from nuclear war long before that!

M: Wait. Do you think we need to bring something different? Did you see the interpretive dance we did to Ke$ha last time? Bc… it was honestly pretty great. Should we get a blow out this time? Will the Magnet pay for it? Does Quinton do hair?

H: I’m honestly considering wearing that same jumpsuit though do you think that people will judge me???????? Chrissie Gruebel said I should wear it every time. She like, is good at fashion I feel like.

M: Yes. And. Do it. – IMPROV. I can’t wear my outfit again bc you can see my cucu. Haha and I wanna be able to DANCE THE SHIT OUTTA THIS. Ok, I’ll wear my jumpsuit too. You’ve talked me into it.

H: To answer your question, YES, we will be wearing jumpsuits.

What sorts of drinking games will you be playing during the show?

H: We play a game called “I’m Sorry What???” where we play clips from something like the Bachelor, and drink every time the awkwardness of it makes us say, obviously, “I’m sorry, what?!”

M: I dunno, we just copy what Andy Cohen does and pretend we made it up. Or, just watch the news and cry. That’s our fav drinking game.

H: Also Ru Paul.

How do you think alcohol affects each of your performing abilities?

H: Wait. Who told you to ask this? Are you judging us? We literally only have pinot grigio every time Trump says or does something horrifying. Or, if we have a date. But like, we never do.

M: Full disclosure: once Hannah had a dream she was drinking wine at 8:30am at work though. WE ARE FINE!!!

H: Mego I told you that in confidence. Honestly though, I could have a bloody mary right now.

What is your drink of choice – while performing?

H: WE’RE FINE!!!!!!!! (vodka)

M: Sorry, what was the question? Yes, George, another mimosa please.

 

You gotta see One More Drink this Friday, 11/10, at 11:30 PM – I mean, ya gotta!

Tuesday November 7, 2017, 2:37pm - by Magnet Theater

This month, Magnet is happy to welcome back Space Station Delta for the November Director Series. We sit down with director Sulaiman Beg to talk about the show and how he gets his hair to look so good. We don’t really talk about the last part. Come see this show, from one of you favorite Metal Boys, playing each Thursday in November at 10 pm. TimeOut NY thinks you should!

For those who have not seen Space Station Delta, could you tell us a little bit about the show?

The show is a completely improvised live performance of a classic episode from the long-running and very fictitious sci-fi TV series Space Station Delta.

I’d always wanted to do a serialized improv show where performers are challenged to play the same main characters over a run like on any sitcom or other TV show. Expanding not only their personal world, but the world they exist in.

I’d been watching a lot of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and what I loved about it was that no matter where these characters were (a store, a wedding, a bank, a football game) they always consistently acted like the garbage people they are. And I thought, why not do an improv show like this? And I was naturally attracted to the sci-fi genre because it’s the best genre for an improvisor – you can literally do and justify anything. Someone dies? Well, we’ll just pull the Time Reversal lever? Want to start a montage? Hit “play” on the Montage machine.

You’ve done this show a few times now – what do you love about it so much?

I mean, the cast is so, so great. The guest stars who I try to keep in the dark until the day of the show just fall right into place. There have been a few shows where I forgot I was watching an improvised show and felt like I was legit watching a live performance of a scripted work.

When Elana Fishbein guest starred during the first run, afterwards she told me she couldn’t believe how amazing all the characters were. And that was so great to hear. I mean, it was a compliment more for the cast and less for me, which was hurtful, and she and I never talk anymore even though we are neighbors and friends who are adults. Does that answer your question?

Do you have any specific memories of past shows that you’d like to share?

Oh man, so many. But since I typed it a few minutes ago, the Time Reversal lever comes to mind. Basically, a bunch of characters ended up dying during the course of the show and since the Time Reversal lever was set-up earlier in the show, one character pulled it and it re-started the episode. The last scene was almost a line-by-line version of the scene that began the show. That was very fun to watch.

And just watching how every guest star approaches the show is such a joy.

What can we expect from this series of shows that may be different from how you ran it in the past?

There are some new cast members and there’ll be new guest stars all month, so it’ll be a brand new experience and I’m so excited to see what they all pull off. Please “bold” every time I use the word “new” in the previous sentence. Really need it to stand out.

How did the show’s catchphrase “This really hurts!” come to be?

You know, in the two runs we’ve had, I don’t think anyone has actually used it…

Thursday November 2, 2017, 10:49am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

What’s your name?

Samara Breger

Which team or show are you on?

Kittyhawk

Where are you from?

NYC

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I was very sad and living in Boston, which I hated, so I decided to try out improv and aerial silks. The improv stuck. I didn’t get into musical improv until I got back to New York, and that’s when it all really clicked for me. Thanks, Magnet Theater!

How long have you been performing/writing?

Kind of always–I did musicals as a kid and then focused on classical voice and opera from high school until my early twenties, when it wore me out. Musical improv really reminded me how much I love performing. Thanks again, Magnet Theater!

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

Judy Blume.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I would love to write zesty little one-liners for RuPaul for when the queens come down the runway. I like to impersonate the devil or animals doing people jobs. I used to celebrate my college’s official annual “Julia Child Day” by terrorizing my friends with my Julia Child impression. STEAK DIANE!

What makes you laugh the hardest?

When my buddies on stage surprise themselves. That look of shock commingled with delight and a tiny bit of terror gets me right in my sweet spot. Also, I’m always tickled when people can’t get through telling a joke without laughing. They’re laughing, I’m laughing, we’re all having a very good time!

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Short answer: Liza Minnelli. Long answer: LIIIIIIIZAAAAA MINNELLLIIIIIII! WOOO!

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

Are you Liza Minnelli? Oh, you’re not? Get the fuck out of here.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Standing in my kitchen, debating whether or not I want to go to a geographically inconvenient party.

If life were a video game what would some of the cheat codes be?

If you pretend to be confident for a while, it can lead to actual confidence.

Thursday September 14, 2017, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

Who the heck are ya?

The Cast is a team of women at the Magnet that improvises plays, showing what is happening both onstage and also offstage during the performance. Sometimes we do special genres. Sometimes those special genres are insane.

How long have you all been performing together?

The Cast started as a Director Series in May of 2015, and was added as an official weekend show in the fall of that same year.

Who would be your ideal guest to perform with?

The list is long! To name a few: Tami Sagher, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, Lauren Lapkus, Carol Burnett, Kate Winslet, Lucille Ball’s ghost, and of course Benedict Cumberbatch.

What was your second choice for a name of the show?

I had to search my email for it, but I think the working title was “Onstage/Backstage.” I also found a brainstorming email chain with Chrissie Gruebel in which we alternatively threw out these** additional gems: Behind the Scenes, Cause a Scene, Make a Scene, Line!, On in Five, Off and On, Between Scenes, Players, The Show Must Go On, Curtain Up, Everyone’s Period Just Started, The Spotlight, 15 Minutes, The Original Queens of Drama, The Thing, and Staged. **All but one of these is real.

What’s the best part about performing at Magnet Theater?

The Magnet is home to so many incredible, creative, interesting and supportive artists. We truly feel that this is a community in which we can take risks and be supported not only for the final product but for the risk-taking itself. That’s been essential for this show to thrive.

If there was a biopic about your team, what would it be titled?

We Like Each Other…Too Much

Describe the soundtrack to said biopic!

We’re pretty into Kesha’s “Woman” these days. Also, does she not spell it K$sha anymore? Why not? Also, we know this isn’t a soundtrack, it’s just a song. But it’s our biopic so we can do what we want. Get off our back.

What makes your group laugh the most?

Scheduling.

If you could have a mascot for your shows, who or what would it be?

A girl’s aged 9-12 soccer team just after they’ve had their oranges and have all that natural sugar racing through their veins.

When can we see you perform?

Every Saturday night at 10:30pm at the Magnet! And occasionally at improv festivals around the country and in Canada! It’s not that we’re opposed to going outside of North America, we just haven’t been invited anywhere else yet, hint hint hint.

Anything else you all want to add?

We do occasional bake sales to raise money for causes we care about. We also do a [somewhat] monthly jam for any and all female-identifying improvisers; they’re super fun, and we’d love to see you there! Also, coming to The Cast isn’t just about laughing (which you’ll do! we promise!) it’s also about being part of a brand new never-to-be-seen-again full theatrical production, put on by people who like each other too much and are all on their periods at the same time. Beat that.

 

Wednesday September 13, 2017, 7:00am - by evan barden

Matt Koff is a comedian, recovering improviser, and Emmy-award winning writer for his work on The Daily Show. As one of the first Magnet students, Matt brings his comedy back to the theater for a stand-up comedy series. “Matt Koff & Friend” features a half hour of comedy from Koff himself, as well as another half hour from a comedian of his choice.

How long have you been performing stand-up comedy?

For about 7 years now. I had been doing sketch and improv for about 5 years prior to that. I’m old. Older than the Tennessee Valley herself, some might say.

How would you compare the NYC stand-up scene from when you first started to now?

When I started there seemed to be a lot of crazy people at open mics. I do fewer mics now but the ones I go to don’t seem to have people who’ve just wandered in from Times Square talking about how they’d like to rape the Statue of Liberty or whatever.
As far as I can tell it hasn’t really changed. I’ve changed a little bit. In the beginning I was one of the scared newbies at mics who just hoped my 4 minutes of jokes worked. Now I’m less scared and not a newbie. I’m old. So old. Although trying out a new joke will always make me nervous. One day I hope to stop caring, so I can finally start talking about my true passion: sexually assaulting large statues.

Can you tell us about a time that you “bombed” on stage?

Yes. I can tell you about several times. But the worst I’ve ever bombed is when I was at The Comedy Store in LA. It was my first and so far only time performing there, I went up at like 1:30am and there was just silence. I swear I could hear the ghost of David Letterman weeping.

When did you start taking classes at Magnet Theater? Did you learn anything from the classes that you still use in your work today?

I started taking classes here when it first opened. Before that I’d been studying with Armando when he taught classes independently. That’s right, PRE-Magnet. Which makes me a pretty cool guy.
One thing I learned that I still use today, mainly in writing, is to patiently explore an idea and don’t be afraid of letting it form organically. Armando also stressed the importance of being a philosopher and constantly asking why things are the way they are in every day life, which is hugely important in every form of comedy, especially stand-up.

What does stand-up comedy bring to you that improv does not?

With stand-up, you don’t have to wait for anyone. You can go and do 3 sets a night and develop as fast as you want to develop. It also gives you an opportunity to hone and workshop an act again and again which I find really fulfilling.
But every so often I will do improv with the other Daily Show writers, and I find that fun in a completely different way, because obviously there’s no real plan and you don’t know what’s going to happen next.
In hindsight, I think I have more fun doing improv. But I didn’t start doing comedy to have “fun.” I did it to suffer. And for the free drink tickets. 😉

Who would be your ideal guest to perform the 2nd half hour on Matt Koff & Friend?

Adam Wade. And I was lucky enough to get him!

How do you like performing stand-up in an improv theater setting?

I like it a lot. The audiences are really smart, and there are very few drunk bachelorette parties in the audience who interrupt my set and laugh at the wrong parts of the joke. Quiet, ladies! “So I just had arm surgery” is not a punchline!

Come see Matt Koff & Friend Monday September 18th at 9pm with special guest Adam Wade! 

 

Tuesday September 12, 2017, 5:42pm - by Promo Team

Musical Megawatt performer Chris Bell bares all about his his upcoming show Comic Strips. With the help of his friends, Chris combines the styles of burlesque and game shows into a night of fun and laughter. This comedy boylesque show will make its Magnet Theater premiere Friday, September 15th, at 11:15pm.

What is Comic Strips and when did it become a show at the Magnet Theater?

Comic Strips is a comedy boylesque & game show. It’ll be a night of odd character stripteases and bawdy games hosted by the fabulous Madame Jiji. The night will really be an experiment of an idea I had years ago (more on this to come later) and is the show’s birthday so if you want to see how babies are made, come to the show!

 

Disclaimer: Actual babies will not be made at this show.

 

What kind of games will you be playing during Comic Strips?

There will be games of mystery and intrigue, exocitc games from the ancient tribes of South East Africa, but most importantly, there will be games that aren’t any of those just mentioned. The games we’ll play will be dumb, fun, and sexualy suggestive cause, hey, this is partly a burlesque show after all!

 

What inspired you to combine boylesque with comedy?

The idea came to me maybe 10 years ago when a good friend called me up and asked if I knew someone who would strip for her best friend’s birthday party…but dressed as a Hasidic Jew. I thought this was hilarious so naturally I had to do it. We all ended up having a blast and I wondered how it was possible that there wasn’t a NYC company out there offering this service. Funny character stripteases that is. Fast forward 10 years later; I’ve quit my job and I’m putting together a prototype of that company to see if the idea has legs. Comic Strips (this Friday night @ 11:15pm, be there) is the beginning of my frankenstein monster. Will it break loose and wreak havoc on the streets of New York? I hope so!

 

But you know, like a positive havoc.

 

Who would be your ideal guest for Comic Strips?

Darth Vader hands down, because wouldn’t it be fun to take a ride on the Dark side?

 

What does it mean for you to have a Friday night spot at the Magnet Theater?

It means a lot of work! #JesusBeAXanax

 

No, I’m very excited to be able to do this show at the Magnet. It’s a great community to be a part of and what better place to do an experimental show than at my favorite comedy safe space and no, I am not getting paid to say that.

 

(‘ll-Iay ick-pay p-uay he-tay eck-chay omorrow-tay.)

 

Besides boylesque and improv, have you performed in other types of shows?

My educational background is theater so in college I performed in several types of shows from dance shows to musicals to plays. I’ve done a few summer stock seasons of musicals as well as a year of children’s theater in Lexington Kentucky before I moved to NYC. I’ve been in New York for 10 years now and have produced, directed, and acted in various projects both for the stage and screen. A couple of random voiceover gigs too which were a blast including a recent video game you can find on Steam called The Low Road.

 

And now for the biggest confession of all, I’ve never actually performed burlesque so (prepare yourself for another shameless plug) come this Friday at 11:15 pm to see if I succeed or fail. Either way, it should be entertaining!

 

What do you want audience members to take away from the show – that they wouldn’t normally from a traditional improv/ sketch show?

I guess Comic Strips is celebration of the human body and sexuality. But most importantly, I want it to be a shit ton of fun. Not too different from any other comedy show right?

 

Comic Strips debuts at the Magnet Theater on Friday September 15 at 11:15pm. Don’t miss it! 

 

 

Thursday September 7, 2017, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

 

What’s your name?

Kourtni Beebe

Which team or show are you on?

I’m on the sketch team Chillionaire!

Where are you from?

Norman, Oklahoma

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

My best friend suggested that I take an improv class for fun. After doing that for a while, I was curious about sketch writing. There was no turning back after I took my first sketch class.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I’ve been performing for 24 years. I’ve been doing comedy for 4 years.

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

I’d love to write and act with Amy Schumer. I have a comedy fantasy of us doing a film where we play sisters and Ali Wentworth plays our mom. Make fun of me all you want!!!!! It’d also be fun to write with Melissa McCarthy and Amy Poehler. Lucille Ball was one of my idols growing up and I wish I could’ve gotten the chance to share the screen with her.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I’ve impersonated Kellyanne Conway a few times and would love to dive into that more. With that being said, I have a comedy crush on Kate McKinnon and would love to write for her. I would also like to write for Jillian Bell, Ali Wentworth, and Jennifer Coolidge.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

When callbacks happen in regular conversations. It’s even funnier to me when someone does it who isn’t a comedian.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Honestly, you can turn on the Legally Blonde The Musical soundtrack at anytime and I will never not jam out to it.

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

“Do you like dogs?” If the answer is anything negative, you can’t sit with us.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

A fun bar with my friends, usually chatting about what projects we want to work on together. If you’re good people and want to join us sometime, reach out to me!

What is the weirdest scar you have and how did you get it?

I have an insane scar on both of my hands from a Nutribullet (type of blender) breaking while I was using it and my hands fell into the running blades. There’s a lawsuit happening. And I’m writing a show about it called “Nutribullshit.”