Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

Thursday April 26, 2018, 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.

Michael Stevens and his nephewWhat’s your name?

Michael Stevens.

Which team or show are you on?

Oh boy. I’m with Gary from HR (sketch), Good @ Sports (indie), FAM (indie), The Neighbors (Megawatt), and then a smattering of duos: Just 2 Brothers w/ John Ross, Can’t Catch A Cab w/ Ashley Glicken, Father & Son w/ Brendan Goggins, and Squirtle Squad w/ Aditya Otiv. I also am directing The Multiplex, which is a fun lil’ form near and dear to me. Eaves is also an indie trio I’m on but we’re less of a team these days and more of a state of mind.

Where are you from?

I’m from Brooklyn and I went to school on Long Island. Yes, I commuted everyday.

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

Honestly, I found improv after finding live theater as a creative outlet. My older brother was an improvisor so I took a whack at it in college. I think I probably considered myself more of a actory-type boy than a comedy-type boy… but I found improv and loved it. Took a break after college and picked it back up in 2015.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I learned to read very early and have been writing since I was 3, I shit you not. All of the stuff I wrote when I was 3 was garbage. I didn’t really establish my voice until I was eight. I’ve been writing very well ever since.

I started acting in high school. I was just coming out of homeschool into my formative teen years so I was naturally a bit of a quiet weirdo with voices running around his head.

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

Scene partner? Either Keegan Michael Key or Aubrey Plaza. I saw Keegan in Hamlet where he played Horatio. I thought he did such a good job adding light to a play that’s actually VERY funny. I think he’s obsessed with pathos in the same way that I am. Aubrey Plaza because I think she’s an insanely underrated actor who Warner Bros should be paying $500,000,000 to play the Joker. I shit you not, she’s the best incarnation of the Joker that will never be performed.

My ideal writing partner would probably be Jordan Peele, for very obvious reasons. I think he and I would write a kick-ass superhero movie together. I already have the plot and everything. My next pick would be David Lynch. I would like to write with him because I love his films, but feel guilty because there are never enough black characters.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

Impersonate: Jeff Goldblum. He’s an actor I love, and a natural comic talent that I love but CANNOT impersonate.

I’d like to write for LaKeith Stanfield. He’s a special kind of weird. Maybe a Lethal Weapon type cop movie with LaKeith and me playing Jeff Goldblum is the thing I oughta work on.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Without going into too much detail: Sadness.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

  1. Mercy Mercy Me – Marvin Gaye, because this song is my politics.
  2. Rikki Don’t Lose That Number – Steely Dan, because I am a figurative dad.
  3. 2Shy – Shura, because, yeah, I’m totally that girl who didn’t feel cool in high school and dresses like cool people she sees on TV.
  4. Bad Girls – Solange ft. Kendrick Lamar, because it sounds like a rainy and you’re sad, but chillin’.
  5. Cool – Gwen Stefani, because breakups should be healthier in this culture we live in.
  6. Frank Ocean – Wise Man, because this is some baller ass shit to play at a funeral.
  7. Bambi – Prince, because this is what it sounds like to beat up a bully.
  8. That Power – Childish Gambino, because this is what Summer 2003 sounds like.
  9. Princes of the Universe – Queen, because this is what it sounds like when Mercury is in Retrograde again and you’re READY for it.
  10. Starman – David Bowie, because David Bowie is good.
  11. Kiss It Better – Rihanna, because this is the sexiest song ever written, but also sounds like the happy medium between sex during the apocalypse, and a regular co-dependent relationship.
  12. Cristo Redentor – Donald Byrd, because it sounds like a peaceful death.
  13. All That – Carly Rae Jepsen, because the first time I heard it after I saw Moonlight for the first time and literally cried tears of joy on the L Train home. This song is all of the cosmic highs and pre-apocalyptic lows of a little crush.
  14. La La Means I Love You – The Delfonics, because goddamn it, I love a black wedding.
  15. In Your Room – Airiel, because I should have been in my 20s in the 90s.

I have to stop here, because if I don’t I’ll be here forever.

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

How someone answers “What’s your favorite superhero” usually tells me everything I need to know about a person’s values.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Gassed Up w/ Good @ Sports! 10:30pm! And if by some twist of fate I’m not doing improv, I am at some movie theater. Or on the subway listening to shoegaze, smiling and crying next to some ghost while metal spiders crawl out of my body.

What’s your favorite Disney Channel Original Movie?

My favorite Disney Channel Original Movie is High School Musical 2. For a variety of reasons:
1. Zach Efron did not lip sync in this one. In the original he was dubbed over by some weak ass tenor named Drew Seeley. I don’t have a problem with Brother Seeley’s voice, but I do feel that pretty ass tenor voices are over represented in music, especially musicals. Zac Efron is on the lighter side of baritones, but I think he has a stronger voice, and I think he gave a better performance. I think it’s very weird they dubbed his voice over in the original.
2. Bet On It is a legit, relatable song and a total BANGER even after all these years. If you wanna see me punch a dude in the face, play that shit. He has a falsetto note in that song that I cannot hit to this day. I mean. I can hit it. But it sounds like shit.
3. For more questions about all things High School Musical related, please email me, because I saw all three, and love them all.
Wednesday April 25, 2018, 1:42pm - by Magnet Theater


Say hello to all of our new Conservatory Circuit teams! Come see one of their shows, Fridays at 10 pm, starting May 4th at the Magnet Training Center, 22 W 32nd St., 10th Floor. YES! Shows run through June 8th.

The Conservatory Circuit features improv ensembles made-up of both Magnet students and veteran Magnet performers. Every week, three teams take the stage and perform the classic long form improv structure, The Harold.

Team Rizzo:
Jennifer Aaron
Pete Morris
Elaine Bledsoe
Valentino Salza
Simon Shannon
Nathan Tillis
Anna Vesely
Mary Regan
Coach: Xavier Padin

Team Cha-Cha:
Maxim Ross
Susan Lerner
Craig Lehner
David Freshwater
Marshall Finch
Jana Heaton
Mari Stein
Christine Lawless
Coach: Pat May

Team Frenchie:
Amanda Melhuish
Joe Diliberti
Greg Iacurci
Aaron Riesebeck
Gillian Kushner
Henry Seifter
Christine Magee
Simon Johnston
Coach: Tom Sanchez

Congrats to the new teams, and be sure to come and check them out!

Thursday April 12, 2018, 4:07pm - 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.

Lida Darmian of Mama's BoyWhat’s your name?

Lida Darmian.

Which team or show are you on?

Mama’s Boy (Sketch Team) & Fly Gurlz.

Where are you from?

Born in Dallas Texas, raised in Agoura Hills, CA.

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I used to watch the SNL reruns that they would play on E! when I was in elementary school, and I would watch the show as it aired in the mid-90s (I had a cool mom). Was introduced to improv with Whose Line Is It Anyway like everyone else, and my high school had a ComedySportz team (I was not on it). I I went to an improv camp when I was 16, and that was my first taste of it.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I was in a play called “The Elephant Child” in 2nd grade. It was the story of how elephants got such long noses(I played one of SEVERAL elephants). The big Ru-veal was when we pulled off the paperclip that was holding back our accordion construction paper noses, and suddenly we our transformation was complete. Ya gotta love the drama of a mid-show make over.

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

I would love to work with both Phoebe Robinson and Jordan Peele. I love that their work doesn’t shy away from pushing the boundaries of race/what it means to be a minority, and they add humor to it too. I strive to do work that celebrates individuality and doesn’t ignore our differences as people.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

I would most like to write for my friends because I would love to pimp them out in a good way, and I know their voices, so it would be easy. I want to impersonate any diva, complete with full dance numbers.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

I love when anyone is earnestly dumb but still comes from a hopeful place. Also, mispronouncing words can really get me good.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

There would be some songs you could definitely dance to, something with a great build or drop, some musicals thrown in, and a few songs to cry to.

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

“What’s your favorite and least favorite food?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Ideally: eating at a really delicious hip restaurant and seeing a movie or show. Reality: probably babysitting or lying in bed.

Are you still upset about Pluto not being a planet?
I wouldn’t say I’m upset, I just don’t want Pluto to feel that it’s experience has been invalidated.
Thursday April 5, 2018, 4:33pm - 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?

Frankie Johnson.

Which team or show are you on?

Milwaukee! (the *new* Magnet Sketch Team).

Where are you from?

Mostly Tennessee (I moved around a lot).

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I was living in Charleston, SC and a friend recommended I try an improv class at Theatre 99 (shoutout!). It was super fun, and I continued studying improv (and later sketch) after I moved to NYC. Three comedy schools and a billion classes later, here I am!

How long have you been performing/writing?

A little in college, but fairly regularly for about 9 years.

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

Babs Bunny from Tiny Toons.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

Impersonate: Bette Davis. Write for: Maya Rudolph.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Really, really dumb stuff–like people dancing on stilts.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

A lot of Beatles, some musical theatre, with a dash of ~2000 top 40.

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

“What are you drinking? Is it good?” Cool stuff like that.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Probably at home complaining about the lack of options on Netflix.

If you could Freaky Friday body-swap with any other Frank(ie) or Johnson, who would it be and why?

I would swap bodies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I’d really like to know what it’s like to lift someone over my head. Also, he’s a national treasure.

Tuesday April 3, 2018, 12:49pm - by Promo Team

Object Work returns to the Magnet stage as this month’s Director Series show, starting Thursday, April 5th at 10:15 pm. We spoke with director Charlie Nicholson about the power and meaning of object-based improv.

How did you come up with the idea for an object-driven show?

Object Work came together at a moment in my life when I wanted to see the world differently. I was sad and lonely, looking to reconnect with comedy and theater in a meaningful way. I gathered together nine of the most wonderful, inspired people I knew, improvisors who made me feel excited about the possibilities of life and performance and art. We experimented together, developing an approach to playing that honored the many facets of an inanimate object and allowed us to turn anything that was thrown at us into a toy.

Always on my mind were the “performance object” discoveries I made in college, in Paul O’Connor’s stage shop building props for my and others’ plays, and Gabrielle Cody’s classroom, where we once spent an afternoon identifying the formal qualities of a stage full of chairs. I thought of my puppeteer friends Joe and Kali Therrien who welcomed me into their creative world at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry. They continue their work in the streets and public parks of New York. And I thought of my parents, all four of them, who each demonstrated the strength of holding contradictory perspectives. These people taught me about the power of choosing an approach to the world that is intentionally unusual, to find pride in difference, and to celebrate the coexistence of many possible meanings. I made my best effort to carry this philosophy with me into Object Work rehearsals. I wanted performers to follow their individual instincts, to externalize their thought processes, and contrast with each other in their collaborations on stage. We found it to be very effective to limit our focus to a single object, as the object grounded and centered the group, forcing the group to physically share with each other, even as performances expanded to bizarre, dramatic, and unexpected territory.

By directing this show, I wanted to change the way I saw the world. I wanted to wake myself up, to cultivate a space for magic, to bring my imagination to life, and believe in bigger ideas. I wanted to push forward toward what was possible despite a powerful inclination to reduce my expectations. That was three years ago. Now it is 2018, and the world feels even heavier and harder. I feel more pressure to submit and accept the limitations of a disappointing reality. But every time I rehearse or perform with Object Work, I rediscover an immense sense of potential hiding in plain sight within our unmoving and seemingly inanimate world.

Your show features improv based on an actual (non-pantomimed) object. What sort of objects have been featured in the past? What’s the boldest choice someone has made with an object in previous shows?

In recounting the objects that we have been used for previous Object Work shows, I will also share some of the layered meanings of each object, IE how the object transformed and what it meant to us in the moment. Over the course of a 45 minute show, each object is reinterpreted in multiple ways, sometimes as a character, sometimes as the object that it literally is, sometimes as the physical embodiment of an emotion or idea.

I remember the Christmas lights that became an airport landing strip and the model school bus that changed performers into giants. There was panic when a string of sliver streamers malfunctioned as curtains in a the car wash, a sunflower stalk knocked a grand-slam straight out of the ballpark, and a bride tossed a bouquet of real pizza over her shoulder and into the audience. An abandoned cardboard box became a lonely neighborhood kid’s new house, lipstick was marked on foreheads as repentance ash, and a rain poncho returned from the grave as a ghost. There was even a show in which the performers used my body as the object, lifting me up to the ceiling and at one point using my hands and feet as telephone receivers to call each other.

If you were going to a desert island and could only bring three items you actually own, what would they be and why?

I would bring my deck of Fountain tarot cards so I could tell stories about the future, my favorite pair of magenta spandex shorts, to keep myself grounded in my past ( I have many good memories wearing the shorts), and a coil of rope, because one can accomplish so much with just a little piece of rope, especially on the desert island where I now live. Send help! Or at the very least, check out Object Work this Thursday at 10:15pm at the Magnet Theater!

Catch Object Work at 10:15 every Thursday in April!

Wednesday March 28, 2018, 11:00am - by Magnet Theater
Musical Megawatt - Musical Improv

We are thrilled to announce the newest additions to our Musical Megawatt lineup! Catch these new teams in action this Tuesday, April 3rd at 7, 8, 9 and 10pm.

Names in bold are new to Musical Megawatt. Names with an asterisk* are returning to Musical Megawatt. Names in italics are joining a preexisting team.


Maryann Alspaugh
David Barrera
Amy Charowsky
Collin Gossel
Amanda Mayer
Adam Payne
Matt Radlow


Chris Bell
Natasha Gleichmann
Alejandro La Rosa
Eitan Levine
Amelita Lijek
Blake Rogers
Rachel Zeolla


Matthew Frazier
Ben Fullon*
Audrey Mattaino
Brian Rodriguez
Mel Rubin
Tiffany Springle
Erin Wagner


In addition to these teams, Warm Blooded has three new members (in italics):


Jon Bander
Woody Fu
Olivia Petzy
Roman Pietrs
Melissa Gordon*
Charlie Nicholson
Ali Reed
Saturday March 24, 2018, 9:00am - by Promo Team

Do you have your Passover plans locked down yet? Come spend the most miraculous Seder of your life with The Jewsical Seder with B’nai Magnet, Sunday March 25 at 6:15pm! We chatted with Russ Feder to get all the fun deets.


 Is there something special about the chosen people that make them excellent musical improvisers?

Jews sing all the time. Too much, in fact. It’s how we spent the time wandering the desert for forty years.

What should the goys know about this show? Is there any terminology they can brush up on?

The show should be pretty inclusive! That being said, if anyone hears a funny-sounding word they don’t understand, it probably means either “messy” or “confusing”.

Is Frank Spitznagel actually a rabbi?

While he’s not ordained, he’s genuinely worked with Itzhak Perlman, which is close enough for us.

Tell us about B’nai Magnet’s mission statement.

B’nai Magnet is a group of musical improvisors hoping to share and heighten the joy of the holiday season with the masses. If people convert to Judaism as a result of seeing their shows, too, it’s a nice bonus.

Would you advise the audience to eat kosher for 24 hours before attending?

Absolutely. Leave your leavened bread at the door, folks. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Kick off Passover the right way with The Jewsical Seder with B’nai Magnet, Sunday, March 25 at 6:15!


Thursday March 22, 2018, 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?

Lauren Stripling.

Which team or show are you on?

Pyros, on Tuesdays at Musical Megawatt.

Where are you from?

Fort Worth, Texas, which is its own city and not just “part of Dallas,” I swear!

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I’ve been a Story Pirate for about 9 years, and so have been surrounded by comedians from the Magnet forever. Then, about 4 and a half years ago I went to see a musical level 1 class show that my friend Louie Pearlman was big sibbing, and I thought it was absolute magic. I signed up for musical level 1 the next day.

How long have you been performing/writing?

The first musical I was ever in was when I was 3 and played Mrs. Duncan in an adaptation of “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.” Even then I was playing moms. Toddler typecasting! I mostly was a music kid growing up, and played the harp at people’s events during middle and high school. Then I really got into theater in high school because we had a phenomenal teacher (shoutout to Mr. Moore) who would do this sort of experimental theater stuff with us with a lot of movement and devising.

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

Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

I love doing accents. I’d love to do a Downton Abbey Maggie Smith or a show where Amélie is old but still an ingenue and nobody indulges her any more.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

When highbrow and lowbrow get smashed together. Absurdism. I love seeing a genius fall on their face.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Currently listening to Janelle Monáe while filling this out, Punch Brothers and Beck also currently on high rotation. Also, the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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

What book they’re currently reading.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Doing an escape room or having a board game and wine party.

If you were in a circus, what job would you want?

Fire-breathing lion tamer!
Tuesday March 20, 2018, 10:00am - by Promo Team

What’s the best kind of birthday party? Why, a comedy birthday party of course! Jarret Berenstein is back with another birthday-themed variety show, The Fine Thirty-Nine, on Sunday March 25 at 9pm. Will there be sketch? Yes ma’am. Will there be stand up? You betcha. Will there be a party? Most def! Jarret spills the birthday beans below.

 Tell us about your show!

The Fine Thirty Nine is a birthday comedy show! It’s a combination of standup, sketches, special guests, and a variety of weird surprises. Plus there’s free beer!

This is the follow-up to last year’s show, The Great Thirty-Eight. Is it all new stuff, or are you up to your same old tricks?

All new stuff! I borrow a little from the format of The Great Thirty-Eight, but all the material in this show will be brand new, plus there are two standups (Matt Koff and Selena Coppock) who weren’t at the show last year and who are both super dope.

Do you anticipate doing more of these birthday shows? What titles do you have lined up?

I’d love to keep the tradition going if I can. Maybe “Hey shorty, it’s Forty” and “The Fun Forty One”? I’ll need to run those through the committee though.

What are you most excited for the audience to see? 

I wrote a book last year called The Kellyanne Conway Technique and one of the reviews on Amazon was so insane that I wrote a whole thing about it. There’s also gonna be an interview with a special guest that I think people are gonna love.

According to the poster, your show is made up of sketch, stand up, and a party. What’s the best party you’ve ever been to?

One time I went to a bar with some friends and this random woman was giving everybody free food and booze and forcing people to dance and do little contests. Turns out the woman was the owner and the bar was closing for good so she was just giving everything away. It was a real blowout, strangers were dancing and eating together, tons of fun, and then the next day the place was completely gone. I asked some dude where the bar went, and he was like “What? That bar burned down twenty years ago!” (That last part was a joke, but everything else was true.) Hope to see you all at the show!

Watch Jarret party on at The Fine Thirty-Nine, Sunday March 25 at 9:00pm at Magnet!

Monday March 19, 2018, 2:51pm - by Magnet Theater

Magnet Theater is pleased to announce the new teams and additions for the Spring 2018 season of Megawatt, debuting this Wednesday, March 21st, at 7, 8, 9  and 10:15 pm. We hope to see you there!

Names in bold are new to Megawatt. Names with an asterisk* are returning to Megawatt. Names in italics are joining a preexisting team.


Peter Appleby*
Howard Finkelstein*
Chloe Metzger*
Sarah Poirier*
Billy Soco*
Melissa Ulloa
Peter Vale
Jeff Wucher



Janelle Bentley
Maggie Bower
Spencer Campbell*
Perri Gross
Alex Kornfeld
Henry Russell Bergstein
Michael Stevens
Jenny Stokka


New members have also been added to several existing teams:


Evan Forde Barden
Kristina Grosspietsch
Michael Lutton
Charlie Nicholson
Dmitry Shein
Collin Batten
Liz Migliaccio
Jamaal Sedayao*



Katy Berry
Christina Dabney
Tim Dufrisne
Eleanor Lewis
Rob Penty
Fred Urfer
Derrence Washington
Kyle Gordon
Erin Marie Nebel



Alex Braslavsky
Jarreau Carrillo
Hillary Dale
Princess Gibbs
Amanda Rothman
Keith Rubin
Danielle Wessler
Jessica Taylor



Matt Abedi
Kim Brown
Molly Kiernan
Devin O’Neill
Xavier Padin
Adam Pasulka
Dede Tabak
Tom Sanchez