Posts Tagged ‘Improv’
Beloved Magnet Theater alumnae, Bianca Casusöl, visits from North Carolina to talk about her improv origins, making adjustments for shows, and the weird games she plays all alone in her head. Currently a performer and instructor at Dirty South Comedy Theater (dsi) in Chapel Hill, NC, Bianca spent several years in New York performing at the Magnet on shows such as Megawatt, Kiss*Punch*Poem, and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Fortunately, we caught her while she was in town and convinced her to catch up with her old pal Louis Kornfeld on our podcast.
The conversation appropriately begins with our two stars talking about dropping back into a community after being away from it. Though they both claim to do a poor job at keeping in touch with people, Louis insists that Bianca has an ability to open people up and make them feel like a million bucks no matter how long she’s known them or how long it’s been since they’ve spoken. Has she always been that way? They talk about their birth orders and what that might have to do with their adult personalities.
Bianca started at Magnet on Jan 9, 2010, but she first got into improv at her NC high school with Viola Spolin’s theater games. She had a less than amazing experience with a practice group before taking a long break from the art form. When she eventually picked it up again at Magnet, she says she felt like the kid sister who was always just hanging around, which meant that she got to know the house managers quite well. In contrast to Bianca’s natural ability to make friends with strangers, Louis recently took a personality test and related deeply to a question about being a wallflower.
Catching us up on her current home, Bianca talks about the improv scene in North Carolina and how dsi has grown by leaps and bounds since she first came into contact with it. One major difference, compared to the NYC theaters, is that dsi does both short form and long form improv. This creates a pressure to perform for and entertain different kinds of audiences, even families with children. Before continuing, Bianca says a really uncomfortable word, but then the two of them talk in detail about making adjustments for various audiences and Bianca claims that manners are just shorthand for respect. We like that phrasing a lot.
On a related note, Louis talks about how easily impressed certain audiences are and that we lose out by judging them for liking what they like. He says that those of us in the comedy world are spoiled because were surrounded by people who let us be weird and indulge our ideas, but that many people (kids in particular) dont have that luxury. This is why they delight in something as simple as an improviser using their suggestion in a scene.
Bianca reveals to us that when people arent nice to her, she thinks theyre trying to sleep with her. Louis claims that she has a gift for playing uncomfortable moments in scenes and Bianca chalks a lot of her improv skill up to expressing a lot of feelings on stage and her love of exploring “the weirdos.” Plus, she tells us about the strange games she plays in her head, like “Who is dreaming up the people in the world?” and “What would this person be if they were a beverage?”
Check out this week’s episode for a really fun conversation about all of the above and more. And if you don’t, well then just remember that kids deserve respect too.
STEPH GARCIA ON MOVING TO LA, WRITING COMEDY & BEING AN ASSISTANT ON A TV SHOW!
Comedy in New York:
Steph studied improv at the Magnet Theater through level 5, completed the sketch program, and performed on sketch teams: Alchemy, Colorado Dad and Dispacho.
She also performed on an indie improv team Gilda and on the sketch duo Firecracker, that made the web series White People Problems.
Performs weekly at the Nerdist with her improv team Pilgrim. Hosts an Entertainment Industry panel for women at the Nerdist School with fellow teammate Lindsey Barrow. Co-hosts a monthly all female mix-em-up improv show called Girl on Lady Action with Maura Ruth. She also recently wrote a web series and pilot, with Dave Warth over Skype and they are in post production of their first episode.
All while working as a writers PA on Selfie and now ABCs The Catch.
How long have you been in LA?
It will be two years in October.
How does the improv scene there compare to NY?
There is just as much opportunity in LA, I just feel like its more spread out, and, for me, its a little more difficult to do. I remember jumping theater to theater in New York and here its different because you have a car and you have to drive and park. But there are a lot of indie theaters.
Do people tend to be members of a few different theaters or do they stick to one?
No theres a lot of crossover here. Its the same as in New York.
Are you primarily a writer, improviser or a sketcher?
Right now I am primarily a writer. I do perform weekly, but Im not auditioning. Im working on writing for TV. I got a manager out here and so Im working on having some samples that are more TV. They have all my sketches and they have been using them to pitch, and Im working right now with Nerdist to get the video production side up. And Im actually hoping to get live sketch up at the Nerdist as well. I just love sketch so much, but in terms of having something to make a living off of, I want to write TV so you need to have good samples.
How hard is it now to pitch to sketch shows that are currently on the air? Do you have to know people on them?
Yeah, and that seems to be the case in general. You can still get hired off your samples and stuff, but it always helps to know somebody. Ive gotten my last two jobs because of recommendations from people.
How did you know people in LA?
My cousin is a set designer and he worked with somebody who was working on Raising Hope at the time, and she invited me to set, which was freaking amazing, and I met the production coordinator on that. That production coordinator happened to get hired on the pilot of Selfie and gave me a chance. So for two weeks I was working on the pilot and I spoke to everybody and said I want to write! and so when the time came around for the show, the showrunner’s assistant who was working on the pilot asked if I wanted to interview for the writers PA gig. And from that, the director of that pilot also directed The Catch pilot, so her assistant forwarded my resume on.
Ill come back to your jobs, but first tell us about your writing process.
I like deadlines, so if its something like a writers program or festival deadline, thats what feeds me. So it depends. Ill sit on an idea for a year, and I wont do anything with it until I see – oh, someone will actually look at this. And Ill sit and Ill write it in two weeks. I dont know why I do that, and its not good and no one should do that.
Do you ever set your own deadlines or does it have to be external?
I have on occasion, but its usually this festival deadline is this week, so my deadline is a week and a half before. Its not a way to live. Dont do it that way.
[Just now – Steph gets a pizza delivered. AND she doesnt eat it until the end of the interview. Obviously displaying some extraordinary mental toughness required to gain writing chops in LA.]
How did you get a manager?
I have a friend of mine who I knew in New York who is an actress. She started her own production company and produced two shorts that went to some festivals, and so when I came out here, she said ‘give me sketches’. And I said ‘here you go. We shot some stuff, and then someone I met through her was a manager, and at the time I guess, not that I wasnt looking – I love acting, but I came out here because I knew there was more opportunities for writing than in New York. And then when I did the CBS Diversity showcase I ran into her again, and they were opening a literary division at their management company. She said just come and meet with us and see if you like the team, so I met the team and theyre now repping me.
What did you have to send them?
I sent them so much stuff. I think I sent them an original pilot and a Bobs Burgers spec. Then they were like great, send us more stuff, so I sent them a bunch of sketches and I sent another pilot and some shorts that Ive written.
What Ive heard the trend is now is to have an original pilot and if someone likes that, then they want that spec to see if you can write in somebody elses voice.
How long does it take you to write an original pilot?
It depends. The last pilot I wrote took me two and a half weeks. But technically if you add all the time Id been sitting on it and thinking of the story, at that point I had all the beats in my head before I sat down and started writing.
Do you show people your work? Do you have a writers group?
I have a writers group and then I have some other people that I bother. You cant be precious with your writing. And thats another thing that being on a sketch team at the Magnet definitely helped me out with, you just can not be precious with your writing.
When Im really working on something Ill sit down for 2 – 3 hours at a time and knock out what I can.
You mentioned Russ Armstrong was a memorable sketch director. Was there anything you learned from him that you think about today?
Russ has a really good work ethic and my favorite thing I learned from him was about keeping everything succinct and short and your jokes being real clear and not having any of that junk around it, because it just muddles the joke.
What do you mean by work ethic?
He was fantastic at giving notes and really tried to get us to memorize our sketches and then run them and run them, always e-mailing and being supportive but also saying we have to get our stuff up and does everybody have their things. He was always present at the meetings. Always ready to give feedback and ready to keep it moving and make sure we got as much as we could from every meeting. There wasnt a lot of messing around, which can happen when you have a group of writers together.
You currently work as a writers PA. How is a writers PA different from a writers Assistant?
A writers assistant and a script co-ordinator, depending on the show, overlap some. A writers assistant generally takes notes in the room, and then because youre (hopefully) writing down everything everybody is saying, at the end of the day you have to organize it, and so depending on the show a lot of the time the script coordinator and the assistant, theyll kind of swap off that duty. And once the scripts come out, youre also responsible for proofing the script and making sure that everyone gets the newest version of the script and that youre not messing that up, and youre also making sure theres no typos. And then on my last job they were also dealing with intellectual property stuff. So if you want a song in there you have to deal with that too. As a writers PA – lunch is my biggest duty. I mean, its like food. Its really a lot of food. Lunch, the kitchen, coffee. You also handle the paper and office supplies. Once scripts get going then youre responsible for distributing the scripts. On Selfie though, because it was such a social media based show, I got to help write some things like fake yelp reviews. I also got a tweet on the show with my twitter handle, that I wrote – so that was really cool – those little things where I got to pepper in creativity.
Does everyone assume that as a writers PA or Assistant, you want to be a writer?
The assumption is there, and depending on the staff, both my staffs have been amazing, theyll ask you what do you write? whats your genre? Who do you like, what shows do you like?
Do you find writing pilots hard?
Oh yeah. Well you know whats difficult is that balance between introducing all your characters, but also having a compelling story, because you dont just want an episode of heres all the people you will be seeing for the rest of the season. There needs to be a contained story within it.
Do you get to see how much influence the showrunner has in a writers room and on breaking story? And does that relate to how our sketch directors are at the Magnet?
Yeah – its an interesting process because everything does go through them, but both showrunners that Ive seen are very open – I mean its so much of a collaboration of the room, and basically what happens is you break a story, and then its one persons episode so they really get to write it and then they bring it back and then you all edit it together. But then theres this other person not in the room, thats the studio, and thats where the showrunner comes in. They have to go and say heres the story we have. And then they get notes like ‘Oh we dont like this, we do like this, can this be like this, and then the showrunner has to bring that back to the room.
Please eat pizza if you are hungry.
Thats one fun perk about being a writer, there is so much food, so you eat all day long.
How many hours do you pull a day?
The hours really depend on the show. Both shows that Ive worked for have been pretty great with their hours. But there are others that the writers will work on until, like, midnight.
What would be your dream tv show to write on at the moment.
I have two. Last Man On Earth, and Veep.
Youre a dart champion?
Oh yeah! I was. We used to play darts in NY. I was in a league, it was every Monday night and I did that for about seven years. And I really miss it. I love this business and I love writing, but to have something thats completely outside with a bunch of people that dont give a shit, its really nice.
Last Question. What things did you wish youd known before you moved to LA?
Unless you come out here already with rep or already with some big credits under your name, no one will really appreciate what you did in New York. And its a really hard thing to accept. Especially when you first get out here. Someone I know was on Broadway who came out – and it just didnt translate. Its something that you have to accept. And there are a lot of people here from New York, so youre not totally starting at zero, but its definitely like taking two steps backwards. So that was the biggest thing for me. And you kind of accept it and you dont have a chip on your shoulder and just keeping on working, people will recognize it, and eventually people who work with you will be like – oh youve done all these things?’
And the other thing is parking sucks. Always give yourself 15-20 minutes just for parking wherever youre going.
Thanks Steph! We wish you luck! You may now eat the pizza.
Interview conducted by Ally Kornfeld for Magnet Theater.
Our guest on this week’s episode of the Magnet Theater Podcast, Christina Gausas, is well known for her work with a variety of amazing improv duos. As a follow up to her interview, she’s returned to give a shout out to all of her duo collaborators over the years and we’ve given her the keys to the Magnet Blog to do just that. Take it away, Christina!
Ellie Kemper GENIUS
Ellie is the brightest, most radiant light in life, on and off-stage, and shes a genius. She has infinite talent and wild, limitless lovability. Ellie is the smartest person I know and shes a creative genius. Her insights, her sensibilities, her clarity, the characters she creates are so captivating. The gifts that Ellie gives to you in scenes are so specific and brilliant. Shes the most engaging, playful scene partner, and, of course, shes beautiful and warm and generous, its exactly who she is and always has been. (We met in 2000.) I could go on for hours & pages about the talent and joy of Ellie, and the one word to encompass Ellie as an improviser and performer is genius.
Michael Bertrando SEXY BEAST
Bertrando is an intense talent with gravity and fun, hes fucking brilliant, too. Being able to do Come Together with Michael has really been a gift. Michael can get onstage and truly create a one-act play. He creates characters who are complex, complicated MEN, and at the same time, hes hilarious because he digs into the honesty and the emotion and he is fearless. Capital F Fearless. Hes wickedly smart, open-minded, he is pure fire onstage.
Susan Messing The QUEEN
Kevin Dorff is the King, Susan Messing is the Queen, and I would live in that Kingdom forever. Susan is what we all aspire to be. But I dont know that anyone can come close. I think, just bow down. Susan is the Goddess. Its Susans world and were just living in it.
Becky Drysdale CREATOR
Becky is the most creative, creating, creator I know. She improvises, writes, sings, dances, animates, makes art, builds things, and she makes spaces for other improvisers. The Clubhouse in LA is amazing and she made that for other people. She did that with her school in New York, too. I was watching a documentary about Orson Welles and someone said, there was never an Orson before him and there will never be a second, which made me think of Matt Besser, who I admire very much, and wonder if there will ever be someone like Besser again because Improv is now so big. I dont know Matt well, but he always seems brave to me, anarchistic, confident (all the UCB 4 do) what Matt and the UCB created was non-status quo. Becky has a similar spirit. She gives it to the Indie teams.
Scott Adsit CHARMING
I think Scott is one of the most charming improvisers in the country. I loved all of our shows.
Kay Cannon DEEEELIGHT
I add the es for how exciting Kay is onstage. Kay has the most come run away and play with me look in her eyes when you are onstage with her. We were only able to do one show as Cannon & Gausas and it was at a DCM and it was a delight. Kay keeps the energy, and the positivity, and the play, and the smart silliness going. You just feel so happy when you see her big eyes and her big smile. And shes that way as a friend, too. She always lifts you up.
Armando Diaz EMPEROR
If youre reading this right now, please ask Armando to improvise more. No one else can as quickly and completely become a character the way Armando Diaz can. And I feel like he understands Comedy better than all of us. And, by all of us, I mean, the whole, entire world. We have this treasure, this wealth of insight and improv and comedy intelligence right here in New York City and I feel like we should be seeing and using him all the time. For the sake of the future! (Sorry, Armando, no sleep for you.)
Megan Gray The GIFT
Megan has that natural grace and comfort onstage that comes from a place of love. Much like Ellie, that light and radiance. Shes a very strong and also giving improviser. I love being onstage with Megan but I also love watching her because I always feel secure. Shes funny and talented and also commanding onstage. My eyes go right to her. I always want to know what her characters are going to say. Also, when you watch her in a group, shes the first one to throw herself on the grenade. She gives unbridled support without worrying about herself. Plus, as an AD, she gives so much to the community, she really diversifies and shares, and opens doors to performers and provides opportunities to shows.
Louis Kornfeld the ORIGINAL
I think Louis has one of the most original stage personas and it comes completely from being who he is. I think a lot of people want to play to be perceived as smart or intelligent or understanding something you dont but its always bullshit. Louis is the most NO BULLSHIT player there is. And because of that, we get to see this smart, intelligent improviser, whos comfortable JUST FUCKING BEING. (As far as we can see.) And hell create a scene that might have a central, long discussion and its interesting as hell because its authentic and it isnt full of self-aware bullshit, its just honest. I hear him refer to himself as a straight man. I have to say, Ive never thought that. Hes always anchoring to me. Playing with MegaLou was great.
Michael Delaney GOLOVKIN
Boxing fans will understand. Gennady Golovkin is a boxer with every weapon in a full arsenal and he has precision. He doesnt remind you of anyone else because theres never been anyone else like him. Thats Michael Delaney to me. He has every talent an improviser could hope for and he has precision. When youre watching Michael Delaney or youre onstage with Michael Delaney, youre experiencing the best of what the work can be, at all times. Hes a true Master of Improvisation. We are lucky to have him. Its another bow down situation.
Billy Merritt JOY
Billy and I did one show in Dave Furferos Ampersand at the Magnet. When I think of Billy, I just think Joy. He welcomes you onstage and its fun and easy and unquestioned for the whole show. We did Kevin Mullaneys Mullaney Chain at DCM 17. It was Kevin, Ellie, Sean Conroy, Billy, and me. I was in a scene with Billy where we were husband & wife talking to Seans character (who was off-stage) over the phone. I said, check the caller ID and Billy said, out loud, to the phone, Check Caller ID, while we were in the middle of the conversation. It was hilarious and a moment where we could get into a fun not that way, look at the phone, what? why? and those ideas and that kind of play can only come from the joyous, incredibly fun, smart mind of Billy Merritt.
Kevin Dorff KING
Kevn Dorff is the King and thats really all I have to say. Hes so incredibly talented, strong, intelligent, striking, commanding, and fun. He can say more with one look or one word than anyone else onstage. Which is why I should simply say KING.
All words not in italics written by the wonderful Christina Gausas.
We welcome a national treasure of the improv comedy world, Christina Gausas, into our studio for a conversation about ensemble support, form development, Del Close, improv notes, and wanting your scene partner. Still basking in that post-DCM glow, Christina begins her conversation with host Louis Kornfeld recapping her DCM, talking about the support of the ensemble, and being in the moment.
Louis brings up the difference between bragging and acknowledging you’ve had a great show. Christina says that bragging feels counterintuitive because the whole thing relies on ensemble. Without the rest of the team, the hilarious line you delivered would have never happened. In the same vein, they discuss the difference between a real gift and a “bailout” gift and the two parts to every improv gift: the giving and receiving.
Following dual admissions of performance anxiety, Christina and Louis talk about some of Christina’s Chicago teams and how they went about developing new forms. Both agree though, that content great scenework comes before any concern about which form a team chooses. Christina’s advice? Create something that is your own and put the work into it. Also, explore the intention behind a show.
Christina indulges Louis’ request and shares some fond memories of the late, great Del Close. He was an artist who valued authenticity, creating complete characters, and not being topical simply for the sake of being topical. He wanted people to find the universal implications behind the suggestion, to not be literal with it but be expansive with it. While many might bring up Del because they really love discussing the rebellious and outlandish aspects of his life, Louis says that he most likes the idea that Del pushed people to go beyond their limits. Plus it’s possible that he was the Forrest Gump of the improv world. Don’t believe us? You’ll have to listen.
Inspired by Del’s approach to notes, Christina and Louis talk about the use of direct notes and how they can be useful or harmful. Both maintain that players need to develop the habit of taking notes easily. Louis pitches his idea that an improv team should approach the craft with a smart mob mentality and Christina tells us how great acting integrates with great improv. Finally, hear about Christina’s most recent revelation that people should truly want their scene partners at all times.
This is a great episode featuring one of the game’s very best players, so we recommend you turn the volume up to 11.
On this week’s episode, we’ve got actor, writer, and 14x UCB All-Star, Will Hines. We caught up with Will while he was in town for the 17th Annual Del Close Marathon and what ensued was a beautifully nerdy conversation about improv theory, improv practice, teaching methods, and some of Will’s early days at UCB.
The interview begins with Will and host Louis Kornfeld talking about how to navigate fighting in improv scenes. They insist that the characters must be able to have philosophical debates, not mere wizard battles. They sympathize with students learning improv though, since a bad fight and good fight feel very similar in the moment. Plus, arguments have a lot of good elements that improvisers should practice commitment, point-of-view, feeling but if they only serve to defend the character, they won’t be very helpful. Will goes into detail about his philosophy that scene partners must “shake hands” at the top of a scene.
If you’re wondering whether these two veteran company men discuss the philosophies of UCB and the Magnet, wonder no longer! Will and Louis get to the meaty stuff and talk about the differences between Harolds at Magnet and UCB. From there, they discuss a variety of improv “rules” and postulate that most rules are in need of a specific scope to make them useful. Will talks about the rigidity of his 10th grade english teacher and they debate the benefits and limitations of strict versus nurturing improv teachers. Though Will always loved Matt Besser’s no-bullshit approach to teaching, he says that Armando Diaz was his breakthrough teacher. He describes the two of them as the ying and yang of UCB teachers during his time coming up through classes.
We get to hear a bit of Will’s improv origin story, he and Louis discuss improv’s “huggy” vibe, plus, these two “kings of calm-edy” explore their thoughts on being funny while acting as the straight man and/or lower energy player. Louis shares with us that he’d just had his most embarrassing audition ever and Will admits that he has a lack of confidence when it comes to being funny. The two of them snap out of their temporary self-loathing to talk about Will’s days playing with Monkeydick, which was Louis’ favorite Harold Night team when he was a student there.
There’s so much great stuff in this episode for Magnet and UCB fans alike, not to mention every improv nerd out there, we’re not even sure where to start. Just trust us and give it a listen.
Packed with these extras:
The Brothers Hines have only one rule for their shows what is it?
Louis admits his biggest weakness as a teacher and performer.
What do these guys think of the Star Wars Prequel trilogy???
- armando diaz
- del close marathon
- improv nerds
- improv nonsense
- improv philosophy
- improv theory
- Los Angeles
- Louis Kornfeld
- magnet theater
- magnet theater podcast
- magnet training center
- Matt Besser
- Michael Delaney
- new york
- new york city
- The Brothers Hines
- UCB Theatre
- Upright Citizens Brigade
- Will Hines
We are now accepting applications for the Summer 2015 Circuit! Circuit Teams are made up of Magnet Theater students, graduates of our training program, and veteran performers. We believe that in order to get better at improv, you need to do it.
The deadline to apply is 11:59pm on Wednesday, July 8th. Teams will be announced July 10th. Rehearsals start the weekend of July 11th. Shows will begin Friday July 24th. Teams will perform Friday nights at 10:30pm for eight weeks (with one week off for Labor Day weekend).
This round, there will also be a Musical Circuit team! If you have completed Musical Level 3 and are not currently on a Musical Megawatt team, you can contact Michael Lutton at email@example.com for more information.
To sign up, click this link to fill out the form:
If you have any questions, email Circuit@Magnettheater.com.
An improviser with Ariana Grande (the improv team) and founding member of BRICK, the handsome Joe Miles stops by our studio to talk with host Louis Kornfeld about discovering improv, the influence of music on his life, and touchy improv scenes. Joe talks to us about coming to NYC from Cleveland (Go Cavs!) in order to further his career as a rapper, but then discovering improv and being sucked into it. Still a drummer all these years later, Joe tells Louis how he uses music as inspiration for characters and Louis tells Joe about his past as an illustrator. We hear about Joes favorite music and the two men wonder if new genres will ever be invented. Also, Joe describes how he psychs himself up for a show, answers the questions of how he’s changed as a performer, and discusses BRICK’s run of shows where they did a different form each week. If that’s not enough, Louis mentions the presence of our engineer Grant, who disapproves of Louis’ musical leanings. Check it out!
Were looking for eager improvisers (prerequisite: completion of Level 1) to participate in warm-ups and exercises run by the students in Armandos coaching class. All the details are belowbut keep in mind that space is limited. Hope to see you there!
When to be available: Tuesdays, July 7th-Aug. 4th from 7-10pm
How to sign up: Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: COACHING CLASS VOLUNTEER. Please include your full name and phone number.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at (212) 244-2400.
Native son of New York State, Andrew Yurman-Glaser (Broad City; Magnet’s The Wrath, Friday Night Sh*w; UCB’s Mermaids; Upstate) joins us in the studio to talk about improvising, coaching, and the dynamics of a good team. Host Louis Kornfeld dives in by asking, “Do you remember when you got good at improv?” Humility abounds as Andrew tells of getting his improv start in college and how he’s grown over the last nine years in NYC. He goes on to compare his Megawatt team, The Wrath, to an orchestra and tries to shed some light on how a team maintains their integrity over the course of years. Louis asks if Andrew plays differently on Lloyd Night, Harold Night, Megawatt, or Friday Night Sh*w and Andrew talks about when shows feel the most successful. Hear Louis favorite things about how Andrew improvises, Andrew’s thoughts on the importance of listening, and of course, how improv makes you a better person. Plus! Did Andrew’s parents watch him play a masturbator on Broad City? Does Louis like giving notes?? Has this episode been recorded in front of a group of prisoners??? Find out the answers to all of these questions and more on Episode #48.
**PS** Andrew plays with his very good friend Dustin Drury as UPSTATE on Monday, June 29th at 8:30PM. These two former INSPIRADO Oh Shit! champions only get a chance to play on occasion these days, so make sure to check out this show!
- Andrew Yurman-Glaser
- Binghamton University
- broad city
- Friday Night Sh*w
- Harold Night
- Lloyd Night
- Louis Kornfeld
- magnet theater
- magnet theater podcast
- magnet training center
- new york
- new york city
- The Wrath
- Upright Citizens Brigade
We’ve been lucky to welcome so many out-of-town guests recently and we’re excited to say that our latest visitor is the incredible Jean Villepique. One of the earliest teachers and performers at Magnet, Jean was recently back in town from Los Angeles to perform in Bummers Presents: Running. Our host, Louis Kornfeld, gets the ball rolling in this episode by asking about the origin story of Bummers, Jean’s annual(ish) writing and storytelling collaboration with Rachel Hamilton, Tami Sagher, and Melanie Hoopes. She and Louis discuss catching up with good friends by performing with them and the detriments of the more typical checklist conversations people tend to have when they haven’t seen each other recently. Jean talks about her first exposure to improv doing commedia dell’arte as a teen, joining The Meow Show at Northwestern University, where she met Magnet founder Ed Herbstman, and some of her early days at iO Chicago and Second City. Louis also asks his former Level 2 teacher about her improv show Switchboard, encouraging players to take risks, her stint on The Office, and bringing personal stuff to the stage. Hear about the time someone grabbed Louis by the beard! Listen in awe as Louis pontificates that were more than mere mammals! Sit in wonder as these two talk about doing drugs! It’s a great episode, so give it a listen.
Or simply enjoy Episode #47 below via SoundCloud.
- commedia dell'arte
- ed herbstman
- io chicago
- Jean Villepique
- Louis Kornfeld
- magnet theater
- magnet theater podcast
- magnet training center
- melanie hoopes
- new york
- new york city
- Northwestern University
- rachel hamilton
- Second City
- sketch comedy
- Tami Sagher
- The Meow Show
- The Office