Posts Tagged ‘interview’

Thursday February 8, 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?

Marie Denny.

Which team or show are you on?

SNACKS!

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in London, England, then Chicago, IL.

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I moved to New York 8 years ago as a dramatic actor associating improv with comedy-which felt out of my league. After a few years here I decided to take an improv class to book more commercial auditions so I could be somewhat poor instead of all the way poor. I didn’t really know what long form improv was before that but I was hooked immediately. Sketch felt like a natural progression a few years after that.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Since high school but it wasn’t something I thought I would do with my life until after college.

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

Michaela Coel. Chewing Gum was one of the most brilliant, weird, authentic and original shows I’ve seen in awhile.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

I’d love to write for Robin Thede on The Rundown. The show has a voice and perspective you won’t find anywhere else in late night and she brings a fun energy to our current, nightmarish news cycle.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Silly wordplay and inventive physical comedy.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Well I’m a big old 80’s baby so it would start with some manic 80’s pop and then move into some smooth 90’s RnB. Throw in some Snoop and Riri for good measure.

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

“How’s it going?” Practicality won out.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Probably slinging drinks in a bar dreaming of one day being an old, eccentric hermit.

Would you ever consider keeping a rodent as a pet?

Only if it could do useful stuff like bring me the remote and make my bed. That would actually be pretty dope, I might be into that.

 

Thursday February 1, 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?

Brian Rodriguez.

Which team or show are you on?

I’m on the musical improv team Honeymoon, part of Musical Megawatt.

Where are you from?

The Dirtiest Parts of Jersey, NJ.

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I started doing competitive solo improv on my high school forensics team when I was a freshman and loved having it as an outlet for creating characters and following patterns and calling back to earlier beats.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I played Touchstone in an 8th grade production of As You Like It, and have mostly felt trapped performing that role ever since.

I’m sorry, that answer is a little too pretentious! What about: I started playing the trombone and performing in the 4th grade, mostly because I could make it look like I was jerking the instrument off? Is that better?!

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

I just want to be in a scene with Beth Slack again. That would be ideal.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

Neither of those things interest me, but I would most like for more Magnet talent (not me) to write for more Magnet Podcasts ???? There is just such amazing talent here that I wish I could carry around on my phone and listen to.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

That thing when babies are scared by their own farts. It’s such a raw visceral reaction.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Lots of Math Rock, Chillhop, and anything Sufjan Stevens does.

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

I’d ask them not to make eye contact.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

At home, watching everyone else’s night out on snapchat.

If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, what would it be? (You can wear different shades of the same color.)

 I’m so stressed out by this question, I may never leave the house again. Gray?

Thursday January 25, 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?

Ellen Matthews.

Which team or show are you on?

She Wolf (Megawatt).

Where are you from?

Western Massachusetts.

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I always took advantage of school projects where I had the option to perform a “skit” or “video” as my presentation. When I went to college, I wanted to continue to be creative, but I really did not want to do improv. I didn’t think I could think that quickly on my feet. I eventually discovered a sketch comedy troupe (Sketch 22 at UMass Amherst) which was perfect for me. After college, I moved to New York and took a sketch writing class at UCB, but I found that I couldn’t keep up with the time-consuming writing while maintaining my full time job. Knowing that I needed to continue to create and collaborate in some way, my friend convinced me to take an improv class at UCB which was being taught by Shannon O’Neill. From then on, I started to fall in love with improv. I had always been a writer and performer, and I loved how improv let me do both at the same time, in a collaborative way. When I discovered Magnet Theater in 2016, I felt for the first time the most comfortable I had ever felt doing improv. The teachers, the community, and the open-minded curriculum and style made me feel very much at home.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Always.

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

Writing partner: My friend Danielle Soto. We were writing partners in college. She is now a standup comedian in LA – check her out! A great writing partner sparks ideas from you that you would never have on your own, and makes you laugh A LOT. Scene partner: Anyone who is committed. The worst feeling in improv isn’t not getting laughs, it having your partner bail on you. I still to this day remember people who have bailed on me simply in class scenes, not even at a show, and I still can’t let it go…That’s why we always must remind each other: “Got your back!”

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

I would love to impersonate Kate McKinnon, she’s very expressive when she acts or even talks in an interview, which I can relate to. I remember an audience member coming up to me after a show and saying “you have awesome facial expressions!”, which I took as a huge compliment.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Being silly and physical comedy. Don’t get me wrong – I respect clever, satirical, pointed comedy, but I could watch something like The Daily Show without ever laughing out loud. It doesn’t mean I don’t find the material funny, I do! It’s just that I can control my laughter. However, if someone farts in a meeting, I will not be able to control my laughter… If someone slips and makes a funny cry noise, I will not be able to control my laughter… One time at She Wolf practice, our coach Rick Andrews dropped his glasses off his face. He tried to catch them several times in the air, before they took the longest fall to the ground. I had to curl up in my chair because my stomach hurt so bad from laughing at this truly beautiful and genuine moment. I think I laugh hardest when the person is being real, and is actually not trying to be funny.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Lilith Fair.

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

I’m always curious to know what TV shows people like to watch. I find that it can tell me a lot about their personality.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Out to dinner, but back in time to watch Saturday Night Live.

What’s your spirit toothbrush and/or paste?

My spirit toothbrush is a Sonicare because it’s gentle and soothing on my gums. My dentists yells at me for brushing too hard and hurting my gums. Thank you Sonicare!

Thursday January 18, 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?

Justin Morgan.

Which team or show are you on?

The Nitro Girls.

Where are you from?

Snellville, GA (suburb of Atlanta).

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

Was asked to join a theater sports team in High School at a drama club party. I then went through training at Dad’s Garage in Atlanta very quickly afterward.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Since high school really. There was a gap of about a decade though where there was just occasional daydreaming about comedy. Then, I tried my hand at stand-up almost ten years ago. Standup led to hosting. Hosting led to storytelling. Storytelling led to sketch. So…a long time.

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

Someone who blows me away with how funny and talented they are. But also someone who will knock around jokes and bits with me for hours. They should be wide open for collaboration, but resolute in what they personally find funny. (If you are looking for actual people … I think Devin O’Neil, Michael Delisle and Pat May are remarkably funny.)

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

Broad question. It would be awesome to write some sort of lunacy for Jason Mantzoukas to perform. Impression? Someone with a very distinct voice … Maybe a Jeff Goldblum, John Lithgow or Sam Rockwell.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Jokes that bomb. I love hearing risky things get met with uncomfortable silences or “Oooooohs.” That tends to make me laugh the hardest. That and my very weird wife.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

I really like radio mixes by Chances With Wolves right now. It’s like 50’s & 60’s rock and soul music covers from all over the world. Radiohead, Talking Heads, 60’s & 70’s soul music.

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

“What can I get you to drink?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Most likely the movies. I enjoy movies.

If a wicked witch turned you into a pair of shoes, what kind of shoes would you be?

A shoe that I would argue is nice enough, yet still comfortable enough, to be considered a dress sneaker.

Tuesday January 16, 2018, 10:05am - by Promo Team

William Shakespeare once wrote that “a quart of ale is a dish for a king.” Few could agree with him more than Hayley Karl and Ally Gold, the creators of BEER, PERIOD, and the show’s director, Christopher Hastings. BEER, PERIOD is Magnet’s brand new show dedicated to the world’s greatest beverage. We spoke with Hayley, Ally, and Chris about the intense love of beer fueling their upcoming show on January 19th!

 Is there an objectively agreed upon best beer? If so, what is it?

CHRIS: There was only one objectively agreed upon best beer, and it was called “Whatever Beer I Can Thank God I Have Been Able To Find And Put In My Mouth” and it was the entire United States’s favorite beer from 1920 to 1933. In the years since, the country has re-divided it’s opinion on the subject.

HAYLEY: I mean, PLINY THE ELDER (Obviously, obviously) is the greatest beer of all time. I’ve never had one, but hopefully will before I die which hopefully means I have plenty of time. Anyways, right now, without question the best beer is LITERALLY ANYTHING by Other Half Brewery. It is the nectar of the gods and I quiver in it’s presence.

ALLY: Any beautiful beer liquid gently floating down my throat hole, is at that moment in time and space, the best beer. HOWEVER, if you want a name, Heady Topper is at the top of all the charts right now. And charts don’t lie.

HAYLEY: Ally is WRONG but we are in therapy working through it.

Can someone who doesn’t like beer still enjoy your show?

CHRIS: I mean there’s still chairs that people can sit in during the show. Everyone likes to sit down a spell.

HAYLEY: Deep down, everyone loves beer, and I hope that this show brings that truth to light for all. So, yes…

ALLY: Wait… have they just never tried beer? If not, then they will DEF have fun. Lives are about to change.

What’s the one thing someone should never, ever say to a beer enthusiast?

CHRIS: “Oh you like beer? That reminds me, I made a nice beer braised sausage dish the other day. What was the beer I used? Oh yeah! It was called Heady Topper. I didn’t actually need that much to cook with though. Gave the rest to the dog. He loved it.”

HAYLEY: “Have you had Pliney the Elder yet?” Like, don’t remind me, you know?

ALLY: “Wake up. I’ve sewn your mouth shut.”

Why is beer such a big part of the comedy scene?

CHRIS: Trying to be funny for a crowd is terrifying, and alcohol melts fear. Only melt fear in moderation, everyone.

HAYLEY: The best beer pairing is with laughter.

ALLY: Beer is a big part of everything; comedians just know how to utilize its power.

Who drinks more, comedians or comic book artists?

CHRIS: Comedians LOVE beer and so do cartoonists, but I think the difference is that cartoonists will drink ANYTHING.

HAYLEY: I am gonna default to Chris on this one.

ALLY: Can’t beat that Chris answer.


Raise your glass to BEER, PERIOD Friday January 19th at Magnet

Monday January 15, 2018, 3:49pm - by Promo Team

If you love a good musical number, you will be OVERWHELMED WITH JOY seeing The Magnet Musical Sketch Show on January 19th! For a behind the scenes look, we spoke with Lane Kwederis, a superstar performer for Public Pool and The Executives, and the director of this awesome new show.

What comes first, the sketches or the music?

Pretty much all of the sketches in this show are song parodies. That means that they all use music that already exists but with new lyrics. The music definitely came first (since it was written by another human ahead of time) but the writers came up with their ideas for the sketch and either selected a song that would be perfect for their idea or the song itself inspired them.

Are the sketches for this show written first, or devised through musical improv?

All of the sketches were written first by Liz Haag, Sara Kalkstein, Michael Delisle, Michael McLarnon, and Matt Alspaugh. Though we do have many amazing musical improvisers in the cast (Ali Reed, Amy Charowsky, Alexis Field, Gina Cucci, Brian Hansbury, Brian Rodriguez, Brendan Goggins, and Michael Delisle) there weren’t really any musical improv elements involved with the writing of the sketch. The cast’s skills came in especially handy though when putting the sketches on their feet. The great thing about musical improvisers is that they can create awesome harmonies, funny bits, and even killer choreography right there on the spot. It was really great getting to blend the sketch world with the musical improv world. They go together really really well.

What is your all time favorite musical sketch?

Oh man. There are so many good ones to choose from! I would say one of my favorites was one I got to perform with The Executives. It’s called “Dolores and the Secrettes” and it was written by Elena Skopetos. You can watch it here.

If you could cast any famous musician in this show, who would it be and what would you make them do?

I think it’s time for Beyoncé to get on the Magnet stage and use her glorious voice to sing about her farty butt.

How can fans get involved in musical sketch comedy?

Write more musical sketches! They’re so fun! Take a musical improv class! They’re also so fun! The Magnet Musical Sketch Show will actually be paired with another musical sketch show too! The Executives will be performing a musical that will take place entirely in a Panera Bread so it will be a two for one deal on musical sketch shows!


Raise your voice for the Magnet Musical Sketch Show this Friday, January 19th at Magnet!

Tuesday January 2, 2018, 1:24pm - by Magnet Theater

How many of your friends are tarot readers, yogis, witches and sexually active humans? Oh, all of them? Great! So is Alessandra Calderin, creator and host of the new show Sex Magic :: A Taboo Busting, Sex Positive, Magic Making Event. On Sunday, January 7th (6 pm), she’s assembling a delicious lineup of performers to put on a taboo busting, sex positive and magic making event featuring true stories, confessions, education, burlesque and even a spell or two. We talk to Alessandra about sex, magic, and putting together the show!

What’s the inspiration for your show Sex Magic?

We all love sex, but we seem to have a hard time with it. As a sexually obsessed AND repressed society, there are all these conflicting messages about what’s acceptable coming from what feels like a million different directions. I could literally go on for days about how the complexity of all this messes us up, but suffice it to say, it feels very unsexy, unfun and at worst, dangerous.
This manifests itself in every community in its own ways, including ours, whether it’s a creepy scene partner, or a fear of ever broaching the subject both on and off stage.
Sex magic itself is the practice of using the energy of sexuality and orgasm to set intentions and manifest desires and goals, and so this show is my manifestation of a free fun and safe space to talk about sex!

 

How did you assemble the team of amazing performers featured in this show?

I’m very lucky to have amazing friends and fellow performers who say yes to me. It was a lot of texting and Facebook messages just saying “hey do you want to talk about sex on stage with me?” And some folks were just like yeah just tell me what you want me to do. Other folks, like the lovely Chris de la Cruz, had their own amazing ideas to add to the show. So, in short, luck and friendship.

 

What is Boneseed and how did you create it?

Boneseed is my moniker for the work I do with tarot, yoga and intuitive healing. I quit my corporate job about a year ago and have been building my private practice ever since. Actually, my first public workshop was called Creating Sex Magic and was a yoga and writing workshop that focused on the Sacral Chakra, which is the area around the pelvis where we store our creative and sexual energy. It’s kind of my favorite part of the body and sexual exploration and freedom is where I’m really able to offer a lot of ideas and insight since I’ve studied the pelvic floor and cycled through my own range of issues with regards to both physical and emotional blockages down there.
You can learn more about Boneseed and what I do at www.boneseed.co.

 

What’s the best way to build space for sex positivity in the improv community?

Literally just talking about it in a real way. I feel like sex in scenes can get awkward because people feel forced to do things they don’t want to do, but the beauty of improv is that you get to make shit up. You don’t have to rub yourself against your scene partner. Maybe sex in this world is rubbing elbows like in Rocky Horror Picture Show.
There’s also a hypersensitivity right now, which is not unwarranted. People have real reasons for fearing abuse in our culture and society, but sometimes we jump to conclusions during teachable moments, or turn people into villains without considering how to reintegrate offenders. I’m talking about the world at large here, but it all applies. The tricky thing is I’m on both sides. I want people to feel protected, but I also LOVE to flirt and exchange that dynamic energy with people. It’s the most fun, but it’s also gotten me into situations that I haven’t wanted to be in. For me, this journey has been about no longer blaming myself for situations I couldn’t control, but simultaneously taking responsibility and, in turn, reclaiming my own power.
And this journey is constant, right? I think we just need to be able to make mistakes as long as we’re not hurting anyone. I think we need to be honest with each other. Ask questions. Choose curiosity over judgement. All easier said and done, especially when it comes to sex since we all have hitched a lot of baggage to that wagon. (And if you’re reading this and thinking, “I don’t have any baggage around sex,” I bet you have extra baggage that you don’t even see.)

 

If you had to choose between sex and magic for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Impossible. Sex is magic. Magic is sex. If I can have sex, I’m making magic. If I can practice magic, there’s alchemical and sexual energy in motion. It’s all life force. It’s all the sparks that connect us and keep us reaching for one another. It’s what we write and draw and create for. It is what we are.

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Make sure you don’t miss Sex Magic :: A Taboo Busting, Sex Positive, Magic Making Event this Sunday, 1/7, at 6 pm. Your pelvic floor will thank you!

Thursday December 28, 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?

Hi, my name is Amanda. “Bless my soul!”

Which team or show are you on?

Drama. We’re new to Megawatt. “Herc was on a roll!”

Where are you from?

Middletown, New Jersey. “Person of the week in every Greek opinion poll!”

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

By accident. I thought I submitted for a paying gig and I wound up in an improv class. “What a pro!”

How long have you been performing/writing?

As a child, I lied a lot. My mom put me in theater classes as an outlet for my persuasive imagination. “Herc’ could stop a show!”

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

Samantha Bee. “Point him at a monster and you’re talking SRO!”

What makes you laugh the hardest?

People who are good at losing. “He was a no one, a zero, zero!”

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

“Now he’s a honcho
He’s a hero
He was a kid with his act down pat
From zero to hero in no time flat
Zero to hero just like that
When he smiled
The girls went wild with
Ooh’s and ah’s
And they slapped his face
On every vase
(On every ‘vahse’)
From appearance fees and royalties
Our Herc had cash to burn
Now nouveau riche and famous
He could tell you
What’s a Grecian urn?
Say amen
There he goes again
Sweet and undefeated
And an awesome ten for ten
Folks lined up
Just to watch him flex
And this perfect package
Packed a pair of pretty pecs
Hercie, he comes
He sees, he conquers
Honey, the crowds were
Going bonkers
He showed the moxie, brains, and spunk
From zero to hero a major hunk
Zero to hero and who’da thunk
Who put the glad in gladiator?
Hercules!
Whose daring deeds are great theater?
Hercules
Isn’t he bold?
No one braver
Is he sweet
Our favorite flavor
Hercules, Hercules (my man)
Hercules, Hercules
Hercules, Hercules
Bless my soul
Herc’ was on a roll
Undefeated
Riding high
And the nicest guy
Not conceited
He was a nothin’
A zero, zero
Now he’s a honcho
He’s a hero
He hit the heights at breakneck speed
From zero to hero
Herc is a hero!”

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

Where are you from? “Now he’s a herooooo!”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Transcribing the lyrics to Hercules. “Yes indeed!”

What’s your favorite movie quote?

“Indifference is the most awful thing in the world, Armand,” and the rest of The Birdcage.

Thursday December 21, 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?

Amy Charowsky

Which team or show are you on?

SNACKS!

Where are you from?

New Milford, NJ

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I started a short-form group in college with my friend Noah, because short-form was all I was aware of at the time. And then when I moved to NY, I started in long-form classes, and then after years of that, I tried musical improv classes.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I started in dance classes when I was 2, which I eventually learned wasn’t my strong suit. I started acting and singing about 10 years after that.

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

I suppose because my natural tendency is to be a grounded straight man type, a more high energy partner would be the best fit. So… maybe like… Melissa McCarthy — if I could keep a straight face!

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

Oooh, I love acting but I don’t love doing impersonations. The only ones I’ve ever been even halfway decent at are of Karen from Will & Grace and Celine Dion, and you’d have to ask really nicely for them… and maybe give me a glass of wine.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Either really spot-on observational comedy, or just pure silliness. It’s really situationally specific for me.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

It’s a wide range! I keep a Spotify playlist of a random bunch of songs I like… it’s a mix of singer/songwriter stuff, folk rock, bluegrass rock, pop, and so on. There’s even a little bit of classical in there. But I also have a showtunes playlist I put on a lot too. Can’t help it.

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

What’s your name? LOGICAL QUESTION (also I’ve probably forgotten it so realistically I am asking this question twice)

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Probably working, because I don’t have a normal schedule and sadly “Saturday night” doesn’t usually mean anything social for me. That’s what other nights are for!

What’s your favorite time of day and why?

Generally, I love the nighttime, like 10-12. I tend to function better then, like my brain is sharper or something!

Tuesday December 19, 2017, 11:00am - by Magnet Theater

Tired of seeing fat guys relegated to sidekicks and punchlines? Tom Sanchez is too. That’s why he wrote the action and music packed solo show Fat Friend, coming to the Magnet stage on December 29th. Here’s our conversation with Tom about Fat Friend, his sketch team Just Karen, and the magic of singing cops.

How did you get involved with Magnet?

I had heard of the Magnet through some friends who had taken classes there, so after a particularly rough class at UCB, I signed up for my Level 1 Class at the Magnet and never looked back!

What’s the inspiration behind your show Fat Friend?

I was tired of always going in to audition to play the fat sidekick in shows, commercials, etc, so I decided to write a show where the fat guy finally gets to be the hero, and not a punchline. Also I wanted to be able to do a dance, talk in an Australian accent, and eat pizza on stage and the only way that would ever happen was if I wrote myself that show!

Fat Friend involves the cast of the fictional sitcom “Totes in Love.” What’s your favorite bad sitcom?

This isn’t technically a sitcom, but the show “Cop Rock” is a very bad show from 1990 that I love. It’s a police procedural musical, in which these gritty cops break into song during the episodes. It’s basically Law and Order meets Glee, and everyone should look up the song “Let’s be Careful Out There” on Youtube immediately.

How has the show changed since it went up at the theater earlier this year?

It’s about 15 minutes shorter, first of all, and I’ve added more jokes, so hopefully it packs more of a punch, and is tighter, overall. Also, I’m updating the dances, and yes, there are 2 dance numbers in the 30 minute show!

How is your process different in a solo show than creating with your sketch team Just Karen?

Just Karen is great because we have this great team of writers who write these great sketches for you, and a great team of performers who are all very talented, so the whole process so much more fun and collaborative. The solo show is more difficult because its just me in the room, so there’s no one to bounce ideas off of, but I get to create and do whatever I want to do in the show, which is its own kind of fun!

What do you like better– sketch or improv? (You have to choose!)

Ok, let me just say that I love my sketch team VERY much and I think they are all VERY talented, but I gotta go with improv! There are no lines to learn, no costumes to bring, no props to worry about, so you just get to be weird and wild!

What’s your all time favorite Bonnie Tyler song and why?

Even though its (spoiler alert) NOT in the show, I’m going with the classic, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” The music video is incredible and the song is so mysterious. Who is Bright Eyes and why won’t they turn around?