Posts Tagged ‘interview’

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.

 

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.”

Thursday August 31, 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?

Jessica Coyle

Which team or show are you on?

Captains

Where are you from?

Cincinnati, Ohio

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

When I was living in Korea, I saw a posting in a meetup group about doing comedy in English. I showed up a week early by mistake, I was so excited! It was great. I performed with them in Korea, China, the US, and Canada for 5 years. Most expat improv is short form, but after watching a show on a vacation to NYC that blew my mind I tried to teach myself long form techniques by reading books and watching YouTube videos. Trust me, it’s better to learn that stuff in a class. (Fun fact about that time: I accidentally said “improvist” instead of “improviser” for YEARS without anyone correcting me.)

How long have you been performing/writing?

My first big role was as a child bride Mrs. Claus in the 4th grade, so about 975 years now?

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

Paul F Tompkins, though I’d probably faint on him and get his fancy suit all rumpled.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

A small goat.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

My sister – is she a what? Otherwise, certain Magnet performers I won’t mention here for fear of appearing too obsequious.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

A low droning moan, interspersed with the crack of fresh carrots being snapped in twain.

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

Oh God, we’ve actually met before, haven’t we. please forgive me.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Are you hunting me? Are you HUNTING ME? I AM DIONYSUS, GOD OF MASKS, AND YE SHALL NEVER FIND ME, WOODSMAN!

What, in your opinion, is the worst starburst flavor?

Burnt Foot (tied with Hot Wings Burp)

Tuesday August 8, 2017, 1:06pm - by Promo Team

Perri Gross is the host of “Everyone Is Sad,” a stand-up show for comedic performers who are relatively new to stand-up. These performers may appear happy doing improv, sketch, and musical improv–but they are all very tormented and sad and want to stand alone on stage. We sit down with Perri to ask her a few a questions ahead of her August 14th show!

MAGNET: What was attractive to you about hosting a show with relatively inexperienced stand-up comedians?
GROSS: I was lucky to have joined a stand up club in college that helped me work out some kinks in my stand up before performing in shows. We would meet every week and have shows a few times a semester. When I moved to NYC, I couldn’t imagine not having any experience and just hitting the open mic scene. I liked the idea of creating a similar space where people could give stand up a try and the rest of the audience is also new. It helps people feel comfortable to know everyone is on the same page and new. I encourage experienced stand-ups to come to my mic as well so they can get a true reaction from the audience to test out new material. Having new excited comics creates a comradery that is hard to find in the comedy scene.

M: What was the most embarrassing moment of your early days in comedy?
G: At one open mic, I had to stop my set because I felt my material was too upsetting and no one was laughing just making “awww” noises. Most of my material is based off of real stories, and my set that night wasn’t funny it was just sad. I got off the stage, left the venue, and walked all the way home.

M: Where’s the weirdest place you’ve cried, and why?
G: I had a major breakup over the phone near the clock in the middle of Grand Central station. I was dry heaving I was crying so hard. I definitely gave some tourists a great idea of the dreams that awaited them in NYC.

M: What did you start first: improv or standup? What inspired you to make the leap from one to the other?
G: I started doing stand-up first. I did a lot of open mics my first year when I moved to NYC but was looking for an easier way to meet new people and switched over to improv. I found a great community at the Magnet through the classes I took. I was always was hesitant to try improv initially because I like to plan what I am doing. I also hate playing animals and [am] scared to face my fear.

M: Which comedians/improvisers inspired you when you first started?
G: I didn’t watch much stand-up growing up but was probably inspired by watching The Simpsons and Seinfeld with my parents. I did always like George Carlin a lot and found his dark style inspiring and close to my voice.

M: If you could watch any celebrity or public figure try standup for the first time, who would it be?
G: Daddy Yankee. He has a lot to say and I just want him to come out of the wood work. I’m really happy Despacito has put him back on the map and I hope he gets to do a tight 30 soon.

Don’t miss the next Everyone Is Sad, coming up on Monday, August 14th, at 9 pm!

Wednesday August 2, 2017, 7:00am - by evan barden
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Actor and comedian, KEISHA ZOLLAR, joins host Louis Kornfeld to discuss the role of comedians in society, why she hates revenge stories, and the issue with overly dramatic art. Not only that, but they get to talking about how we give too much energy to our lizard brains and urge everyone out there to show your weird! This is our final episode of the season, but we’ll see you again in September. From all of us to all of you, thanks so much for listening and huzzah!

Our fabulous guest and intrepid host begin this episode laying out the three or four types of bad, real-world comedy and note that the bully flavor of “funny” still persists, despite how god-awful it is. Keisha posits that perhaps we, as comedians, need to rally a bit more against bullies and the behavior they propagate. She also says that Louis has “an intense face” and Louis seems to agree. They talk about being “on” all the time and how common folks expect comedians to behave day-to-day. They get into the role of comedians in society and the responsibilities that comedians and other creators take on by assuming the mantel. Such a conversation would be incomplete without mentioning identity politics and how the comedian’s ultimate job is to disrupt norms.

Pivoting like a member of Trump’s cabinet, Louis attempts to take a positive lesson away from the current hot mess that is the world around us. Keisha wisely points out that, growing up, no one ever told us why democracy could be bad, reminding us that every tool is also a weapon. She relates that she often feels we give too much energy to our lizard brain and not enough to our frontal lobe, which allows us to reason.

Speaking of lizard brains, Keisha tells us why revenge stories don’t entertain her and why one of her favorites movies is Requiem For A Dream. She and Louis show appreciation for feeling your feelings in-the-moment, including the negative feelings like anger and sadness. Speaking further on this, Keisha shares a bit about her lifelong experience of recurring illness and living with an invisible disability, something she brings up to highlight the fact that it’s not all negative – there are positives of that life experience and the perspective it gives her is invaluable. This sparks their both Louis and Keisha’s qualms with art that is overly dramatic, art that lacks the light we know to be present. As our episode comes to an end, we are reminded that the beauty of improv is that we are encouraged to show our weird, to show our uniqueness. Everyone has something. Accept your weird.

And finally, our host and guest share this special message with us, as we say goodbye to Season 3 of the Magnet Theater Podcast:

Go stare at a tree!

Don’t forget to check out Keisha’s own podcasts: Applying It Liberally and The Soul Glo Project.

Tuesday August 1, 2017, 9:00pm - by Promo Team

Junior Varsity’s Jarret Berenstein is releasing his first book, The Kellyanne Conway Technique: Perfecting the Ancient Art of Delivering Half-Truths, Fake News, and Obfuscation– With A Smile, this August from Racehorse Publishing. He’s celebrating its launch with a show at Magnet and some of his favorite stand-up comedians. We sat down with Jarret to talk about his Kellyanne, his book, and the upcoming release show August 7th.

MAGNET: What about Kellyanne Conway did you find particularly interesting while you were writing this book?

JB: Before writing this book I assumed that people needed at least some integrity to survive. I thought it was like food or oxygen, and that a person with zero integrity would shrivel up and dry out like a desert grape. Kellyanne appears to be living sans integrity though, and that’s pretty interesting. And worrisome!

M: Which part of the process in making this book was the most fun?
JB: Definitely writing the “everyday life” examples. In the book, I talk about how we can use Kellyanne’s brand of spin get out of tight spots in our everyday life, so coming up with those types of problems (speeding ticket, late for work, double murder, etc) and then translating a Kellyanne move to fit that situation was really fun.

M: Why do you think a book, in particular, is a great medium for this kind of humor?
JB: I’ve seen a lot of articles and videos online about what Kellyanne does and why it’s effective, but they mostly just scratch the surface. You need to have the full length of a book to go through all the different types of Conway nonsense and also have the space to thoroughly make fun of each of them.

M: If you had to boil down the essence of Kellyanne and her technique down to 3 words, what would they be?
JB: Overflowing with bullshit.

M: Who is this book perfect for? Who is this book totally NOT for?
JB: I think the book is perfect for everyone! Even if you’re more conservative, I think anyone can appreciate what’s silly about Kellyanne.

M: Tell us a little about your book release show!
JB: The show is on Monday, August 7th at 7:30 pm at the Magnet. It’s gonna feature some great standups like Seaton Smith (from Fox’s Mulaney) and Liza Treyger (incredible comic with one of the best Comedy Central Half Hour specials I’ve ever seen), and possibly a short reading from the book! There’s talk of the publisher bringing free beer and a copy of the book for people in the audience (while supplies last) but don’t hold me to that.

Don’t miss Jarret’s book release show August 7th, 7:30 pm at Magnet! You can pre-order his book now on Amazon.

Thursday July 27, 2017, 10:18am - 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?

Keith Rubin

Which team or show are you on?

Just Karen

Where are you from?

Maryland

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I started doing improv in high school, and joined an improv group in college to have a group of people who were contractually obligated to be my friends. Then when I moved to New York, I studied improv and sketch at UCB and performed informally there and at the PIT before landing at the Magnet sketch program in a more official capacity.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I’ve been performing since high school, and writing for about four years.

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

I’d truly love to do an improv scene with Jason Sudeikis and try to out-straight-man each other for the entire duration of it. As for writing, if I could just be a fly on the wall when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hang out, that’s probably about as educational an experience as you could get. Alternatively, I’d love to just watch how Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright operate on a set and take copious notes.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I’ve recently been working on an impression of the least attractive Hemsworth brother, but…dream scenario? I’d want to impersonate one of the more attractive Hemsworth brothers. And also write something for Martin and Morgan Freeman and call it “The Freemans: Brothers From Another Mother.”

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Extremely specific, extremely dumb things. In this regard, Clickhole is a godsend to me.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

A Songza playlist entitled “90’s Crowd-Pleasing Hits.” Songza because it is as obsolete as my knowledge of music, and 90’s music because Third Eye Blind is the best band there is, was, or ever will be.

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

“How’s it going?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

If I’m free, probably cooking a nice dinner, and if not, probably seeing or doing the show that’s preventing me from being free and cooking a nice dinner.

 

Wednesday July 26, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater
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Magnet performer, stand-up comedian, and author Jarret Berenstein joins host Louis Kornfeld in the most recent edition of the Magnet Theater Podcast. The conversation hits a lot on politics and how Jarret feels he sounds like a “tin hat conspiracy theorist” when discussing them. Check out this podcast to learn about Jarret’s upcoming book about Kellyanne Conway, his early days as a stand up comic, and how he still plans on living in a mansion with Gwyneth Paltrow.

Jarret and Louis start out the podcast with a discussion on acting in sketches and the pros and cons of memorizing lines. Louis admits that memorizing lines in a whisper never works for when he actually needs to perform them out loud. Jarrett describes the mastery of learning all of your lines as “its own kind of fun.”

After the brief pre-podcast conversation, we learn that Jarret has a book coming out, “The Kellyanne Conway Technique: Perfecting the Ancient Art of Delivering Half-Truths, Fake News, and Obfuscation?With a Smile.” He was hired by the publishing company to make fun of Kellyanne Conway because knew someone at the publishing company who figured he’d have time to do write the book. (Also, because he’s funny. Duh.) He discusses his frustration with watching her lies and getting even more frustrated with the fact that her candidate won.

They start to talk about revenge against comedians – how unfunny people like Mike Huckabee and Kellyanne Conway are now trying to be comedic themselves. Jarret explains that he was unable to watch Kellyanne Conway’s stand-up comedy tape because he knew it would anger him too much. They discuss how the people who are considered funniest tend to be more liberal and how when conservatives make jokes they gain support not because people think they are funny but because people agree with them.

Louis thinks that Jarrett is very well-tempered when it comes to politics. We learn that Jarret spent all of November on Reddit and spent much of that time fighting with other users who he figures were Russians acting like Americans who support Trump, and how he realized it was such a waste of time. Though he was extremely angry, he realized “that rage is not going to change anyone’s mind.”

Jarret talks about his stand-up comedy and how he wants to start putting political humor into his act but he knows that when he starts talking about politics he sounds like a “tin hat” conspiracy theorist. He describes his faces in improv vs his faces in stand up. While he improvises, Jarret notices that he will break often and have a hard time not smiling because he’s having fun. While in stand-up, he explains, his face is more “I’m looking at you in a serious way even though what I said was ridiculous.”

Louis asks Jarret if he feels confident as a performer with ten years of stand-up comedy experience. Jarret thinks that he is and tells Louis about how comedians can grow as performers. Jarret reflects on starting out as a stand-up comedian at “bringer” shows and how embarrassing they are as a comic.

Despite his current focus on stand-up, Jarret’s first love was improv. He talks about SNL, Comedy Central, listening to comedy albums – about not even knowing what the jokes were about but liking the rhythm of stand-up. He remembers playing MASH with his friends where he ended up living in a mansion with Gwyneth Paltrow as a paid improviser. That would be the life.

To close out the podcast, Louis discusses Kliph Nesteroff’s book “The Comedians” and how it does a great job going through the history of comedy. Jarret and Louis agree that relevance is an interesting aspect of comedy – Jarret thinks that “it’s weird that generations can grow up not seeing the best version of somebody.”

Pick up Jarret’s book, “The Kellyanne Conway Technique” when it’s released in August and come to his book launch show at Magnet on Monday, 8/7, at 7:30 pm!

Thursday July 20, 2017, 10:04am - 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?

Chloe Metzger

Which team or show are you on?

Astro Tramps

Where are you from?

My birth certificate says Tecumseh, Michigan, but my aversion to change says a dozen different states at two-year intervals throughout my childhood.

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

My brother was in an improv group in high school, and I remember watching one of his short-form shows as a 14-year-old kid and truly believing they could read each other’s minds. It was honestly awe-inspiring. So I joined the group, learned telepathy—along with a ton of really, really bad improv habits—and then continued to improvise in college with a 12-person Harold team that competed in tournaments and hugged a lot.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Does the time I played Miss Fezziwig in a community production of “A Christmas Carol” count? I was 12. It was moving.

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

Honestly, my ideal scene partners are my closest improv friends. I consistently have the most fun and the best scenes with the people I really love and trust. But if they were all busy, I’d settle for Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Zach Woods.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I would love to impersonate Carol Burnett, because I’ve been told by exactly four people that we have similar mannerisms, and I’d like to put my wiggly arms to good use. As for writing, it would be a dream to work with Dan Harmon, or to get paid to write anything and everything for McSweeny’s.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Bits. I freaking love bits, especially when they occur in the middle of an ordinary conversation with a group of strangers at a party. A.k.a. most people’s worst nightmare. That, and super-silly tag runs—the ones where the entire team is breaking, and you feel like you’re being suffocated by a big ol’ cloud of happiness.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

My “soundtrack” is one song played on repeat, 37 times a day, for two weeks straight, until I vehemently hate it and can’t listen to it again for at least a decade. That’s generally a mix of stupidly catchy radio hits, or a favorite oldie from some 2005 indie band (what up, The Hush Sound).

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

“What’s your Myers Briggs personality type? Wait, you’ve never taken the test? Here, let me text you the link. OK, take it right now. I’ll wait. Done?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

At home, making burgers, and avidly avoiding peer-pressured texts to come out for “just one drink.”

If you could only watch films from a certain decade for the rest of your life, which period would you choose?

The early ’00s, because I miss living in a world of cotton-candy-colored velour sweatsuits, Limited Too, and Chad Michael Murray circa “Cinderella Story.” Actually, I would like to only watch “Cinderella Story” for the rest of my life.

Wednesday July 19, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater
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Writer, performer, and avid footballer, LORENA RUSSI, joins host Louis Kornfeld to talk about making the world a better, more evolved place through comedy and how old they both feel. Lorena and Louis discuss how people often put others in easy-to-recognize boxes, why slower comedy appeals to them more, and Lorena’s experience writing for The Kat Call on YouTube. Tune in to hear them shake hands at the end!

Our episode kicks off with Louis mispronouncing Lorena’s name, but it’s okay because it leads to a great conversation on identity and the importance of her name. Sorry, Louis – there’s no going back! Lorena describes her frustrations improvising as an “alpha female […] masculine center” person which gets them talking about how people very quickly and commonly put others into the most readily recognizable boxes available. Lorena touches on the common occurrence of having to be everyone’s source of information and how it can be exhausting to constantly explain things to people.

Lorena and Louis discuss improv as sport versus improv as theater and which parts of each tend to produce humor. Find out why Lorena prefers watching slower shows and why it’s harder for her to enjoy improv shows these days. Our heroes get to talking about entertainment overload and how digital platforms simultaneously wear us out and provide a higher level of accessibility to performers of color than ever before. Lorena calls out Master of None for not being very good and Louis calls the internet the cigarette of our generation. Wow. Hot takes all around! Contrasting the rapidity of the internet, Lorena and Louis chat about needing time to process things, a conversation that involves acknowledging sadness, using power words, and not allowing “darkness of the soul” to creep in too much.

Talking about Lorena’s experience writing for The Kat Call, we hear about what a great environment it was to work in and how it was a part of an overall arc within Lorena’s comedy career of asking the question, “What are we trying to say?” After mentioning how old she feels for the third or fourth time, Lorena wonders how she might accomplish being less angry at the world. Stay tuned for further critiques and assessments on social media! She and Louis also tackle the concept of playing flawed characters on stage and how there is a responsibility to make sure the audience knows they’re flawed. This leads to discussing the responsibilities of making the world a better, more evolved place in general, but particularly for communities that are threatened. We almost go down a Trump rabbit hole, but pull up just in time! Louis says something mysterious and cool: that we have to “grieve the result of our nightmares.”

Finally, our host and wonderful guest attempt to end this episode on a positive note, but you’ll have to listen to see how they do. And of course, Evan takes a picture of Lorena and Louis for social media purposes!