Posts Tagged ‘Jon Bander’
TBS’ “Search Party” is making waves as a darkly funny sitcom that melds “whodunit?” with an overpowering sense of millennial ennui. The hit show features some excellent Magnet talent: co-creator Charles Rogers, a Magnet alum, and actor Phoebe Tyers, a performer on house team The Music Industry, plus cameos from seven other Magnet performers, past and present: Chet Siegel, Branson Reese, Shacottha Fields, Peter McNerney, Rebecca Robles, Jon Bander, and Brendan Jordan.
Rogers was honored last year in Forbes’ “30 under 30 Spotlight”, and the show made Paste Magazine’s “16 Best New Shows of 2016”, as well as having a character, Elliott Goss, make their “20 Best TV Characters of 2016.” The second season wrapped on Dec. 17, although season three has yet to be announced.
So what is “Search Party” all about? The Village Voice says it best: “A comedy of escalation, the series stands out in a crowded field for its bluntly sinister tone. The show stars Alia Shawkat as Dory, an aimless twentysomething who’s shaken out of her quarter-life stupor after she discovers a college acquaintance has gone missing and takes it upon herself to investigate.” Or take it from Film School Rejects: “[It] has been described as Gone Girls, a show with the stakes of Gone Girl in the world of Girls. The show expertly rides the line between millennial satire and truly surprising suspense—with a dash of broad yet grounded performances that are reminiscent of Mel Brooks’s High Anxiety and Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery.”
The co-creators, Charles Rogers and Sarah-Violet Bliss, specialize in this specific brand of comedy, where the confluence of insecurity, insanity and mystery leave the audience alternately laughing and cringing as the characters’ superficially good intentions pave the road to an increasingly bizarre hell. We had a chance to sit down with Rogers and Bliss just before season one aired–and you can listen to the podcast here.
Actor Phoebe Tyers, a Magnet performer, plays April, Dory’s angsty, angry neighbor, who ultimately becomes an antagonist for the group in season two. Tyers is pictured right with her sister Claire, who also has a role in season two. We also have an interview with Tyers just before season one launched.
We are so thrilled to see performers of Magnet past and present receiving such a following, and are anxiously awaiting season three to see how the characters dig themselves in deeper!
Photo credits: IMDB, Phoebe Tyers Twitter.
On this episode of the podcast we are joined by Jon Bander, a seasoned performer with Premiere: The Improvised Musical (Magnet), Aquarius (Magnet), Dagger (The PIT), and Characters Welcome (UCB). Host Louis Kornfeld jumps right into a discussion on musical improv with Jon, talking about Aquarius’ signature form, The Malkovich. They revisit Jon’s first-hand account of the development of musical improv in NYC and discuss how it differs from traditional long-form improv. He also recounts for us how he went from hating musical improv and character comedy to performing them almost exclusively and loving it. We hear about the separation between the subdued, real-life Jon and the high-spirited, on stage Bander. Plus! Louis and Jon discuss mean comedy, the roles the audience plays in improv, and the show Characters Welcome.
Enjoy Episode #36 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.
Mail’s here! Jon Bander (Aquarius), who is performing full time on one of the Second City Cruise Ships, just sent a letter to us here at the Magnet to give us a glimpse of his travels:
Greetings from beautiful “the sea”! Though I miss New York and all you lovely people, I’m really enjoying my time aboard the ship. Things are really different on the ship from New York. For example, I can afford to eat dinner and drink beer in the same day! Godlike, I know. Life is really fun when you can afford it!
It’s amazing how quickly things become routine on the ship. New crews board on Sundays, a few days later we do our shows, and by Thursday we’re being aggressively booed until we dock again Sunday. The shows have been great. We do sketch shows in a theater that holds around 1000 people! Usually the house is packed, unless we’re in any port at all, and then it’s empty. I mean, we’re funny, but we’re not DRY LAND funny.
We rehearsed in Chicago for a week, where we drilled sketches over and over until they were in our bones. Second City treated us very professionally, giving us an excellent director, producer, and support from their entire staff. I felt incredibly well taken care of. They even got me one of those hot dogs with a pickle on it! Eh.
It’s pretty amazing rehearsing on that same stage where so many of my heroes have played. We get to watch the old reviews on DVD, and it’s amazing to see both how comedy has evolved and see people I now know in their original SC revues. Plus they all had hair!
We’ve been to some really beautiful places. Bermuda, Aruba, and Barbados to name a few. But even though we’re far away, it’s still easy to feel like I’m right back in America. For examples, I still avoid the sun. And everyone hates me!
We’ve done some pretty great activities on and off the boat. We’ve been to breathtaking beaches. I had monkeys running around on me, macaws on my shoulder, and a woman hated a bit I did so much that she said, “You guys still here?!” in a contemptuous tone. So it’s all my dreams come true.
Life on the cruise ship can best be described as a combination of summer camp and college, minus the shows. Our cast really gels well and hangs out all the time, which makes things much easier. It’s the first time in close to a decade I’ve had a set group of friends that I do everything with. We eat together in the cafeteria, we hang out together, we cry together. It’s like family! We’ve become fast friends with the other performers, especially the dancers, who make us feel self-conscious at every beach. The nice thing is I get to snuggle with Ross Taylor every night and feel good about myself.
In all seriousness, it’s been a completely fantastic experience so far. I’m very grateful to Second City for giving me the opportunity, and to the Magnet for the training and support that allowed me to get this job. I do miss you, Magnet, and all your wonderful people and shows. I especially miss seeing my Phookas and playing with Aquarius! I miss doing and seeing the great work we all do so much, and I can’t wait to come back to see and play with you all. You’re all my best friends, colleagues and inspirations! So keep it up.
See you in the new year! Check Facebook for occasional photos through which I will try to make you jealous.
This month’s featured Flick Video! Revenge Italiano Actress/Comedienne Lucia Brizzi finds herself with a less-than-satisfactory local theater review. So she lives, learns and deals with it, the I-talian way.Featuring Jon Bander, Lucia Brizzi, Kelly Kreye and Mike Toro. Part of the Magnet Theater’s FLICK Showcase!
Chainsaw – Written by Jon Bander (Phooka). Directed and Edited by George Gross.
Featuring many Magnet Theater performers: Jared McGrail, Rachel Rauch, Bianca Casusol, Nick Bacan, Steph Garcia, Adam Taylor, Danielle Tolley, Jon Bander, Sean Taylor, Dan, Lucia Brizzi and Nicholas Feitel.
Good work everyone!
Non-Hulk was a digital short written for Magnet Theater’s monthly comedic short screening, FLICK.
Written by Jon Bander and featuring Bander, Quinton Loder and Noel Dinneen (Hulk Hands). Directed by George Gross and sound recording by Mike Bell. All part of the Magnet Digital Media Engine!