Posts Tagged ‘live comedy’
A new Megawatt season began last month and, with it, a new Megawatt Director in Hannah Chase! Hannah has been an instructor and performer at Magnet for years now and, in addition to directing The Cast, performs every Thursday with The Music Industry. We sat down with her to talk about her vision for Megawatt and to shed some light on the woman behind the curtain!
What are a few things you’re excited about for this upcoming Megawatt season?
I think Megawatt is in a really exciting place right now. We’ve got three new awesome teams and three existing teams that got new members. Even for the two teams without anyone new, the excitement of having fresh teams and players as part of the night definitely brings new energy to everyone on Megawatt.
What have you learned from the past Directors that you plan to carry with you to the future of Megawatt?
Oh man, I can’t say enough good things about Louis and Nick (the two previous Megawatt Directors I’ve had the pleasure of working with). Both of them brought such commitment, creativity, and warmth to the job (and to the night in general) that I can only hope to continue. To get specific, I am in constant awe of Louis’s thematic and philosophical eye when it comes to improv, and I deeply admire how much he pushed teams to be thoughtful about the overall presentation of their shows. Under Louis’s guidance, it didn’t just feel like we were doing improv, it felt like we were creating art that actually meant something. As for Nick, I continually marvel at his ability to inspire improvisors to genuinely play with each other. Megawatt can be a stressful place sometimes (unfortunately) and Nick did an A+ job at getting teams to gel, to support each other, and to truly play. These are some big shoes to fill, but I’m trying my best and will continue to!
Is there anything new that you’re hoping to bring to Megawatt?
I don’t think I can really claim this as “new,” but one thing I felt (and continue to feel) excited about is the idea of creating teams with a very specific style/vibe (or even a specific form) in mind. I’ve seen and been on lots of teams that felt like a perfect balancing act of improv styles and skills: a few big aggressive silly players, a few grounding and “actorly” players, a few folks with a sharp eye for pattern, and one or two improvisors who consistently use a wider lens to look at the whole piece in order to tie things together or enter toward the end with a walk on that is so perfect it feels scripted. The right balance of players on a team can create something truly great, and we’ve seen time and again that this works.
I’d heard it said before that it was inadvisable to create a team of players who all played similarly, and this always confused me. I can see that you wouldn’t necessarily want to make a team with eight players who all have the same limitations, but I think a team of eight like-minded (or like-styled) talented improvisors sounds genuinely thrilling. After all, the way we describe Megawatt to current and prospective students is a night in which you can spend four hours seeing eight completely different teams that represent a wide variety of improv and comedy styles. So…I wanted to double down on that! Long story [not so] short, each new team is made up of players with similar skillsets and the ability to play and [hopefully] have fun in a very specific style. Not to say that each team doesn’t have stylistic differences among the players, but we tried to match people who we thought would bring similar strengths, gel stylistically, and challenge each other to further hone those skills!
Who are the new Megawatt ensembles and what can we expect from them?
If you haven’t had a chance to see the three new Megawatt teams, You Are Missing Out. Here’s a little info about each one:
She Wolf was created to do organic improv, and they have taken to it like gangbusters. This is an exceptionally collaborative, playful, attentive team of improvisers. And they’ve been adding one organic skill/muscle/device each week, so the team is constantly evolving. If you saw them a few weeks ago, seeing them again will be a totally different experience. They’re doing weird stuff, in the absolute best sense of that word. Highly recommend!
Drama is the first Megawatt team in a long while to do an expansion. These eight improvisors are top notch actors who all excel at creating complicated, honest, unique characters that will somehow make you both laugh and care! In each show, they weave a web of lovable weirdos (in the absolute best sense of that word) and you’ll walk away feeling like you just saw an excellent, hilarious play. Highly recommend!
Scout is a fast, spunky, sharp-as-tacks group of improvisers doing a Harold. With a flare for the weird (in the best sense of that word), this is a group of truly unafraid and delightfully silly players who will jump on board anything and everything without hesitation. This is an ensemble that knows how to set each other up for success and laughs, and they do so effortlessly and with just the tiniest bit of snark. Highly recommend!
Can you tell us about a fond memory you have from your past as a Megawatt player?
When I first got onto Megawatt, I was horribly insecure and totally terrified (I cried a lot those first few months). That isn’t a fond memory, I know, but it’s true! But here’s the fond part: when I first got onto a team, I had so many people (lots of whom were veterans I’d admired from afar for years) reach out to both congratulate me and also offer up their ear(s) if ever I wanted to chat. I ended up taking a bunch of them up on that offer and was really grateful to connect with so many interesting people, many of whom had gone through similarly fraught adjustment periods when they first got on house teams. This shit is hard, man! And connecting with people who had been through similar experiences and had come out a-o-k was really helpful and meaningful for me. Megawatt isn’t just a collection of teams, it’s a community, and the generosity and support I received in those first few weeks has continued to this day. Sorry, I go sentimental real easy…did you want a funny memory? Once my team, TMI, did a super long tag run in which I got to actually slap each one of them in the face (!) over and over. It was totally bonkers but also felt ok because people were literally tagging in just to be slapped by me, which demonstrated the particularly high level of trust that’s always been present on that team. See, I made it sentimental again. Ugh I’m the worst.
Catch Megawatt every Wednesday at 7, 8, 9, and 10 pm, which two teams playing each hour. $7 for the whole night!
Thanksgiving is upon us, which means food, family, and longform improv. This Sunday at 6 pm, gather around the imaginary dinner table with indie teams FAM and CHUCHO for The Feast. We talk to FAM member Michael Stevens about the show.
How long have you been part of the Magnet Theater community?
About 2 years. It’ll be 3 in May 2018.
How is The Feast different from a typical Magnet improv show?
I’m sure it’s been done before but the most fun thing for me about the show is that it’s essentially a very focused jam between two teams with distinct but complementary styles coming together to do something they don’t do. Chucho and FAM are both Spokane focused indie teams, so I thought it would be funny for us to do a big ole monoscene.
I hope I don’t sound like my head is up me ass, but if Chucho is David Bowie, and FAM is Freddie Mercury, this show is our “Under Pressure.”
What inspired you to create The Feast?
I had the idea for a “family reunion” themed show last year because my favorite scenes tended to be family group scenes. Then I saw the play The Humans and that idea sort of rattled in my brain for a while.
Then Fam & Chucho ended up at a lot of the same shows and we all sort of did some form of improv together in classes and one off shows so I basically pitched the idea to Melissa [Chucho], then Megan [Magnet AD].
The form itself is a Monoscene, so it’s nothing structurally groundbreaking. But I think everyone in the cast is a really strong actor, so I wanted to see what we could do with some of the “math” done.
What food, in your opinion, is the funniest?
Spaghetti or syrup sandwiches.
Do you have a go-to meal or food that your normally eat before performing?
Sit down for The Feast this Sunday, Nov 26th, at 6:00 pm!
Our community is filled with people who have an insane amount of comedic talent, but maybe they’re also good at other things? Have you considered that? Long-time Musical Megawatt performer Olivia Petzy sure has! That’s why she’s putting together THE BIG TALENT SHOW! this Friday, 11/17, at 11:30 pm. It’s going to showcase our performers’ other talents and well, let’s just have Olivia tell you about it herself…
What is your experience with talent shows in the past?
I have never been in a talent show, but I love the idea of people wanting to show off their special skills and gifts — something about that is so sweet and wonderful to me! I attended the Miss Pennsylvania pageant almost 15 years ago and I swear to you that I think about it once a week. It was so incredibly bizarre but the participants took it SO SERIOUSLY and I loved it.
I feel like most performers have special skills we always hope we’ll get to use but don’t, so I wanted to put on a talent show to give everyone a chance to show off. I also wanted to give people who aren’t on teams a chance to perform on the Magnet stage.
Will this show feature strictly Magnet Theater members or will outsiders be involved as well?
This edition features all Magnet community members!
What are some non-comedic talents can we expect to see at the show?
I don’t want to give anything away but audience members can expect to be blown away by people’s hidden skills and talents! We’ll see people dancing like no one is watching, singing like they’re in the shower, playing instruments like they’re in fifth grade band and more!
What does your role consist of as the host of the talent show?
As the host, I am the mama bear to all our talented people, helping everyone feel loved and safe to shine bright like a diamond. I’ll announce everyone, help the audience get to know every performer, facilitate the judging of the “winner” and dazzle with a talent of my own.
Catch THE BIG TALENT SHOW! this Friday, Nov 17th, at 11:30 pm!
You may know Molly Kiernan from seeing her perform at Megawatt with Scout or with Chillionaire on Magnet Sketch Teams, plus, she’s directing the upcoming show This Is Serious! (A Comedy Show). In addition to all of that, Molly is the creator, host, and namesake of Molly’s Guilt Free Comedy and Ice Cream Social, a comedy variety show happening this Friday, 11/17, at 6:30 pm. It’s going to be hilarious, heartwarming, and for a good cause. Find out more about it right now!
Tell us about your show!
I began producing this show a year ago, in part as a way to celebrate my own recovery from an eating disorder. Discovering comedy and the Magnet was such a huge part of my healing process, so it felt fitting that everything would come together in a Magnet show. The show has evolved as sort of an opportunity for everyone there, audience-members and performers alike, to take time out to celebrate themselves and each other. I hope people will see it as one hour where they put aside whatever they may be beating themselves up over that day.
This is a high-energy and very silly variety show, where top NYC comedians will perform characters, improv, dance and more. The performers include some of my all-time favorites: Anna Neu, Lee Hubilla, Mia Bloomfield, Amanda Melhuish, Jesse Roth, Natasha Vaynblat, Brian Urreta, Lou Gonzalez and Eleanor Lewis.
Before the show, there will be a free ice cream bar in the lobby, with ice cream donations from The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and Ample Hills Creamery.
In the past the shows benefits have gone to Project Heal – what is the new charity that you will be donating the proceeds to?
This show, half of the ticket proceeds will be donated to Everytown for Gun Safety.
What message(s) do you want audience members to take with them after the show?
We all deserve to take care of ourselves, laugh a lot and eat dessert!
How does this show differ from a traditional improv show?
This show will have some improv and some scripted performances, including characters and song.
What would be the next best food after ice cream, in your opinion, to serve at the event?
Can my answer be more ice cream?
Come see Molly’s Guilt Free Comedy and Ice Cream Social this Friday, Nov 17th, at 6:30 pm!
- Amanda Melhuish
- Ample Hills Creamery
- Anna Neu
- Brian Urreta
- Eleanor Lewis
- Everytown for Gun Safety
- ice cream
- Jesse Roth
- Lee Hubilla
- live comedy
- Lou Gonzalez
- magnet theater
- Mia Bloomfield
- Molly Kiernan
- Natasha Vaynblat
- new york
- new york city
- Project Heal
- The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
Don’t you DARE call for a car home just yet because you *have* to stick around for One More Drink. This Friday, your best friends Megan Meadows and Hannah Wright are hosting a variety show that, for real, you can’t afford to miss. We chat with the show’s hosts about what’s in store, what they like to drink, and other hot goss. You’ll have to join them this Friday, 11/10, at 11:30 pm for the full scoop though.
Can you tell us a little bit about your show?
H: Our show is like a topical variety show meets a fun Friday night party! We are basically just being our ridiculous selves, discuss recent events in the ALWAYS HILARIOUS/TERRIBLE NEWZ, and highlight a bunch of different kinds of talent (drag queens, “experts”, etc.) It’s a good time!
M: You know how you go to like the best party of the year and nobody ever stops talking about that party because the hosts are so beautiful and the hosts are so hilarious and and the hosts are actually Princesses disguised as paupers? That’s our show. With a bean dip.
H: We might not have a dip this time though because Megan proved she could not handle the responsibility and lost it last time.
Both of you have experience with sketch comedy — how does that compare to putting on a variety show like One More Drink?
H: It’s totally different! When I was on sketch teams at the Magnet, I got really comfortable writing and performing a certain way, and always playing a different character. With this show, I’m basically just being myself and trusting my OWN comedic voice. It’s scarier but more rewarding!
M: We get to be drunker. And heckle the audience. ( I went to school for PR, so I know how to sell a show.)
What are some new things you’re hoping to bring to your upcoming show compared to the previous One More Drink show?
H: We have a bunch of different performers in this show, an amazing drag queen who will be performing, and a bunch of new REASONS TO PARTY. Last show we thought we were all gonna die because of climate change, and now we realize we will all die from nuclear war long before that!
M: Wait. Do you think we need to bring something different? Did you see the interpretive dance we did to Ke$ha last time? Bc… it was honestly pretty great. Should we get a blow out this time? Will the Magnet pay for it? Does Quinton do hair?
H: I’m honestly considering wearing that same jumpsuit though do you think that people will judge me???????? Chrissie Gruebel said I should wear it every time. She like, is good at fashion I feel like.
M: Yes. And. Do it. – IMPROV. I can’t wear my outfit again bc you can see my cucu. Haha and I wanna be able to DANCE THE SHIT OUTTA THIS. Ok, I’ll wear my jumpsuit too. You’ve talked me into it.
H: To answer your question, YES, we will be wearing jumpsuits.
What sorts of drinking games will you be playing during the show?
H: We play a game called “I’m Sorry What???” where we play clips from something like the Bachelor, and drink every time the awkwardness of it makes us say, obviously, “I’m sorry, what?!”
M: I dunno, we just copy what Andy Cohen does and pretend we made it up. Or, just watch the news and cry. That’s our fav drinking game.
H: Also Ru Paul.
How do you think alcohol affects each of your performing abilities?
H: Wait. Who told you to ask this? Are you judging us? We literally only have pinot grigio every time Trump says or does something horrifying. Or, if we have a date. But like, we never do.
M: Full disclosure: once Hannah had a dream she was drinking wine at 8:30am at work though. WE ARE FINE!!!
H: Mego I told you that in confidence. Honestly though, I could have a bloody mary right now.
What is your drink of choice – while performing?
H: WE’RE FINE!!!!!!!! (vodka)
M: Sorry, what was the question? Yes, George, another mimosa please.
You gotta see One More Drink this Friday, 11/10, at 11:30 PM – I mean, ya gotta!
This month, Magnet is happy to welcome back Space Station Delta for the November Director Series. We sit down with director Sulaiman Beg to talk about the show and how he gets his hair to look so good. We don’t really talk about the last part. Come see this show, from one of you favorite Metal Boys, playing each Thursday in November at 10 pm. TimeOut NY thinks you should!
For those who have not seen Space Station Delta, could you tell us a little bit about the show?
The show is a completely improvised live performance of a classic episode from the long-running and very fictitious sci-fi TV series Space Station Delta.
I’d always wanted to do a serialized improv show where performers are challenged to play the same main characters over a run like on any sitcom or other TV show. Expanding not only their personal world, but the world they exist in.
I’d been watching a lot of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and what I loved about it was that no matter where these characters were (a store, a wedding, a bank, a football game) they always consistently acted like the garbage people they are. And I thought, why not do an improv show like this? And I was naturally attracted to the sci-fi genre because it’s the best genre for an improvisor – you can literally do and justify anything. Someone dies? Well, we’ll just pull the Time Reversal lever? Want to start a montage? Hit “play” on the Montage machine.
You’ve done this show a few times now – what do you love about it so much?
I mean, the cast is so, so great. The guest stars who I try to keep in the dark until the day of the show just fall right into place. There have been a few shows where I forgot I was watching an improvised show and felt like I was legit watching a live performance of a scripted work.
When Elana Fishbein guest starred during the first run, afterwards she told me she couldn’t believe how amazing all the characters were. And that was so great to hear. I mean, it was a compliment more for the cast and less for me, which was hurtful, and she and I never talk anymore even though we are neighbors and friends who are adults. Does that answer your question?
Do you have any specific memories of past shows that you’d like to share?
Oh man, so many. But since I typed it a few minutes ago, the Time Reversal lever comes to mind. Basically, a bunch of characters ended up dying during the course of the show and since the Time Reversal lever was set-up earlier in the show, one character pulled it and it re-started the episode. The last scene was almost a line-by-line version of the scene that began the show. That was very fun to watch.
And just watching how every guest star approaches the show is such a joy.
What can we expect from this series of shows that may be different from how you ran it in the past?
There are some new cast members and there’ll be new guest stars all month, so it’ll be a brand new experience and I’m so excited to see what they all pull off. Please “bold” every time I use the word “new” in the previous sentence. Really need it to stand out.
How did the show’s catchphrase “This really hurts!” come to be?
You know, in the two runs we’ve had, I don’t think anyone has actually used it…
Congratulations to this round’s Ringers! Ringers, a tri-annual sketch show produced by Armando Diaz and Amanda Xeller, features sketches written by new and seasoned writers, fresh acting from improvisers, and direction by eager and practiced sketch voices. The show as a whole showcases both recognizable and up-and-coming talents of the Magnet Theater. The next Ringers will be Monday, November 20th, at 10:30 pm.
November’’s show will feature:
Sketches by Jeff Howe, Jenny Padget, Josh Schiavone, Lisa Cheong, Mary Heatwole, Michael Ganley, and Tom Kim
Direction by Brendan Goggins, Carly Silverman, Chris Wade, David Fried, Elie Stav, Nick Wiener, Patrick Grizzard, and Zackery A. Stephens
And starring Andy Lachman, Dan Iwrey, Eric Buscher, Hillary Dale, Jana Heaton, Jeremy Gundel, Kelly Henry, Kerri Kenny Clegg, Liane Pippin, Meredith Yannuzzi, Michelle Hess, Nick Phillips, Peter Morris, Sean Berry, Senthil Ramasamy, Shawn McLaughlin, and Veronica Dang
The New York Musical Improv Festival (NYMIF), now in its ninth year is making its return to the Magnet Theater this Thursday, October 19 – 22.
Showcasing more than 230 of the biggest and brightest musical comedy performers from around the U.S, Canada and Germany, this year’s festival will feature everything from traditional musical theatre fare à la Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber, to adrenaline-pumping rap battles and Hamilton-esque- style improvised historical “Hip-Hoperas!”
Festival favorites such as Baby Wants Candy (with cast members whose credits include Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, 30 Rock, The Colbert Report and Broadway’s “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson,” sensational improvisational vocalist, Mikki Hommel who toured the US and Europe with Dweezil Zappa, and Improvised Sondheim Project (comprised of performers and faculty from legendary improv training ground The Second City in Chicago) will return alongside North Coast! – fresh off their Off-Broadway run at The Connelly Theater.
New additions to this year’s festival include, LA’s award-winning team, Robot Teammate – (creators of #TURBULENCE running Off Broadway at the SoHo Playhouse, ) Your Love, Our Musical , ( who recently appeared on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listings” ) and American Immigrants, feat. Anthony Veneziale, (known for his work in Freestyle Love Supreme with Lin Manuel Miranda and other Hamiltonians.
Ticket information, show schedules and other event details can be found at www.nymif.com.
Full list of performers…
Baby Wants Candy (NYC), The Improvised Sondheim Project (Chicago), American Immigrants (SanFrancisco), NORTH COAST Presents ANYBODY: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (NYC),Your Love, Our Musical (NYC), The Armando Diaz Experience: Musical Edition (NYC), Robot Teammate and the Accidental Party (L.A.), Vox Pop (Washington, DC), Mansical (Chicago), Mikki Hommel (NYC), Murder ‘Til Death (San Diego), Olivia Benson (NYC), Wonderland (NYC), Hot Mess (Kansas City/Chicago), Good Catch (NYC), ImprovBoston (Boston), Premiere: The Improvised Musical (NYC), PYROS (NYC), IMMIGRANTS, THE MUSICAL! (PART 1) (Austin, TX), VERN (NYC), RoboPop (NYC), After Hours (Oklahoma City), Public Pool (NYC), Bookends: A Musical Journey (NYC/San Francisco), COMMITMENT PANTS (Chicago), Mr. Kitty (NYC), Hansbury and Slack Present THE MOMENT: An Improvised Musical Play (NYC), Oh My Lanta (Chicago), Girls Girls Girls (Austin, TX), Warm Blooded (NYC), James and Then Also Stoddy, Too (NYC), Pitch, Please!!! (L.A.), Grammalot (Pittsburgh), Eastwood (Chicago), SideCar (International Ensemble) and Trudy Carmichael’s Musical Mixer (Las Vegas).
The New York Musical Improv Festival will also be featuring up and coming performers in the NYMIF I.P.O. (Initial Public Offering). Performing this year are Door #3 (Washington, DC), Large Mouth Bass (Providence, RI), Noice! (NYC) and Redshirts (NYC).
Armando Diaz Experience: Musical Edition – On Thursday, October 19 at 9:00pm, a musical edition of the classic “Armando” form which originated at the iO (formerly known as ImprovOlympic) in Chicago. Musical improvisors will work off of the words of a special guest Monologist to create a fully realized One Night Only musical!
Musical Inspirado – On Thursday, October 19 at 11:00pm, the only MUSICAL improv competition in the world! This year four musical improv teams: Warm Blooded (Magnet, NYC), Hot Mess (Kansas City/Chicago), Oh My Lanta (Chicago), Mr. Kitty (PIT, NYC) will each accept one challenge and battle it out for the audience’s approval. Once all of the votes have been tallied, one victor shall be awarded the highly coveted Dale North Memorial Trophy. Don’t miss your chance to see what will be the best competitive meeting of improvised musicals of the century!
SideCar: International Ensemble – On Saturday, October 21 at 7:00pm, a team of improvisers from all over the U.S., Canada and Germany, will come together from their corners of the earth to create an exciting, (possibly multi-lingual,) One-Night- Only, completely improvised musical performance! Directed by Nikita Burdein
Trudy Carmichael’s Musical Mixer – On Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 11:30pm, this late night festival favorite, now in its ninth year, challenges you to try your lady (and manly) luck at making up music with some of the finest Musical Improvisers in the country. Anyone can sign up to perform – even if it’s your first time! Keep your bankroll stashed because admission to the Mixer is 100% FREE! Hosted by Las Vegas Lounge Legend and lush, Miss Trudy Carmichael and her trusty sidekick, T.J. with The Magnet Musical Mixer Orchestra, a 5-piece band led by the incomparable Frankie Keys, providing improvised musical accompaniment throughout the night!
Lorena Russi is a comedian, actor, and creator of a brand new show at Magnet, Timoteo. Timoteo is a stand-up comedy show that consciously thinks about what our bodies/status bring to performances. Each show will have people from one identity sitting in the audience as comics from the counter community perform a set. It’s an incredibly interesting concept and so we wanted to ask Lorena a few questions before the show’s big premiere next week.
What inspired you to create the show Timoteo?
Timoteo is a show inspired by lack of versatile spaces for marginalized communities. It’s designed so that groups can come together without it being in the context of a bar or to hook up. I was also curious about combining opposites in order to highlight how status and bodies affect space and performance. Essentially, I wanted to design a situation where people of the same tribe can engage, to not only learn more about each other and themselves but witness it through a comedic lens.
What’s the origin of the name Timoteo?
Timoteo was the name of my grandmother’s pet bird in Colombia. Apparently, the bird acted like a dog and was a real treasure of the Russi household. One day someone brought a pig into the apartment -this was Colombia in the 80s, so pigs were the equivalent to a new born baby- and it swallowed the bird. SWALLOWED. THE. BIRD. The poster is a photo of my grandmother and Timoteo together, and I appreciate how their colors, physicality, and tone contrast entirely, but show how they love each other. Since the show is about opposites coming together, I wanted to reflect that in it’s photo/name…even thought I’m probably the only person who understands that.
Your show involves comics performing for audiences that are their opposites. How do you attract these specific audiences to your show?
Well at this point my strategy is just running around to all of the Queer bars, talking to homo ladies, and not bringing up how late on a Monday night the show is. BUT. In practice it’s been pretty incredible to see just through word of mouth alone how people have shown interest. There’s not many shows that make it so that only a certain group or community can attend, which I think has made it interesting for people when I tell them about it. Ultimately it’s meant to bring fun to the audience on another level than just the performance, so word of mouth and carrier pigeons are what are filling the seats.
Your show on August 14th features exclusively straight, cisgendered male comedians performing for a queer female-identifying audience. What inspired you to bring these two groups together in this way?
There’s obviously a bias for the first show because I am a Queer female identifying person, but I wanted to able to experience the show as an audience member, especially for the first one, in order to get a feel for how it is impacting the audience. I also wanted it to be as specific as possible in the two groups and boy howdy is it specific….I’m sorry for saying boy howdy.
What communities would you like to bring together for future versions of Timoteo?
I would love to have POC from NYC with white people from the midwest, Robots/Technology and humans, older adults/young people.
Check out the premiere of Timoteo on Monday, August 14th, at 10:30 pm when Straight, Cisgendered men will do stand-up for Queer, Female identifying people in the audience!
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!