Posts Tagged ‘magnet’
Matt Koff is a comedian, recovering improviser, and Emmy-award winning writer for his work on The Daily Show. As one of the first Magnet students, Matt brings his comedy back to the theater for a stand-up comedy series. “Matt Koff & Friend” features a half hour of comedy from Koff himself, as well as another half hour from a comedian of his choice.
How long have you been performing stand-up comedy?
For about 7 years now. I had been doing sketch and improv for about 5 years prior to that. I’m old. Older than the Tennessee Valley herself, some might say.
How would you compare the NYC stand-up scene from when you first started to now?
Can you tell us about a time that you bombed on stage?
When did you start taking classes at Magnet Theater? Did you learn anything from the classes that you still use in your work today?
What does stand-up comedy bring to you that improv does not?
Who would be your ideal guest to perform the 2nd half hour on Matt Koff & Friend?
Adam Wade. And I was lucky enough to get him!
How do you like performing stand-up in an improv theater setting?
I like it a lot. The audiences are really smart, and there are very few drunk bachelorette parties in the audience who interrupt my set and laugh at the wrong parts of the joke. Quiet, ladies! “So I just had arm surgery” is not a punchline!
Come see Matt Koff & Friend Monday September 18th at 9pm with special guest Adam Wade!
Musical Megawatt performer Chris Bell bares all about his his upcoming show Comic Strips. With the help of his friends, Chris combines the styles of burlesque and game shows into a night of fun and laughter. This comedy boylesque show will make its Magnet Theater premiere Friday, September 15th, at 11:15pm.
What is Comic Strips and when did it become a show at the Magnet Theater?
Comic Strips is a comedy boylesque & game show. Itll be a night of odd character stripteases and bawdy games hosted by the fabulous Madame Jiji. The night will really be an experiment of an idea I had years ago (more on this to come later) and is the shows birthday so if you want to see how babies are made, come to the show!
Disclaimer: Actual babies will not be made at this show.
What kind of games will you be playing during Comic Strips?
There will be games of mystery and intrigue, exocitc games from the ancient tribes of South East Africa, but most importantly, there will be games that arent any of those just mentioned. The games well play will be dumb, fun, and sexualy suggestive cause, hey, this is partly a burlesque show after all!
What inspired you to combine boylesque with comedy?
The idea came to me maybe 10 years ago when a good friend called me up and asked if I knew someone who would strip for her best friends birthday party…but dressed as a Hasidic Jew. I thought this was hilarious so naturally I had to do it. We all ended up having a blast and I wondered how it was possible that there wasnt a NYC company out there offering this service. Funny character stripteases that is. Fast forward 10 years later; Ive quit my job and Im putting together a prototype of that company to see if the idea has legs. Comic Strips (this Friday night @ 11:15pm, be there) is the beginning of my frankenstein monster. Will it break loose and wreak havoc on the streets of New York? I hope so!
But you know, like a positive havoc.
Who would be your ideal guest for Comic Strips?
Darth Vader hands down, because wouldnt it be fun to take a ride on the Dark side?
What does it mean for you to have a Friday night spot at the Magnet Theater?
It means a lot of work! #JesusBeAXanax
No, Im very excited to be able to do this show at the Magnet. Its a great community to be a part of and what better place to do an experimental show than at my favorite comedy safe space and no, I am not getting paid to say that.
(ll-Iay ick-pay p-uay he-tay eck-chay omorrow-tay.)
Besides boylesque and improv, have you performed in other types of shows?
My educational background is theater so in college I performed in several types of shows from dance shows to musicals to plays. Ive done a few summer stock seasons of musicals as well as a year of childrens theater in Lexington Kentucky before I moved to NYC. Ive been in New York for 10 years now and have produced, directed, and acted in various projects both for the stage and screen. A couple of random voiceover gigs too which were a blast including a recent video game you can find on Steam called The Low Road.
And now for the biggest confession of all, Ive never actually performed burlesque so (prepare yourself for another shameless plug) come this Friday at 11:15 pm to see if I succeed or fail. Either way, it should be entertaining!
What do you want audience members to take away from the show – that they wouldnt normally from a traditional improv/ sketch show?
I guess Comic Strips is celebration of the human body and sexuality. But most importantly, I want it to be a shit ton of fun. Not too different from any other comedy show right?
Comic Strips debuts at the Magnet Theater on Friday September 15 at 11:15pm. Don’t miss it!
Magnet Theater is now accepting applications for the 2017 fall season of Megawatt. Please fill out THIS FORM no later than WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20th to apply for an audition slot. Auditions will take place on Thursday 9/28 (evening), Friday 9/29 (evening), and Saturday 9/30 (morning/early afternoon), with callbacks being Saturday, September 30th (afternoon/evening).
Anyone who has completed Team Performance Workshop (Magnet Level Six) is eligible to apply, though please note that a completed form does not guarantee an audition slot. Due to the high volume of eligible improvisors and a limited number of slots, priority will be given to students and performers who have most recently been on a Megawatt team or completed Team Performance Workshop.
Audition date/time confirmations will be sent out by FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22nd.
CLICK HERE to apply.
This month’s Director Series, “The Setup,” comes to us from the brilliant mind of Eleanor Lewis. Eleanor is most often seen on stage with Megawatt team Sexy Baby, but for the month of September, she’s sitting in the director’s chair, working with a special cast on a show of her own creation. We’ve interviewed her to find out more about the show and where her compass is pointing!
Tell us about the concept of The Setup. How did you come up with this idea?
First of all, thanks for having me. This studio is very comfortable and expensive-looking!
The Setup is an improvised one-act play where the audience designs the set – so, basically a monoscene with a theatrical style. A few months ago I was thinking a lot about my favorite improv shows and realized that the ones that stuck with me were always the ones that were either so funny they were unforgettable, or ones where the actors took their scenes seriously and took the time to explore the subtleties of their characters and relationships. The ones I still think about all the time have both – it’s something that a lot of really good duos have because they’re so patient and trusting with each other. They can be so silly and dumb, and then in the next breath extremely human and touching.I started thinking of ways to set up a show that encouraged this kind of improv, and the idea of giving the actors a designed set, just like in a real play, was the one that was the most interesting to me. I thought it would give the performers the sense that they could take their time and explore their world without giving them an explicit directive to form a narrative, or forcing them into being artificially dramatic.
Then I just had to pick a cast of strong actors who are also – and I hope they’re cool with me saying this – incredible weirdos. People who can do complete nonsense with gravity and a straight face, and love doing it.
How does the audience get to design the set for the show?
How is improvising with a set different than working without one?
Your show is an improvised one act play. What plays inspire you as an improv director?
I’m actually extremely ignorant and poorly-read when it comes to scripted theater, so my references are kind of limited. I think 12 Angry Men is a great play for clear and believable character behavior because each juror has such a clear perspective. I think it’s also a strong lesson for improvisers because the show wouldn’t work unless the jurors let themselves be convinced one by one. Even juror #3, who is never actually convinced, eventually goes along with a not-guilty verdict because he gets so worn down and upset. From an improv perspective, he follows the logic of his character all the way to the end but ultimately accepts the offer given to him even though it hurts and feels like a loss.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (the musical!!!!!) is great because the characters are all super smart and capable, but get into extremely stupid and absurd situations anyway. The show is so good because nobody seems to know that what they’re doing is funny or that they’re in a comedy at all, so you have things like a guy singing “love is my legs/ and you are my love/ so you are my legs/ my love” from the bottom of his heart while a woman holds back tears.
If you could do improv on the set of any play you’ve ever seen, what would it be and why?
I’d love to improvise on the set of Hamilton because that means I get to be all smug right now and say I saw Hamilton. You guys, it’s good! Also the set of Clybourne Park because there are so many sub-spaces to explore within it (the garden, all the upstairs rooms, the main foyer, etc) and because the set itself had so much personality.
The Setup is playing every Thursday night in September at 10 pm, as a part of Thursday Night Out. Don’t miss it!
We are excited to announce the next round of auditions for Musical Megawatt!
This season, auditions will take place on Saturday, September 23rd, 6:30pm to 10:30pm, with callbacks on Sunday, October 1st at the same time. Both rounds of auditions will be at the Magnet Training Center, located at 22 West 32nd Street on the 10th Floor.
To submit for an audition time, please fill out THIS FORM! Please note only people who have completed Musical Level 3 at the Magnet are eligible to audition.
Submissions must be received by Wednesday, September 13th, and emails with assigned audition times will be sent out on Friday the 15th.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email Michael Lutton at email@example.com.
We look forward to seeing you at auditions!
For the entire month of September, all room rentals at the Magnet Training Center are only $10 an hour! That’s right between the hours of 11AM and 11PM, seven days a week, every single one of our lovely rehearsal spaces is available for the low price of $10/hr. Rehearse at Magnet Training Center and save your hard-earned cash for that bus ticket home! Or a flight to Miami. Player’s choice. 😉
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!
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 comedians 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 dont 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!
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 Jarrets 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 hed 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 Conways 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 anyones 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 hes having fun. While in stand-up, he explains, his face is more Im 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, Jarrets 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 Nesteroffs 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 its 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!
- Bill O'Reilly
- Block Party
- bringer shows
- Famous Dead People
- jarret berenstein
- junior varsity
- Kellyanne Conway
- Louis Kornfeld
- magnet theater
- magnet training center
- Mike Huckabee
- new york
- new york city
- political humor
- Radio Free Brooklyn
- stand up comedy
- The Kellyanne Conway Technique
- thursday night out
- Upright Citizens Brigade