Posts Tagged ‘new york times’
This Saturday, February 10th, is the 10-year anniversary of Peter McNerney and Nick Kanellis performing together as an improv duo! Originally called Brother Bear, the duo went on to form multiple standout ensembles before settling in as the seamless, high-energy, multi-character improv duo we now know and love. As New York City’s premier improv duo, they’ve received some pretty incredible reviews and press mentions. The New York Times calls Trike, “consistently complex, imaginative improv,” that is “reliably one of the best improv performances in the city.” Splitsider.com says that Trike’s “fantastic late night show is upbeat and impressively layered improv that is always worth checking out,” and in the “Splitsider Guide to NYC Comedy Scene,” Trike was named one of eight “Best Weekly Shows.” TimeOut New York declares Trike a “Critic’s Pick” that “melds playful physical transformation and careful scene work in a weekly show that delivers an impressively quick and detailed overlap of events in its conclusion.”
That’s a lot of praise for two guys making up everything in the moment. But what improv magic make a Trike show so unique? Trike has no scene breaks. You won’t hear an audience clap during transitions at a Trike show, because the next scene has already begun. The incredible balance between relatable, heartfelt characters and kinetic, abstract absurdity is like none other. By the end of a Trike show, every scene has proven itself essential to the whole. There’s always a reason these seemingly random collection of scenes find themselves in the same performance. Instead of one trying to interpret the other’s intentions, like a puzzle with only one solution, Peter and Nick see each other as inkblots, eager to be interpreted by the other’s intuition. This creates the illusion of foresight and a feeling that one can read the other’s mind. Plus, they’re pretty good friends. That helps too.
TIMELINE OF TRIKE!
– Peter & Nick attended Northwestern University together, where in 2003 Peter cast and coached Nick in his first long form improv group.
– Peter moved to NYC in 2005 just after the opening of Magnet Theater. Nick joined two years later.
– On February 10th, 2008 – their original duo (Brother Bear) premiered at the Magnet duo show, Ampers&nd.
– They soon launched Statues of Liberty with fellow NU alumni Russ Armstrong and Chris Hejl and performed 77 shows together at the Magnet.
– Trike, the trio, began October 2009 w/ Leslie Korein
– 80 shows later, Leslie moved to LA
– Trike, the duo, began May 2011 and has since done 301 shows on Saturday nights at Magnet.
– Together Nick and Peter have performed in 460 shows.
Come see this incredible duo celebrate their 10th anniversary this Saturday, February 10th, at 9 PM. It’s gonna be a wild one.
The creative team behind SISTERS THREE joins us to talk about their incredible show. Starring Magnet all-stars Elana Fishbein and Elena Skopetos, directed by the one and only Peter McNerney, and written by all three of them, Sisters Three is a fast-paced, hilarious play that is running at the Magnet this fall and early next year. It’s Louis’ favorite show he’s ever seen at the Magnet and it’s also a New York Times Critics Pick. Your next chances to see it are Friday November 11th and 18th but you get to hear all about the show right here first.
They get started with attempting to describe Sisters Three and Louis claims that it’s the perfect marriage of improv and theater. The creators dive into the process of building, writing, and staging the show through improvisation and workshopping pieces of it. They say it took at least six months of work to even have an idea of what the show would look like! It’s an incredibly interesting and wonderful process. They discuss embracing subtlety and avoiding the temptation to spell it all out for the audience. They talk about characters left on the cutting room floor and some of the jokes that didn’t make it in. Louis floods the episode with compliments and they’re all warranted. He also asks, “What’s the next step?” They talk about promoting and producing the play and where else they might be able to take it. Also, they give a nice hat tip to Locke & Key, a graphic novel series which has inspired them all. PLUS – They ALL do a Serious Scene Opposite A Jar of Pickles. (And no, it wasn’t Evan’s idea!) Huzzah!
At an early point in an improvisers development, the names of TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi will be mentioned by a teacher, a coach, or a fellow comedy nerd friend. You gotta go see TJ & Dave. You will be told that they are the best of the best. You will be advised that their approach towards improvisation is worth incorporating into your own philosophy and growth as a performer.
And you might wonder: why?
Based in Chicago, TJ & Dave are revered as two of the best improvisers in the country. TJ Jagodowski is most recognizable from the long-running series of improvised Sonic Drive-In commercials featuring himself and Peter Grosz. In addition to performing in TJ & Dave, TJ performs regularly with other seasoned improv groups on stages across Chicago. Dave Pasquesi has performed in dramatic plays (Glengarry Glen Ross, God of Carnage), appeared on television (Strangers With Candy, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Veep) and in movies, and is also a voiceover actor. As a duo, they have performed together for over a decade. TJ & Dave perform regularly at the iO Theater on Wednesday nights. They also perform multiple times during the year in New York City, at the Barrow Street Theatre.
TJ & Dave create one-act plays through the art of slow comedy, taking time to develop characters and relationships, and discover situations together. They dont go for the easy laugh. As a result, the comedy that emerges from their patience is moving, grounded, and honest. The Magnets own Matt Shafeek wrote this Splitsider article on TJ & Dave and the power of slow comedy:
TJ & Dave can often go long stretches of time without any big laughs, and this is where a lot of weaker improvisers often falter. A performer who fears he or she has lost the audience will panic and will resort to time-honored gimmicks exaggerated physicality, ridiculous characters, and of course, going blue (making a lewd/sexual reference or choice) in a desperate attempt to end the audiences silence. But TJ & Dave, as well as Louis CK, know that patience in comedy can lead to much bigger rewards.
The mainstream world has caught onto the awesomeness that is TJ & Dave. A rave review in the theater section of the New York Times, written last year by accomplished composer and lyricist David Yazbek, has skyrocketed the popularity of their New York City appearances. Tickets are often sold out well before the beginning of each run. A Radiolab podcast feature earlier this year introduced TJ & Dave to hip intelligentsia who might not otherwise be interested in the improv comedy scene.
Psyched to check out a TJ & Dave show? Youre in luck! They will be performing in New York City at Town Hall this Friday, October 11th, at 8pm. This performance is extra-special for a lot of reasons. For the first time in New York, TJ & Dave will be performing with Chicago musician, Ike Reilly, in a joint appearance. If youve ever been to a TJ & Dave show, youve heard Ike Reillys songs at the beginning and end of the show. Their NY anthem is Commie Drives A Nova. This is also the first time that TJ & Dave will be performing at Town Hall, a venue that seats over 1000 people. This is the largest venue they have ever played in New York City, and possibly anywhere else. This show is one night only! TJ & Dave would love to see the NYC improv community in the audience, so please come and support!
Full price tickets are $42, but follow the instructions for various options below to get them for $27. The asterisks indicate preferred options, to avoid service fees:
For all options, use the code BST. You will need to tell the box office the code in order to get the discounted $27 tickets.
1) Show up in person at TOWN HALL BOX OFFICE*
(no service fees)
123 West 43rd Street, NY
12pm – 6pm, M-SAT
2) In Person: LIMITED tix available at BARROW STREET THEATRE BOX OFFICE*
(no service fees, CASH ONLY)
27 Barrow Street, on the corner of 7th Ave.
Open at 1pm Daily
3) Online: At ticketmaster.com with code BST
(service fees will apply)
Still unconvinced? Lets go down the TJ & Dave rabbit hole, shall we?
In 2009, Alex Karpovsky made Trust Us, This Is All Made Up, a documentary about TJ & Dave, which includes an entire show that was recorded at the Barrow Street Theatre. It had its world premiere at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival. The DVD is available for purchase. Check it out!
Pam Victor shares her interviews with the country’s improv greats on her blog series, Geeking Out With …. She interviewed TJ and David extensively. All three are in the process of co-writing a book on improv. Stay tuned!
Jimmy Carrane, veteran Chicago improviser and co-author of the book, Improvising Better: A Guide to the Working Improviser, interviewed TJ and David for his Improv Nerd podcast.
What are you waiting for? Go buy your discounted tickets now. See you at Town Hall on Friday!