Posts Tagged ‘The Music Industry’
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!
Founding member of The Music Industry, DENNIS PACHECO, talks with host Louis Kornfeld about imposter syndrome, why TMI is so great, and how to turn judgment into love. As a performer on many different shows at the theater, both improv and sketch, but only one, long-lasting, and hilarious Megawatt team, Dennis brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the show. He and Louis dig into some great philosophical topics and tackle practical questions as well. CHECK. IT. OUT.
Our episode begins with Dennis disclosing that his imposter syndrome has him feeling nervous to be on the show. They discuss that feeling of, Oh, that person probably hates me and how we most likely overthink how others see us. Louis wonders if he’s being an asshole by not hanging out after shows but both he and Dennis agree that he’s probably not a jerk. Louis thinks of Dennis as a very precise improviser and Dennis shares that others have told him that he appears to improvise as someone who is both calm and nervous at the same time. Louis can relate to feeling that way and, in fact, Dennis admits that he sought to emulate Louis’ playing style when he was starting out. Fun fact: Louis does not recommend Charlie Chaplins autobiography!
Dennis and Louis discuss conscious versus unconscious reactions while improvising and Dennis offers some interesting insight from the book “Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud. They also talk about stepping in at the right moment to say the perfect thing to bring the house down and, for sketch actors, helpful tips for remembering lines. Finally, they get to talking about Dennis’ long-running Megawatt team, The Music Industry. Dennis tells us why it’s such a killer team to play on and shares his excitement for their upcoming move to Thursday Night Out. He also discusses how they’ve moved from a team dynamic where they had what some might call “frontmen” to a setup now where everyone’s parts on the team feel balanced. He also talks about doing the Spokane and why the form works so well for them. To wrap up the episode, Dennis shares a great way to approach moves you dont love. Hint: It involves letting go of judgment and transforming it into love. What a beautiful lesson to end on!
Student Council member and a big wig in The Music Industry, ADAM TWITCHELL, sits down with host Louis Kornfeld to discuss production value, physical comedy, and his indie team EagleFox. Adam compares his two most recent sketch teams, comments on the evolution of the sketch program at Magnet, and even shares some ideas for sketches taken straight from his notes. Finally, he talks about being jobless. This episode with lift you up!
We pick up in the middle of a conversation between Adam and Louis regarding the sketch “Lost at Sea,” which Adam wrote and performed with sketch team, Wendigo.(You can watch it below.) He and Louis discuss writing sketches that have a bit of production value and he walks us through the creation of “Lost At Sea.” Jumping off of on the themes of physicality and stage pictures, Louis asks Adam about his silent movie show and and he talks about how hes a big fan of not only that category of films, but playing with genres in general.
Speaking on tropes and old films, Louis and Adam ponder how to go about writing something original in an era where everything has been done. Adam is now a member of sketch team Student Council and he relates how it is working with them versus his previous team, Wendigo. He also tells Louis how much he enjoys sketches that require a decent amount of research, even if he’s writing about the business of something like the Wonka corporation.
Adam reads some real ideas for sketches from his phone and tells us what he gets from the room during the creative process. He and Louis talk about traveling to sketch festivals and how shows should flow. Having been a part of it since the very beginning, Adam answers questions about how the sketch program at Magnet has progressed since its inception. Louis shares some of Armandos best advice for sketch and asks Adam what wisdom he would impart upon someone who is greener in the scene.
Getting controversial, Louis asks Adam whether he prefers improv or sketch, OR if he loves them both equally, like children. Without giving anything away, we’ll just tell you that Adam recently joined Megawatt veterans The Music Industry and still finds time to play with his indie team EagleFox from time to time. He notes that camaraderie is the #1 best taste to making an indie team great and keeping spirits high. At Louis’ behest, he details the legend of EagleFox’s “Hair Mona Lisa,” which is a part of INSPIRADO folklore.
We conclude this episode with Adam discussing his “quarter-life rediscovery,” his current jobless state, and by finding out our guest’s top five desert island comedy picks.
Magnet performer, writer, and talk show host, PHOEBE TYERS, joins host Louis Kornfeld to talk about the outsider view of comedians, her background in playwriting, and so much more! Phoebe performs regularly on Megawatt with The Music Industry and on Magnet Sketch Teams with Stockton. Additionally, you can catch her late night talk show Phoebe Tonight Tonite regularly at the Magnet. She and Louis dive deep into the psyche of comedians in this episode, which is perfect for all you performers and writers out there. Tune in!
This episode begins with Phoebe and Louis talking about finding comedy despite not being comedy geeks. Adding to that, Phoebe talks about how she doesn’t even like being the center of attention. So how did it come to pass that this woman became so taken with the world of comedy?
Phoebe tells us why, despite making life her a mess, comedy has enriched it in a way she never thought possible. This “wildly dyslexic” comedian speaks with Louis about the secret language and point of view of comedians everywhere that link them to each other and separate them from the “pinks.” Is it possible to enjoy simple things if you’re conditioned to look for the skewering point?
Louis asks Phoebe about her approach to character work in improv and we hear about how certain characters allow Phoebe to share herself with the audience. They explore character and what it means to be truly playing with your teammates. Although she was first mystified by the structure and inner workings of improv, Phoebe comments on the fact that it’s now become more like second nature. They talk about being zen and you get to hear about it.
Maybe you had no idea, but before comedy, Phoebe was a playwright! She and Louis compare and contrast playwriting with sketch comedy and it’s all kinds of interesting. Is length the biggest difference between the two disciplines, or is it more nuanced than that? Hear about Louis’ head-fuck confusion with the “assumed genius” of great playwrights. Plus, Phoebe and Louis take the pretension of certain writers to task.
They talk about Phoebe’s late night show, Phoebe Tonight Tonite, and bringing a little bit of soul to everything she does. At the center of her universe is the idea of telling a good story. They circle back to discussing the beauty of being able to enjoy simple things in life and Phoebe’s experience of acting in a pilot directed by Michael Showalter.
Whoa, boy! Watch out now, because local southern gentleman and big juicy peach, KEVIN COBBS, sits down with host Louis Kornfeld on Episode #61 to talk about getting his start in Atlanta, being a musician, and his comedic love of stupidity. They talk about Kevin’s guides to New York, his experiences working for Second City, and what else, but being a college radio DJ. You can catch Kevin every Wednesday at Megawatt with The Music Industry and you ain’t gonna wanna miss this episode!
And the episode begins with a song of rebellion! Just kidding, folks. This episode starts off with Kevin talking about being from Atlanta, getting his start in comedy at Dads Garage, and moving to NYC in 2010. Although he thought New York was a nightmare when initially visiting, Kevin was still filled with wonder when he first moved here. Does he have a master plan for his career or does he just take things as they come? As Louis wades through questions related to career goals, he also finds that for Kevin, the creative process is all about collaboration.
They back up to talk once again about Kevin’s improv beginnings at Dads Garage in Atlanta and what the scene was like down there. We find out that, similar to Episode #60’s guest T.J. Mannix, Kevin was a graveyard-shift college radio DJ! Louis asks about Kevin & Jimmys Guide To New York and they discuss the awkwardness of doing comedy with the public. Where do Kevins comedic sensibilities come from and what’s he usually going for? Kevin answers these questions and talks about working with long-time buds Jimmy OConnell and Al King.
Kevin has done two stints with Second City cruise line casts and so he and Louis get into what that life is like. Most recently, Kevin was doing 11 shows a week, which was far more intense than his first time around. The busier schedule was more enjoyable, he says. Louis wants to know what was the difference Kevin saw between his two experiences and they discuss the advice of, You gotta be good even when youre not. Plus, so much is explained when we find out that Louis loves the Kardashians.
One thing is made clear, and that’s that Second City knows how to build a sketch show. Gaining such professional experience has helped Kevin become comfortable as a sketch director here at Magnet, where he has directed Wendigo and The Executives. Hear about Kevin’s approach to directing sketch and how he focuses on keeping a show moving.
Enjoy all of this, plus, we discover how far into his own future Kevin can see and we hear him speak briefly about his experiences writing for Sesame Street! Go Panthers!!!
- Al King
- Dad's Garage
- Jimmy O'Connell
- Kevin & Jimmy's Guide To New York
- Kevin Cobbs
- Louis Kornfeld
- magnet sketch teams
- magnet theater
- magnet theater podcast
- magnet training center
- new york
- new york city
- Second City
- Sesame Street
- sketch comedy
- The Executives
- The Music Industry