Shannon, this is a real gold mine you’ve stumbled upon.
Holy shit, this is the best link in the world. Everything is hilarious.
Shannon, this is a real gold mine you’ve stumbled upon.
Holy shit, this is the best link in the world. Everything is hilarious.
The Onion did not call a girl a cunt. The Onion made a joke wherein they called a child a cunt. The Onion does not believe she is a cunt, or that it is OK to call her, or anyone, a cunt.
If you are offended by this joke, that is OK. It is your right to be upset or offended. You are allowed to…
Unfollow or hate me all you want, I agree with Matt.
Comedians are allowed to make jokes. Other people are allowed to find them not funny.
I found this particular joke funny. I think it’s fine for the Onion to apologize just to get past it. I do not think they had to.
I think we’re in dangerous territory when we are dictating the boundaries of taste for comedy instead of just thinking somethings are funny and others aren’t.
Coaches who charge a LOT are rarely the good coaches. You notice that yet? Yes, there’s exceptions and stuff — you know it when there are exceptions. But in general: don’t get played, young uns!
Sure, I’ll put a number on it. I think $30 an hour is the top for a regular coach. $20 an hour is…
This feels like a good time to mention my rate is 35 for 2 hours.
But he’s right. Haters don’t hate.
So I went back tonight.
I dunno, I don’t think I’ve written about any of this stuff publicly despite thinking about writing about it on a weekly, bi/triweekly/daily basis for the past six or more months. I haven’t been back to UCB Chelsea since getting cut from Maude Night in August. The last time I was there was my last Maude show, with Everything Rabbits, wherein Dru and Cathryn performed what I consider absolutely one of the best sketches I wrote for Maude Night. I don’t even remember the turn around. Was it the next day? And I was done? That doesn’t get talked about as much, the bumps in the road. The feeling of being told a thing you love is over. But it hurts.
I have no idea how crazy this makes me sound, but the night that Thunder Gulch was broken up (December 2011) was one of the most heart-wrenching nights of my life. I mean, I obviously have separation issues and resistance to change, and I was put on another team full of weirdos that I grew to love in spite of and because of how different they were from Thunder Gulch. But I was on the Gulch for almost two and a half years, and finding out that it was over, that wrecked me for a few months. But I grew and got past it, remembered the great times we had and kept on working.
Getting cut was not easy. Maude vets and newbies know this. Maude is intense. It’s at least two meetings a week, rewriting on the nights you’re not there, late night techs, thinking about props, thinking about getting money to buy props (oh, unemployment). It’s your life. I loved that. I loved the camaraderie. I was a lonely kid with no friends until high school, so I feel like I’ve filled my quota on me-time for a while. I need groups. I love working in groups. Maude is the ultimate group project with people you love and respect. I remember the pride I felt on Thunder Gulch. My mom made all of us Gulch baseball caps. We were the first Maude team to ever have a run at the theater outside of Maude Night with “Pop Culture Apocalypse.” The UCB was my church, or what my parents wanted me to feel when I went to the million First Baptist Churches they took me to. It was a home away from home.
I have slept on those carpets, people. I slept in those old chairs. Slept in them.
If you’re thrown off a horse, they tell you to get right back up and on that horse. I have always had a problem with that. I couldn’t watch “Seinfeld” for years after its finale, same with “Buffy.” I couldn’t listen to the Talking Heads for a year after a break-up. I’m weak like that. I know the proper thing is to not let bad events hold you back. But I just had a bad event happen in my homechurch, one that pulled me away from a support group or people that I respected and loved. I understand why things happened the way they did and even after getting over the anger and depression that kept me company through Halloween (maybe Thanksgiving…?), I still couldn’t go back. I felt way too self conscious.
But I mean, getting cut in August coincided with a lot of opportunities for me elsewhere. I’m now doing a lot of freelance work for sites I love. I have a podcast I’m proud of. I’ve become another voice in the comic book community, one of hundreds, but I’m one of them. That happened since August. I’ve been alone, like when I was a kid, and I’ve gotten stronger.
Going back to the UCB was nerve-wracking. I can’t think of analogies. I don’t know why it was. I mean, I just felt like it had been too long, but it hadn’t. It felt right. I mean, geez, freelancing I don’t see people. Not doing Maude, I don’t have a set time to see people. I love people. I want to see people. I, right now, don’t see people enough. I saw so many people tonight. That’s what UCB is. A family, and one that…felt good to see again.
There are things I want. There are things I want to do at UCB. There are people I want to work with again. I’ve been standing in my own way. Going back tonight was good.
I can relate. I was cut from Lloyd on my birthday. It’s still so nice to go back though.
I went back to the Magnet tonight (where I was cut from teams) to two great shows by many of my friends and I felt like this.
We forget that when we are honest and not needy, sharing how we feel is empowering to us and to others.
I drew Rob Malone and Lena Dunham with my non-dominant hand in celebration of tonight’s TCGS.
It’s not that much worse than the right-handed drawing. :/
This is very silly @clomemalone @chrisgethard
For those of you interested in this kind of thing, an interesting discussion is currently happening on the linked page about racism in improv, “racist characters” and the politics of representation we deal with.
The topic is a performance of the show “KISS*PUNCH*POEM” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and the subsequent fallout. I’ve seen the show before but not that particular performance. An interesting read already and sure to only get more interesting.
Will is a great improviser, a great teacher and frankly has been absolutely killing it in the Stepfathers, recently more than ever, stretching himself to have more and more fun. He is right that by him posting this here it gives permission to all of us to feel less bad about our bad performances.
(written months and months ago)
I don’t want to do it anymore. I know I’ll change my mind soon, maybe even after a single night’s sleep but I want to capture what this feels like.
Did Stepfathers tonight and my goal going in was to be less ego-driven. Less concerned about how I was doing, how…
TOM LEVIN is a dear friend and a funny and a talented man, for those of you who don’t know him. (Those of you who already know him don’t need to be told how funny and talented and dear he is.)
He directs every episode of I’m Too Fragile For This, which means that he also is the third “writer” of the series because he takes the various takes that Cathryn and I act out and figures out what shape they will take. Some of the best and funniest moments come from his instincts to add this or that pause or reaction shot from one take or another until the end result is just right.
He is also constantly making other short films of his own, including this one, which is terrific.
The city should build a statue of this film 800 feet high and bring schools to see it I’m exaggerating of course but I really love this.
This is great with a GR-8.
Last fall my Advanced Study Harold class came up with a new warm-up called “One Word Tweet.” It is obviously inspired by one word story, so we give credit there, but my class found it in a moment of discovery which was cool to watch. I tried it out today with my Improv 401 class and boy did we…
I was in this class and also thought it was a great warm-up! Thanks to 85 Bares, Pooch and me!
This was a very difficult class for me this week.
We were taught improvisation, put in a group of three and made to set up an improvisational scenario. I felt pretty confident in this as I have studied improvisation for the last three years.
I was very funny on stage, got a lot of laughs from the class and came up with some good metaphors and funny bits but the teacher stopped us flat and noted all of us and me particularly hard.
“You’re not being believable.” She told me. “What’s more, you’re not discovering what you set up. You’re orchestrating it.”
It was a very difficult but true and necessary note to receive. When I went to go sit down in the audience the class clapped and the teacher asked:
“Why are you applauding their bad work?”
“Because it was funny.” One person responded.
“It might have been funny but that’s not what I’m teaching here.” She replied. “What I’m teaching is truthful behavior from moment to moment.”
It was true. The rest of the class did much better than me, they were all very believable.
The self-torture began quickly: you’ve been doing this for three years and you’re the worst one in the class? You’re trying to get an agent and here you are unable to be truthful on stage, what you prize most and judge others on in their improvisation!
The counter-voices: it’s good that you heard it, thank god you got the note and thank god she gave it to you, now you GET to get better, now you GET to change. There is no place you can be then the place that you are and you are where you must and should be.
But, as usual, my demons won out in the short term at least and I began to wonder what was wrong with me, why was I scared to open up on stage, to show emotion, to be truthful, my mind saw the reaction I could have but some part of me or fear wouldn’t let myself go there.
I walked alone after class and got a sandwich. My classmates tried to console me as I left, telling me how funny I was.
“You had no choice.” One of my scene-mates told me, a happy Dominican-New-Yorker-nerd. “You’re a comedic actor.”
Which made me feel all the worse because I knew I did have the choice and I hadn’t made it.
I chose to take the note. I even made myself thank the teacher for it as I left, more for myself than anyone. That’s the necessary work and its what one must do if they with o grow, I think, one must make the adjustment.
But after all these years, I’m still unsure how to do it like I do in yoga class: to accept the criticism without judgement in the spirit in which its offered, help, and then to not beat myself up or feel bad about but to smile because I know that’s where I have to grow. How to see a horizon as challenging instead of daunting.
Anywhere here are my notes. I think they’re very useful to improvisers and actors of all ilk.
How one approaches improvisation
Groups of three, give you a word and word can be taken literally or figuratively
Word is the trigger or jumping off place
Improv can be reality or fantasy but always truthful behavior
For example: if its about Dracula, he’s a person who has an obsession with blood, make him have human behavior
You create a beginning, a middle and an end, it’s all related to the word
Beginning is exposition
Who you are, what your relationship is to your partners, where you are and what you are doing there- Stanislavsky W’s
When you are working on a part you can add when
The middle is some sort of conflict, crisis, confession, accusation, something that moves the improv dramatically
The end is some sort of closure, compromise, parting or disclosure
You do not create lines, you just decide who should bring up what’s necessary for the improv to move
Use your imagination muscle. Participate in the creation of the improv.
Don’t be a rocket scientist or some equivalent complicated profession
Be family, friends, schoolmates, job mates, et cetera
Be your age, use your own name and agenda
No accents or special speech
Nobody should be in control of the conversation like a judge or a parole officer and you can’t be free to say what you feel
Everyone should be in agreement of the ideas brought up in the improvisation
My word: confession
You’re not alone up there, you have two other people, so you don’t have to keep it going with meaningless talk.
Your inner life is more important than meaningless talk
Don’t playwright, spell out a lot of exposition for ever in one line.
Behavior is we both know the story and we react out of how we feel. Be yourselves in the creative situation, say how would I react if someone said that to me
If you don’t know what to say, say that as you would in life.
No dual conversations, no two different groups talking at the same time,
If you ask a question, wait for the answer and if you don’t get it ask it again
Don’t hog all the talking and if you say something you don’t have to repeat it
If you set something up and the person doesn’t do it, it hasn’t happened and deal with it, deal with what is
After everything is set up and you’re ready to start, close your eyes and take a minute of trying to relax and deal with what you’re going to do on the improvisation.
Truthful moment to moment behavior, if you set up a situation, you still have to discover the individual elements of the situation
Moments of discovery in the improvisation have to be dealt with and reacted to.
Don’t be afraid of experiencing emotion and going into schtick.
It doesn’t matter whether its easy or light, it’s what you connect with the truth that’s important.
Next week bring a navel orange, to do how you work on sensory work with an object.
If you break during a scene and smile or laugh, use it in the scene and convert it to something that makes sense in the scene, people laugh at the worst time.