Looking Forward

As many of you know, I got myself into a lot of groups, just to learn that I should only concentrate on a few. Well, the new year will definitely be a lighter load for me. I quit two groups, leaving me involved with only 2, I am also planning on taking a step back from City3 produced shows in order to focus on Improv-Abilities now as well. Comedy City is still very easy, show up, play and get paid...can't quit that. Imporv-Abilities will have a make or break year in 2008 with KCWE commercials, and a higher concentration on good shows in order to create awareness and buzz for our shows. Hard work, but I am willing to try it. If it doesn't show growth and potential, I am sure that a lot of people will quit for better opportunities. Sad but true.

So in 2008 I will be in IA, CC, and occasionally, an On The Spot when needed. There is also something coming up called an Improv Thunderdome where improv guru Tommy Todd and I will try our hand at some 2 person long form. I am pretty excited to try this out and to participate in the event. 9 teams enter...1 team survives. These are merely side projects that will not take up much time and effort, so I feel justified quitting the 2 groups and still participating in these events.

On top of that 2 person long form, Tommy Todd and I have started recording some video sketches for a new fun challenge. Pretty soon we will create our own youtube channel, but I will definitely post the videos here as well...stay tuned! Again, this is not something that is taking up a lot of time and committment, so I feel comfortable doing these things.

As always, I will post links to all of the groups I am involved with on the sidebar, and I will definitely plug events here to keep you all posted.

On a final note, I still want to rejoin Roving Imp. I have to see what the new year brings in terms of time and committments with the other groups and projects, but if I can squeeze it in without feeling overwhelmed, then I have to try.


Every show Comedy City takes a picture of audience volunteers. I love that they do that. In fact, I still to this day, look at all of the Polaroid pictures of audience volunteers thumb tacked to the walls in the main foyer. I can't help myself. They start back in the 80's and then continue till about 2000. Now they are kept online, which is a lot easier, but a little less nostalgic if you ask me. I love looking at the old players, and of course the hair from the 80's and 90's.

John Robison at the new Roving Imp Theater keeps a picture of each person or group who has performed at his theater. I just love this idea. Who knows, in 10 years maybe people will look at his pictures and recognize someone famous that used to play there, much like people do with Jason Sudeikis at Comedy City now.


Tuesday Rehearsal

Last night was IA's first rehearsal after the meeting. There was definitely a sense of higher energy. Everyone seemed a little more comfortable rehearsing now that we had some clear and definable goals. I have to give some high credit to John again for bringing in some twists to some short form games that make people cringe when we play them at rehearsal. Thanks John, for bringing in a different way to play them. This weekend I have two shows at Comedy City, and I get to play with some people I have never played with before. I am truly excited for this experience, this is one reason why I joined Comedy City in the first place. More updates after the shows.

Just in case you haven't seen them, here are some videos that IA did with KCWE, we are about to hook up with them again to try and do a few more. Enjoy:


5 Things

I don't know who started this but Corey and Mo in Chicago tagged me to do this wonderful, if not revealing list. Here is the premise:

"List 5 things that certain people (who are not deserving of being your friend anyway) may consider to be "totally lame," but you are, despite the possible stigma, totally proud of. Own it. Tag 5 others."

I took some time to think about this, because I have many things that people don't really know about me, and I had to really dig deep within myself to figure out if I was proud enough to reveal them on here. Ugh...here goes.

1. I am obsessive compulsive when it comes to cleaning and arranging things. Everything has to have an order. For example: In my closet, I sometimes (always) hang my shirts on hangers that have a matching color. I don't have to explain myself to you, so just keep laughing.

2. I am such an improv nerd that I read blogs about Chicago improvisers and I even listen to the Second City Podcast done by Ruby Streak. (Many of them have improvisers who are from Kansas City) It is as if I am living in Chicago through all of them. (That includes you Ryan and Corey, so keep me updated!) I even check the calenders of IO, The Annoyance and The Playground, to keep up on new teams.

3. I watch Days of Our Lives. My mother didn't work when I was younger and we used to watch it together when I was very young. (Don't question her parenting skills) Seriously, I have been watching that show for 20 years, I know the family history like the back of my hand, I am addicted and I need help.

4. I love gardening. I have a green thumb and I am very proud of it. I have grown many plants from seeds. I have my very own mister and I keep a bottle of fertilizer under the sink. I am most proud of my succulent plants that I have had for over 7 years now. I just can't kill anything...I am too good!

5. I have only dated one female my whole life and I ended up marrying her. We met in 1999, became great friends, started dating in 2001, got married in 2006. She is my best friend and the love of my life.

So there you go. Enjoy. Sadly, I am new to this improv blogging community, so I do not know anyone that has not already had this sent to them. In order to appease the gods I will try to do this again when I grow my improv friend list.

Last CounterClockwiseComedy Show

Saturday was the best crowd I have seen for a show in a long time. The sketches, improv, and stand-up all went over very well. We even had a great write-up in the Kansas City Star's Shawnee Neighborhood News section that came out the day of the show. I think that helped the crowd a lot. However, it was my last show. In one of my first blogs I mentioned that I was planning on quitting a few groups in order to focus on one or two of them. Well, Counter Clockwise had to be the one. I must say it is great to go out on a high. I started that group with Bess and Wade in order to try some stand-up, some long form, and try my hand at owning my very own group. I am very glad that I tried it and I learned a lot from doing it.

Luckily, Improv-Abilities is headed in a better direction than they have been lately, which made my decision even easier. And of course there are some more things on the horizon that I want to be able to put more focus on. The Kansas City Improv Festival, City 3, and I may even be trying me hand at some videos and some 2 person long form.

So, where does that leave me. I am still with Comedy City and Improv-Abilities. I am also still on the City 3 board, but who knows how long that will last. After the new year I may rejoin Roving Imp theater, because I still believe that John has a great thing going there. Overall, I feel very comfortable with my decision, and of course I will keep you all posted on any other changes that may soon be coming.


Last night

On Friday night Improv-Abilities had a meeting so that the directors of the group could get some very helpful opinions and ideas from the rest of the group. I could not stay for the whole meeting, but what I saw and heard was very productive. We all knew that we were putting all of our eggs in one basket and losing focus of our main goals. I think this was a great idea from the start. Tim and Aron have overall creative and business decisions, but to hear everyone also let everyone know that they weren't just part of a group where they had no say. I think it helped keep everyone motivated and excited to be a part of something with a clear goal for the next year. Hopefully we can meet again next summer to discuss the goals we met, didn't meet, and then add onto our potential growth. Kudos Improv-Abilities!


This is becoming repetitive

Thursdays show was cancelled at Comedy City due to no audience...grrr. I am so sick of driving somewhere just to turn back around and go home. Why is it so hard to get an audience to come and see improv in Kansas City. Are we just not tapping the right market? Do people just not like it? Is there something better to do? Do we suck?

I keep telling myself to be patient, that soon there will be some buzz in Kansas City about all of the good improv to see...but honestly I have been waiting for about 5 years now for the buzz to grow. It honestly seems like it is actually decreasing...not increasing. The festival was such a huge success and we also have a writer from the pitch reviewing our shows...but still no turnout. We have a board in place at City3 that is trying to create and promote an improv community, so again I will just be patient and do what I can to help grow improv in Kansas City.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


It's okay, it's just one last busy week

Rehearsal Monday, rehearsal Tuesday, break Wednesday, show Thursday, improv-abilities meeting on Friday, and a show on Saturday. That's it, after this week, I will have a lighter load. I may even be quitting another group in order to slow down a bit and focus my priorities into City 3's production and education committees. I am definitely spreading myself to thin lately. How can I help City 3 or any group that I am in, if I am rehearsing or preforming everyday? City 3 is going to become a huge focus, and then I have to choose between IA, CC, and CCC. IA was my first group, I have such a huge investment in it, it would be impossible to quit. CC is just so easy, there is no rehearsal, just show up and play, quitting that would be stupid. CCC was a side project I started in order to try more long form and other comedy acts, but now IA is starting to open up into long form and sketch...

Time will tell. Let's see how this week goes and then I will decide. I am taking a much needed break tonight, I will be back Friday morning to report on the CC show.


Monday Rehearsal

Well, it was our last rehearsal before our sketch show. We had a reporter from the Shawnee Mission Neighborhood news there asking us about our group and how we all met. It was fun, we even had a photographer there to snap some quick pics so that we could get on with running through the show. We all had some serious high energy...it could have been the twizzlers and the chocolate covered pretzels...but who knows. We ran through the show and we laughed a lot. We all left feeling very comfortable with the timing of the sketches and the show overall. It is going to be great. If you can make it please do.

Saturday October 20th, @ The Westport Coffeehouse
Doors open at 6:30pm Show starts at 7:00pm
Tickets are $10

And at 10:00pm stick around for Poke and Fakers!!!


What a great weekend

Yes, I am still very tired, but I don't care. This past weekend was very informative. I was available to pick up the lovely gentlemen from Revolver at the airport. I then was invited to eat at the mouth-watering Gates BBQ with them. I got to be a huge improv nerd and listen to the stories they told of Mick Napier and many other big names in the improv community. It was great, but it definitely left me with a desire to move to Chicago. After the airport, I dropped off the guys and headed straight to the Westport Coffeehouse. On The Spot was first, where Jorin from Chicago's Revolver, showed us all how to play short form improv with high energy consistently. Low attendance as usual but overall a very good show. Then at 10pm the Roving Imps took the stage and did their thing. I have had the pleasure of watching this group grow. They have only been around since spring, and the growth has to be credited to John Robison. He has taught some people who have never done improv how to do it properly in less then 7 months. I must say that he will rival Trish Berrong in the years to come as Kansas City's top improv director. Poke followed, (Trish Berrong and Tommy Todd) and they also did a fantastic job, not that anyone had any doubt that they would. What I loved about their show was that they each held their own. Not one person ruled the stage or the funny, it was definitely a 2-person show. Revolver then closed us out with a mini version of the Harold. They showed us how to follow the funny and how to truly create improv on stage. It was fantastic. The audience did not want them to stop and either did I. After the show we all headed to McCoy's, and continued to learn from the Chicagoan's.

On Saturday I took a workshop with the 4 gentlemen from Revolver and it was super-informative. They showed us how to play a long form piece called "La Ronde." Kansas City improv is good, don't get me wrong, but we are too nice on stage. We don't want to step on any one's toes or take away their stage time, but Revolver showed us how to follow the funny, and that their is nothing wrong with editing quickly so that everyone has a chance to play. They also showed us how to have "runs" with an interesting character. The audience doesn't want to hear people talking about how funny it was when that retarded guy drove the car, they want to see it. I for one loved this style. It was long form, but it was fast paced, and hilarious. With a group of 8 or more, this style would be fantastic to learn and watch. Within a year the group of 8 would have group mind like you wouldn't believe.

Saturday night was Improv-Abilities and Revolver in Lawrence. The audience was small but the show was great. For not having done long form for very long, I thought that IA did a great job. We have so much talent on our team and it is great to see it utilized in long form as well. Revolver closed out the night with the same style as Friday night, and of course, it was top-notch. I wish nothing but the best for the 4 guys we met this weekend. I hope that within another year they are IO's resident funny group in Chicago, taking over The Reckoning's spot as the team to see. I will be here cheering them on as loud as I can. I can't wait to get to Chicago to see the whole ensemble, I am sure as a team, they are out of this world.


Thursday show cancelled

Improv-Abilities was supposed to have a show on Thursday, but only 1 person showed up. Needless to say the show was cancelled. This has been a current problem with Improv-Abilities. However, the directors of the group know that it is because we are having to many shows in a month and we are splitting up our audience. (or they are getting sick of seeing us every week) They want to scale it back to one or two shows a month, which I agree with. We have a hard time selling out one show a month let alone 3-4. We are not the only group having this problem of course. Kansas City is a tough place to put on an improv show. Tonight should be more promising. We are combining On The Spot with The Roving Imp, Poke (Trish Berrong and Tommy Todd long form) and Revolver from Chicago. If that doesn't get at least 30 people total to the coffeehouse then I give up.


Tuesday rehearsal and upcoming events

Man, two great rehearsals in a row. I left Tuesday's Improv-Abilities rehearsal pooped as well. Then again, we rehearse from 7-10pm...maybe that has something to do with it. But, I personally challenged myself all night with characters who had a clear physical trait. (or at least tried) I think I may have even hurt my back, it was worth it. Tonight, I am giving myself a much needed improv break. Then we start back up again with a show Thursday at the Mission Theater, followed by Revolver on Friday, workshops on Saturday with Ryan Dolan and his Chicago Gang, and topped off with a long form show in Lawrence with Revolver again. Whew...I am getting tired just thinking about it. Hope to see most of you there this weekend, it is going to be a blast.


That's more like it

I left CounterClockwiseComedy rehearsal last night worn out. That is how every rehearsal should be to me. You should leave feeling like you accomplished a lot and you worked your tail off. Well, we ran the show through twice last night, and I felt pooped when I left. The sketch and the improv games go very well together. We really raise the stakes well when we find a game in our improv scenes, and then they look like sketches. It is a great blend. I can't wait for this show. It is going to be very fun.



The trip was fantastic. The company put me up in the Chase Suites, which were very nice, and they just happened to be 20 yards from the place we were filming. Everything was convenient beyond belief. They made sure I was as comfortable as possible, and I didn't have to pay for anything while I was there except for some travel toothpaste. I didn't want to take pictures during filming, so I am very sorry that there won't be any here. However, as soon as the video is edited and up, I will post it. The next filming date is set for Nov. 12th, at which time I will be taking more photos to share here on my blog.

I have to say that the film crew was very organized, there was little downtime between shots, and I never felt as if they didn't know what they were doing. You could tell that they have done this before, and the professionalism showed. Since this was one of my first film acting jobs, I went into it with low expectations, and they exceeded all of them easily. Overall, I am giving them two thumbs up, and I might even add both pinkies. Now, it is time to memorize sketches for rehearsal tonight. Back to the grind of comedy in Kansas City.


Leaving for Lincoln

I am going to Lincoln, Nebraska today to film some online commercials. The commercials are for the Visit Nebraska campaign, you know, that tourism thing. I will be there until Friday night, and I am very excited. I will also be taking my camera to document the event. So, I will be back later this weekend to tell you all how it went, wish me luck.


Monday night rehearsal

Rehearsing for sketch is hard. When you write something and then you rehearse it as a group, you have no idea what is going to be funny to the audience or not. You just have to trust your own sense of humor and hope that it will come through. We have 2 more rehearsals to go before the show and we know the line-up, but we don't have things memorized and there is beginning to be a sense of panic. However, the show will still be great, it always is. We are mixing sketch with short-form improv, so at least we can lean on our short-form improv skills if the sketches are not crisp. Here is a lovely promo picture of the group. From left to right: Eric Johnson, Keith Curtis, Bess Wallerstein, Wade Meredith, and Tommy Todd.

PS--After our show you can see Fakers, directed by Ed Doris, a great young group consisting of alumni from the famous Exit 16 high school improv group at Liberty High School directed by Trish Berrong.