Size does matter

IA has thinned out a little bit lately. We are down from 14 at the beginning of the year to only 10 at the moment. Which in all reality, is making rehearsal better. (No offense to the people who are on temporary, or permanent hiatus.) Everyone is getting more rehearsal time to work, and I think it is really going to help our upcoming shows. Previously, with our larger cast, people would sometimes never play with certain performers. How can you get comfortable with someone when you never perform with them? Now, everyone is in a scene with everyone in the cast during rehearsal, and will be playing with everyone in the next few shows. Trust and comfort are already starting to show even in the past few weeks. Everyone has been in the group for at least a year now, and I really think that levels and experience are out the window. Strengths are starting to form for each person, and we are really becoming a nice cast of improv geeks.

More importantly, our long form piece last night went really well. We can actually hold scenes together with relationships, while still playing and heightening the game. It only took 8 years, but IA is finally getting great at scene work.


Catching up on improv venting

I love Tuesdays. IA rehearsal tonight. There is a lot going on for IA at the moment. We have our regular scheduled shows going on monthly at The Lucky Brewgrille, and now it looks like we will be adding Wednesday nights at Famous Johnny's. (Where Stanfords used to be at 435 & Metcalf) On top of that it seems that the Kansas City Improv Festival may need better financial backing than City 3 can offer at the moment and the discussion is pointing towards IA possibly backing the festival this year. Good things, good things.

Our shows coming up are a new part to our "seasons." Which means that Tim is directing for the first 4 months, he is not in any show, so now he can actually direct and critique in rehearsals without worrying about being in the shows. So far, I am really liking it. His directing is coming along nicely.

I mentioned the Kansas City Improv Festival earlier. We have actual dates and confirmed artists. I might as well post them here right. That way you know to make reservations as soon as you can, because last year sold out ridiculously fast. (local weekend may sell out this year as well!) Just keep in mind that the National weekend was PG-13 and up last year, and the local weekend is PG to PG-13. You have been warned.

National weekend:
Shows Friday and Saturday, Sept. 5-6
Workshops Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6-7
- Der Monkenpickel, with SNL's Jason Sudekis, Jeremy Carter, Ed Goodman, Corey Rittmaster, and Eric Davis.
- Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show, with 30 Rock writer Kay Cannon, Jeff Drake, Tim and Erin Mason, Wendy Molyneux and Dan Walsh.
- AND Jill Bernard's DRUM MACHINE.

Local weekend:
Shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 12-14
Performing troupes to be announced.


New Second City Show Links

The Director and Stars of the new Revue at Second City have each started a journal. The Director's Journal can be found HERE. There are only a few entries, but so far I am loving it. It is great to see the inside of how a show is put on from the get go. Especially since most of it comes from improvised scenes.

The Star's journals are HERE, They are actually quick video interviews of each cast member so far. I am sure that once they get done with the introductory videos, they will move on to how the show is coming about.

This stuff is exciting to me, if you don't share in the excitement, I don't care. To each their own right. I have a friend who is in love with the Geico Gecko...weird right, but it's his thing, so who are we to judge him.


Tuesday is improv day

Tonight IA has a political themed private show in Westport. Ah political humor, made even more funny every 4 years. Following the show we head back to rehearsal. Following the show I will come home and continue work on editing together the recordings Tommy and I did this weekend. One is ready now. Two will be ready in a few weeks. Hooray!

Not a kissing up post

Pete Calderone's last show was Saturday at Comedy City. What a way to go out. Pete, sadly, had to ref the show. He had the task of handling 15 drunk bachelors, that's right, bachelors. It was a tough task, but Pete was great at maintaining their level of enjoyment, along with the other dozen (quiet) audience members. Well done Pete, glad I could be a part of it. As for the Monkey's show. Sold out, lots of improvisers in attendance, and a great show all around. I can't wait to see Pete in better shows such as Tantrum, On The Spot, or heck, even coaching more. (and whatever else he has up his sleeve) At least now he never has to worry about being able to do what he wants without answering to anyone. Congrats on the 14 years at Comedy City Pete. I wish you nothing but the best in the years to come. (You have my vote for hosting the upcoming festival!)


3 seperate posts all rolled into one

Well poop. I may have to put Roving Imp on another hiatus. IA has received an offer to perform at a stand-up venue called Famous Johnny's. It used to be Stanford and Son's located near 435 and Metcalf. We would perform weekly on Wednesday nights for an hour and a half. They average about 50 people on Wednesday nights, so this is a great opportunity to grow some awareness of improv here in KC. Not to mention a great gig for IA. I will definitely keep you all up to date about this opportunity when we learn more about it.

It seems that the improv Gods are keeping me from performing with Roving Imp, but you never know what may happen in the future.

It was very hard for Tommy and I to get together over the holidays, what with Thunderdome rehearsal and all the other holiday events. We are finally getting together today to try and record up to 3 new video ideas. Then it will all depend on the editing process to see when another one will be uploaded. As soon as they are ready, I will definitely post them here.

Meetings for the Kansas City Improv Festival are going to be starting up soon. I am taking a much more responsible role when it comes to the workshops this year. Last year, they were a little unorganized from the the standpoint of signing in. Also, I think this year I will print out a class list for all of the teachers so they have a list of the names of their students. (Corey this is where you could make any suggestions to help me make it better for you as a teacher) We may even try to have classes split up into beginner, intermediate, and advanced this year...we'll see.


Time for some Chicago style improv

I have never seen a Chicago improv show. Whether it is at Second City, Annoyance, or IO. I have not seen one in Chicago. Sure, I saw Second City when they came to town, but it was a "best of" show, with some improv at the end. Not a revue. We had the festival last year, and I took some workshops from some Chicago veterans, but it just isn't the same. I want to immerse myself in the Chicago scene at some point and take some classes in Chicago, maybe a summer intensive will do the trick. I have been telling myself for awhile now that there is nothing in Kansas City to help me learn more of what I crave. Don't get me wrong, playing here in KC teaches me a lot everyday, but I feel as if I need some personal attention from a professional, to tell me what the next step might be to up my improv game. Maybe a trip to Chicago this summer will help...I'll look into it and while I do, I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter as well.

Tuesday IA had a great private show for Commerce Bank at the Mission Hills Country Club. It was Tim, Nathan, John, and myself. Great show, great energy, they loved it, and we had a blast. Then came rehearsal. Again, I feel like I have hit a wall at rehearsal, I find myself concentrating on making the group look better as a whole, but what about myself as a performer? At thunderdome I challenged myself to do different characters than I have ever done, I think I will work on that some more.

Wednesday night it started to snow, and I am sure it wasn't a lot, but I just didn't want to deal with it, so I stayed home from Roving Imp rehearsal. I am ready for some warmer weather, I hate winter.

I am excited and sad about Saturday. Pete's last night at Comedy City is Saturday. Luckily, I get to perform with him in the 7:30pm show, I hope and pray that he is a player and not a ref or in the booth. Then at 10:00, the sure to sell out Monkeys show will be the "best of," and of course, Pete's last Monkeys. He has had an amazing 14 year run with Comedy City, I am sure it is bittersweet. (by the way, I love the above picture. I promise that is Pete. I am pretty sure he would be a great host for a certain big event coming in September.)


I hope you had the time of your life

I can't say enough about the show on Saturday. Improv Thunderdome was a huge success. Not only did it sell out, but the audience had an absolute blast. More importantly, most everyone that was involved went out afterwards to the lovely McCoy's and shared in the excitement. The improv community got a little bit bigger Saturday.
7pm came around as Jared and Ed hit the stage with a vengeance. They kicked the night off right with a great 2 man show. (Quick side note: Big thank you to Chris Sumpter and his wife for trying to come to the show, I am terribly sorry it was sold out. If you ever plan on coming to another show in the future, let me know, and I will get you in for sure!) 9pm came around even quicker as Tommy and I started to warm up in the back.
I have to say that we were both very pleased with our piece. Of course there could have been things that we could have done better, but I really am proud that we went out there and kicked off the entire thunderdome. We played to an audience that was not entirely there to see us or cheer for us, and I feel that they really liked us. Tommy is a great guy to work with, the show was a blast, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. (Special thanks to Trish Berrong, Jared Brustad, and Tommy Todd for helping me to break out of my typical character molds.)
Congratulations to the winners Loaded Dice. They put on a great show and there were no slow moments, it was all fast and funny. If you missed it, I am terribly sorry, you missed history being made. Lesson learned that evening, make reservations for all 3 of the next installments. The championship in April is already selling fast.

Now it is time to get back to the normal routine since Tommy and I lost, but I have a feeling this will not be the last time we try a 2 man show again.


I Can't say enough

Another great rehearsal last night at Roving Imp. The cast is really coming together. I can't reiterate enough how great John Robison is at teaching people the basics of improv. He even knows how to make people feel very comfortable when they know that the scene wasn't that great. I think he really has a strong grasp on the fact that people learn by doing in improv. Then he gives them a simple note or reminder after the fact so that they learn from him as well. I still stick by my decision to join his group, because I see so much great potential with the group and the theater.

The Pitch wrote some very nice things about the teams participating in the Improv Thunderdome this weekend, and The Kansas City Star even mentioned something. This is going to be a great show. I will post all about it on Sunday or Monday morning. Until then, have a great weekend everyone, and support some great improv wherever you are.


First, let me just get this out of the way. This is the 50th post of this here blog. Yay...moving on.

Seriously though. I started this blog to talk about the improv scene in Kansas City. I would never say that it is better than any other city, but we are definitely making strides to at least increase awareness of it here in KC.

Today, in the Shawnee Neighborhood News section of The Star, there was a picture of the Shawnee Mission South High School improv group and the Blue Valley North High School improv group. Wow! I just have to say that I am very glad to see that they even have groups. Some of the names underneath the photo in the caption were recognizable from the festival workshops list.

Monday was the last chance Tommy and I had to rehearse for the upcoming Improv Thunderdome. I have to say that we are not 100% ready, but we are doing this for fun, and to help improv in general, not to win. It will be a blast no matter what happens. I just hope we turn some people on to other forms of improv and widen the audience just a little bit more.

Last night IA had another great private gig at a church in southern Overland Park. Afterwards, the group even had a lovely Q & A for our group. We mentioned our public shows and the upcoming festival. Word is starting to spread. Maybe we will need a bigger venue this year?

Tonight I have Roving Imp rehearsal. Saturday is Improv Thunderdome. This week is just getting better and better



Saturday had IA rehearsal from 1-3pm followed by some fun up-to-date pictures we desperately needed for the website. Missed some people at the rehearsal, but overall, a good time was had by all. The long form was especially productive. We are definitely coming together when it comes to performing a coherent long form piece now.

Saturday night I had two shows at Comedy City with 50 people in attendance for each show. Not bad, but not great considering there is a theater downstairs that can hold 200, that is not being used...almost ever. I'm sorry, it is hard not to complain. I am surrounded by people that were there in the hay day, when sold out shows were common. Now, cancelled shows are common. The sadness rubs off. In fact, Comedy City cut their Thursday shows and now only have 3 shows total during the week. One Friday night, and two on Saturday nights. Hmm...does the downward spiral continue?

In order to get my spirits back up I will say that Roving Imp and Improv in Liberty had great audiences on Saturday so says John and Trish. Full Frontal even had great turnouts for their best of show this past weekend. Yay KC Improv!

Look for more great things for improv in 2008. The return of the Kansas City Improv Festival, a possible return of the Kansas City High School Improv League, and more groups putting on more shows than ever before in this city. Last but not least, the improv thunderdome makes its debut this Saturday. Come out and see history in the making!


Last night at Roving Imp was everything I wanted out of a rehearsal. The coaching was fantastic, John was on top of his game and really helped out all of the players after each game. We got to discuss it ourselves and then he gave us his point of view. He is also doing a great job with players who haven't improvised before. He is giving them just enough so that they don't feel overwhelmed. It is exciting to watch people learn from him.

I definitely feel a part of that team as well. It helps to know most of them from other events, but still, I never felt nervous on stage with any of them. The trust was there. In fact, I will go out on a limb and say that last nights long form practice was one of the best I have ever experienced. I wish there could have been an audience there, because it was beautiful. It was seamless, there was no confusion on stage, and the characters relationships were solidified from the beginning.

Roving Imp has it going on and nobody outside of the improv world knows it yet. I can't wait to see the continued growth, and hopefully that means in attendance as well.

In other news, Tommy and I practiced our long form for the thunderdome coming up. It is still very exciting. If anything it is just an absolute blast to play with Tommy. I definitely learned a lot from Mr. Jared with his great side coaching. It is always great to have someone there for a different perspective. We are going to rehearse 1-2 more times to work out the kinks before the show on the 12th.

2008 is looking very good so far to me.