Comedy City on Saturday

5:00pm show was sold out. Great show, great energy.

7:30pm show, half full. Another great show, but not the same energy.

I try not to get down about any show in town. I always try to keep my fun energy up no matter what, but there is something about Comedy City that is just draining it out of me. It seems that the owner doesn't even want to be there. The players show up to play and have fun, but sometimes it seems that it doesn't matter. Thank God the audience shows up and laughs with us, otherwise it would be a waste of time and energy.

Something needs to change, and I hope it happens soon. The players deserve some respect and gratitude for the effort they put forward.

In other news, it has been almost 6 months since I recorded the commercials for the Visit Nebraska campaign. Still no word on them, it is frustrating, but I know when they do come out, they will be great.


Improv Blog Topic for March

Every Kansas City improviser who had a blog was supposed to post about the same topic. I'm afraid that mine is going to be short and sweet.

The question or theme is supposed to be: What are the best and worst things happening in KC improv?

The best: The continued growth of the Kansas City improv community through collaboration of groups and individuals.

The worst: The egocentric attitudes of groups and individuals.

Elaboration below:

Collaboration helps because new groups and new individuals are exposed to better shows and different formats, and because we don't have teachers and coaches like other cities, this is their only form of learning.

Egocentrism is bad, because it hinders collaboration and learning mentioned above. We are all striving towards the same goal, I really think the festival, thunderdome, and City3 has really helped people get out of this horrible mentality, or soon will, when they see the success.


Roving Imp Rehearsal

No, I am not back in the Roving Imp group...yet. But, I was invited by John to be a part of The Roving Imp's one year anniversary show and I can't wait. It is going to be an absolute blast. Rehearsal was great, John is a special teacher. He even has two new cast members who are sure to help solidify his group. One is from Comedy City and is a great energy on stage, and the other is new to improv but has much talent. I can't wait to see them grow within his rehearsals and shows. It has been a pleasure to be a small part of his theater and I hope nothing but continued success for his theater in the future.


Famous Johnny's #5

Our best audience to date. There were at least 40 people there that I counted. However, it was our youngest audience so far at the club and they wanted to see a dirty show. Well, we gave them one of the dirtiest shows I have ever been a part of. It was fun, but I am still trying to figure out if I liked performing in it. It seemed to be dumbed down improv. (It was for a stand-up type crowd) But, at least a dozen of the young people came up to us afterwards and said they loved it, and that they would come back for more. That's what we wanted, and I have to remember that in improv, you have to give them what they want first, so that they come back for more. Then, when they do come back, you can hit them with some artsy intelligent humor. Stay tuned for next weeks outcome.


Coming Attractions

Whew...rehearsal was great last night, Aron is the new director for this season. He has us analyzing our longforms, why they are working, why they are not working. I really think it will help us in the longrun. He has a theater background so he is helping us focus on our acting during scenes, and staying in tune with what our character's motivation is as well.

After rehearsal we had a very productive marketing meeting to try and brainstorm (and quickly put into effect) some ideas to promote our improv shows during First Fridays in the Crossroads. That's right, improv, down in the crossroads, on First Fridays. (So much potential) Not only that, but we are opening it up (slowly) to other groups in town. We have to introduce this scene to Kansas City, and First Fridays is a great opportunity to do that.

Tomorrow night we will be starting back up at Famous Johnny's. The owner is definitely keen on us, because he has given us another 8 week contract. As long as he stays patient with the small, slow growing audience, we should be just fine. The first four weeks were great shows, small crowds, but we did gain some returning fans. We will definitely be putting more focus into marketing these after First Friday in April.

What can you do to help? Just promote improv to all of your friends!


IA's Great Longform

Saturday IA had a show at Roving Imp Theater. The 7pm crowd was a great crowd. They wanted to see scenes and relationships, so right away the audience was on our side. Our suggestion was a play titled "The happy fairy who gave me meatloaf." (or something like that) Right away the title gave us plenty to work with. We wove those scenes in and out perfectly. Everyone had a great character, and the relationships were beautifully represented. Everyone knew each other and we started in the middle of the scene as opposed to the beginning. When it was over we couldn't stop smiling, we knew we put on one of the best longform pieces that IA has ever done. Thank God there is a theater in Bonner Springs, and thank God for John Robison, to have the guts to start his own theater.

Roving Imp is celebrating there 1 year anniversary on April 5th with another great show planned. I can't wait to be involved. It is an honor to be asked to participate. My only hope is that John sells out both shows, he deserves it. He has worked his butt off to get this theater off of the ground, and he has a very...very understanding wife!

In other news, the very first Kansas City improv blog post will happen soon. What does that mean? Well, any Kansas City improviser who has a blog will all be posting about the same topic. Should be coming soon...stay tuned.



After reading one of the IO blogs, I heard about a class that ended with each performer sitting on stage while the other performers talked about their positive improv traits. They also gave them some constructive criticism to go along with the positives. (so they didn't get to egotistical I guess)

About a year ago, IA tried this in rehearsal and it lasted for the entire 3 hours. It was a great bonding experience. We tried it again Tuesday night, but this time limited it to only positive comments. It is now the directors job to criticise anyway. This is always an insightful moment into what the other players think of you. I have to say I absolutely love it. I personally think that it keeps the team focused on the task at hand. Which is ultimately...that we are a team, and we each have strengths that we bring to the table, and we are always looking for a way to make our partner look better, so that the show succeeds. After Tuesday night, everyone is reminded again why they do this, and why they love being a part of IA. I recommend that every group do this once in awhile, it just gives you an awesome warm feeling in your body. (not the sexual kind though)


Lovin the scene

The excitement was rewarded. Improv Thunderdome round 3 was definitely the best one yet. In fact, it is definitely some of the best improv I have seen in awhile. I wish all of the teams could move on and perform again. Congratulations to Makeshift Militia for winning. March Madness has nothing on Improv Thunderdome. The championships should be amazing.

As for all of the other shows and happenings around town, I heard nothing but positives. The scene is slowly growing people, so hop on while you have a chance. First Fridays in April should help the scene even more with the start of improv in the crossroads.

Now it is time to get back to some normal routines for awhile. IA will be taking this Wednesday off at Famous Johnny's and having a 3 hour rehearsal again. Tommy and I have taken a break from the videos for a bit, but since the weather promises to be nicer, we may start flushing some awesome stuff out soon.


Celebrate Kansas City Improv

Let's just recap what is happening, or has happened, this week for Kansas City Improv.

-Improv-Abilities at Famous Johnny's

-CounterClockwiseComedy at Westport Coffeehouse
-Full Frontal Comedy at Union Station
-I even heard Hype 7 is getting together to bond at Dave and Busters

-Full Frontal Comedy at Union Station
-Improv Thunderdome featuring players from Makeshift Militia, Comedy City, Tantrum
-Roving Imp Theater in Bonner Springs is holding auditions and has two shows

What a representation of the growth of improv here in Kansas City. Hope you can make it out to see any of these shows, except Thunderdome, which sold out last week.


Patience, First Fridays

We all just need a little patience when it comes to the shows at Famous Johnny's. We are putting on great short form shows. I only know this because the audience is very responsive. In fact, out of the 20 people who were there last night, 4 of those people were returnees. That's right, we finally got some groupies at Famous Johnny's. Next week we are off, so that the men of Playgirl can rub their bodies all over the stage. But here is to 4 more returnees in 2 weeks.

In other news IA has secured and finalized a gig at Paddy O'Quigley's on First Friday in April. We will be putting on a show every hour from 6:30-10:30. Not sure about all of the details quite yet, but it sounds like an amazing opportunity. Start telling your friends about the improv shows you can go to, after walking through the galleries, down at the crossroads.


Improv-Abilities, Adam Mckay, Del Close, Thunderdome

Improv-Abilities rehearsals are so much fun. I start craving rehearsal Sunday nights, that's how fun they are. If I miss a show or a rehearsal, I feel like I am missing out on something very important. (Maybe that is just sad) We have another show at Famous Johnny's tomorrow night before we take a one week break. If the crowd is anything over 25 people again, it will be a success. I wasn't at the show on Saturday, but was told there were 30 people there. Being that we have at least one show a week now, and we are averaging 30 people to each show, (and they are different people each time) I would say that the IA fan base is slowly growing. Sure, we still have friends and family come out, but ever since these Famous Johnny's gigs, we are starting to open up improv to the Johnson Countians. Keep your fingers crossed that the audiences continue to grow, not only with IA, but across the improv community.

The latest Ruby Streak Podcast (Musical Director of Second City) has Adam Mckay making a wonderful appearance. Click HERE to check it out. One of my favorite moments is when Adam Mckay talks about the most important things he learned from Del Close. "Push yourself to your third thought, treat everyone like their geniuses, never talk down to your audience, collaborate, collaborate, yes and!" That is how he says he has handled the responsibilities of writing and directing.

Why did I bring that up?, Improv Thunderdome has found some serious success over the past 3 months. The third show is sold-out, just like the first two. The championship round will definitely be sold out, and I am sure the next season will continue the success. Sure it is new, and it is exciting, but this is how improv will be successful in Kansas City.

Let's not take anything away from Jared and Ed, who took a chance on this, and worked their butts off to make it work. But Adam Mckay has it exactly right. Collaborate, yes and. Those are important in improv and on the outside looking in. The business side must be a collaboration as well. Why does Improv Olympic have 3 teams playing on the same night? So that, there is greater chance for more audience to show up.

I hope we see these changes in the future. More groups playing with more groups. But, none of this, we have the 7 slot and you have the 9. Nobody will come to both, that is a long time for someone to sit and watch improv. It should be 3 teams, performing 30 minute slots, or two teams, performing hour slots. (and let me say it would be great to see them all play some form where they all play together at the end.)

Oh wait, we are starting to see examples of that now, later this spring The Trip Fives are doing a show with Babelfish, you've never heard of them...well you better go to city3.org, or search for the team names on myspace and facebook to find out.


Improv Get-Together #4

No improv for Keithie this weekend. To many personal family matters and traveling to be in any shows. However, Friday I did host the latest improv get-together. I think that these events are truly important. Sure, most of us hang out after shows and what not, but it just seemed like we needed to bond again as a community. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, but I will just let the photos speak for themselves. Thanks to everyone who stopped by. It was a blast!


More Frickin Links

Wednesday night I was able to be an audience member for the Famous Johnny's show. Another crowd of 30 people who we didn't know. I also got the chance to sit with one of the new members of IA. His name is Jim, and sitting next to him makes me look even more nerdy. He is definitely going to help us get some more women to our shows. (I have a little man crush, don't tell him.) The show was fantastic. I think we turned some people on to improv for sure.

In other news, there is yet another improv link to wet the whistle. Second City Touring Company Website. It includes Interviews with former company members and current. So far, it is a very good website. Just another way to feel as if we live in Chicago. Second City is definitely branching out and putting their stories out there, on the web, for people who are interested in the ins and outs of the industry.


rehearsal and cool sites

Rehearsal was great on Tuesday. The energy was as high as it has been in a long time. James was back, Caroline is now engaged, and there were Krispy Kreme donuts. It was great to rehearse with everyone again. We even have two new members, but they will have to be introduced at a later date. Let me just say that they are two incredibly funny dudes.

Someone recently asked me: "Keith, where do you get all of your information on comedians?"

Well, here you go: the apiary, the bastion, the coming.

These sites are blogs/information on comedians and improv comedy in New York, Chicago, and LA respectively.

Have fun checking them out, they are number two to Ruby Streak's podcasts at the moment.


Weekend Recap

Kansas City had some beautiful weather this weekend, so of course the Comedy City shows were light on Saturday. Still some great shows though, lots of fun. Sunday Tommy and I got together to work on a video that we were pretty excited to do. It turned out to be one of the best so far. We are very proud of it.

Yah, I play Waldo. Pretty smooth how it looks and sounds as if I am behind the camera huh?

This week is a precursor to improv thunderdome next week. Hope the teams are prepared for a big crowd and a stellar show. I know I am.