It happens in 3's

1. On Monday we were to rehearse with The Trip Fives at the Westport Coffeehouse. The theater was booked by some other group. (Not upset at you Jared, just the situation) So, we had to go to Nathan's new house to rehearse.

2. Tuesday, IA found out that Famous Johnny's has cancelled the rest of our shows at their venue. Why? Who knows, the guy is not great at communicating from what I hear, his loss anyway.

3. There are two improv theaters in town. One is in downtown and the owner is a jerk. One is in Bonner Springs and the owner is almost perfect. (I love that there is an improv theater, run by a great guy, I just wish it was closer, so that we could build something in the middle of KC)

Why am I putting these down? Because lately, I have been thinking that Kansas City needs an improv comedy venue, led by a great person, in a central location. Somewhere where everyone can rehearse on any given night, somewhere where we are not competing with other non-improv groups for stage time. Somewhere where we can finally set up a High School Improv League. Somewhere where joint shows can be performed on Friday nights and Saturday nights. Somewhere where people can perfect there shows, write a sketch show, put on a revue, and just experiment with longform.

Right now, every group besides Roving Imp and Comedy City has to rent a space to put on a show. If another group wants to rehearse, you have to find a free place (a church), or rehearse in some one's basement.

If we had our own venue, we would never have to worry about where we could put on a workshop, an Improv Fight Club, or a show for that matter.

Now, I am not saying that someone should go and buy a space tomorrow. This is just something that could be helpful with the expansion of improv in Kansas City. Maybe in another year or two, we will realize that we don't need a space. We'll see.


Improv news

Last night we met with Ed and Jared from The Trip Fives and rehearsed some longform stuff that we will be performing together at Paddy O' Quigleys during First Friday. It is going to be a lot of fun, and I hope the crowd enjoys it.

We found out that our Famous Johnny's show on Wednesday was cancelled again. That is two weeks in a row, and we are not sure why this is happening yet. Hopefully this gets resolved soon because we were really making some headway with the audience down there.

New TommyandKeith video should be out by this weekend.


What makes a good improv troupe?

Before I start, I have a bias. I have been with IA since the beginning, for awhile, it was all I knew. Now that I have seen their growth since day 1, I am proud like a parent to see where we are today. That being said, this is what I think makes a good improv troupe.

Trust, confidence, positive attitude, the golden rule, motivation, and communication.

Trust: I will use IA as an example. I completely trust every single one of my fellow players. If I am having a bad night, I trust that they will make me look good. If I am lost in a scene, I trust that they will guide me. If I had something in my teeth, I trust my players to use it in a scene. If you can't trust someone in your group, then how can you trust them in a scene?

Confidence: I want to see the best out of everyone in my group. I never want to see someone go out and think that they suck. This goes along with trust, but if you don't have confidence in yourself, or your teammates, then how can perform with them?

Positive Attitude: Nothing makes me more upset when someone is negative about a show, rehearsal, warm-up, or any situation involving the group. Now if they communicate to the group in an adult fashion as to why they don't like something, that is different. But if they just constantly complain about it without taking action, then that is just a negative outlook. If someone thinks a show is going to suck, then how can the show be good?

The golden rule: This one is the most important to me. In life and in an improv troupe. Treat everyone how you want to be treated. If everyone gets along, you can see it in their performance.

Motivation: If everyone is motivated to perform at their best for the good of the troupe, then that is a great troupe. If everyone is motivated to chip in and help the troupe succeed outside of shows, then that is a great troupe. Again, IA example. I can go through the roster of IA and tell you exactly how much outside work everyone does for IA to promote the group....every single person does something to help IA put on shows...every single one. It's not just one person doing all of the work and getting burnt out.

Communication: A great troupe is like a great relationship. You are able to tell your partner or partners anything at all without it hurting their feelings. You are able to just shut up and listen to your partner when they are giving you feedback or talking about their feelings. IA example: Every once in awhile we get together at a rehearsal and we talk as a team about where we are going and how we should get there. We talk about shows, rehearsals, and how we feel. It may sound silly, but we all know how each person feels, and what would help them stick around. It is a great feeling to know that if someone was upset, they could actually tell someone about it and something would get done.

Now, my answer is not IA makes the perfect improv troupe. We are far from perfect. But, if I couldn't mention them in at least one of the items above, then I wouldn't be in the group now would I? Because they wouldn't be a good improv troupe...right?

Comedy City

I try to get away and they pull me back in. I was complaining just a little bit about Comedy City, but man, I had some fun shows there on Saturday. I wonder why...oh, it was because we were in the big theater. About 130 people showed up for the 7:30 show, and I was very excited. I have been at Comedy City since July of last year, and this is only my second time being in the downstairs theater...very sad. Of course it didn't hurt that there was a great cast, but people are dropping like flies there right now. I wonder how much longer the place will last?


Famous Johnny's #9

Got cancelled. Still not sure why, the email said scheduling conflicts, which sucks. One of our new members Jim was going to perform, and I was very excited to get the chance to do improv with him for the first time. Oh well, it will just have to wait till next week.

I hope this doesn't kill the momentum we were building there. We were averaging 40 people there each week for at least 3 shows in a row. Not to shabby for a Wednesday night.

Here is a hilarious video with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, talking about their new movie Baby Mama. Much is talked about how women are not prevalent in comedy. These two would beg to differ I am sure.



Why is it, that groups sometimes put on their best shows or pieces in rehearsal? Last night, IA had a great longform piece. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of, and I couldn't do it any justice explaining it here. I just want to know what others think about rehearsing something great without anyone seeing it. Sure, we learned a lot from it, and we hope that we outdo ourselves in a show with people watching. But it sure seems like we always do great stuff when no one is around, is it just me?


100th post

Saturday was IA's first season 2 show. It was definitely a very fun show. Our rehearsals have gotten so much better since the new year and it really shows in our performances. We had an audience of about 20. Our longform was very good, we were very patient with our scenes. We didn't force anything into the scenes, everything came out of some very good listening, and some great characters. I am very proud of IA's shows lately, and they can only get better with all of the opportunities we have coming up.

I promise there are more Tommy and Keith videos coming soon. It has just been tough scheduling filming days. We have some great ideas ready to shoot though, and when they are up, I will post them here.

I have my first Comedy City show in what feels like a very long time, and I am not actually excited about performing there at all. There are just to many other good groups and events, run by good people, going on right now, for me to concentrate on Comedy City. (I get excited about playing with certain people though, just in case they read this)


IA's Season 2

IA has there first season 2 show at Lucky's tomorrow night. Aron has been our director for this season and he has brought a great theater perspective to our rehearsals. Our first show was a lot of fun and we got some great feedback. We are doing pretty much the exact same format. Shortform first, halftime, sketch, longform, ending with freeze games. I think it helps the audience get ready for some longform seeing all of that short form in the first half, and ending with freeze games is always a big laugh ending scenario. Should be fun, come on out if your in the area. I will definitely tell you how it goes.


Just a little nugget

Read a great line from Bill Arnett today, that he got from Del Close:

"The note is that you should always be talking to your scene partner and never to the audience. When people break the moment and go for a joke they are talking to the audience. That’s it. Every line you speak is meant for your scene partners ears alone. In Harold openings, games and non-verbal organic physical explorations every action is in response to and solely intended for your partner. That is the only person you will ever talk too."

Sounds simple, but I bet this definitely goes a long way in building trust and confidence with your scene partner. I know that I would want some one's full attention, not a scene stealer in my scenes.


Tuesday IA rehearsal

Had another good rehearsal with IA last night, we are done rehearsing for our Season 2 show "Visa and MasterGod." It should be interesting. Our longform was great last night, we didn't force any relationships between all of the characters and the scenes turned out better because of it. I really like how we are becoming more patient as a group and trusting each other on stage more. If you are around the area on Saturday come on out to Lucky's, it'll be a good time.

I am personally focusing on listening to "everything" in a scene so that I can add to a scene if necessary, I don't want to be a primary character, but more of a helper if you will. It is a lot of fun to just go in a play a game that the other characters have already established, especially when it heightens the scene.


Nebraska Tourism Videos

Finally! They are up and running. The advertising agency submitted them on Youtube and built a website around the videos. Here are all of the links and videos. Please view them, rate them, comment on them, tell me what you think, and maybe...just maybe, I will get to do some more. Thanks!


Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3


Thunderdome Championship

What a great show. I am so proud to even be a part of this awesome improv community. 150 people were in attendance to watch an improv show that did not have a nationally known star. Is that a first for KC? It's a first for me. What I love about Thunderdome is that the competition aspect gets the crowds in. The other thing I love about it, is that once they are in, we are putting on some great improv for them. The energy feeds us and we in turn give them something to remember. Little by little, people are going to get interested in this "improv" that we do, and they are going to see more shows, maybe even take classes and join the community. In the past month new people have joined Improv-Abilities, Makeshift Militia, and Roving Imp. Scott taught a class that had a woman who may audition for Hype 7. I have a feeling that the fundraiser classes for the festival and the festival itself, will help the community get just a little bit bigger, whether by new members or by new improv groups.

Loaded Dice won the first championship, but each team involved (even the losers) won respect from me. It was just great to see people playing with others, trying different things, and overall, having fun. That is what this is all about, go out there, have fun, and someone will dig it. I know I had a blast, and from the look of the audience members faces after every show, they had fun too.

Season 2 kicks off in June and I can't wait. Teams have formed, and from the look of things, teams are bigger, better, and the competition is going to be fierce...super fierce according to Christian.


Famous Johnny's #7

Well, another decent crowd means that we are still slowly growing the audience on Wednesday nights at Famous Johnny's. There were about 30-40 people in the crowd again this week, which is definitely our best 3 crowds in a row at Famous Johnny's. However, this audience was very stoic. This isn't to say that they didn't have a good time. (We had a lot of congratulations on a good show afterwards) In fact, I had a blast, and we all had lots of energy, but the audience just wanted to sit there and be entertained. Every week seems to be a different type of crowd at Famous Johnny's, which is a good thing, I think. We have to stay on our toes, we can't expect anything from this crowd.

Afterwards we all discussed how, in a way, these are like rehearsals with a live audience. We get to see what works, what doesn't work, all with an actual response. You can get a laugh from your friends at rehearsal, but it doesn't mean it was a good scene. With an audience, you really start to learn what works and what doesn't. This was the seventh show we have done at Famous Johnny's and my overall review so far would be "Great short form improv with slow growing audience."


The festival couldn't come soon enough

IA rehearsal last night was great again. We missed John and Scott, but we are really gelling as a group. Our long form just keeps getting better and better with practice. After rehearsal we all talked about the logistics of getting to the Chicago Improv Festival. What a great team we have, people are offering up car rides, paying for a hotel for a weekend, anything to get everyone there as a team. If we are all there, then we all learn how to become a better improv team together, it's that simple. Without one person, it just wouldn't feel the same. We can't wait, the energy in rehearsal, shows, and get-togethers are amazing since we found out about this great opportunity.


Saturday's Roving Imp Show

It was a blast. I was so proud to be a part of it all, honestly, it was an honor to even be asked to participate. Thank you John. I must say, it is exciting to see a theater, dedicated to improv comedy celebrate a one-year birthday. This town has had one bad improv theater for the past 7 years, so it is great to see another one having success. It just goes to show you what a great manager, director, and overall nice guy can do for a theater. Here's to many more John.

PS. John is in Chicago, researching shows and theater marketing strategies. He is going to share all of his wisdom with us when he returns.


First Friday

I started at Trish's place to watch some professional improv: UCB's ASSSCAT and TJ & Dave. It was great to watch that stuff and see them having fun on stage, while also being patient as hell. I have a new challenge, slow down, and enjoy the scene, don't blow through it so quickly.

Then we hurried over to catch the last show IA performed at First Friday, I made it in such good time that I got to play. The audience was great, the venue was great, it is going to be something we do for awhile I would bet. We definitely learned a lot from this first show, but like I said, the audience response was great. There were 60 people when I got there at 10 and they stayed for the rest of the night.

Good things are starting to happen for IA. Something I have always complained about, was the lack of audience. Wednesday's at Famous Johnny's are starting to really pick up. I guess last Wednesday we had another 40 people or so. That's two weeks in a row...whoo hoo! First Friday's was definitely a success, and I am sure that it will be again next week, hopefully we can secure a longer tenure there after June. Last but not least, there is also that little nugget of us going to the Chicago Improv Festival as an apprentice team...sorry Pete, That is AWESOME.


Roving Imp turns 1

We had the final rehearsal before Saturday's huge One Year Anniversary Party. It was a great rehearsal, I am very excited for Saturday's show. For the first half of the show we will be doing short form games based on Star Wars suggestions. For the second half, we will be doing a long form piece called "Prequel." We start with episode 8, and finish with episode 7, much like star wars. Happy Birthday Roving Imp, I can't wait to be a part of it. For more info go to rovingimp.com.


Found a cool link, thought I would share

Here is a sweet link to a preview of Kim “Howard” Johnson's new book: The Funniest One in the Room: The Lives and Legends of Del Close.

Within the story is a 15 minute long video of Del Close's last birthday party in the hospital.

Here is the link again if you missed it.

I Wish I could have taken a class from him. I wonder if there will ever be another great improv teacher like him.


This was not April Fools

IA has been accepted to the Chicago Improv Festival...as an apprentice team. What does that mean? We didn't get accepted to play on a main stage, but we got accepted to be a part of a program. The powers that be saw potential in us, so they are hooking us up with free passes to shows, and we will have a coach for the entire time before we put on an apprentice show on either Friday, or Saturday night. The coach concentrates on our show as a group, and training us as a group, while also working on individual goals. On Sunday, we get to have a marketing/promotional meeting with Charna Halpern, Shaun Landry, and some other great improv entrepreneurs. They started this program last year, and one or two of the apprentice groups are now performing on a main stage this year.

The website says that this program is for intermediate groups without a lot of formal training. Joe Bill, Mark Sutton, Jill Bernard, Dave Razowsky, and Susan Messing have been coaches in the past. Needless to say, all IA players are going, and we are very excited for this opportunity to learn, grow, and get a lot of great contacts.