Improv got me this internship

Last night was the first Buzz Under the Stars of this summer season. Let me back up. Back in March I interviewed for an intern position at the Buzz, a local radio station. Apparently it is actually pretty tough to get in there. Then again, there are 18 interns this summer, so who knows. Anyways, during the interview, they noticed my improv background, smiled, and asked me all sorts of questions about it. In fact, they implied that it would really help my chances of possibly writing, producing, or even being on-air. (Even though the intern position is for marketing and promotions.) Fast forward, I finally met Jason, and told him hello from Jared and Lisa. (My in, a mutual friend mwhaa haa!) While I was talking to him, I talked with a board operator and producer and they both mentioned that I could train to be a board operator after the internship. Fricken sweet. Thanks improv.


Tuesday Rehearsal

Next week will be IA's last rehearsal before we leave for Chicago. I can't begin to express how excited I am. Everyone except Ryan Seymour is able to go, which is sad, but still exciting that everyone else was able to make it work. We have our itinerary and we are scheduled to work with our coach for 3 hours on Friday and 6 hours on Saturday, with a 30 minute show Saturday night. On top of that, we are going to try are hardest to see as many shows as we can, party and mingle at every after party, and just soak in the awesomeness that is the Chicago Improv Festival.


Improv Blog Topic for May

Warm-ups before a show: Good, Bad, or Indifferent.

For me personally, warm-ups before a show are good. I need to get with the group and act silly to forget about my life outside of improv. I need high energy warm-ups so that we get our blood pumping and our brains on the same wavelength. If improv is a team sport, then the team should warm-up beforehand so that we are all with the same game plan. If we don't warm up, then we won't come out with high-energy. I think Del Close was the one who said improvise at your highest intelligence. Well, I won't be at my most intelligent unless I warm-up, but that is just me.

I have to remind myself that all of these topics are opinion based. Sure, someone out there may hate warm-ups, and that's OK. But, for me, I like warm-ups, and would prefer warm-ups before a show, to none at all.

PS--don't forget to stretch:



The private show was cancelled. This is bad because it would have been a good show for IA, but it is great because we never have to deal with Famous Johnny's manager again. I want to get some things off of my chest. He expected us to do all of our own marketing. (he didn't do any) He expected us to pack the house. (On a Wednesday night at a stand-up club) He would warm up the crowd before each of our shows by saying the following. "Wow, 20 people here today, sorry there aren't more, well, hope the improv is good." Seriously, he was a downer.

Despite the fact that he was tough to deal with, we smiled, put on great improv shows, and turned some people on to improv here in KC. We did the best with what we could, and hopefully it comes back to us in some form. Needless to say, goodbye Famous Johnny's.


Tuesday Rehearsal

Great rehearsal last night. We sat down as a group and talked about the last 4-6 weeks of rehearsal and the last show. I just love how everyone can give their input and it is actually listened to and discussed. Overall, it is the directors decision to implement things, but at least we have a voice about the group and it is heard.

We have 3 more rehearsals before Chicago, and we are going to work on some of our weaknesses as a group. Mainly character work. Most of us continually get a note that we are playing to close to ourselves. We'll see how that pans out in the next couple of weeks. We have a private show coming up on Thursday for Black and Veatch, and you won't believe where it is. Famous Johnny's, the place where we were building an audience, putting on great shows, but the owner wanted it to be a stand-up club instead...go figure.


The Future

The Kansas City Star has been discussing downtown's revival and future for the past 3 days. I can't help but wonder how Kansas City Improv plays into that as well. Kansas City has a decent live theater district, a rapidly growing arts district in the crossroads, and a revival of downtown dwellers. I know it takes baby steps, but it would be nice to see improv continue to grow with the revived and growing downtown. The Festival is back and that helps a lot. Joint shows are becoming more and more, which helps a lot. Groups want to help each other, not compete with one another. But in my opinion, if we want this to be successful, we have to continue to put forth the effort to build it, we can't get complacent and be happy with what we have. We have to continue to strive to put on great shows and educate those that are interested in what we love to do.


Something beginning, something ending

Friday's meeting went really well. Pete couldn't make it, but Trish, Rob, Nick, and myself all had similar ideas for what we wanted to accomplish as a Thunderdome team. We will be rehearsing a few ideas in the first 2 rehearsals and go from there. It is such a great cast of improv experience, I have to say I feel a little privileged to be a part of such a great group. Thank goodness they said yes to my request to play with them.

Saturday Night Live had their season finale this weekend. Can I just say, for the past few weeks, I have really become a Kristin Wiig fan. Her dedication to her characters is astounding. On top of that, they are all so different. She is definitely great at character work, which is something I am a huge fan of, since it is something I challenge myself to do. On another note, she isn't bad at impersonations either...which is really what character work is anyway.

I advise you to check out some of her characters on SNL.

Her Suze Orman impression is dead on.

Update-I just found out that SNL is going to be doing 22 episodes in season 34 to make up for the strike last year.


That's right, it is time. Be afraid, be very afraid. Trish, Nick, Rob, Pete, and myself are going to meet tomorrow night to discuss how to kill everyone else in Season 2 of Improv Thunderdome.

The talent on this team is downright scary, but, we learned from Season 1 that getting a strong audience to back you up is key as well.

We are definitely going to be doing some type of longform, but with only 25-30 minutes of stage time, it will be hard to pull of something slow and patient.

We will have to come out fast and hard, with our sternums a blazing!


Tuesday Night

IA had a strange rehearsal last night. There was a lot of low energy in the room. That sucks for a rehearsal right before a show. Of course, no matter what, we will have fun on Saturday, but it still makes you rethink things when you have a rehearsal like this right before a show.

Tommy is out of town, but I am putting the finishing touches on another video. I hope to have it up sometime next week. I will keep you posted.

Lately in my DVD I have been watching Saturday Night Live Season 1, Flight of the Conchords Season 1, and Arrested Development Season 1. Comedy gold if you ask me.


Comedy City

Missed my Comedy City show this weekend and I may not be able to do any shows in June. There is just to much going on right now and I don't feel bad about it at all. The shows are not challenging, the club is in some weird waiting period to see if it even remains a club anymore, and there are way to many other exciting improv happenings right now.

In other news, I have been watching a lot of sketch shows lately. One that is really tickling my funny bone is Human Giant, which stars some studs from the Upright Citizen's Brigade Theater in NY. On top of that, they all blog as well, and their blogs are a really fun read.



Tuesday IA Rehearsal

Another solid rehearsal. It has been 4 months since we have dedicated some rehearsal time to longform improv and it is still paying off. We are really coming together as a team more and more each week, it helps that we are all motivated improv nerds too though. We gained a great member in Ryan Seymore last night as well. He started playing with us and it felt as if he had been with us for more than just one night, that is for sure. He is a very experienced player and I can't wait to do some more improv with him for however long this crazy roller coaster keeps going.

It has been a long time since I have talked about my improv schedule. Last year, I quit CounterClockwiseComedy and joined Roving Imp, Comedy City, and started doing videos. Now I am just in Improv-Abilities, an occasional Comedy City show, and still doing the videos. Between rehearsal and my internship, I am still not going to be able to add anything at the moment, besides Improv Thunderdome, and even that is going to be tough.

I think I will wait till after the festival to see what is going on in the community before I decide to do more. In all reality, I will most likely be a part of the High School Improv League coming back and that will definitely take up a lot of my time.

I am glad the community is growing though. Hopefully there will be more coaches, directors, and new players in the future.


Improv Fight Club

The return of improv fight club was necessary. Thanks to John for holding it at Roving Imp. I can't complain about driving out there for this, when it is only once a month, so no one else should either. We can always carpool.

What I love about fight club, is that there is no critiquing work. In fact, we don't talk about what happened at all. It is just a place to play, experiment, work out the kinks if you will. I love it, and wish more people took advantage of the free playtime. No matter what, it helps just to play with other people. I know I learned a few things last night just from watching others play.


One Great Weekend

Friday morning, I woke up like a kid at Christmas. I was very excited for the evening of shows ahead. I was unable to play in the first show IA had during First Fridays, but this time, I was definitely playing. We got to share the stage with 4 fantastic performers in Megan Mercer, Jenny Roser, Ed Doris, and Jared Brustad, all of The Trip Fives.

It was 5 hours of fun. I hope the audience enjoyed it, I know I did. I have to admit that when I watch The Trip Fives play, it is like watching the pro's out of Chicago do it, so to play with them feels like a privilege.

Saturday: IA had a private show for 60 High School choir girls from Minnesota. Didn't really know what to expect, but luckily we had a great cast and we put on a great show. The kids loved it, and more importantly, the adult chaperone's loved it.

A great weekend of improv capped off by the Chicago Improv Festival Schedule coming out. It's great to see Improv-Abilities name with all of those famous people.


I'm so excited

Tonight is going to be a lot of fun. Improv-Abilities is performing with The Trip Fives. Talk about two great improv groups. All for a very low price, and not just for an hour, more like 5 hours. We are going to be doing short form and long form all night. It should be great fun. Come on down to Paddy O' Quigleys in the crossroads anytime tonight and check it out.

Oh, and here is the new TommyandKeith video. It was very easy to shoot and easy to edit, but still a funny idea. I think we pulled it off pretty well. We have another one that is going to take some time to edit, so feel free to go back and watch some of our old stuff. Thanks.