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Magnet Theater Blog: News and Ideas about Comedy, Improv Shows & Classes in NYC

Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Wednesday April 26, 2017, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.


What’s your name?

Patrick Grizzard

Which team or show are you on?

Kinfolk, Astro Tramps, Ten-Minute Play Festival

Where are you from?

Richmond, VA

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

Some people have a mid-life crisis and buy a sports car. I started doing comedy. It’s been much more rewarding and (slightly) less expensive than that sexy red Miata I had my eye on. I was always a comedy nerd, but never considered performing. After I finished grad school, I realized I had spent two years staring at a computer by myself. I signed up for an improv class on a whim and within a few weeks I was like, “Yes. This. More.”

How long have you been performing/writing?

Five years this month. Happy improversary to me!

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

It would be a dream to improvise with Christina Gausas. She is so present and just radiates joy and possibility, onstage and in the classroom. You can’t be around her and not feel inspired to do great improv. If I could write with anyone in the world it would be George Saunders or Danny McBride. They are the polar ends of my personal comedy spectrum, which I guess spans from “empathetic and profound” to “confident doofus fails spectacularly.”

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I would love to write for “Bojack Horseman” some day. It’s so smart and silly and heartbreakingly sad and beautiful all at the same time. I’m terrible at impressions, but maybe Dan Harmon or Slavoj Zizek? I’m sure they would both have EXTENSIVE notes and feedback to share.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

In Kinfolk meetings, it’s frequently the pitches that people preface by saying, “This is probably too dumb…” and then you riff on it for five minutes until everyone’s crying laughing. Just the stupidest bits that people commit to relentlessly and won’t let die. Pretty much any line that Dmitry Shein ad libs in a sketch.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

http:www.oonce-oonce.com/

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

Dogs or cats? Neither? I got my eye on you pal!

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

How I imagine: Performing, seeing friends’ shows, going to the movies, etc.. How it is: Netflix, Seamless, my bed.

Who is your favorite Saturday Night Light cast member (past or current)?

My favorite SNL cast member of all time would probably have to be Phil Hartman (RIP). His Sinatra was the best. Sorry Joe Piscopo 🙁

Thursday April 20, 2017, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

 

What’s your name?

Alyssa Lott

Which team or show are you on?

Kinfolk

Where are you from?

Virginia

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

Through acting for theater.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Performing a long time, writing less long time.

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

Melissa McCarthy

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

Impersonate angry men, write for Sam Bee.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

People surprising themselves. And memes (I know, I’ll roll my own eyes at myself).

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Soooooul music, baby… **lowers sunglasses, jiggles eyebrows**

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

How’s it going today?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Performing characters or improv, or having a big dinner someplace I haven’t been before.

What is your favorite emoji to use?

🙃

Wednesday April 12, 2017, 12:53pm - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

 

What’s your name?

Emma Rogers

Which team or show are you on?

Stockton

Where are you from?

Connecticut

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I started out taking acting classes at my liberal arts college and a teacher believed in me enough to tell me to take it more seriously. I then got to take classes at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London because this broad has dual citizenship, baby!! I distinctly remember loving an exercise we did in characterization where you had to pick a prop out of a box and improvise an entire backstory. In that moment, I totally dipped into the joy of improvising. There was overtures of Symphony No. 9 going off in my head as this happened. A few existential crises later and I moved to NYC, started taking comedy classes and I’ve been smitten ever since.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I’d say about 8 years…that feels crazy to say. I still have so much to learn!

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

This is the hardest question on earth because I am interested in so many people. Lately, I’ve been super into the convergence of performance art and comedy. But if I had to choose, I’d say John Early. I’m obsessed with not only is style of comedy but the cinematic aesthetic of his videos (ahem 555, ahem the Characters). He takes small painful moments and celebrates them. He’s a mad genius in my eyes. John, just give me a shout the next time you’re in Brooklyn!! We’ll get strawberry smoothies.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

Christopher Guest

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Commitment to awkward bits and doing them too long.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Huge question, love it, glad you asked. It starts out like a Red Hot Chili Peppers song, ya know a lot of crash, bang, wallop then it gets sweet and a little melancholy with some Cranberries. Then it gets fun with some T. Rex turning lovey dovey with some Al Green, some Beach Boys, some Roy Orbison. As we get into the brooding phase we get a lot of the Cure, Crystal Stilts, David Bowie. Then it turns purely Celtic as I connect to me people’s roots. I’m talking full traditional Celtic folk music with a dash of ambient late Brian Eno. I could go on but I’d be amazed if you’re still reading this.

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

Is that a toupee or just a merkin glued to your scalp?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

In my robe, dancing in the mirror.

If you could choose your own nickname, what would it be? 

If I could choose my own nickname it would be Emma Flamethrower Rogers instead of ‘Skidmark Nincompoop’ the one I earned on that class trip to Vermont where there was only one bathroom….

 

Thursday April 6, 2017, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

 

What’s your name?

Erin Marie Nebel

Which team or show are you on?

Tallulah

Where are you from?

Dubuque, IA

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I was working a quintessential NYC job with an unreasonable boss (i.e. Devil Wears Prada) and I needed something outside of work, sleeping, and crying in Battery Park on my lunch break. I wanted to return to my first love- acting, but I knew I didn’t have time to read plays, memorize scenes, rehearse, etc. So I thought, improv… you just show up right? I took a free intro class with Rick Andrews and laughed so hard that I used a computer in the Magnet office to sign up for a level one starting the next day – I haven’t left since.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I have been doing improv for 3.5 years.

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

Sir Ian McKellen or Lucille Ball

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

Lucille Ball / Zelda Fitzgerald / Annie Oakley / Slyvia Plath / Mary Wollstonecraft / Marilyn Monroe

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Animals

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

An original collaboration between John Williams, Bon Iver, Alabama Shakes, Florence Welch, James Vincent McMorrow, and Sia.

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

Did you know that studies show the greatest predictor of sexual satisfaction in a heterosexual marriage is the amount of male participation in domestic chores and that higher male involvement in traditionally female designated chores is more strongly correlated with greater reported sexual satisfaction?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

These days, watching The Great British Bakeoff. Other possibilities include volunteering as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault/domestic violence, working on a NYTimes crossword, or watching videos on youtube of unlikely animal friendships recent favorites include: wolves and bears, pigs and tigers, and hedgehogs and dogs.

What is your favorite movie quote? 

“You’re killing me, Smalls!”  – The Sandlot

 

Friday March 24, 2017, 1:57pm - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

What’s your name?

Johnathan Ross

Which team or show are you on?

Youths/The Nitro Girls

Where are you from?

Alabama/Georgia

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

Started improv to improve stand-up skills and then I just never stopped doing it.

How long have you been performing/writing?

2.5 years

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

Probably Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or “Key and Peele”

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

I’d like to impersonate Obama. And I’d love to write for/with Donald Glover.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Smart dark comedy or straight up dumb dumb simple stuff. Black White Supremacist and Valet Workers are 2 examples.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

It’s mostly Kanye with Chance the Rapper, Childish Gambino, Beyonce, and Solange sprinkled throughout. Kendrick Lamar would get a lot of features and DJ Khaled would probably do all the mixing. Alabama Shakes would make a surprising appearance as would Miley Cyrus.

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

Did you see/Do you watch [current movie/show I’m obsessed with]. Right now it’d be Mr. Robot or Blair Witch

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

At a movie, at home watching Netflix, out doing Karaoke, in a show, or grabbing drinks with friends.

Friday March 17, 2017, 2:55pm - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.


What’s your name?

Paul Ton

Which team or show are you on?

Youths

Where are you from?

I was born in Taiwan. My family moved to Michigan when I was one and then again to New Jersey when I was six. Right now I live in Brooklyn.

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

For one of my friend’s birthdays, we went to a long form show, and it was like watching wizards. It really stuck with me. I must have thought about it for weeks. A couple months later, I got off work early and signed up for a level one with Megan Gray starting later that evening.

How long have you been performing/writing?

That was October 2010, so a little over six years.

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

I would say Christina Gausas. I was in one of her workshops and she brought out the best in everyone. She’s just so genuine and expressive and positive and supportive and super sharp and an incredible actor. Although if we were to actually do a scene together, I’d probably be too intimidated to move.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly, but the last few times that I’ve laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe, I was watching The Music Industry. Something about how they all double down so freely on the dumbest things.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

The soundtrack would just be one song on repeat, and then every couple weeks a new song would replace it. Right now it’s End Of The Line by Roxy Music. A couple weeks ago it was Ocean Man by Ween. And the one before that was Good Times Roll by The Cars.

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

What’s something that made you smile in the past week or something that you’re looking forward to in the coming week?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

At dinner with friends. Catching a show. Hanging out at home.

 

 
 
 
 
Friday March 10, 2017, 9:00am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

What’s your name?

Russ Feder

Which team or show are you on?

The Commotion 

Where are you from?

Long Island, NY

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I grew up watching SNL, Mr. Show, and Monty Python all the time. In the early days of Comedy Central, the British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? became my favorite show on television. I wrote some sketch soon after college with my old team, The Evil Audubon Society, and took improv classes over at UCB. Later, I took Musical Improv classes at the Magnet, and here we are!

How long have you been performing/writing?

Well, I’ve done musicals and plays since middle school, and I have a degree in Theater, so I’ve been acting for about 21 years, writing for 10, and improvising for eight.

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

It was my dream to be Dana Carvey as a kid, so it would be incredible to work with him. And Paul F. Tompkins is the Funniest Person Alive, so I’d love to goof around on a stage with him. That dude makes me laugh like no one else.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

I’ve done a pitch perfect George Costanza impression since I was in eighth grade, so I’d love to yell at Jason Alexander and have him yell back at me for a while.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

When I see people I know and love perform. If I like you as a person, I’ll respond to a B-plus joke like it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. And I’m a BIIIIIIG laugher. Sorry, rest of the audience.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

There’s an embarassing amount of Billy Joel, but that’s what happens when you grow up on Long Island. Plus, there’s a steady diet of Punch Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, and, if I’m doing things right, at least one Queen song a day.

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

“Their name, for I am a gentleman!

I’d then promptly forget their name, for I am a narcissist.”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Either at home, with friends, or at a show. Weird time to decide to flirt with me, Questionaire.

If you could choose one animal to go extinct – which would it be? 

Mosquitos should go extinct! Why do we even have them?

Friday March 3, 2017, 10:00am - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.


What’s your name?

It’s Alexis!

Which team or show are you on?

Trouble Town (two words)

Where are you from?

Los Angeles & Boca Raton

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

Lane Kwederis is one of my best friends from high school; she’s super funny and strange and she was doing it and I always do what Lane does

How long have you been performing/writing?

I’ve been entertaining the masses since the age of four but I’m hoping to learn some other more practical skills soon…

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

Gilda Radner. Well… Gilda and Ethel Merman

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

Chuck Norris or Louis Armstrong

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Fart jokes, cliché, I know, but they still get me every time. Booger jokes are a close 2nd

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

“Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba” which translates to “here comes a lion, Father” 🦁

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

I’d ask them, “how do you feel about physical contact? And, can I hug you?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

With Knuckles, my fish. I’ll send you guys a picture of him. He’s the best (we’re in our honeymoon phase, still)

Thursday February 23, 2017, 4:23pm - by Promo Team

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.


What’s your name?

Henry Russell Bergstein

Which team or show are you on?

Avalanche

Where are you from?

Long Island

 

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I had gone to film school, but hadn’t been creating much poundsigncontent since I graduated.  I wanted to exercise some of those muscles that I hadn’t been using in a while, and I found improv and sketch!   And I never looked back.  And my wallet hurts…

How long have you been performing/writing?

A bunch of years now.

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

I dream that it is Barbra Streisand.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

John Early.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Gay comedians.  

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Snippets of songs–a line here–a line there–strung together and sung intermittently throughout the day.  

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

Who are you?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Anywhere that will have me.

If you were a superhero (are you?), what would your superhero name be?

I cannot reveal it to protect my loved ones.

Friday February 10, 2017, 10:00am - by Magnet Theater

Welcome to Magnet’s “Getting To Know” series! We’re using our blog to highlight our fabulous performers and writers and we can’t wait for you to meet them. Want to see them all? Click here.

Chloe Lewis Headshot

What’s your name?

Chloe Lewis

Which team or show are you on?

Kinfolk

Where are you from?

Chicago, Illinois

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I took my first improv class as a freshman in high school at the Latin School of Chicago. Nick Baer was my first (and one of my favorite) teacher, and here are his notes from my grade report first quarter, freshman year (yes, I have them): “Chloe has been doing solid work in Improv Company this quarter.  A confident and enthusiastic performer…she is not afraid to follow a bizarre move or premise with complete sincerity…Chloe could stand to slow down at times in her scene work…I encourage Chloe to continue sharing the joy that she seems to perform with at all times.” Safe to say, I’m still weird, and I could still stand to slow down.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Welllllllll my mom was a performer at the Second City in Chicago, and while she was performing on the main stage, she was also pregnant with me. So, is it safe to say, since the womb? Just kidding, but I have been writing and performing since I was a little kid. I didn’t get into comedy specifically until high school, but I have been on stage ever since I was little. In preschool I made my own stage out of blocks every day and I would bully all the other little kids into watching me perform during choice time. Suckers.

Who in all the world would be your ideal scene or writing partner?

Oh god. This is a horrible wonderful question. Where to start? Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Steven Martin? Or Tina or Amy or Mindy or Mya or Kristen? Or Jake Johnson or Lamorne Morris, or Tim Baltz because he’s super cute and talented and my friend Lizzie and I had a crush on him in college and would go to shows at the iO religiously to see his teams. I’d love to sit down with Rachel Dratch, or John Lithgow. Stephen Karam, or Sir David Hare? I’d give my left leg to write with or to have known E.E. Cummings or Lucille Ball….ok, I’ll stop there. You probably only wanted me to say like one or two people…

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

Oh god, I love to impersonate Jimmy Stewart. Is that weird? I’m oddly good at it. I would love to write for literally anyone who wants me to write for them. Are you hiring?

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Farting. I’m serious. I know that is blue and bathroom humor is frowned upon, but I LOVE farts. Farts, farting, jokes about farts, I just farted, you just farted, laughing until I fart, laughing because someone farted, laughing because that someone who farted was probably me. Hangover farting, farting and walking away. Yeah, farts. 100% of the time anything to do with farts will make me laugh.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Yikes, this is tough. A little bit of everything from the Eagles and the Grateful Dead to Tim McGraw and anything country, to Mary Chapin Carpenter and Carole King, to James Taylor and bluegrass and folk, love Grizzly Bear. Anything but screamo. I’m a runner, and frequently run with the November Project, but when I’m not with them, I stick to top 40s. BIG fan of Spotify release radar. They get me.

What’s something you’d ask when meeting someone for the first time?

Usually their name. (Haha is that a boring answer?) Then I repeat their name in my head at least six times right after because I am terrible with remembering names and someone once told me that if you are bad with names you are just lazy. So, I try not to be lazy.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Ideally? In a cuddle pile with an entire litter of puppies. Realistically (but also ideally)? On my couch with Indian takeout, my boyfriend Jimmy, and whatever topically relevant show everyone is binging at the time.

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