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

Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Thursday June 29, 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?

Bailey Swilley

Which team or show are you on?

Just Karen

Where are you from?

Memphis

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

After I’d been living in the city for about a year, my dad said, “Didn’t you say you were going to sign up for an improv class? Well, when is it?” Then, I went through the improv and sketch programs at UCB, respectively, and then really got into musical improv for a while. #taglinesongs

How long have you been performing/writing?

Performing in some capacity since high school. Writing sketch for about three years.

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

I really love Casey Wilson… and Jenny Slate. And Billy Eichner! Wait, maybe these are just people I want to be friends with.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I do a great Lauren Bacall impression from her “Fancy Feast” commercial (you know the one). I’d love to write for Amy Sedaris. What a genius.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Sketches so based in reality that it makes the writers’ room and audience super uncomfortable.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Broadway bangerzzzz.

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

“Do you know where the bathroom is?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Stuffing my face with papaya salad & dumplings.

Which actor/actress would play you in a biopic about your life?

Mandy Moore… probably?

Thursday June 22, 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?

Billy Soco

Which team or show are you on?

Hot Charles and Kittyhawk

Where are you from?

Florida

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I took a free improv class at Magnet with Hannah Chase. It was magical and saved my life!

How long have you been performing/writing?

Couple years in comedy now though I was in a rap group in college. That counts, right?

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

Mindy Kaling, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Dick Van Dyke for both. Would love to write with Joss Whedon.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

Conan O’Brien, Martin Short, Aziz Ansari, and Fall Out Boy.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

A great tag run. Irrational or unreasonable justifications or sentiments spoken from an unflinchingly committed straight face. Teener, Taul, Gehrig and Birdman…UGH, so good. Also farts.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

A mix of songs from Deja Entendu by Brand New, The Con by Tegan & Sara, Pinkerton by Weezer, Here, My Dear by Marvin Gaye, Buhloone Mind State by De La Soul, Morning View by Incubus, and a crap ton of pop punk, Tom Petty, Prince, Queen and J Dilla.

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

“What’s your name?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

I’m probably performing or watching a friend perform but you know what? Let me check my calendar and I’ll tell you exactly. If not, let’s hang!

If animals could talk, which one would be the rudest?

Raccoons. 100%. They’re all up in everyone’s business and home and trash and have no sense of boundaries which leads me to believe that if they could talk they would be super vocal about their likely unfair opinions of others and, you know, if you don’t have anything nice to say, finish stealing cat food from those cats with your creepy little raccoon hands and be on your way.

Thursday June 8, 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?

Alex Braslavsky

Which team or show are you on?

The Nitro Girls (Sketch) and Hot Charles (Megawatt)

Where are you from?

Baltimore, MD

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I remember as a kid, I thought my dad was the funniest guy in the world. He would tell these jokes and get huge laughs. My impression was that that’s the way to make people love you. Fast forward to today, and I’ve been doing improv and sketch for a little while, and now I can safely say that I’m way funnier than my dad. Take that, old man!!

How long have you been performing/writing?

A few years!

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

Scene Partner– Marina Abramovic
Writing Partner– Charlie Kaufman

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

Larry David

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Mr Bean

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Doves’ “Lost Souls” in its entirety.

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

Do you think we could become close friends?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Networking on LinkedIn, baby!

What’s the most useless talent you have?

I can shake my eyeballs. Ask me in person next time and I’ll show ya.

Thursday June 1, 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?

Jennette Cronk

Which team or show are you on?

Honeymoon

Where are you from?

Tampa Bay Area of Florida

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

When I got to NYC, my friend Paddy said, “Let’s go take a free class at Magnet!” He had already gone through UCB. We had a blast in Rick’s class. Then we took Hannah’s class and loved it! Of course, Michael’s musical free class hooked me for all eternity! Once I tried musical improv, I thought, “Yeah, this is what I’ve been looking for my whole life.”

How long have you been performing/writing?

My first big production was Trial By Jury, and we performed it in a historic court house. I was in second or third grade then (and the only kid in the production). I’ve been performing or writing in some capacity for a really long time.

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

Dawn French! I love everything she does.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

Can I say Dawn French again? Or Tracy Ullman, she’s a huge role model for me.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Farts. I wish I could say I was more sophisticated…. Maybe a good slip-and-fall…

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Kidz Bop covers of Danzig

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

“Were you followed?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

If I don’t have show, I’m at someone’s show!

What is the worst purchase you have ever made?

I bought a “high-waisted control-top thong” once. It was exactly as awful as it sounds. Thanks, Groupon!

Thursday May 25, 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?

Duaa Osman

Which team or show are you on?

Chillionaire

Where are you from?

Sudan & Ohio

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

A complete accident. I’ve always done stand-up and I’ve written short comedy stories but I didn’t get into improv until I moved to New York 4 years ago and then got into sketch shortly after. Needless to say, I feel I’ve been deprived of a very essential part of my life. I blame my parents.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I’ve always been the class clown in school so I guess that counts as a performance. Writing was something that I enjoyed doing since I was a kid but I would say I wasn’t actively in comedy (writing and performing) until 5 years ago.

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

Writing partners: Donald Glover, Aaron Sorkin and Emma Thompson. Scene partner: Sylvester Stallone because I can’t understand a word he says and I like a challenge.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I would like to impersonate Sarah Palin for obvious reasons. Or a pilot. I would love to write for Trevor Noah, Jane Austen, and most recently, Jordan Peele. Or any show that will pay me to have the honor. Seriously, pay me.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

British comedy panel shows. They’re so funny, I almost forget all about colonialism.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

I don’t like music so this is a tough one. Do podcasts count? I would say a melodic mashup of 2 Dope Queens, The Nerdist, and NPR. Oh and Blink-182 just to have something classical.

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

Can I guess what your name is based solely on how you look? It’s important to note, based on this question, that I don’t make a lot of great first impressions.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

You can’t find me. I lock myself indoors doing absolutely nothing because Saturday nights are for not working and not making plans. I just stay home, either writing screenplays or playing video games and hope there isn’t a fire that will force me to go outside and talk to people. Or perhaps at an open-mic. You’ll never know!

What would you name your boat if you had one?

I would name my boat Oprah so people would be fooled into getting on, thinking I could heal their problems.  THAT is how you throw a boat party when you have very few friends.

 

Thursday May 18, 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?

Amy Lynne Berger

Which team or show are you on?

The Nitro Girls

Where are you from?

Naperville, IL.

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I’m certainly one of those kids who grew up watching SNL – but even more than that, I watched sitcoms that highlighted funny women and they made it look so easy! Watching Lucille Ball, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Fran Drescher, and Christina Applegate DAILY certainly pushed me in the direction of comedy. I went to NYU Tisch and got to train in being a ~serious~ actor, which I LOVE, but it also felt very self-indulgent and lonely at a certain point. As soon as I graduated, I decided to sign up for improv and sketch to mix things up and I completely fell in love with the supportive group dynamic of it all!

How long have you been performing/writing?

I’ve been acting since the age of 4 when I played a Cuban Orphan on The Untouchables TV Show! I’ve only been seriously doing comedy/writing for about 3.5 years.

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

Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She’s perfect. I think I could play her daughter and am available to do so.
I also would love to write with Mindy Kaling – I think we’d understand all of each other’s pop culture references.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I would love to impersonate Jessie J because she is absurdly cool and it would mean I had the best vocals in the world. I would love to write for Steve Carrell!

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Watching Tami Sagher. She’s another person I would love to work with as a scene/writing partner. I have a big comedy crush on her because she has a way of making me laugh harder than I ever have and then cry because of her groundedness and honesty…. and then laugh AGAIN for good measure given it’s a comedy show.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

It’s a LOT of musical theatre…but then mixed with some powerhouse vocalists like Jessie J (especially her acoustic stuff), Adele, and Christina, followed by rap when I’m needing a good pump up walking down those NYC streets (I’m looking at you “Rap God”), followed by more pop (because who am I kidding) – I love me some classic Usher, Black Eyed Peas, Britney, and Spice Girls, and then topped with fan favorites like The Beatles and The Beach Boys!

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

“What’s your favorite food?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

It’s safe to assume I’m in Astoria eating penne alla vodka from Napoli Pizza & Pasta watching SNL with my B41 fam!

What was your favorite toy growing up?

My Baby Simba stuffed animal.

 

Thursday May 11, 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?

Adam Payne

Which team or show are you on?

Squash

Where are you from?

Studio City, California

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

Back when I was feeling a little sad and lonely after a breakup that could have gone better, I decided that I needed a new hobby. And having seen several episodes of Who’s Line Is It Anyway growing up, I thought improv would be a good option. I signed up for a class, and even I was initially surprised that we we’re doing these things called “scenes” rather than playing Party Quirks again and again, I was hooked.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Although I’ve been a behind-the-camera filmmaker since I was in high school, and I was an avid friend-of-the-theater-kids in college, I didn’t actually start performing myself until my Level 1 Improv class show. I’m trying to make up for lost time now!

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

Jill Bernard aka the living embodiment of everything good in improv. I met Jill a couple years ago at Camp Improv Utopia and her improv so fun, surprising, and effortless, and her personality was so warm and uplifting. She’s perfect.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

I love feeling surprised. So really love it when someone says something completely by accident, and the whole team comes together to explore, heighten, and realize the logic in that surprise. Those moments can make me cry a little bit.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Half acoustic guitar ballads, half sped up anime intro songs. Sometimes a mix of the two.

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

“So what brings you to [place we’re both at]?”
If you’re looking for icebreakers for online-only conversations, you’ll need to find that advice somewhere else.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Ideally, at a bar that allows board games. Or someone’s apartment that allows board games. Or we can just hang out at my place and play board games. I have a lot of board games.

What is your favorite Disney movie?

Are we including Pixar? Then The Incredibles.
Are we including Disney-distributed movies? Spirited Away.
Are we not including those other two things? Then The Lion King.

Thursday May 4, 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?

Melanie Rubin

Which team or show are you on?

Astro Tramps & Captains

Where are you from?

Bucks County, PA

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

My college had a really great improv troupe. I was too busy with cooler things like acapella and being an RA, so I never tried it. Two years post-grad I was like, “Hey Mel? Remember that thing you were too scared I mean too busy to try? Looks like there’s a free intro you can take. Do it Mel! Do it!” I listened to Mel.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Since 7pm on January 5th, 2015. You wanted me to be that specific, right?

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

Fey/Poehler

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

Wiig/Rudolph

What makes you laugh the hardest?

When people break on stage, blooper reels, people who get really amped up giving clues while playing Taboo

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Singer-songwriter types with some sweet, sweet harmonies to start (Sara Bareilles, Good Old War, First Aid Kit), followed by some early 2000s pop-punk types (New Found Glory, Paramore, Fall Out Boy), with a nice helping of powerhouse ladies (Whitney, Beyonce, Alanis), and a sprinkle of showtunes.

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

Come here often?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

If I’m not doing or watching improv, I’m probably at a broadway show or hanging with my new puppy or eating my weight in sushi.

Who’s your celebrity crush?

Ben Schwartz

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?

🙃

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