Magnet Theater Blog
Whoa boy — we’ve got an interview with the one and only Jeffrey Sweet! The famed playwright, historian, and author of Something Wonderful Right Away joins host Louis Kornfeld for this extended episode of the podcast. They start out by discussing the relationship between the Jews fleeing the Cossacks and the rise of satire in America. Jeffrey talks about the origins of improvisation with The Committee and Second City, highlighting some differences between the two as well as commenting on folks like David Shepherd and Del Close. Time is spent discussing the six heavy hitters that the improv world lost in 2014: Sheldon Patinkin, Gary Goodrow, Ted Flicker, Harold Ramis, Mike Nichols, and Joan Rivers. They also get into the domino effect of Something Wonderful Right Away influencing Mick Napier and Charna Halpern to develop their theaters and how Jeffrey might be the illegitimate grandfather of the long-form improv scene in NYC. Jeffrey also talks about how Stephen Colbert and John Stewart are so important to the comedic and political landscape today and gives us his take on the modern incarnation of SNL. The interview continues to discuss the link between improvisational theater and folk art and how the satirists have now become a part of the system. It’s an episode filled with so much historical, political, and cultural discourse that Jeffrey pauses several times over the course of this interview to ask, “We are talking about comedy, right?” Indeed, we are.
Or simply enjoy Episode #37 below via SoundCloud.
- Charna Halpern
- David Shepherd
- del close
- Elaine May
- Gary Goodrow
- Harold Ramis
- Jeff Sweet
- Jeffrey Sweet
- Joan Rivers
- John Stewart
- Louis Kornfeld
- magnet theater
- magnet theater podcast
- magnet training center
- Mick Napier
- mike nichols
- new york
- new york city
- Second City
- Sheldon Patinkin
- sketch comedy
- Something Wonderful Right Away
- Stephen Colbert
- Ted Flicker
- The Committee
On this episode of the podcast we are joined by Jon Bander, a seasoned performer with Premiere: The Improvised Musical (Magnet), Aquarius (Magnet), Dagger (The PIT), and Characters Welcome (UCB). Host Louis Kornfeld jumps right into a discussion on musical improv with Jon, talking about Aquarius’ signature form, The Malkovich. They revisit Jon’s first-hand account of the development of musical improv in NYC and discuss how it differs from traditional long-form improv. He also recounts for us how he went from hating musical improv and character comedy to performing them almost exclusively and loving it. We hear about the separation between the subdued, real-life Jon and the high-spirited, on stage Bander. Plus! Louis and Jon discuss mean comedy, the roles the audience plays in improv, and the show Characters Welcome.
Enjoy Episode #36 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.
Hey Magnet Community!
In case you didn’t know, our beloved Magnet Theater turns 10 years old next month and we’re hoping to celebrate in a big way. We are hoping to put together a collection of as many photos and videos as possible so that we can scrapbook a decade of memories. And we need your help! Do you have photos of Magnet shows, rehearsals, or classes? We want them! And the older, the better! If you can help us, please email email@example.com with files, links to Dropbox/Drive, or physical drop off requests. However you want to get us your memories, we want your help!
Chrissie & Evan
Magnet Promo Team
Stand up, radio host, and improviser Chris Duffy joins us this week on the podcast to discuss the various shows he produces and how learning and laughing go together so well. Host Louis Kornfeld asks Chris about the origins of his show You’re The Expert, a radio program, podcast, and live show that asks a panel of three comedians to guess what an academic expert studies all day. We hear about the other stand up shows Chris hosts which they all combine elements of education, shared experience, and comedy. You’ll learn about Chris’s obsession with lists and who he hopes to emulate along the way. Is Chris a highly disciplined comedian? Find out! Also hear about giving gifts and walking through life with open arms rather than arms crossed. Plus, Chris shares his biggest bomb ever and talks about getting into comedy because it felt important. Tune in, friends!
Enjoy Episode #35 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.
From here on in, ALL classes will meet at the new Magnet Training Center located on the 10th floor of 22 West 32nd Street. Your classroom assignments will be posted on the lobby display.
Hope to see you at the new space soon!
Our guest this week, Charlie Whitcroft, has known our host, Louis Kornfeld, for 23 years and they have been best friends just as long. Join us on this episode for a trip down Memory Lane as Louis and Charlie revisit their younger days, but also reflect on the upcoming 10 year anniversary of the Magnet. Part of a group of improvising friends, Charlie was the long holdout and the last to join in on the improv fun. He talks about being intimidated at first and how he got over his hesitation. These two friends discuss turning points in life and how they’ve seemingly led parallel existences over the last two-plus decades, both becoming grown ups in the improv world. As an improviser who (Louis claims) plays great heart-to-heart moments, we find out how Charlie brings that sense of patience to his teaching. Plus, we hear about the raw, early days of the Magnet Theater, the mystery of Kevin Dorff workshops, and Charlie’s new Directors Series, Rashamon.
Enjoy Episode #34 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.
We’re so excited to announce that auditions for the next season of Musical Megawatt will be held on Saturday, March 28th from 6-10pm, with callbacks on Sunday the 29th at the same time.
To schedule an audition time, fill out this form. We’ll do our best to accommodate everyone’s schedules, but please understand that we can’t guarantee anyone a particular audition time.
Submissions must be received by Wednesday, March 18th and emails with assigned audition times will be sent out on Friday the 20th.
Please note: Only people who have completed Musical Level 3 at Magnet Theater are eligible to submit.
We look forward to seeing you at auditions!
Click here to apply.
New Team ORANGE:
New Team PURPLE:
New Team PINK:
Long-time Magnet performer and all-around swell guy, Sean Taylor, joins host Louis Kornfeld in the studio for an interview. A military brat growing up, Sean has called New York City home longer than anywhere else and, since moving to NYC right out of college in 1999, Sean has watched the improv boom happen first-hand. He’s gone from diehard ASSSSCAT fan to a Harold Night player to an instructor at Magnet. He and Louis discuss the underground nature of those earlier days and how the UCB seemed to bring a sense of positivity, respect, and empathy to the NYC comedy scene. Sean tells us how community plays such an important part in his life, whether it’s comedy, eating pizza, playing softball, or meeting his wife. Louis asks Sean about teaching the weekly Drop-In Class and his upcoming elective course Here, Now, discussing the difference between working with a steady group of students versus one that changes week to week and his love of discovery in two person scenes. As a teacher, he applies the debugging skills from his work as a computer programmer to classes in an effort to guide people away from fear-based choices to joy-based ones. These two vets also discuss the early days of Magnet, the difference between agreement and acceptance, and the privilege of being continually inspired by other improvisers.
Enjoy Episode #33 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.
Working on solo characters? Developing a new sketch?
The Magnet Theater is proud to present a new show coming in March, powered by new ideas—The Generator!
Every Sunday at 6pm, Magnet students, writers and performers try out brand-new sketches and solo characters in 5 and 15-minute slots. The Generator will also help writers develop a larger show one piece at a time. It’s never-before-seen comedy for your eyeballs.
See you at the premiere on Sunday, March 1st at 6pm.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.