Mail’s here! Kevin Cobbs (The Music Industry, Listen, Kid!), who is performing full time on one of the Second City Cruise Ships, just sent a letter to us here at the Magnet to give us a glimpse of his travels. Check it out! And check out that picture of Kevin in San Juan! Wowie-wow-wow-wow!
Greetings and salutations from the Norwegian Gem. As I write this I’m about halfway through my four month contract with the Second City, and so far its been an absolutely wonderful experience.
Here on the Gem we typically perform one sketch show, two improv shows and one murder mystery luncheon show per nine day cruise. All of which we rehearsed extensively during our week of training in Chicago. I’d never been to the Second City before and it definitely felt like hallowed ground for a sketch and improv performer like myself. It was humbling to get up on their different stages to rehearse. And as a cool bonus experience, our director let us perform in an improv set with the regular cast on their ETC stage.
My cast here on the Gem comes from LA, Toronto and Chicago and they’re all hysterical improvisers and good people. We hang out together quite a bit and we’ve also become good friends with some of the crew and some of the other entertainers on board.
When we’re not performing, we have a lot of free time to work on our own projects. So I’ve been writing quite a few pee pee jokes and even some poo poo jokes.
In addition to writing, I’ve used my down time to finally fulfill my main duty as a liberal white person by watching the Wire (it really is great so far). I’ve also used my free time to work out every day in the ship’s gym. I’m totally ripped now and I plan on fighting all of you at the Magnet when I return. One by one. Starting with the weakest (Branson Reese) and then working my way up to the strongest.
Its a blast performing our sketch show to a crowd of 1,100 people each week. Our improv shows are in a smaller space but equally fun and they’re all short form. I was originally trained in short form so it feels a bit like returning to my improv roots, which is nice.
Passengers are very complimentary when they see us around the ship. And we get to visit some beautiful ports: San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Samana, Dominican Republic. Living on the boat is like living in a floating bubble where all of us performers are pseudo celebrities. Then when each cruise ends, everything resets and we’re nobodies again for the first couple of days before our first show.
Though I’m enjoying my time at sea, I look forward to coming home to New York and seeing all y’all Magnet people. Stay warm and I’ll see you in the spring!
Magnet Theater is now accepting applications for the 2014 spring season of Megawatt. Please fill out THIS FORM no later than FEBRUARY 18th to apply for an audition slot. Anyone who has completed Magnet Level 6 is eligible to apply, though please note that a completed form does not guarantee an audition slot. Due to the high volume of eligible improvisers and a limited number of slots, priority will be given to students and performers who have finished the class or performed on a Megawatt team within the last year. Confirmations will be sent out by THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20th.
CLICK HERE to apply.
Along with an evening of stellar musical improv from Magnet’s musical house teams (College, The Jezebelles, Wonderland, Legend, and Aquarius), every donation you make will earn you a tasty treat from our homemade snack sale, and a chance to win great prizes in our raffle including bottles of wine, Magnet tickets, fancy jewelry, scented candles that smell like and were made by members of Wonderland, and much much more.
Funds raised from the snack sale and raffle will benefit the 10,000 people living with MS in the five boroughs of New York City, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, Putnam, and Westchester Counties by funding comprehensive programs and services for people with MS as well as ongoing research for the cause and a cure. MS is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. The mission of the National MS Society is to mobilize people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS.
Laugh, sing, and dance in the face of MS! Shows at 7PM, 8PM, and 9PM. Raffle drawings at the end of each hour! Musical mixer at 10:15PM. If you cannot attend, please consider making a donation here!
February is here and we’ve got 6 more weeks of winter! Yeahh- The Magnet’s heat is finally working really well! Here are some of this month’s top shows that we recommend absolutely NOT missing.
1. The Directors Series Presents The Acid Trip!– Thursdays in February at 9pm- A brand new Directors Series, directed by Louis Kornfeld, that will take you on a journey through the layers of the mind.
2. Jana & Lauren Presents– Friday, February 7th at 7pm- A monthly character showcase hosted by Jana Schmieding and Lauren Olson.
3. CRUSHED: Improv inspired by first loves– Friday, February 14th at 7pm- an improv show inspired by your young diary entries about your very first loves.
4. Matt Koff & Friend– Sunday, February 16th at 9pm- Daily Show Writer and Magnet alum, Matt Koff, returns to his old stomping grounds for an hour of stand up.
5. Magnet Sketch Presents (NEW TEAM) Action Park & Baby Shoes– Sunday, February 23rd at 7:30pm- This night of sketch comedy is filled with simple words, big feelings, and lots and lots of dumb, funny, and extreme scenarios.
6. We Might Just Kiss: A Female Improv Event– Monday, February 24th at 10pm- Twelve lady improvisers join on the Magnet stage for an evening of comedy that will delight men, women, babies and kittens.
7. The Nominated– Friday, February 28th at 7pm- Join us for an awards show that celebrates the crème de la crème in the world of improvised cinema.
Armando’s Coaching Class needs volunteer improvisers (PREREQ completion of Magnet Level 1 improv) tomorrow, Saturday, January 25th from 4-6pm. Come in and be coached in practice sessions by the student coaches. Not only do you get FREE practice time, you get to hear the thoughts of the student coaches AND Armando himself.
If interested, email schooldirector[at]magnettheater[dot]com to confirm a spot. Spaces are limited, so first come, first serve.
Due to the snowstorm, The Magnet Training Center will be CLOSED Tuesday, January 21st. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the School Director at schooldirector[at]magnettheater[dot]com. Stay warm and get home safe!
Magnet Theater recently chatted with Beth Newell, one of the creators of Reductress.com, an online satirical news site that’s been called The Onion for women. Beth is also Managing Director of Magnet Theater’s Sketch Teams and currently performs in the improv duo Sad Kids. The conversation was mostly about shoes and purses, but Magnet managed to shift the conversation to comedy, the transcript of what followed is below.
MT: Reductress.com is a very smart and funny. I loved the ad for ‘Vagina Whitening Tampons.’ And your coverage of New York Fashion Week.
BN: Thanks. We did some videos that got passed around, which was fun.
MT: And you’ve tapped into a lot of talent in the Magnet community to help, which is great.
BN: Thanks. There are a lot of funny women with good ideas and a lot of sharp comedy skills at Magnet.
MT: Is Reductress.com run by mostly women?
BN: Yes, it is. It’s run by women. There are some men involved, too. We’re not actively avoiding using men, but since our playground is women’s media, women have a unique perspective that more directly serves our point of view.
MT: So basically, ‘no dudes’ is what you’re saying?
BN: No. But because we make fun of the way the media speaks to women and its presumptions about the way women think, it’s natural for women to be more equipped at exposing the comedy targets.
MT: So no dudes. I get it. Moving on-
On Wednesday, December 18th, I (Amanda Ariel Peggy Xeller!) got to interview Magnet’s own Russ Armstrong about growth in improv, understanding the makings of a good team, and how to be a good teacher, director, and improviser. Below is the transcribed interview.
Where are you from originally?
I’m from Michigan. I’m from Ann Arbor, Michigan.
How did you get involved in improv?
I started improvising in high school. I was watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? with my friends and started an improv group to play short form games. The Pioneer Comedy Troupe from Pioneer High School. It was my junior year of high school. We thought we were the coolest people in the world and we didn’t know we were actually the lamest people in the world.
You went to Northwestern yes? Did you do improv in college? What was the improv there called.
I did. Yep. It was the Mee-ow Show. It was billed as 1/3 improv, 1/3 sketch, 1/3 rock ‘n’ roll. Lots of short form stuff. It was great, super fun. It was a blast.
And you studied in Chicago as well? At iO and Second City? How does the training there compare to the training you learned in NYC?
It’s all the same stuff just different approaches to it. I think Chicago tends to nurture you finding your voice a little bit more. They give you a little more time, marinates in a way that Chicago does with everything, with theater and music and food. Because the spotlight isn’t on it as much, there’s less pressure to produce immediately. New York tends to have a little more pressure because it is New York. And it’s more expensive. I think they are both awesome attributes. It’s good to have that pressure. I love that about New York.
The Magnet Theater not only boasts its current roster of powerful improvisers, writers, and performers, but also celebrates those who have taken on new adventures in their lives and with their comedy.
Charlotte Rabbe, a phenomenal Magnet improviser, previously on The Wrath, is now out in L.A. We wanted to catch up with Charlotte and shine the Magnet Theater Blog Spotlight on her and her journey in comedy. We conducted an email interview with Charlotte. Below are her responses:
What’s your home town?
CR: Where I grew up? Most of my family is living in NYC now so I consider that my hometown.
What is your comedy history (highlighting improv and sketch especially)? What got you interested and when were you first exposed to improv?
CR: I would watch a lot of stand up/sketch shows growing up (The State, The Upright Citizens Brigade TV show, SNL) and I was obsessed… When I started coming into the city after high school I went to a lot of stand up shows but was too afraid to ever do it. I ended up taking an improv class after college even though I had seen very little and got hooked.