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

Posts Tagged ‘hello laser’

Wednesday September 30, 2015, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Alan Fessenden Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Step right up and listen to Episode #59 of our show with veteran performer, beloved instructor, and resident clown, ALAN FESSENDEN. Alan joins host Louis Kornfeld to talk about clowning, theater, nervousness, and of course, a deep dive into improv philosophy. It’s always great to hear two seasoned performers discuss the ins-and-outs of improvising and this episode is no exception!

Louis begins the interview by asking about Alan’s background in clowning. Though he says that blackmail got him to take his first clown class, Alan soon found himself very interested in the process of finding one’s own clown and how performers can magnify certain characteristics of themselves for use in clowning. Louis asks him to describe what a  clown show might look like and we get to hear Alan’s clown Bartholomew say “vagina” several times. Clowning has helped Alan open up a particular path of communication within himself that informs all performance he now does.

Getting into his background before improv and comedy work, Alan tells us of going to school for theater and trying to forget that he once did musical theater. He’s come around to appreciate the latter at this point in life, which causes Louis to opine that dismissing any type of genre or show isn’t any good for us. These vets talk about the arc of doing your first shows, filled with excitement, to the hard work of getting good, and then becoming an expert. Despite his experience, Louis like to always feel a little bit lost and confused. Similarly, Alan likes the first time he runs an exercise with a class or team, because he’s exploring it with them, rather than simply handing something off to a group.

Hear Louis and Alan talk about nervousness and fear before and during shows!

Louis gets to talking about how Alan improvises and engages with the audience, particularly within Hello Laser. Describing his own development, Alan feels like he had a great freedom of play for a while, then became complacent, and now he fears losing it. They debate relaxation versus putting forth effort in improv and Louis shares with us that he feels tight if he finds his body going for laughs. There’s a nice bit about exploring and being playful even within scenes where you know where you’re trying to get to and Alan talks about eating cake.

Plus, Alan shares great enthusiasm for Louis’ thoughts on “Yes, And” and his habit of playing shows with a secret. They talk about experiencing life and moments, and Alan worries that maybe he doesn’t teach comedy, just moments. While it’s good to know that something is funny, he wants to know, can it be real? They also talk a lot about finding truth and being challenged, which is something that theater is perhaps more readily suited to do than improv.

Finally, Louis and Alan touch on the ability to laugh at who we are and the difficulty of being good people. How can you be a part of the problem even when you’re trying to fix it?

Thursday July 18, 2013, 12:24pm - by Charlie Whitcroft


If you’ve never seen Junior Varsity, Hello Laser, or The Boss perform at the Magnet Theater, I’m guessing you’ve had some longstanding obligation on Thursday nights for the last several years.

They’re the Magnet Theater’s longest standing, longest standing teams – veterans who’ve been performing high quality improv together for almost seven years. That’s a length of time most people can’t even wrap their heads around in this ever-more present-focused world of ours.


Now they’re loading themselves up into chambers randomly (not really randomly… there’s a set schedule) for a weekly round of Russian Roulette known as The Revolver. Each week you’ll see two of these teams perform, each in their own unique and seasoned styles.

Come out and see them, every Thursday Night at 8pm.

Then talk to them afterwards. Being around so long, they have stories to tell.

Friday January 13, 2012, 3:56pm - by Chano Garcia
A big congratulations goes out to Hello Laser, The Boss, and Junior Varsity, who celebrated five awesome years at Magnet Theater at Thursday Night Out last week.

Phooka opened the night, and after great comedy from some of the tightest groups in the city, the evening ended with a heartfelt “Thank You” to these excellent teams from one of Magnet’s founders, Armando Diaz.  I have to say it truly was one of those rare evenings where the energy was contagious. Each team did more than just show up, did more than just killed, but combined to create an experience whereby the audience started looking at each other, silently corroborating that we were all indeed witnessing something magic and memorable.
But the strongest truth on display that night: Playing with your friends for so long, in this case five years, breeds a deep trust and playful aggression that generates an easy intensity and ridiculously funny show.
Here are some pics:

Hello Laser: Corey Grimes, Alex Marino, Alan Fessenden, Dave Warth

Wednesday March 30, 2011, 12:08pm - by admin



So maybe you can’t go to Chicago just to see your favorite


Magnet Teams. You can, however, get a preview of the teams accepted to CIF 2011 all weekend:


FACE Friday at 7pm


Chet Watkins Friday at 8pm


Hello Laser/Cascade Saturday 6pm

Thursday November 4, 2010, 12:21pm - by admin

Many Magnet Theater groups are representing at the Philadelphia Improv Festival this weekend. If you are in the area you will not want to miss these shows!

The Cascade, Hello Laser, The Imposters, Surf ‘n Turf, and Trike!

Thursday October 21, 2010, 3:45pm - by admin

Magnet Video Rewind!  Nick Kanellis (Trike, Hello Laser) has a Santa debate with himself from December 2008.

Thursday September 23, 2010, 10:04am - by admin

If you happen to be in Hawaii…

… go see great Magnet Theater groups at the 2010 Improvaganza Improv Festival at the Laughtrack Theater Company (1123 Bethel Street, HI) The Arts at Marks Garage (1159 Nu’uanu Avenue, HI).

Check out the schedule HERE.

You can see Hello Laser, Megalou and Phooka!