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Posts Tagged ‘interview’

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.

Wednesday March 22, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

 

Comedian and rapper, KATY BERRY, talks with host Louis Kornfeld about performing with a chip on her shoulder, why Sexy Baby is so damn hot, and her hip-hop improv team, North Coast. They also discuss how their personal lives show up on stage, how Katy found herself doing comedy in NYC, and the importance of being a motherfucking role model. For anyone who hesitates to be themselves and tell the haters to go screw, this episode was made just for you, with love, from KBizzle herself. Do. Your. Thang.

When we asked Katy what she might want to discuss on the show, she said, “Saying ‘fuck the haters’ and slaying all day, every day” which proved to be a wonderful jumping-off point for the episode. We find out what exactly that means to Katy as she and Louis talk about putting the personal and private lives on stage for all to see. Katy feels as though she has something to prove as a performer and that it comes from her childhood, both parts of which we get into. A shock to no one who has seen both of them perform, Louis theorizes that he and Katy may deal with private matters in opposite ways! For Katy, it all ties into her resolve to never back down from being herself.

Katy considers herself very lucky to have been on three incredibly supportive, incredible teams who have all celebrated her approach to improv and allowed her voice to be heard, loudly. She shouts out Cool Blanche before getting into her current teams, Sexy Baby and North Coast. Louis asks Katy about Sexy Baby’s modus operandi and she boldly claims that fart jokes are the birth mother of all comedy. Katy tells us what Sexy Baby tends to focus on in practice and she provides us with a little bit of her own NYC-comedy origin story.

Of course, we can’t hear from Katy Berry and not discuss North Coast, her hip-hop improv team that is about to celebrate their eighth anniversary (this coming Friday)! Katy got onto the team after going to an open audition and tells us why it was not only a match made in Heaven, but maybe even fate. She talks about what goes through her head when doing scenes with North Coast and how the confidence gained doing hip-hop improv slips into her daily life. Katy and Louis both think that people who have never struggled have very little to offer us on stage and Louis has an epiphany on the mic! As a performer, Katy urges everyone to play fearlessly, to lead, and to be a role model when on stage. By simply being yourself, you allow others to be themselves too. Finally, Louis brings to light a very interesting point that we should all be keyed into and we end this episode with some excellent plugs. Want more on Katy? www.katyberrycomedy.com

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.

 

 
 
 
 
Wednesday March 15, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

 

Founding member of The Music Industry, DENNIS PACHECO, talks with host Louis Kornfeld about imposter syndrome, why TMI is so great, and how to turn judgment into love. As a performer on many different shows at the theater, both improv and sketch, but only one, long-lasting, and hilarious Megawatt team, Dennis brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the show. He and Louis dig into some great philosophical topics and tackle practical questions as well. CHECK. IT. OUT.

Our episode begins with Dennis disclosing that his imposter syndrome has him feeling nervous to be on the show. They discuss that feeling of, “Oh, that person probably hates me” and how we most likely overthink how others see us. Louis wonders if he’s being an asshole by not hanging out after shows but both he and Dennis agree that he’s probably not a jerk. Louis thinks of Dennis as a very precise improviser and Dennis shares that others have told him that he appears to improvise as someone who is both calm and nervous at the same time. Louis can relate to feeling that way and, in fact, Dennis admits that he sought to emulate Louis’ playing style when he was starting out. Fun fact: Louis does not recommend Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography!

Dennis and Louis discuss conscious versus unconscious reactions while improvising and Dennis offers some interesting insight from the book “Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud. They also talk about stepping in at the right moment to say the perfect thing to bring the house down and, for sketch actors, helpful tips for remembering lines. Finally, they get to talking about Dennis’ long-running Megawatt team, The Music Industry. Dennis tells us why it’s such a killer team to play on and shares his excitement for their upcoming move to Thursday Night Out. He also discusses how they’ve moved from a team dynamic where they had what some might call “frontmen” to a setup now where everyone’s parts on the team feel balanced. He also talks about doing the Spokane and why the form works so well for them. To wrap up the episode, Dennis shares a great way to approach moves you don’t love. Hint: It involves letting go of judgment and transforming it into love. What a beautiful lesson to end on!

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?

Wednesday March 8, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

 

Self-made chillionaire, MOLLY KIERNAN, stops by to talk with host Louis Kornfeld about working in television, her experiences with group therapy, and befriending all kinds of different people. From bonding with her sister over comedy podcasts to producing an uplifting and hilarious show inspired by her own recovery from an eating disorder, we hear all about Molly’s career in comedy to date and so many other things in between. Listen to this episode and love yourself for it!

We begin the show by talking with Molly about her day job as a production assistant on Hulu’s “Difficult People”, how she found herself there after working on MTV’s “Broad City”, and what the gig is like day-to-day. Molly comments on the surprisingly friendly nature of a TV writers room and how comparing oneself to others can be both a positive and negative motivator. She also goes into her background working with non-profits and how she ended up in television.

Walking us through her leap into comedy, Molly describes bonding with her sister over podcasts and feeling drawn to comedy as more than just a fan. Louis wonders how many people sign up for their first improv class during some period of depression and they both reckon it’s probably a considerable portion. Molly shares with us the experience of her first improv classes and why she invited so many teens to her 25th birthday party. Though not a teen herself, Molly loves the opportunity to relate to a variety of people both on stage and off, and she and Louis discuss being elastic enough with our own lives to connect with others while improvising.

Molly’s ability to relate to many different people has been strengthened by her experience with group therapy, which she discusses at length. Of course, Louis has to ask if there is a connection between improv and group therapy and indeed, there may be. Both guest and host discuss the faulty logic in being drawn to external signifiers in others when it’s typically the internal aspects of our character that bond us most strongly. Molly and Louis also get to talking about “Molly’s Guilt Free Comedy & Ice Cream Social,” a show born out of her experience recovering from an eating disorder. They explore where the fear of being “bad” with food comes from and how to listen to your own body rather than the outside world’s judgments of it. Plus, they consider the imbalance between how much other people think about us versus how much *we think* they think about us. There’s a gap between what one puts out into the world and what other people truly perceive and both Molly and Louis dig into that as well. Lest you worry too much about the judgment of others, everyone is a great dancer, says Louis. And finally, the return of A Serious Scene Opposite A Jar Of Pickles!

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)

Wednesday March 1, 2017, 2:22am - by Magnet Theater

 

Executives bad boy and newly-minted Director of Magnet Sketch Teams, ARI MILLER, joins us to talk all about the sketch program and to share mad wisdom (tight). This episode is chock full of great advice for sketch newbies and veterans alike, as well as Ari’s insight on what makes a team great. Get to know your new Director of Magnet Sketch Teams right here, right now!

Ari and Louis begin the episode talking about Ari’s sketch team, The Executives, their big move to the weekend, and writing theme shows. Beyond Ari’s own team, they start talking about the program as a whole and Ari lays out his ideas for building the program to even greater heights. They discuss how going through the program as an individual is a poor plan and Ari advises on how to be a good teammate while making it worth your while personally. Louis then asks Ari to break down the expectations of different writers and performers and to give them guidance for these varied experience levels.

Hear Ari’s advice on submitting packets, which center around clarity and boldness. Learn how to deftly hit pattern and game over and over again. Louis answers the question, “Why was Phil Hartman so incredible?” Ari also provides advice on balancing when to follow your own ideas versus taking in other people’s opinions. Want some team advice? Respect each idea and respect each other in the space. Be polite, folks! For people who have been working on sketch comedy for years now, Ari offers up suggestions and standards that will help you achieve the next level. To wrap up their sketch comedy discussion, Louis asks Arti what imprint he hopes to make on the program and Ari answers. He’s a polite guest.

Finally, they wrap up the episode by shouting out the March edition of Character Bash which will feature many of Magnet’s great teachers and raise money for East Side House Settlement.

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.

Wednesday February 22, 2017, 10:22am - by Magnet Theater

 

Improviser and cartoonist, SUERYNN LEE, joins host Louis Kornfeld to discuss the mental complexities of artists, her artistic life, and how discovery is more fun than execution. Hear all about Suerynn’s academic life, both as a student and in her career as an academic advising specialist, and how she found herself doing improv. This is a great episode for artistic contemplation with both Suerynn and Louis offering poignant insights. We think you’ll just love it. Huzzah!

There is no time wasted in discussing light topics this episode as Suerynn and Louis immediately wrestle with the concept of intersubjective fictions and whether or now we are all delusional. They suggest that if you can smile at how delusional you are, there’s a lot of pleasure in exploring the funhouse mirror of your ego. On a more concrete note, Suerynn tells us about her job as an academic advising specialist for the art department at City College. She talks about helping students find the next steps in their education and how she found herself in such a role. Louis asks about Suerynn’s one year in spent in Dallas and she opens up about her first and only frat party before going on to describe her high school experience.

Diving further into their formative years, our pair wonders how much emotional weight we absorb from those around us and how does that affect our early emotional life? Suerynn discusses her parents’ artistic lives and how they have influenced her. She and Louis ask, does it benefit artists to be a bit unbalanced or overly-sensitive? This leads them to discuss isolation and loneliness as it relates to art. At this point, one might ponder, “Where does improv fit into all of this?” You will find out, we assure you. Suerynn talks cartooning, the value of following your own impulses and imagination, and why she was initially resistant to producing images. How do Suerynn’s sensibilities when working alone overlap with her sensibilities when working with a group of people? She and Louis also discuss how boring it is to come up with a concept and execute it perfectly versus discovering the end point on the way there. “Wow. Art is cool,” you’re probably thinking.

Lest you think the back end of the episode brings any less heat than the preceding portions, you will be happy to hear about Suerynn’s father running ultra-marathons, how Suerynn manages downtime, and even more talk on improv. Though Suerynn questions her career as a performer, Louis believes that she excels at being incredibly sincere on stage, something not easily done. Our two highly reflective subjects discuss the artificiality of deciding on goals for oneself, internalized authority, and the myth of an unadulterated self, but that’s only before they get into a conversation about routines, roles, and how time continues to rush forward, providing new things to break you open, goals or no. Plus, learn about Louis’ nightly habit and how to criticize art and measure the value of your choices! Don’t be a dummy: follow @suerynns on Instagram!

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