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

Posts Tagged ‘megawatt’

Tuesday April 11, 2017, 11:41pm - by Magnet Theater

 

Chicago defector, ASHLEY GLICKEN, joins host Louis Kornfeld us to discuss improv, how attempts at “diversity” often exclude disabled people, and why accessibility and representation matter so very much. Ashley has been improvising since she was sixteen years old and has a wealth of insight to share from her own life experience, so get on board as she drops some serious knowledge. Huzzah!

Louis begins this episode with one of the hardest-hitting questions of all time: Chicago or New York City? A native of the Chicago suburbs now living in NYC, Ashley must make a choice! Wisely, she walks us through the pros and cons of the two great cities before telling us why she eventually escaped from Chicago. Ashley has been improvising since she was sixteen and returned to the Windy City after college to go through Second City’s Conservatory Program. Upon graduation from the Conservatory, Ashley felt that she was limited by the lack of accessibility found amongst Chicago’s various improv stages and soon stopped improvising. Ashley was drawn to NYC by its visual art scene and, lucky for us, she eventually found herself at Magnet. Though she was nervous to begin her first class after some time away from improv, she had the good fortune to study with instructor Nick Kanellis, big sib Hannah Chase, and a class full of wonderful fellow students.

Ashley talks about the fact that attempts at “diversity” often do not include disabled people and what the root causes of that problem might be. She also dives into the pressure she feels to educate the greater public and how the world needs adapt so that it can better serve not only disabled people but, indeed, everyone. She and Louis also talk about why representation matters so very much and how every time Ashley is on stage, she feels that she’s there, in part, for the disabled community.

There’s a bunch of other great stuff in this episode as well. Louis and Ashley discuss how great it feels to be “in on the joke,” allowing people to laugh with you rather than laugh at you, as well as the pain that comes with being laughed at. They talk about the limitless realm of possibility that improv allows us to command and they discuss how we adapt and get stronger by forcing ourselves to look at all parts of life, not merely the familiar bits, but those which make us uncomfortable as well. Finally, a Very Serious Scene Opposite A Jar Of Pickles.

Thursday April 6, 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?

Erin Marie Nebel

Which team or show are you on?

Tallulah

Where are you from?

Dubuque, IA

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I was working a quintessential NYC job with an unreasonable boss (i.e. Devil Wears Prada) and I needed something outside of work, sleeping, and crying in Battery Park on my lunch break. I wanted to return to my first love- acting, but I knew I didn’t have time to read plays, memorize scenes, rehearse, etc. So I thought, improv… you just show up right? I took a free intro class with Rick Andrews and laughed so hard that I used a computer in the Magnet office to sign up for a level one starting the next day – I haven’t left since.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I have been doing improv for 3.5 years.

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

Sir Ian McKellen or Lucille Ball

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

Lucille Ball / Zelda Fitzgerald / Annie Oakley / Slyvia Plath / Mary Wollstonecraft / Marilyn Monroe

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Animals

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

An original collaboration between John Williams, Bon Iver, Alabama Shakes, Florence Welch, James Vincent McMorrow, and Sia.

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

Did you know that studies show the greatest predictor of sexual satisfaction in a heterosexual marriage is the amount of male participation in domestic chores and that higher male involvement in traditionally female designated chores is more strongly correlated with greater reported sexual satisfaction?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

These days, watching The Great British Bakeoff. Other possibilities include volunteering as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault/domestic violence, working on a NYTimes crossword, or watching videos on youtube of unlikely animal friendships recent favorites include: wolves and bears, pigs and tigers, and hedgehogs and dogs.

What is your favorite movie quote? 

“You’re killing me, Smalls!”  – The Sandlot

 

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

Monday March 20, 2017, 3:05pm - by Megan Gray

  

The Magnet Theater is pleased to announce the new teams and additions for the Spring 2017 season of Megawatt, debuting this Wednesday, March 22nd, at 7pm, 8pm, 9pm and 10:15pm.

And, congratulations to the new additions to Block Party teams, debuting this Thursday, March 23rd, 8pm and 9pm — with The Music Industry moving to Thursdays starting April 6th, 8pm.

We hope to see you everywhere.

Names in bold are new to Megawatt. Names with an asterisk* are returning to Megawatt. Names with a exclamation point! are new to Block Party. Names underlined are joining a preexisting team.

New Team ILIAD
Matt Antonucci*
Ed Cara
Sarah Cassell
Patrick Grizzard
Simon Johnston
Molly Kiernan*
Chloe Metzger
Melanie Rubin

New Team ODYSSEY
Alex Braslavsky
Spencer Campbell
James Coker
Hilary Dale
Michael McLarnon*
Anna Neu*
Sarah Poirier
Billy Soco

more

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!

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, 11:22am - by Magnet Theater

large_megawatt

Magnet Theater is now accepting applications for the 2017 spring season of Megawatt. Please fill out THIS FORM no later than WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8th to apply for an audition slot. Auditions will take place on Friday, March 10th, Saturday, March 11th, and Thursday, March 16th, with callbacks being Friday, March 17th.

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.

Audition confirmations will be sent out by THURSDAY, MARCH 9th.

CLICK HERE to apply.

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!