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

Posts Tagged ‘new york’

Wednesday September 21, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

christopher-hastings-podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Welcome back to the Magnet Theater Podcast! Louis took the summer off to backpack across Europe, rub elbows in the Hamptons, and finish planting his rooftop garden (his tan is looking GREAT). Now he’s back in the saddle with the prolific and charming Christopher Hastings, a writer/performer on the Magnet sketch team Student Council and the creator/writer/artist of many comic books such as Deadpool, Adventure Time, and The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. They discuss Chris’s origin story as a comic book writer and illustrator, how he found himself simultaneously in the world of comedy, and interestingly, why he eventually stopped improvising. PLUS! We debut two new segments: a two-person hotspot explosion and an improvised scene with a jar of pickles. Huzzah!!

Our heroes begin this episode talking about how Chris became the much-beloved comic book writer and illustrator he is today. He tells of attending the School of Visual Arts and his transition from being primarily an artist to being mostly a writer. Since creating his own, online, indie title (The Adventures of Dr. McNinja), Chris has worked his way to writing for Marvel, where he now authors titles such as the Unbelievable Gwenpool and Vote Loki. He discusses the differences between working for yourself versus at a major publisher and how to collaborate with artists as a writer. He also walks us through process of writing an issue of a comic and what’s demanded of a writer by both the form of comics books and their publishers. With so many projects orbiting his brain-box, Louis can’t help but ask what Chris’s busy schedule looks like and why the heck, on top of it all, does he also do comedy. Chris answers all of Louis’s inquiries and talks about how he got into (specifically) improv and why he later stepped away from it.

PLUS – Louis debuts his new hotspot segment “Getting to Know Each Other!” which features hockey, UCB, wizard beards, and corrective lenses.

DOUBLE PLUS – Louis debuts our new improvised segment! It involves a jar of pickles and you’re just going to love it.

IT’S GREAT TO BE BACK!!!

louis-chris-pickles

Wednesday August 31, 2016, 3:56pm - by Magnet Theater

large_megawatt

Magnet Theater is now accepting applications for the 2016 fall season of Megawatt. Please fill out THIS FORM no later than WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7th to apply for an audition slot. Auditions will take place on Sunday, September 11th, with callbacks being Monday, September 12th.

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 SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10th.

CLICK HERE to apply.

Tuesday August 23, 2016, 10:49am - by Magnet Theater

sketch teams logo

Congratulations to the newest Magnet Sketch Teams and the newest additions to The Executives, Dinosaur Jones, Student Council, and Stockton! Thanks to everyone who submitted and auditioned this round.

Here are your new teams:

*new to Magnet Sketch Teams!

THING #1 directed by Matt Alspaugh
Karina Sahlin* – Writer
Skyler Swezy* – Writer
Dmitry Shein – Writer
Nick Wiener* – Writer
Alyssa Lott* – Actor
Kourtni Beebe* – Actor
Chloe Lewis* – Actor
Keith Rubin* – Actor
Patrick Grizzard* – Writer/Actor
Kyle Levenick – Writer/Actor

THING #2 directed by Ari Miller
Everett Cox* – Writer
Corinne Brinkley* – Writer
Kristen Loe* – Writer
Gina Cucci* – Actor
Alexis Field* – Actor
Dana Moore* – Actor
Rob Webber – Writer/Actor
Joe Lepore – Writer/Actor
Michael McLarnon – Writer/Actor

more

Wednesday August 3, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Summer Bonus 2 - 94 Subscribe with iTunes

Another SPECIAL SUMMER TREAT! Bits, Stories, and Scenes recorded for your pleasure. Ed Herbstman sneaks into the control room while Louis continues his summer break, and shares comedy from Tami Sagher (Don’t Think Twice), Amy Warren (Boardwalk Empire, August: Osage County), Melanie Hoopes (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and Melissa Kirsch (The Girls Guide). This will make you laugh while you sip ice cold lemonade on your veranda. Or if you stay on the subway past your stop because it has air conditioning and you don’t. Either way – enjoy, leave a comment on iTunes, and subscribe!

Wednesday July 20, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

SVB & Charles Rogers [small] Subscribe with iTunes

Filmmakers and co-creators of the upcoming series Search Party, SARAH-VIOLET BLISS & CHARLES ROGERS, join special guest host Rebecca Robles to talk about about their big projects, the formation of their partnership, and of course, showbiz. Their 2014 film, Fort Tilden, was completed in a single summer and won that year’s SXSW Grand Jury Award. Since then, the duo has written for Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, Mozart In The Jungle, and their upcoming TBS series Search Party, which they also directed. Join Rebecca as she talks with SV and Charles about their comedy careers, the ethics of media, and much much more.

We kick off this episode with the thrilling reveal that Charles has known our engineer, Grant, since high school and that everyone has been in HAIR. Rebecca introduces us to her very smart and cool friends, Charles and Sarah-Violet. She asks them about what it was like to have their families experience Fort Tilden for the first time and, in general, the feelings that arise when having their work screened. Hear SV and Charles discuss the stress of such situations, and how to celebrate success and vent frustrations in the strange and competitive world of showbiz.

Our guests answer hard-hitting questions like: “Has SV ever done improv???” and “What is Twitter for???” They comment on working with improvisers on set and we hear this dynamic duo’s origin story, which began in a grad program at NYU. Though Rebecca may know something about it already, for our sake, she asks SV and Charles about the magical process of making Fort Tilden and what it was like to move quickly on such a large project. She also wonders how much of  Search Party is influenced by Fort Tilden? Our two visitors talk about addressing ethics and gray areas in their work and how wanting to be seen as “good” is a major theme of Search Party. Plus, they offer thoughts on how social media is best utilized and how people should go about asking for help. It’s all about looking to give and receive love, rather than asking what someone can do for you. That, my friends, is some damn good advice.

Watch Search Party on TBS later this year, ya cuties!! We guarantee you’ll see some familiar Magnet faces. 🙂

Wednesday July 6, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Subscribe with iTunesSummer Bonus 1 - 92

Our intrepid host, Louis Kornfeld, is taking the summer off to explore worlds outside of the Magnet Theater Podcast, but in the meantime, we’ve got Ed Herbstman at the helm, presenting a variety of pieces he’s been eager to share for some time. So kick back and enjoy this first Summer Bonus Episode featuring performances by Peter Grosz, Hannah Chase, Christian Paluck, J.P. Manoux, Rachel Hamilton, Melanie Hoopes, and Ethan Sandler. It’s the perfect little vacation for your ears.

Monday June 20, 2016, 3:03pm - by Magnet Theater

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We are now accepting applications for The Summer 2016 Circuit! Circuit Teams are made up of Magnet Theater students, graduates of our training program, and veteran performers. We believe that in order to get better at improv, you need to do it.

The deadline to apply is June 28, 2016 at noon. Teams will be announced July 5. Rehearsals start the weekend of July 9. Shows will begin Friday July 22. Teams will perform Friday nights at 10:00pm for 10 weeks (with one week off for Labor Day weekend).

This round, there will also be a Musical Circuit team! If you have completed Musical Level 3 and are not currently on a Musical Megawatt team, you can contact Michael Lutton at mjlutton@gmail.com for more information.

 

To sign up, click this link to fill out the form:

Questions? Just email circuit@magnettheater.com!

Wednesday June 15, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Scott Lawrie 2Subscribe with iTunes

Founding member of Magnet mainstays The Wrath, SCOTT LAWRIE, tells us how he got into improv, of his time working in broadcast television, and what it means to be “taken care of” on stage. Learn a bit about Scott’s upbringing, his penchant for preparedness, the hallmarks of field production, and his love of The Golden Girls. We love Scott. Scott loves you. And you’ll love Scott after listening to this (if you don’t already). Check it!

Our episode kicks off by discussing Scott’s love of “dream characters” and how he was roped into improv in the first place. A fan favorite on Magnet’s stage, Scott says she started improvising relatively late after getting a career in broadcast news off the ground. He tells of how his predilection for preparation has influenced his life and eventually, his comedy. Taking improv classes got Scott saying “yes” more often and highlighted how numerous shifts in power could be. Looking to dig a bit deeper, Louis asks Scott where his comedic sensibility comes from and identifies two of Scott’s improv trademarks. Scott illuminates some of the advantages of growing up with financial concerns and other life challenges while also discussing with Louis the ideas of awareness in the world and being in touch with oneself.

Venturing into another aspect of Scott’s background, Louis inquires about his career in broadcast journalism and working at NBC. One thing that hooked Scott on the field while he was studying it in college was the ultimate goal of helping people tell their stories. He talks a bit about working as a producer in Las Vegas and then deciding to give NYC a try, which has turned into an 11 year experiment. Getting into the nitty gritty, Louis and Scott discuss the hallmarks of field producing, accountability and ethics in media, and what Scott looks for when watching the news now. He also steps us through his path from broadcast news to broadcast comedy! Scott worked for years at The Colbert Report (from nearly the very start to its end) and more recently, at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. How did improv help him make that life shift?

Wading further into the improv waters, Scott tries to answer what it means to be “taken care of” on stage. He talks about lucking out with his first and only team, The Wrath, holding onto their sacred rehearsal time, and how it’s the best way to end a tough Monday. Louis identifies one of improv’s greatest byproducts and where it comes from, and Scott (perhaps) coins the term, “Thelma & Louise’ing it together.” Louis makes mention of power in improv and how The Wrath’s comedy has a way of always hitting hard. For over four years now, they’ve given the Magnet comedy that is personal and yet pointed at society. How do they do it? What does Scott look for when improvising? To answer these questions, and those beyond, Scott and Louis discuss the television shows Designing Women and The Golden Girls. Scott notes the relation of these shows to young gay men and Louis draws the fine line between order as a force of evil and order as an agent of good.

To close, we’re sad to inform you that Scott will soon be moving to the West Coast, but it sure sounds like he crushed it in New York. We’ll miss you, Scott!

Wednesday June 1, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Ali Fisher Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Queen of stage and backstage alike, The Cast’s ALI FISHER, stops by to talk about who we are as humans, why books are so damn cool, and the wonders of genre! Ali and Louis explore how cooperation helps humanity succeed, what Ali absolutely loves about her role as editor at a sci-fi, fantasy, and horror publisher, and why The Cast is so damn incredible. It’s a beautiful episode with beautiful people so just listen to it already!

Our heroes begin this fantastic episode by acknowledging confusion in the world and that we do not know the future. Ali talks about a Wait But Why post that she never finished and it gets them talking about humanity. Louis believes our sense of cooperation lifts us much higher than each of us would be capable of alone and Ali seems to agree. To make things even better, Louis offers up an X-Men analogy that fanboys should do their best not to examine too closely. They discuss the matters of self-awareness and asking, “Who am I?” to which we can only answer, “Evan, Producer.” The rabbit hole is so deep and glorious, we find Louis offering up a comparison between improv comedy and reincarnation.

Running in parallel to Ali’s life as an improviser on stage is her work as a fiction editor off stage. Louis inquires about Ali’s position as an editor within the young adult branch of a fantasy, sci-fi, and horror publishing house. She names some of the books from her past she’s found most formative and tells us what she looks for when reading new works. Similar to fiction, improv helps you examine unthinkable actions and experience unlikely thoughts.

Continuing their quest, Louis and Ali delve into the the topics of external expectations and destiny. Ali articulates the beauty of eating together while Louis pontificates on the nature of company. Isn’t it a little crazy how we all show up to improv shows just for the sake of being with people?

To round out this episode, Ali and Louis talk about the power of various genres, including comedy, and compare the entirety of Horror to the common feeling of stage fright. This leads them to discuss the genre-conquering show The Cast, with whom Ali plays every Saturday night, and to the establishment of Ali’s own personal genre.

Plus, Louis offers this challenge: “Identify with that, listeners!” Find out what it is!

Wednesday May 25, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Rob Penty Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Improviser and storyteller extraordinaire, ROB PENTY, talks about why he hates Stella, how humor can help us deal with life, and the arc of his comedy career. He and host Louis Kornfeld also discuss their complex feelings on absurd humor, what Rob loves in comedy, and of course, The Wrath – Rob’s long-running Magnet house team. There’s a
cool karate belt analogy and plenty of Penty to warm your heart. Check it out!

Louis DIVES right into a hot, controversial topic: Rob’s undying hatred of the sketch group Stella. Louis attempts to defend the trio but the best he can muster is Rob’s acknowledgement that maybe the TV show was okay. Rob challenges the notion of, “If it makes you and your friends laugh, it can make an audience laugh,” and they both offer examples of random sketches they love and/or hate. Why do people like truly absurd humor? For fans of obscure sketch shows, they recall some of The Dana Carvey Show’s best pieces.

With so much criticism of comedy up to this point in the episode, Louis switches gears to ask what Rob DOES like about comedy. They talk about bravery in comedy and how it can work for us within the greater context of our lives. One benefit they explore is the ability to laugh at something uncomfortable and how helpful that can be. Rob provides us with some background on his comedy career, starting with standup, and the arc it has taken over the years. Plus – Find out what’s been jazzing Louis about improv lately!

To bring it all home, Rob makes a cool karate belt analogy and Louis asks about his time spent with The Wrath. Give this one a listen and check out Rob’s website, Actually, It’s Rob Penty Dot Org.com

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