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

Posts Tagged ‘new york’

Thursday May 25, 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?

Duaa Osman

Which team or show are you on?

Chillionaire

Where are you from?

Sudan & Ohio

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

A complete accident. I’ve always done stand-up and I’ve written short comedy stories but I didn’t get into improv until I moved to New York 4 years ago and then got into sketch shortly after. Needless to say, I feel I’ve been deprived of a very essential part of my life. I blame my parents.

How long have you been performing/writing?

I’ve always been the class clown in school so I guess that counts as a performance. Writing was something that I enjoyed doing since I was a kid but I would say I wasn’t actively in comedy (writing and performing) until 5 years ago.

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

Writing partners: Donald Glover, Aaron Sorkin and Emma Thompson. Scene partner: Sylvester Stallone because I can’t understand a word he says and I like a challenge.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I would like to impersonate Sarah Palin for obvious reasons. Or a pilot. I would love to write for Trevor Noah, Jane Austen, and most recently, Jordan Peele. Or any show that will pay me to have the honor. Seriously, pay me.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

British comedy panel shows. They’re so funny, I almost forget all about colonialism.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

I don’t like music so this is a tough one. Do podcasts count? I would say a melodic mashup of 2 Dope Queens, The Nerdist, and NPR. Oh and Blink-182 just to have something classical.

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

Can I guess what your name is based solely on how you look? It’s important to note, based on this question, that I don’t make a lot of great first impressions.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

You can’t find me. I lock myself indoors doing absolutely nothing because Saturday nights are for not working and not making plans. I just stay home, either writing screenplays or playing video games and hope there isn’t a fire that will force me to go outside and talk to people. Or perhaps at an open-mic. You’ll never know!

What would you name your boat if you had one?

I would name my boat Oprah so people would be fooled into getting on, thinking I could heal their problems.  THAT is how you throw a boat party when you have very few friends.

 

Wednesday May 24, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

 

International man of mystery, ROMAN PIETRS, sits down with host Louis Kornfeld to discuss his improv life, his various profession(s), and being a dad who does improv. The Warm Blooded team member explains his proclivity toward using emotion during improv and Louis unearths out some of the reasons why Roman is a person of great intrigue. The topics in this episode range from European walking tours to male-perm quiche parties, so you know it’ll be great.

We begin this episode with a sneaky little cold open in which Roman and Louis delve into their family histories including a generation that seemed to largely reject their given names.

Diving into the episode proper, Roman divulges that he planned ahead by checking emails in order to refresh his Magnet Theater memory. When discussing musical improv, Roman explains that he has “more of a musical mind than a lyrical mind” and gives an example of a song about a box. It’s the kind of improv that Roman refers to as, “speaking in tongues.” Louis also shares his perspective of letting yourself go onstage and opening your mouth without an idea.

The two chat about their experiences with emotion on stage and we find out that Roman’s safe place is going to a highly-inflated emotional state. Louis was uncomfortable with the idea of playing with emotion at first, but now he believes that emotion is everything. Roman discusses his recent struggle with breaking on stage – due to the hilarity of his teammates – and describes his team, Warm Blooded, as an ensemble that creates “passionate musicals that borderline on the obscure.”

Louis begins to figure out some of the reasons why Roman has the reputation of being a “man of mystery.” In addition to working in improv and graphic design, Roman also helps run a European walking tour industry (taking place in Budapest, Prague, etc.). After helping his wife out with a craft idea, they eventually got to be on Shark Tank. “Male-perm quiche party” is a term that Louis had never heard of, however Roman used it as a way to raise money for a good cause and in turn share a cover story with Slash from Guns ‘N’ Roses. Lastly, we hear about an interesting taxi driver whom Roman learned a lot about. And that’s just the stuff we had time for in this podcast recording!

Thursday May 18, 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?

Amy Lynne Berger

Which team or show are you on?

The Nitro Girls

Where are you from?

Naperville, IL.

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I’m certainly one of those kids who grew up watching SNL – but even more than that, I watched sitcoms that highlighted funny women and they made it look so easy! Watching Lucille Ball, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Fran Drescher, and Christina Applegate DAILY certainly pushed me in the direction of comedy. I went to NYU Tisch and got to train in being a ~serious~ actor, which I LOVE, but it also felt very self-indulgent and lonely at a certain point. As soon as I graduated, I decided to sign up for improv and sketch to mix things up and I completely fell in love with the supportive group dynamic of it all!

How long have you been performing/writing?

I’ve been acting since the age of 4 when I played a Cuban Orphan on The Untouchables TV Show! I’ve only been seriously doing comedy/writing for about 3.5 years.

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

Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She’s perfect. I think I could play her daughter and am available to do so.
I also would love to write with Mindy Kaling – I think we’d understand all of each other’s pop culture references.

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I would love to impersonate Jessie J because she is absurdly cool and it would mean I had the best vocals in the world. I would love to write for Steve Carrell!

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Watching Tami Sagher. She’s another person I would love to work with as a scene/writing partner. I have a big comedy crush on her because she has a way of making me laugh harder than I ever have and then cry because of her groundedness and honesty…. and then laugh AGAIN for good measure given it’s a comedy show.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

It’s a LOT of musical theatre…but then mixed with some powerhouse vocalists like Jessie J (especially her acoustic stuff), Adele, and Christina, followed by rap when I’m needing a good pump up walking down those NYC streets (I’m looking at you “Rap God”), followed by more pop (because who am I kidding) – I love me some classic Usher, Black Eyed Peas, Britney, and Spice Girls, and then topped with fan favorites like The Beatles and The Beach Boys!

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

“What’s your favorite food?”

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

It’s safe to assume I’m in Astoria eating penne alla vodka from Napoli Pizza & Pasta watching SNL with my B41 fam!

What was your favorite toy growing up?

My Baby Simba stuffed animal.

 

Wednesday May 17, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

 

ADX performer and veteran of Megawatt, FRANK BONOMO, joins host Louis Kornfeld to talk about his discovery of improv, Magnet’s early days, and how he approaches the artform now. They also reflect on the importance of the SoHo Apple store to the New York improv scene and how cool it was to see Mike Myers perform at Magnet. There are loads of other great tidbits in this episode and we’re happy to return from our spring break with one of the greats. Huzzah!

Frank jumps into our interview not knowing what to expect and Louis quickly tries to determine how long they’ve known each other. Beginning in 2006, Frank was in the second wave of Magnet students, so he’s known Louis for quite some time and has been around the theater for years. Back then, he was working at the Apple store in SoHo when his now brother-in-law, Joey Dembner, suggested taking a class at Magnet. By the time Frank started classes, he and Joey weren’t the only improvisers working there and he tells us a bit about the connection between the improv crowd and that particular Apple store, which also employed notable Magnet alum George Basil (HBO’s “Crashing,” TBS’s “Wrecked”).

Louis asks Frank about his first impression of improv, which he says was, “What a weird, fun thing to stumble upon.” Talking about the early days of Magnet, both Frank and Louis recall seeing the Mike Myer’s stage show that eventually became his movie, “The Love Guru.” (Fun fact: the Deepak Chopra signature on the back wall at the theater is real!) Frank also reminisces about what it was like to learn the history of Harold-based improv at a time when it was only about ten years old. They discuss the long-running, now long-defunct, show “The Tiny Spectacular” and some of the incredible performers who were a part of it. As one for the earlier people at Magnet who had not studied anywhere else, Frank has a unique perspective on the theater’s beginnings.

Our duo debates whether or not improv is accessible to a person off the street and Louis asks Frank which performers he watched closely when he was a student. They also discuss Frank’s style of play, which Louis describes as both very physical and highly adept at calling back subtle patterns. They wrap up the episode discussing the difference between using your strengths to your greatest advantage and simply relying on them like a crutch.

Thursday May 11, 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?

Adam Payne

Which team or show are you on?

Squash

Where are you from?

Studio City, California

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

Back when I was feeling a little sad and lonely after a breakup that could have gone better, I decided that I needed a new hobby. And having seen several episodes of Who’s Line Is It Anyway growing up, I thought improv would be a good option. I signed up for a class, and even I was initially surprised that we we’re doing these things called “scenes” rather than playing Party Quirks again and again, I was hooked.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Although I’ve been a behind-the-camera filmmaker since I was in high school, and I was an avid friend-of-the-theater-kids in college, I didn’t actually start performing myself until my Level 1 Improv class show. I’m trying to make up for lost time now!

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

Jill Bernard aka the living embodiment of everything good in improv. I met Jill a couple years ago at Camp Improv Utopia and her improv so fun, surprising, and effortless, and her personality was so warm and uplifting. She’s perfect.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

I love feeling surprised. So really love it when someone says something completely by accident, and the whole team comes together to explore, heighten, and realize the logic in that surprise. Those moments can make me cry a little bit.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Half acoustic guitar ballads, half sped up anime intro songs. Sometimes a mix of the two.

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

“So what brings you to [place we’re both at]?”
If you’re looking for icebreakers for online-only conversations, you’ll need to find that advice somewhere else.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Ideally, at a bar that allows board games. Or someone’s apartment that allows board games. Or we can just hang out at my place and play board games. I have a lot of board games.

What is your favorite Disney movie?

Are we including Pixar? Then The Incredibles.
Are we including Disney-distributed movies? Spirited Away.
Are we not including those other two things? Then The Lion King.

Thursday May 4, 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?

Melanie Rubin

Which team or show are you on?

Astro Tramps & Captains

Where are you from?

Bucks County, PA

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

My college had a really great improv troupe. I was too busy with cooler things like acapella and being an RA, so I never tried it. Two years post-grad I was like, “Hey Mel? Remember that thing you were too scared I mean too busy to try? Looks like there’s a free intro you can take. Do it Mel! Do it!” I listened to Mel.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Since 7pm on January 5th, 2015. You wanted me to be that specific, right?

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

Fey/Poehler

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

Wiig/Rudolph

What makes you laugh the hardest?

When people break on stage, blooper reels, people who get really amped up giving clues while playing Taboo

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Singer-songwriter types with some sweet, sweet harmonies to start (Sara Bareilles, Good Old War, First Aid Kit), followed by some early 2000s pop-punk types (New Found Glory, Paramore, Fall Out Boy), with a nice helping of powerhouse ladies (Whitney, Beyonce, Alanis), and a sprinkle of showtunes.

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

Come here often?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

If I’m not doing or watching improv, I’m probably at a broadway show or hanging with my new puppy or eating my weight in sushi.

Who’s your celebrity crush?

Ben Schwartz

Wednesday April 26, 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?

Patrick Grizzard

Which team or show are you on?

Kinfolk, Astro Tramps, Ten-Minute Play Festival

Where are you from?

Richmond, VA

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

Some people have a mid-life crisis and buy a sports car. I started doing comedy. It’s been much more rewarding and (slightly) less expensive than that sexy red Miata I had my eye on. I was always a comedy nerd, but never considered performing. After I finished grad school, I realized I had spent two years staring at a computer by myself. I signed up for an improv class on a whim and within a few weeks I was like, “Yes. This. More.”

How long have you been performing/writing?

Five years this month. Happy improversary to me!

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

It would be a dream to improvise with Christina Gausas. She is so present and just radiates joy and possibility, onstage and in the classroom. You can’t be around her and not feel inspired to do great improv. If I could write with anyone in the world it would be George Saunders or Danny McBride. They are the polar ends of my personal comedy spectrum, which I guess spans from “empathetic and profound” to “confident doofus fails spectacularly.”

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for? 

I would love to write for “Bojack Horseman” some day. It’s so smart and silly and heartbreakingly sad and beautiful all at the same time. I’m terrible at impressions, but maybe Dan Harmon or Slavoj Zizek? I’m sure they would both have EXTENSIVE notes and feedback to share.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

In Kinfolk meetings, it’s frequently the pitches that people preface by saying, “This is probably too dumb…” and then you riff on it for five minutes until everyone’s crying laughing. Just the stupidest bits that people commit to relentlessly and won’t let die. Pretty much any line that Dmitry Shein ad libs in a sketch.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

http:www.oonce-oonce.com/

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

Dogs or cats? Neither? I got my eye on you pal!

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

How I imagine: Performing, seeing friends’ shows, going to the movies, etc.. How it is: Netflix, Seamless, my bed.

Who is your favorite Saturday Night Light cast member (past or current)?

My favorite SNL cast member of all time would probably have to be Phil Hartman (RIP). His Sinatra was the best. Sorry Joe Piscopo 🙁

Thursday April 20, 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?

Alyssa Lott

Which team or show are you on?

Kinfolk

Where are you from?

Virginia

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

Through acting for theater.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Performing a long time, writing less long time.

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

Melissa McCarthy

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

Impersonate angry men, write for Sam Bee.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

People surprising themselves. And memes (I know, I’ll roll my own eyes at myself).

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Soooooul music, baby… **lowers sunglasses, jiggles eyebrows**

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

How’s it going today?

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Performing characters or improv, or having a big dinner someplace I haven’t been before.

What is your favorite emoji to use?

🙃

Wednesday April 19, 2017, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

 

Queen of dinosaurs, BECCA SCHALL, joins host Louis Kornfeld to discuss her 10-minute play “Goofus & Gallant,” how she has grown alongside the Magnet’s sketch program, and duh, makeover shows! We find out from where Becca draws inspiration and what her sketch writing process looks like. Her team, Dinosaur Jones, moves to Friday nights starting April 21st but you can find out all about her right now!

Our episode begins with Louis asking Becca about her contribution to Magnet Theater’s 10-Minute Play Festival, “Goofus & Gallant.” They get into the differences between writing sketch and writing something a bit longer and Becca shares her fascination with the “Highlights” characters the play is based upon. Listen also to find out who Becca Schall was before she came to Magnet Sketch Teams and what the struggling life of an actor can be like!

Since finding sketch comedy at Magnet, Becca has grown a great deal and we find out how exactly she has changed since she’s been in the program. She and Louis talk about honing your voice and learning what your sensibilities are, Louis asks about the kinds of things she finds herself writing these days, and they both discuss the legendarily bad movie “The Room.” Becca tells of being inspired by everyday daydreams, growing a sketch from a small nugget, and how she works from an analytical process. Our two heroes both agree that makeover shows are sad and weird and Louis shares with us an excellent episode of Hoarders. Outside of comedy, Becca can often be found nannying and, as such, Louis asks her to dish on what kids are into these days. Finally, Becca shares with us where her comedy compass is pointing and where she hopes to go.

Don’t forget to check out Becca’s team, Dinosaur Jones, performing each Friday at 7pm from now until the end of June with a new show each month!!

Thursday April 13, 2017, 12:29pm - by Magnet Theater

large_thecircuit

Magnet is very excited to announce that the next season of Conservatory Circuit is now open for applications! What is Conservatory Circuit, you ask? Why, it’s just like the regular Circuit, except it’s open only to students who have been accepted into Magnet’s Conservatory program (Level 5 and above). It’s an awesome way to work weekly with an ensemble and coach as well as get more reps under your belt. We highly recommend it!

KEY DATES:
Application deadline: Saturday, April 22nd at noon
Team announcements: Wednesday, April 26th
Shows: Fridays at 10pm; May 5th through June 9th at the Magnet Training Center Studio

What are you waiting for? Check out the details and apply now!

Questions, thoughts, comments, or concerns can be directed to circuit@magnettheater.com.