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

Posts Tagged ‘sketch comedy’

Monday May 1, 2017, 1:41pm - by Magnet Theater

Sign up in May and get $50 off your Level One!

It’s the classic 12th Anniversary gift – $50 bucks off.

This sale is for all Level One classes throughout the month of May. That includes Improv, Musical Improv, and Sketch Writing. Sign up for all three and save $150. Or sign up for 10 of them and save $500. Unreasonable? Hell yes. But signing up for one is not only not unreasonable – it’s smart! Save money while falling in love with the most inspiring creative pursuit you can imagine. And while gaining skills that just might change your life.

When we began our theater in 2005, we never knew we’d grow into an organization with 250 performers, 22 teachers, and 80 million students annually. We tried not to, but it happened anyway. We started with Armando Diaz teaching one improv workshop and now we offer comprehensive training in improv, musical improv, sketch writing, storytelling and more. We think that studying with Magnet instructors is simply one of the best ways to improve your comedy, your art, your relationships, and your life.

That’s why we’re offering $50 off any Level One class (improv, musical improv, sketch comedy) when you register between now and May 31st, 2017. Our normally priced $399 classes are now $349 for the month of May.

To view classes currently enrolling, click on the appropriate link below:

Improv Level One

Musical Improv Level One

Sketch Writing Level One

Our Level One Improv and Musical Improv classes are eight sessions with an additional graduation show at the end (no grad show for the sketch class, but it’s still amazing).  And as always, free Intro to Improv classes are also available on a regular basis. Click here for details.

Happy Anniversary!

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!!

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 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, 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.

Wednesday February 15, 2017, 10:00am - by Magnet Theater

sketch teams logo

Say hello to our 2017 Spring/Summer Magnet Sketch Teams! Congratulations to all who made a team and thank you to *everyone* who applied and auditioned – we saw so much incredible talent – it was inspiring. Here’s to a brand new season of killer comedy and some big changes to the Magnet sketch community!!! Read on.

* – Returning to Magnet Sketch Teams
** – New to Magnet Sketch Teams
Bold – New addition to a returning team

NEW TEAM FRYLOCK
Director – Elena Skopetos
Devin O’Neill Performer
Kristina Grosspietsch** Performer
Lorena Russi Serna** Performer
Morgan Pelligrino** Performer
Keith Rubin Performer
Dennis Pacheco* Writer/Performer
David Fried** Writer
Bailey Swiley** Writer
Carly Silverman** Writer
Lauren Faylor** Writer
Elie Stav Writer

 

NEW TEAM MASTER SHAKE
Director – Chris Hastings
Amy Lynne Berger** Performer
Chelsea Frei** Performer
John Ross** Performer
Sam Rogal** Writer/Performer
Jesse Mudrick* Writer/Performer
Joe Lepore Writer/Performer
Alex Braslavsky** Writer
Justin Morgan** Writer
Lanee’ Sanders** Writer

 

NEW TEAM MEATWAD
Director – Michael Delisle
Adam Pasulka** Performer
Kate Shine** Performer
Tanyika Carey** Performer
Duaa Osman** Performer
Kourtni Beebe Performer
Molly Kiernan Writer/Performer
Francis Fuster** Writer
Will Jacobs** Writer
Gregory Cornejo** Writer
Trumane Alston Writer
Skyler Swezy Writer

 

STOCKTON
Director – Jesse Acini
Matt Abedi** Performer
Andrew Vuilleumier Writer/Performer
Diego Martinez Writer/ Performer
Brendan Goggins Performer
Sarah Cassell Writer/Performer
Katie Sicking** Writer/Performer
Emma Rogers Performer
Sara Kalkstein Writer
Matt Wassung Writer

 

KINFOLK
Director – Matt Alspaugh
Alyssa Lott Performer
Chloe Lewis Performer
Jackie Skinner** Performer
Matt Brooks** Performer
Patrick Grizzard Writer/Performer
Kyle Levenick Writer/Performer
Karina Sahlin Writer
Dmitry Shein Writer
Nick Wiener Writer
Virginia Dickens** Writer

 

TROUBLE TOWN
Director – Chrissie Gruebel
Rob Webber Writer/Performer
Michael McLarnon Writer/Performer
Gina Cucci Performer
Alexis Field Performer
Dana Moore Performer
Noel Salter Performer
Kristen Loe Writer
Daniel Sgrizzi** Writer
Joe DiBella Writer
Matt Morea** Writer

 

**WEEKEND TEAMS** – Congratulations to Dinosaur Jones and The Executives – two incredible veteran sketch teams who were promoted to a run of Friday night shows starting in April!

DINOSAUR JONES
Director – Joe Lepore
Anna Neu Performer
Jessica Taylor Performer
Becca Schall Writer/Performer
Rich Rosario Performer
Matt Alspaugh Writer/Performer
Ben Koch Writer/Performer
Hayley Karl Writer
Nat Silverman Writer

 

THE EXECUTIVES
Director – Kevin Cobbs
Ari Miller Writer/Performer
Evan Forde Barden Writer/Performer
Lane Kwederis Performer
Woody Fu Writer/Performer
Meredith Burns Performer
Charlie Nicholson Performer
Bryan Berlin Writer
Christina Cola Writer
Liz Haag Writer

 

Last, but certainly not least, we want to congratulate our *NEW* Magnet Sketch Teams Director ARI MILLER and give a gigantic THANK YOU to our outgoing director CHET SIEGEL, who has put three years of hard work into this program and built it into something that we are so proud of and incredibly excited about going forward! Cheers to Ari and Chet!!!

Thanks/Congrats/Love,

Megan Gray
Artistic Director

Friday February 10, 2017, 10:00am - by Magnet Theater

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.

Chloe Lewis Headshot

What’s your name?

Chloe Lewis

Which team or show are you on?

Kinfolk

Where are you from?

Chicago, Illinois

How did you get into improv/sketch comedy?

I took my first improv class as a freshman in high school at the Latin School of Chicago. Nick Baer was my first (and one of my favorite) teacher, and here are his notes from my grade report first quarter, freshman year (yes, I have them): “Chloe has been doing solid work in Improv Company this quarter.  A confident and enthusiastic performer…she is not afraid to follow a bizarre move or premise with complete sincerity…Chloe could stand to slow down at times in her scene work…I encourage Chloe to continue sharing the joy that she seems to perform with at all times.” Safe to say, I’m still weird, and I could still stand to slow down.

How long have you been performing/writing?

Welllllllll my mom was a performer at the Second City in Chicago, and while she was performing on the main stage, she was also pregnant with me. So, is it safe to say, since the womb? Just kidding, but I have been writing and performing since I was a little kid. I didn’t get into comedy specifically until high school, but I have been on stage ever since I was little. In preschool I made my own stage out of blocks every day and I would bully all the other little kids into watching me perform during choice time. Suckers.

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

Oh god. This is a horrible wonderful question. Where to start? Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Steven Martin? Or Tina or Amy or Mindy or Mya or Kristen? Or Jake Johnson or Lamorne Morris, or Tim Baltz because he’s super cute and talented and my friend Lizzie and I had a crush on him in college and would go to shows at the iO religiously to see his teams. I’d love to sit down with Rachel Dratch, or John Lithgow. Stephen Karam, or Sir David Hare? I’d give my left leg to write with or to have known E.E. Cummings or Lucille Ball….ok, I’ll stop there. You probably only wanted me to say like one or two people…

Who would you most like to impersonate or write for?

Oh god, I love to impersonate Jimmy Stewart. Is that weird? I’m oddly good at it. I would love to write for literally anyone who wants me to write for them. Are you hiring?

What makes you laugh the hardest?

Farting. I’m serious. I know that is blue and bathroom humor is frowned upon, but I LOVE farts. Farts, farting, jokes about farts, I just farted, you just farted, laughing until I fart, laughing because someone farted, laughing because that someone who farted was probably me. Hangover farting, farting and walking away. Yeah, farts. 100% of the time anything to do with farts will make me laugh.

Describe the soundtrack to your life!

Yikes, this is tough. A little bit of everything from the Eagles and the Grateful Dead to Tim McGraw and anything country, to Mary Chapin Carpenter and Carole King, to James Taylor and bluegrass and folk, love Grizzly Bear. Anything but screamo. I’m a runner, and frequently run with the November Project, but when I’m not with them, I stick to top 40s. BIG fan of Spotify release radar. They get me.

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

Usually their name. (Haha is that a boring answer?) Then I repeat their name in my head at least six times right after because I am terrible with remembering names and someone once told me that if you are bad with names you are just lazy. So, I try not to be lazy.

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?

Ideally? In a cuddle pile with an entire litter of puppies. Realistically (but also ideally)? On my couch with Indian takeout, my boyfriend Jimmy, and whatever topically relevant show everyone is binging at the time.

Monday January 30, 2017, 8:00am - by Magnet Theater

Ringers Newsletter

Applications are now open for Ringers’ March Show. Ringers is a sketch show for aspiring, eager, and ambitious writers, actors, and directors of the Magnet community – and we want you to be a part of it!

The show will be Monday, March 20th at 10:30 P.M.

Below please see the details to apply:

WRITERS:

Ringers is seeking sketches for the stage to showcase in its March show. To have your sketch considered, prior or current participation in Magnet’s Sketch Writing program, Diversity Sketch Lab, Lady Sketch Lab, or Magnet Video Lab is required. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, March 3rd from 6:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M. as well as the show. Attendance of rehearsals is encouraged but is not mandatory. We encourage directors and writers to meet up after the table read to go over notes and any revisions prior to the first rehearsal.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

To apply, please fill out the following form: https://goo.gl/forms/q5f9ro9UXlMhCNS13 as well as email ringers@magnettheater.com a finished, polished sketch formatted correctly and no longer than 5 pages in length. This sketch should also contain little to no tech.

ACTORS:

Ringers is seeking actors to star in its sketches. To be considered as an actor, you must have completed at least Level 4 of Magnet’s Improv Curriculum or Level 2 of the Musical Program. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, March 3rd from 6:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M., the rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are cast in, and the show.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

Actors will typically be given at least 2 roles and thus must be available for more than one rehearsal slot.

To apply to be an actor for an upcoming show, please fill out the following form: https://goo.gl/forms/E1Jm40Zs46SKLbWE2

DIRECTORS:

Ringers is seeking directors for its March show. To be considered as a director, you must have Big Sib’ed a Sketch Level 2 class or have been on a Magnet Sketch Team. You will be required to attend the Table Read on Friday, March 3rd from 6:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M., the rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are directing, and the show. We encourage directors and writers to meet up after the table read to go over notes and any revisions prior to the first rehearsal.

*Please note that rehearsals will be held before/after class hours during the week and weekend.*

To apply to be a director for a sketch in an upcoming show, please fill out the following form: https://goo.gl/forms/M27Hidj0luj4kYDK2

**The deadline to be considered for Ringers’ March show is Wednesday, February 15th. Announcements will go out Wednesday, February 22nd**

For all questions please e-mail Armando Diaz and Amanda Xeller at ringers@magnettheater.com. We look forward to working with you!