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

Posts Tagged ‘sketch comedy’

Wednesday June 15, 2016, 5:41pm - by Magnet Theater

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The Magnet Theater is excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for the 2016 Fall/Winter Season of MAGNET SKETCH TEAMS, which will run from September 12th through Jan 30th! Applications are due by Monday, August 1st, at 5pm!

Please read the following application instructions and sketch team participant expectations very carefully – we’ve made some very big changes to the program. Got questions? Come to the Fall 2016 Sketch Team info sessions Wednesday, June 29th at 6pm at the TC.

GENERAL SKETCH SHOW EXPECTATIONS

  • Each team will create one 20-25 minute sketch show every three to four  weeks.

  • All sketch team shows will be on Monday nights at 7:30pm! Two teams will perform in each show.

  • All sketch team shows must contain new, original material written specifically for Magnet Sketch Night that has never been previously performed.

  • Each show will contain the best material created for the team as selected by the director – there is no guarantee that every writer will get a sketch in each show or that every actor will be featured in each show. Funny wins. Them’s the breaks.

  • All sketches will be performed by the team’s ensemble cast of sketch actors. If a particular sketch requires it, the team may use outside casting (writers, other actors) at the director’s discretion.

GENERAL SKETCH TEAM EXPECTATIONS

  • Sketch team members are expected to attend all required meetings and shows and arrive fully prepared. Sketch is time intensive – make sure you can commit 100% and make sketch a priority before applying.

  • Sketch team members must be available 1:30-4:30pm the Sunday before their show for a mandatory tech rehearsal at the theater.

  • Sketch team members may not schedule conflicting appointments (work, rehearsals, shows, etc) during scheduled techs, shows, rehearsals, or meetings.

  • Sketch teams must rehearse with a Magnet approved director. Each individual sketch team member is responsible for paying their director a flat rate of $12/week; team due collection is left to the discretion of the director and team (as it would be for an improv team or practice group).

  • Sketch team members are expected to promote their shows at the theater.

For the Fall/Winter 2016 Sketch Season, you must apply as a writer, performer, or a writer/performer. Expectations, prerequisites, and application instructions for each role are below!

WRITER EXPECTATIONS

  • Writers must attend one 3 hour writing meeting per week, all performance rehearsals of their sketches, and all tech rehearsals.

  • Writers must constantly generate new material and are required to bring in a minimum of one new sketch per week, even during show week.

  • Writers are expected to be respectful and gracious collaborators in writing room. Writers should give and receive feedback to and from their teammates in an open and constructive manner.

  • Writers will be required to rewrite material and meet deadlines as requested by their director.

WRITER  PREREQUISITES

  • Completion of (or current enrollment in) Magnet Sketch Writing Level 2 or previous participation on a Magnet Sketch team (as any role).

  • Equivalent sketch writing experience somewhere else!

WRITER APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:

Send the following materials to sketchdirector@magnettheater.com with the subject line, “2016 FALL/WINTER MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION// WRITER // <YOUR NAME>”.

  • A cover letter detailing relevant sketch experience inside and outside the Magnet community.
  • If your comedy experience is mostly outside of the Magnet Theater, you must provide the email address for a reference.
  • A single PDF of a sketch writing sample. Your sample should contain at least two sketches and may not exceed 10 pages.

PERFORMER EXPECTATIONS

  • Performers must be available for a regularly scheduled 2-3 hour performance rehearsal the week leading up to the show (ex: Sketch Team Fart Police has a performance rehearsal every Tuesday before a show, 7-10pm)

  • Performers must be available for techs, table reads, and any additional rehearsals as required by the director.

  • Performers must learn all show material in a timely manner.

  • Performers may collaborate with writers outside of rehearsals to help create characters and sketches, but performers should not be writing material on their own for shows.

  • Performers must perform sketches as they are written – ad libbing is good in a pinch, but be prepared and don’t put yourself in positions where you must resort to improvisation. Be polished and professional in all shows.

PERFORMER PREREQUISITES

  • Completion of or current enrollment in Level 6 team performance workshop, participation in a past or current Megawatt team, or previous participation in a Magnet Sketch Team (as any role).

  • Equivalent sketch performing experience somewhere else! You must also provide a contactable reference who knows your work well.

PERFORMER APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:

Send the following materials to sketchdirector@magnettheater.com with the subject line,

“2016 FALL/WINTER MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION// PERFORMER // <YOUR NAME>”

  • A cover letter detailing relevant performance experience inside and outside the Magnet community.

  • A headshot

  • A PDF of your acting resume

  • A SINGLE link to a 3-5 minute sample of your work as a performer. This can be a reel, a recording of a stage sketch, a video sketch, a monologue directed at a webcam, anything you feel showcases you as a comedic performer. Youtube or Vimeo preferred. The link can be public, private, or unlisted – just be sure to send passwords if necessary and you may only send one link and the link itself may be no longer than 5 minutes.

You will be informed by Monday, September 8th, if you have been selected to audition in person. In-person auditions will be held on Friday, August 12th, and Saturday, August 13th at the Magnet Training Center. Unfortunately, if you are not available for the above callback dates, you cannot be considered as a performer for the 2016 Fall/Winter Sketch Season.

For the in-person audition, you will perform two contrasting sketches that will be assigned to you and another applicant a couple days prior to the audition. You must be completely off-book and you may rehearse before hand with your scene partner, at your discretion. You will also be asked to cold read sketches in the room.

WRITER/ PERFORMER EXPECTATIONS

  • Writer/performers must meet all writer expectations AND performer expectations.

  • Writer/performers are expected to write for other performers as well as for themselves. There is no guarantee that a writer/performer will perform in all of their own work.

WRITER/PERFORMER PREREQUISITES

  • Writer/performers must meet all writer AND performer prerequisites or previous participation on a Magnet Sketch team (as any role) or equivalent experience somewhere else.

WRITER/PERFORMER APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Send the following materials to sketchdirector@magnettheater.com with the subject line,

“2016 FALL/WINTER MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION// WRITER/PERFORMER // <YOUR NAME>”

  • All materials detailed in writer application instructions.

  • All materials detailed in performer application instructions.

  • Also, please indicate if you are willing to be considered as a writer or actor ONLY if you are not selected for a writer/performer position. Be completely honest – your preferences will not be held against you!

You will be informed by Monday, August 8th, if you have been selected to audition in person. See performer application instructions above for more info about the audition.

Failure to follow application instructions will keep you from being considered for sketch team. Double check your application!

All applications must be received by 5pm on Monday, August 1st!  

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

Wednesday May 18, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Matt J Weir Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Longtime Magnet fixture and Creative Consultant for MTV’s “Joking Off,” MATT J. WEIR, talks with host Louis Kornfeld about working on television shows, finding his artistic voice, and his love of artfully dumb comedy. Matt and Louis spend the first part of this episode talking about Matt’s recent experience writing scripts for “Joking Off” and how he’s adapted to the more professional side of comedy. They also discuss Matt’s infamous comedy duo, We’re Matt Weir, and how Matt got into comedy in the first place. You can catch him hosting Cathouse at Industry City Distillery in Brooklyn each month, or right now, on this podcast!

Having just come off a stint writing scripts for MTV’s “Joking Off,” Louis asks Matt all about his experience working for a big network and a television host. He walks us through what it was to be the script supervisor and what the format of the show is, for those that haven’t seen it. Matt was also writing jokes for the show’s host, stand up DeRay Davis, and discusses what he’s learned from writing for someone else’s voice. He talks further about joke writing, what it’s like in a writers room, and the professional side of comedy.

For years, Matt has been one of the hardest working people around the Magnet and Louis wants to know where that work ethic comes from. We hear about Matt’s upbringing in Pennsylvania and how he never wants to go back to loading trucks. He also credits meeting Matt B. Weir as a pivotal moment in his comedy career and one that launched him into just making shit. Together, as We’re Matt Weir, they put up countless shows and traveled the country making artfully dumb comedy.  Matt debates making comedy like fine wine versus diarrhea water and describes how he used to fill 45 minutes on a Monday night at Magnet. Louis and Matt both agree that big, broad movies have their place in the theater and then they both make cool explosion sounds.

Having firmly settled in the camp of diarrhea water, Matt discusses being true to his vision and artistic voice. He then provides us with some background on how he began his quest in film and entertainment which started as a minor interest while in school. Over time, he learned how to shoot and edit by working at his school’s media center and discovered that his calling wasn’t to be a history teacher. So, Louis asks, what’s next for Matt’s career? What does he want to do? Find out all that and more by tuning in!

Tuesday April 26, 2016, 2:07pm - by Magnet Theater

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Applications are now open for Ringers’ June 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, June 27th at 7:30pm.

Below please see the details to apply:

WRITERS:
Ringers is seeking sketches for the stage to showcase in its June show. To have your sketch considered, prior or current participation in Magnet’s Sketch Writing program, Lady Sketch Lab, or Magnet Video Lab is required.

To apply, please e-mail your name, your writing experience, and a finished, polished sketch to ringers@magnettheater.com. The sketches you submit should require little to no tech and should be no longer than 5 pages. You will be required to attend the table read on Friday, June 10th from 6:30 – 8:30 as well as the show. Attendance of rehearsals is encouraged, but is not mandatory.

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

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 rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are cast in as well as the show.

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

To apply to be an actor for an upcoming show, please fill out the following form: http://goo.gl/forms/relcpuVc4X

DIRECTORS:
Ringers is seeking directors to direct sketches. 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, June 10th from 6:30 – 8:30, the rehearsals for the sketch(es) you are directing, and the show..

*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: http://goo.gl/forms/VAfgB68gM3

**The deadline to be considered for Ringers’ June show is Wednesday, May 18th.**

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

Wednesday April 6, 2016, 6:32am - by Magnet Theater

Adam Twitchell Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Student Council member and a big wig in The Music Industry, ADAM TWITCHELL, sits down with host Louis Kornfeld to discuss production value, physical comedy, and his indie team EagleFox. Adam compares his two most recent sketch teams, comments on the evolution of the sketch program at Magnet, and even shares some ideas for sketches taken straight from his notes. Finally, he talks about being jobless. This episode with lift you up!

We pick up in the middle of a conversation between Adam and Louis regarding the sketch “Lost at Sea,” which Adam wrote and performed with sketch team, Wendigo.(You can watch it below.) He and Louis discuss writing sketches that have a bit of production value and he walks us through the creation of “Lost At Sea.” Jumping off of on the themes of physicality and stage pictures, Louis asks Adam about his silent movie show and and he talks about how he’s a big fan of not only that category of films, but playing with genres in general.

Speaking on tropes and old films, Louis and Adam ponder how to go about writing something original in an era where everything has been done. Adam is now a member of sketch team Student Council and he relates how it is working with them versus his previous team, Wendigo. He also tells Louis how much he enjoys sketches that require a decent amount of research, even if he’s writing about the business of something like the Wonka corporation.

Adam reads some real ideas for sketches from his phone and tells us what he gets from “the room” during the creative process. He and Louis talk about traveling to sketch festivals and how shows should flow. Having been a part of it since the very beginning, Adam answers questions about how  the sketch program at Magnet has progressed since its inception. Louis shares some of Armando’s best advice for sketch and asks Adam what wisdom he would impart upon someone who is greener in the scene.

Getting controversial, Louis asks Adam whether he prefers improv or sketch, OR if he loves them both equally, like children. Without giving anything away, we’ll just tell you that Adam recently joined Megawatt veterans The Music Industry and still finds time to play with his indie team EagleFox from time to time. He notes that camaraderie is the #1 best taste to making an indie team great and keeping spirits high. At Louis’ behest, he details the legend of EagleFox’s “Hair Mona Lisa,” which is a part of INSPIRADO folklore.

We conclude this episode with Adam discussing his “quarter-life rediscovery,” his current jobless state, and by finding out our guest’s top five desert island comedy picks.

Wednesday March 23, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Devin O'Neill Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Get ready, because heartthrob DEVIN O’NEILL joins us to talk about her lifelong pursuit of comedy, performing for children, and how following your feet is the best! From The Cast to Sketch Teams to Megawatt and INSPIRADO, hear about Devin’s many comedic ventures and how she most prefers to approach scenework. Plus, a cameo from Ed Herbstman and Louis being an old man!

Louis begins this episode pointing out how nervous Devin seems to be. What’s she got to be nervous about? It’s just a podcast! All kidding aside, she quickly masters her fear in time for Louis to ask her about her favorite quote: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” On her way to discussing imaginary friends, Devin manages to insult Louis’ age and it’s good fun for all. Laughing off his obviously hurt feelings, Louis wants to talk about Florida, which is where Devin is from originally. She tells us of this odd and, at times, amazing state and then claims that she’s wanted to be a performer and comedian since she was three year old! Wow. And the best part? It’s true!

Devin has been performing for as long as she can remember and, in adulthood, spent time acting in a children’s theater company which toured throughout Florida. All this before she moved to NYC to do improv and create funny characters. She got into improv thanks to her friend and Magnet House Manager, Bimini Lee Wright, after watching a UCB class show and then seeing *Kiss Punch Poem*. Sorry, 101 class, but Devin ended up taking classes at Magnet. Circling back to children’s theater, Devin and Louis discuss why playing for children is both incredibly difficult and totally amazing. They answer the question we ask in retrospect: How does an improv audience compare to a room full of unabashedly honest children? Plus, Louis provides a theory as to why improv is populated by such a bunch of smarties.

Back to the present, yes? Devin came to New York to to pursue comedy, something which stemmed from her work in Commedia dell’Arte. She tells of about all the different shows she does, plus(!), she’s got a full-time job. Needless-to-say, she has a lot to balance day-to-day and being on stage allows her a central focus compared to the scatterbrain nature of daily life. She and Louis ponder advice for enjoying second beats and talk about innovative thinking versus adaptive thinking, or initiating versus responding, if you prefer. She advocates adding a feeling of inclusiveness to how you begin a scene, no matter what kind of initiation you provide, and as promised in the lead, they talk about their feet knowing better than their minds!

To wrap things up, Louis and Devin wax poetic on The Cast, which for the record, Louis thinks is better than 98 Degrees. Devin tells us how crazy fun the show is and gives a lot of well-deserved credit to their director, Hannah Chase. Plus, Ed Herbstman makes a cameo and Devin talks about being friends with the one and only Justin Torres!!

Tuesday March 8, 2016, 2:00pm - by Magnet Theater

Manhattan Skyline

The Magnet is thrilled to announce a new show coming on April, 18th – Ringers! 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!

Below please see the details to apply:

WRITERS:
Ringers is seeking sketches for the stage to showcase in its upcoming shows. To have your sketch considered, prior or current participation in Magnet’s Sketch Writing program, Lady Sketch Lab, or Magnet Video Lab is required.

To apply, please e-mail your name, your writing experience, and a finished, polished sketch to ringers@magnettheater.com. The sketches you submit should require 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.

To apply to be an actor for an upcoming show, please fill out the following form:

http://goo.gl/forms/7tgh0aQyzc

DIRECTORS:
Ringers is seeking directors to direct sketches. 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.

To apply to be a director for a sketch in an upcoming show, please fill out the following form:

http://goo.gl/forms/TKo63dtTfq

 

**The deadline to be considered for the April show is Wednesday, March 16th.**

To participate in the April show, you must be able to commit to:

– Attending the table read on Friday, April 1st from 6:30 – 8:30pm.
– Attending the rehearsal(s) (1 to 2 max) for the sketch you’re involved with. Rehearsals will be at the Magnet Training Center and will take place during off hours – 6:00 – 7:00pm/10:00 – 11:00pm on a weekday.
– The show on Monday, April 18th at 9:00pm.

This is an ongoing application so please continue to submit your interest and your sketches to be considered for future shows.

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

Wednesday March 2, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Andy Moskowitz on the Magnet Theater Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Ariana Grande’s BFFL, ANDY MOSKOWITZ, is on the podcast talking substance abuse, vulnerability, and of course, Mother’s Day. Andy talks about getting his improv start in Philly doing ComedySportz and shares with us his Behind The Music moment. Plus, he and Louis try to write a joke together! Tune in for a whale of a good time.

In seven short years, Andy Moskowitz has gone from his first improv class in Philadelphia to working on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in New York City. more

Wednesday February 17, 2016, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Woody Fu Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Boom Chicago cast member and former Magnet baddie, WOODY FU, visits from Amsterdam to talk about building Second City style sketch shows, living abroad, and his comedy ambitions. It’s his first time stateside since moving to the Netherlands and we are thrilled that he decided to spend some time talking with us about his experiences with Boom Chicago as well as his recent reunion with Metal Boy. If you’re not interested in sketch comedy or improv, stick around for Woody’s winning personality, which he describes as, “Extremely neurotic and Chinese.”

Woody’s been gone for nine months and his first trip back to the Americas has been filled with tropical sunshine, winter snow, and Metal Boys. Confusing, you say? more

Tuesday February 16, 2016, 5:32pm - by Magnet Theater

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The Second City Touring Company based in Chicago will be holding its annual General Auditions for understudy positions in The Second City Touring Company as well as ship actors and other foreseeable opportunities ­this March in Chicago. To qualify for the audition – actor must be a graduate of a conservatory level program in sketch and/or improvisation. Ex: The Second City Training Center, iO, Annoyance, Magnet, PIT, etc.

To apply for an audition spot:

Please email your most current headshot and updated resume to: auditions@secondcity.com between 8AM CT Monday, February 22 and 6PM CT Wednesday, February 23, 2016*

The subject line must say: GENERAL AUDITIONS 2016

* ​it is possible that the appointments will be full before 6PM on Feb 23.

An email confirmation will be sent out on or by: Friday, February 26, 2016

The audition dates are: ​March 7 ­– 10, 2016

Callbacks ​will be held on Monday, March 14 ­(time of day TBD)

From Second City: “We unfortunately cannot easily accommodate requests for a certain time slot. The slots are assigned in order that they are received. The audition is completely improvised and will last about 45 minutes which includes the time you are asked to check in. ex: a 10AM group audition ­ has a call time to check in at 9:45AM (15 minutes prior to the audition).

We thank you for your interest and will be rooting for you on audition day!”

From Magnet: Finally a great excuse to squeeze nine improvisers into a Zipcar and drive to Chicago in March!  Break a leg, everyone!