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

Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

Wednesday July 1, 2015, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Will Hines Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

On this week’s episode, we’ve got actor, writer, and 14x UCB All-Star, Will Hines. We caught up with Will while he was in town for the 17th Annual Del Close Marathon and what ensued was a beautifully nerdy conversation about improv theory, improv practice, teaching methods, and some of Will’s early days at UCB.

The interview begins with Will and host Louis Kornfeld talking about how to navigate fighting in improv scenes. They insist that the characters must be able to have philosophical debates, not mere wizard battles. They sympathize with students learning improv though, since a bad fight and good fight feel very similar in the moment. Plus, arguments have a lot of good elements that improvisers should practice — commitment, point-of-view, feeling — but if they only serve to defend the character, they won’t be very helpful. Will goes into detail about his philosophy that scene partners must “shake hands” at the top of a scene.

If you’re wondering whether these two veteran company men discuss the philosophies of UCB and the Magnet, wonder no longer! Will and Louis get to the meaty stuff and talk about the differences between Harolds at Magnet and UCB. From there, they discuss a variety of improv “rules” and postulate that most rules are in need of a specific scope to make them useful. Will talks about the rigidity of his 10th grade english teacher and they debate the benefits and limitations of strict versus nurturing improv teachers. Though Will always loved Matt Besser’s no-bullshit approach to teaching, he says that Armando Diaz was his breakthrough teacher. He describes the two of them as the ying and yang of UCB teachers during his time coming up through classes.

We get to hear a bit of Will’s improv origin story, he and Louis discuss improv’s “huggy” vibe, plus, these two “kings of calm-edy” explore their thoughts on being funny while acting as the straight man and/or lower energy player. Louis shares with us that he’d just had his most embarrassing audition ever and Will admits that he has a lack of confidence when it comes to being funny. The two of them snap out of their temporary self-loathing to talk about Will’s days playing with Monkeydick, which was Louis’ favorite Harold Night team when he was a student there.

There’s so much great stuff in this episode for Magnet and UCB fans alike, not to mention every improv nerd out there, we’re not even sure where to start. Just trust us and give it a listen.

Packed with these extras:

The Brothers Hines have only one rule for their shows — what is it?

Louis admits his biggest weakness as a teacher and performer.

What do these guys think of the Star Wars Prequel trilogy???

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Wednesday June 17, 2015, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

Andrew Yurman-Glaser Podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Native son of New York State, Andrew Yurman-Glaser (Broad City; Magnet’s The Wrath, Friday Night Sh*w; UCB’s Mermaids; Upstate) joins us in the studio to talk about improvising, coaching, and the dynamics of a good team. Host Louis Kornfeld dives in by asking, “Do you remember when you got good at improv?” Humility abounds as Andrew tells of getting his improv start in college and how he’s grown over the last nine years in NYC.  He goes on to compare his Megawatt team, The Wrath, to an orchestra and tries to shed some light on how a team maintains their integrity over the course of years. Louis asks if Andrew plays differently on Lloyd Night, Harold Night, Megawatt, or Friday Night Sh*w and Andrew talks about when shows feel the most successful. Hear Louis’ favorite things about how Andrew improvises, Andrew’s thoughts on the importance of listening, and of course, how improv makes you a better person. Plus! Did Andrew’s parents watch him play a masturbator on Broad City? Does Louis like giving notes?? Has this episode been recorded in front of a group of prisoners???  Find out the answers to all of these questions and more on Episode #48.

**PS** Andrew plays with his very good friend Dustin Drury as UPSTATE on Monday, June 29th at 8:30PM. These two former INSPIRADO Oh Shit! champions only get a chance to play on occasion these days, so make sure to check out this show!

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Wednesday May 13, 2015, 7:00am - by Magnet Theater

susan messing podcast Subscribe with iTunes

Guess who’s in town! Chicago-based improv luminary Susan Messing stopped by while in NYC to talk to us about teaching improv, being malleable, and giving TED Talks. Lots of great questions are addressed in this episode, such as:  Where’s the line between taking care of yourself and being selfish? What’s Susan’s take on the current state of long-form? And do you want to have sex right, or have sex? Louis and Susan discuss how to play with difficult improvisers, sorting out your voice amidst the variety of improv philosophies present today, and the importance of revisiting everything you’ve put out there so that you don’t leave things by the wayside. Plus, hear Louis’ “butt theory” and Susan’s thoughts on the early days of the Harold under Del Close and his role as an experimenter and teacher. Huzzah!

Subscribe to the Magnet Theater Podcast via iTunes and Stitcher.

Or simply enjoy Episode #44 below via SoundCloud.

Tuesday September 9, 2014, 8:04pm - by Magnet Theater

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Elana Fishbein was in the first ever show at Magnet.  And she was really good.  10 years later she’s an improviser, actor, writer, and teacher.  She has Master’s Degree in Educational Theater from NYU, leads our Youth Program, and co-created two professional development workshop series for teachers: “Beyond Winging It: Improv in the Classroom” and “Play.” She can be seen with Story Pirates on stage and heard with The Truth Podcast your headphones.  All in all, you’ve got a super funny improviser with interesting things to say about it.  Listen to this great episode where Louis Kornfeld goes deep into the idea of forcing yourself to be vulnerable, improv accountability, shared ownership, and Canada.  Enjoy!

Subscribe to the Magnet Theater Podcast via iTunes here.

Enjoy Episode #15 on iTunes

Tuesday September 2, 2014, 11:54pm - by Magnet Theater

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It’s our pleasure to share this intense and hilarious archive conversation with Dave Razowsky and Ed Herbstman recorded live at Magnet Theater. Alex Marino asks the right questions and doesn’t get any of the answers he wanted.  Neither does the audience when it’s opened up to questions at the end.  A fun listen to be sure. Ed particularly seems to be enjoying himself, perhaps because Razowsky was his first improv teacher back in 1990 when he was in high school.

Catch master teacher Dave Razowsky next time he’s in NYC teaching at Magnet, and be sure to see Razowsky, Herbstman and Hamilton, which is really really good.  Rachel Hamilton is the woman in the photo.  She’s really really good.

 

 

Subscribe to the Magnet Theater Podcast via iTunes here.

Enjoy Episode #14 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.

Tuesday August 26, 2014, 4:53pm - by Magnet Theater

 

 

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John O’Donnell, longtime friend of Magnet Theater and kind onstage powerhouse talks about how he first fell in love with performing, improv, and stumbling upon the early evolution of musical improv.

John has appeared in pilots for Comedy Central, the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival, on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, as well as numerous commercials.

He has also written and performed a trilogy of one-man shows, O’Donnellogues, Son of O’Donnellogues, and Beneath The Planet of The O’Donnellogues. At the Magnet Theater he has made appearances in Thursday Night Out, The Armando Diaz Experience, The Tiny Spectacular, and currently improvises weekly in Magnet’s ‘The Made Up Musical‘.

John has a Masters Degree in Education and has been teaching in New York City for over a decade.

Subscribe to the Magnet Theater Podcast via iTunes here.

Enjoy Episode #13 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.

Tuesday July 29, 2014, 12:00pm - by Magnet Theater

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Greg Hess is an actor, writer and comedian in Los Angeles. He is an improviser with The Improvised Shakespeare Company, Cook Country Social Club and performs at The Upright Citizen’s Brigade in LA.

Greg talks with guest host Rick Andrews about making a living as an improviser and how he’s been ‘giving it a year for the last eleven years.’

Rick confesses that he felt like quitting improv after seeing an Improvised Shakespeare Company show.  But Rick didn’t.  And now he’s hosting this great interview!

Subscribe to the Magnet Theater Podcast via iTunes here.

Enjoy Episode #10 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.

Monday July 21, 2014, 8:47pm - by Magnet Theater

large_rachelhamiltonmagnetituneslogo-PODCASTmediumRachel Hamilton. Where do we start? Teacher, Actor, Writer… former Second City MainStage, frequent performer and instructor at Magnet, and all around wonderful human being.  She’s also the driving force behind the creation of Camp Magnet.  She lives in Northern California and we never see her enough, but we grabbed her last time she was in New York so Magnet Podcast host Louis Kornfeld could sneak in a great conversation between her workshops.

Listen to the insights and observations of this master teacher about what keeps her drawn to improvisation, seeing characters as energy, and seeking out new ways to challenge yourself.

Enjoy Episode 9 on iTunes or below via SoundCloud.

Subscribe to the Magnet Theater Podcast via iTunes here.

Tuesday November 6, 2012, 10:25am - by WillyAppelman

As Hurricane relief continues, Armando Diaz has decided to donate his time and talents to the cause.  That is why on Saturday, Dec. 1st from 12pm until Sunday, Dec. 2nd at 12pm- Armando Diaz will teach & coach improv and sketch comedy for 24 hours straight!  All of the money raised from the Coach-athon will be donated to the Red Cross for Hurricane Relief.

Let the bidding begin: BID HERE! 

Monday November 5, 2012, 6:22pm - by WillyAppelman

Hurricane Sandy has caused a lot of damage and made a lot of people homeless. It has been a really difficult time for so many people and I want to do what I can to help out. So I am going to raise money by attempting to coach and teach Improv and Sketch for 24 hours straight. YES THAT IS RIGHT! I’M GOING TO TRY AND TEACH AND COACH FOR 24 HOURS IN A ROW. All money raised from this Marathon will be donated to the Red Cross.

WHEN IS IT?
Saturday, December 1st at noon through Sunday, December 2nd until noon.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
Well, aside from teaching a couple of my regular classes on Saturday, we are offering slots around the clock that you and your improv group can bid on and get coached by me. In those slots we can work on whatever you want. I am at your disposal.

BIDDING
Bidding starts on Tuesday, November 6th at 11 am and will end at Sunday, November 25th at 6pm. Bids will be tallied and winners will be announced on Monday, November 26th after 12 noon. LET THE BIDDING BEGIN!

And on Saturday Dec. 1st AT Midnight there will be a DROP IN CLASS JAM. (Minimum suggested donation is $10 at the door) Groups and individuals welcomed.

And on Sunday, December 2nd from 10 am to 12pm there will be a FREE IMPROV TRIAL CLASS. If you or your friends have been wanting to try improv and don’t mind being taught by someone with a hoarse voice, this is the class to attend.

So if you have always wanted to be coached by me or you just want to see if a man can teach improv non-stop for 24 hours then please join me for The Armando Diaz Hurricane Relief Teaching & Coaching-athon, Sat 12/1 – Sun 12/2. And please help spread the word.

Sincerely,

Armando Diaz
Founder
Magnet Theater, New York