Tuesday, January 18, 2011

IO news

This comes via Tara and sounds like an awesome IO venue if it happens:
here's what i can say: lakeview. diff ward. cool facade. build out would be: 3-4 classrooms, 2-3 theatres, greenroom, full for-real bar, offices, and parking lot. size of an airplane hangar. structurally great, looks like Saw III now. close to nightlife, el, bus. yes. lots of legal coming and another building looked at too, but this would be a joint to be real stoked about, improvisers.
My guess is it would be somewhere in Lincoln Park but I don't know for sure.


Lyndsay Hailey has been hired by the Second City Touring Company as member of BlueCo. Congrats.

Monday, January 17, 2011

BlueCo loses another...

Meghan Teal's last night with BlueCo is tonight on the Second City Mainstage. Her last night with BlueCo was follows both Shad Kunkle and Katie Rich. Have a great last night, Meghan!

Interview with TJ Miller

Danielle Solzman: Thank you for joining the Chicago Improv Celebrity News today. How are you doing?
T.J. Miller: Okay.

DS: You've had a rather busy year with She's Out of My League, How to Train Your Dragon, Get Him to the Greek, Unstoppable, Yogi Bear and Gulliver's Travels being released in 2010. Were you trying to compete with Jonah Hill and Amanda Seyfried for the most movies in 2010?
TJM: Nah, I don't consider myself in the same league as those two. I'm far further along than they are.

DS: With all these movies, how do you find the time to perform stand-up tour?
TJM: Whenever I'm not doing a movie, I'm doing stand-up or working on my own stuff. I don't see any alternative. I have to do as much stand-up as I can because other comics don't have to take time off if they don't want to. I have no choice, so I'm always playing catchup to the comics that are just doing stand-up. So I'm basically working all the time unless I take a concentrated period of time off on purpose. Which I rarely do. Except for something like brain surgery.

DS: You made a YouTube video to obtain your part for Yogi Bear, right? Did you ever think it would work?
TJM: I did not make a YouTube video to obtain anything. I did it as a joke. I thought it would be funny to send a video of me with a real bear to Warner Bros. and pretend it was real. They obviously knew it wasn't, I wasn't pining for the part or anything, I auditioned sort of as a joke, made the video as a really silly joke, and then when they offered the part I said "what is the funniest ending to this story/joke? to be in the movie." So I did the movie. So the whole thing was really based on comedy bleeding into life...

DS: Having seen you perform at a venues such as Lakeshore Theater in Chicago (may it rest in peace) and Comedy Caravan in Louisville, which is your favorite type of venue to perform in? The larger theater or the smaller one?
TJM: I like any size room as long as it's well run and the audience is into it. The bigger the room the easier to get laughs (when it's full) but a small crowd in a good venue is just as fun. It's about the audience not the venue usually. I like a venue about 300-500 though, that is pretty sweet because my subtle stuff still goes over but it feels like a huge crowd.

DS: When did you get the itch to go into comedy for a career? Was it while living in Denver? Or while a student at George Washington University?
TJM: Comedy as a career came when I was in receSs at GW. Those guys were the first ones to make me understand that comedy was it's own thing. I didn't have to be an actor who did comedy, I could be a comedian and just a comedian. And that is more than enough. Way fucking hard.

DS: What sort of training did you undergo in Chicago as far as improv and sketch is concerned?
TJM:Annoyance Theater, iO, and I took like one class at Second City and then they rejected me from the conservatory. Later they hired me after my first audition to understudy and later tour. So they don't always know what is going on. A rejection from them should be seen as one from the prettiest girl in town. She's flighty, flaky, and will eventually come around once other people want you.

DS: Is there any thing that has stuck out from any instructors that you have had?
TJM: Everything Mick Napier has said. I think really standing behind your instincts is important. I also think someone somewhere must have said something akin to "do what you think is funny and will make you laugh." Because that's usually where I start.

DS: What teams were you on at IO?
TJM: Sturgis and Bullet Lounge.

DS: When did you join the Second City National Touring Company and how long were you with them?
TJM:I think in '05 maybe. I toured for a little over 2 years.

DS: What was the Tour Co experience like?
TJM: Amazing. It was the first real reps I got on the road, the first time I had to start performing for people from all over, not just peers in Chicago. That was extremely helpful and an invaluable learning experience.

DS: Have any favorite characters that you like to do at gigs?
TJM:I have a new one I like but people aren't into it as much, a guy who is really pushy about whether or not you're going to take a bite of his banana.

DS: I want to talk about Carpoolers. Do you think the series would have lasted longer if the strike didn't get in the way?
TJM: Maybe. Maybe a back order, but I don't know if it could have gone many seasons because ABC didn't have a comedy brand then, and now they do with Modern Family and such. I think it was tough timing no matter what.

DS: Variety named you as one of the top ten comics to watch in 2008. How did that make you feel? Pressured?
TJM: No. Most awards and accolades are appreciated but not much more than that. Comedy isn't really about awards, it's about laughs and respect from the peers you respect. If you're getting that, and you're happy with your work, then I don't give a fuck what list I'm on, I'm still going to keep ascending in one form or another. I'll never try and get an academy award, I'll never want to be taken seriously. That list is usually just hype around town anyway...

DS: What do you tell beginning improvisers?
TJM: Do as much as you can all the time. Perform as much as you can, take as many classes, start your own group. All comedians: Your work ethic is one of the few things you have complete control over.

DS: Thanks again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to add?
TJM: No. Thank you.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Customized shows...

An article appeared in the New York Times about the customized shows that are being performed across the country.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

RIP: Mary Scruggs

I never had the chance to have a class with Mary Scruggs but my heart aches for her family, friends, and the many students that had her as a writing teacher.

If you have any favorite memories that you wish to share, please feel free to do so.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mainstage News

With the depatures of Emily Wilson and Allison Bills from the mainstage cast, it was only time before we knew who would be promoted for the next revue.

Katie Rich, Holly Laurent, and Edgar Blackmon are confirmed to be joining the cast for the next revue.

Katie's last night

Katie Rich has set her last night with BlueCo for tonight.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Furman speaks

Eddie Furman was interviewed by Louisville's Courier Journal about Second City's Louisville-based revue, It Takes a Ville!
Q: Were you the sole writer on “It Takes a 'Ville” or was it a collaboration?
A: It's a two-person team, me and Tim Baltz, who's a very funny guy. We went down to Louisville for four days to learn all we could about the great city. Louisville has a great theater tradition, so I think it seemed like a natural fit, and people were genuinely excited to tell us things and show us things. It's a city both Tim and I really fell in love with, so the pressure was really on. We wanted to write a really great show for you.

How long does it take to write one of these shows?
You try to write quickly while everything's fresh in your mind, so it was about two weeks for ideas and treatments for scenes, with some shorter scenes written out, then meeting with Mick Napier, our director and a Kentucky native, and the producer to see which scenes are worth fleshing out. Then there's another two weeks of writing, before we handed off the script. There will be an improv element, too — we wrote a Louisville-specific improv piece for the show.

What did you do on your four-day cultural immersion tour of Louisville?
Bourbons Bistro. We met a lot of cool people there. We went to Yum! Foods headquarters and visited Colonel Sanders' grave (in Cave Hill Cemetery). The immersions are a funny thing because we want to see the things Louisville is famous for, but we also want to do the things that locals do.[...]

So what did you learn about Louisville and Louisvillians?
An interesting thing about Louisville is the dichotomy of it being the northern-most Southern city or the southern-most Northern city. You have the mega-churches and the Bible belt, but you also have bourbon and horse racing. It's very tolerant and everybody seems to get along and have a good time. I think more cities could benefit from that lesson.

What is Louisville's biggest idiosyncrasy?
Something you have in common with other cities where you are geographically — how you treat snow or bad weather. It didn't snow while we were down there, of course, but hearing the stories about how people react to an inch of snow in January. They're shooting the weak and the elderly and burying them in shallow graves so they don't have to endure the harsh winter, and the next afternoon it's 75 degrees again.

What's the big joke about Louisville?
I think it always comes back to people and how human nature manifests itself. That said, I think the biggest joke in Louisville is actually Southern Indiana.

Ouch! Why is that?
I don't know, but you all don't seem to be particularly fond of each other. It's a classic cross-river rivalry.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Louisville cast announced

The cast and musical director for Second City: It Takes a Ville has been named. They are as follows: Anthony Irons, Steve Waltien, Mitchell Fain, Lauren Dowden, Matthew Cohen (musical director), Jennifer Estlin, and John Hartman.

Of course, Mick is directing it.

I'm telling everyone I know about this show...being a native of Louisville but my heart is most definitely in Chicago.