Entries by Jimmy Carrane

254: Why is Chicago the Mecca of Improv?

Jimmy is really proud to share with you this piece he did for Curious City on WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio, answering the question, “Why is Chicago the mecca of improv?” In this episode you will hear several people’s theories about why this is. Jimmy interviews old friends TJ Jagodowski, Susan Messing and Jonathan Pitts to […]

The Best Way to Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Improv is collaboration. That is why we do it, because we love to collaborate with other people. But when you have been improvising for a while, you can get set in your ways. You can start to feel comfortable only playing a certain style of improv or playing only with certain people. I know this works […]

How to Teach Authenticity

In improv, we are always striving to be authentic on stage, but teaching authenticity can be a tricky thing. One of the people who taught it the best was Del Close, an improv teacher I studied with who influenced a generation of comedians from Bill Murray to Chris Farley to Tina Fey to Amy Poehler to […]

253: Sophie Shrand

Sophie Shrand is the host and creator of “Science with Sophie,” a science comedy show for girls and everyone. She is an accomplished improviser in Chicago, and we talked to her about how she got through the hard times when she moved to Chicago from Boston, why it is important to her to be a role model […]

I need your help with my shame

As you know, one of my favorite topics to talk about is shame, especially how it affects improvising and performing. Nobody has done more research on the topic or is filled with more of it than I am. That make me an expert on the subject. In all seriousness, it is killing me. Shame is the […]

I Hate Going on Vacation

This is the blog you are getting this week. I am pretty sure it’s not my best work. I can live with that, since when you get this I will be finishing up a five-day vacation with my wife, Lauren, and my daughter, Betsy. It is our first official family vacation. Hopefully, I will have […]

5 Keys to Writing a Great Sketch

If you’ve ever watched a painfully bad sketch on SNL, you know that writing good sketches isn’t easy. While there’s no perfect formula for a funny sketch, there are a lot of important elements to consider when trying to write something that will actually make people laugh. This week, I asked Sam Bowers, director of […]

252: TJ Jagodowski

TJ Jagodowski is one of the finest improvisers and people you will know. He’s half of the long-running show TJ and Dave. In this special episode that was originally recorded for Curious City at WBEZ in Chicago, Jimmy talks to TJ about why he thinks Chicago is still the mecca of improv, his definition of […]

Bombing at the Top of an Improv Show

We all want to do the perfect improv show. Every move is brilliant. Every edit is just right. Every scene is hilarious. But what happens when in the first couple of minutes of an improv show we bomb big time? Well, if you are like me, you feel shame. You shut down. You become best […]

251: Jeff Michalski

Jeff Michalski is an improv legend. He is a teacher, director, an improviser who was a founding member of Second City’s ETC Theater back in the ’80s and now teaches in Los Angeles. Jimmy sat down with Jeff to talk about what he learned working with Del, how he uses Meisner and view point techniques […]