Well, 2016 is almost over, and I want to thank you for all your support and encouragement over the last year. As you know, it’s hard for me to find joy in most things that I do, but when I take a look back at this year, even I am impressed with all of the incredible things that happened.
Here are my top 10 highlights of 2016:
- On July 2 in the afternoon, the most beautiful little girl, Betsy Jane Carrane, was born, making me officially a father. Now she’s almost six months old, and we have already given her six different nicknames. I love that little “Chunko” so much.
- In March, my father died. I was fortunate enough to have made amends with him before he died, and I got to say goodbye to him on his last day on this earth. I said I loved him. Lying in the hospital bed, he could not speak. He just raised his shaking hand to communicate that he loved me too, in one of the most intimate conversations I have ever had with him.
- With the support of Lauren, I went to Los Angeles in April to attempt the impossible and to try see if I could sell the podcast Improv Nerd as an actual TV show or as a web series on a digital platform. I had tons of meetings with executives and recorded five episodes of Improv Nerd in Feralaudio’s state-of-the art studios. Instead of being completely scared, I was actually excited and proud of myself for showing up, and so grateful for all of the support I got from friends who are “in the business.”
- While in LA, I was a guest on Dan Harmon’s popular podcast, HarmonTown. What was only scheduled to be a short appearance lasted almost an hour, and working with Dan Harmon and the rest of the guests was a complete blast. I really felt like a star.
- In January, I got to travel to Austin, TX, one of my all-time favorite cities for food, people and improv. While I was there, I got to teach improv workshops and do shows at The Institution, a theater run by Tom Booker, one of my old friends from my Annoyance Theater days.
- In March, I had the opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh’s growing Arcade Comedy Theater, where I taught improv workshops and interviewed and performed with Kristy and Jethro Nolen, whom I knew and loved back when they were here in Chicago. Pittsburgh is a surprisingly cool city, and it was so much fun reconnecting with Kristy and Jethro and seeing how much the improv scene is growing there.
- In August, I had the chance to travel to Miami, a city I had never been to before, and teach and do shows at The Villain Theater and interview Jeff Quintana for an episode of Improv Nerd. It was the first time I traveled after having the baby, so it was hard to be away, but it was also fun to feel single again.
- In September, Improv Nerd turned 5 years old, and we celebrated with an amazing show at the Chicago Podcast Festival in November with special guest Scott Adsit. The show was in front of a big crowd at the Athenaeum Theater, and it was awesome to work off the energy in the room and play with Scott, who had some great stories to share, including one about me from college when Martin DeMaat called me a “log.”
- This year really marked an increase in the number of big guests that I was able to get on Improv Nerd (partially thanks to Lauren pushing me to do more phone interviews). I got to interview some of the biggest names in comedy including Cecily Strong, Jane Lynch, TJ Miller, Mike Birbiglia, Jon Favreau, Jon Glaser, Jason Winer, Simon Helberg, Nia Vardalos, Kevin Nealon, Nora Dunn and Hello From The Magic Tavern.
- I also had a great year teaching some of the most talented improv students in Chicago. I am humbled and grateful for the level of students I had in my classes and improv workshops this year, all of whom learned how to challenge themselves, each other and me. Oh, and it was pretty cool that my Art of Slow Comedy summer intensives completely sold out, mostly filled with students from around the world. I’m international, baby!
What were some of your best moments of 2016? Tell us in the comments below.
Want to start off 2017 right? Sign up for Jimmy’s Art of Slow Comedy Level 3 class, starting Jan. 4. This class features a performance on the last day of class. Only 2 spots left!