Marty DeRosa is a comedian who is considered the king of Chicago crowd work, using a lot improvisation in his stand-up act. He is a founding member of Comedians You Should Know and he co-host the hilarious podcasts Marty & Sarah Love Wrestling, and Wrestling with Depression. Marty talks about experiencing the death of one of his siblings and a parent at a young age, his dad, and how he uses improv in his stand-up.
Jeff Quintana is the Artistic Director and co-founder of The Villain Theater in Miami. He is a respected teacher and improviser who has studied in New York and Chicago. In this episode, we recorded live at The Villain Theater and talked to Jeff about his dream of opening up an improv theater, being homeless in New York, and how to create a character immediately at the top of an improv scene.
Joe Bill is an international improv teacher and performer. He is a co-founder of the Annoyance Theater and tours with Mark Sutton in Bassprov. He has taught at Second City, The Annoyance and iO Chicago and continues to teach around the world. Jimmy sat down with him in this live episode to talk about The Annoyance, the day he quit stand-up, and his unique psychological approach to improv.
Simon Helberg is best known as Howard from the hit CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. He is currently starring in the new film Florence Foster Jenkins with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. We talked to him about following in his father’s footsteps at The Groundlings, how acting is like improv, and the importance of putting your stuff up.
This is our 200th episode of Improv Nerd. To acknowledge this milestone, we have compiled 15 of our favorite pieces of past guests’ advice for people who are going into improv or comedy today. You will hear wisdom from people like Adam McKay, Broad City, Lauren Lapkus, TJ and Dave, Jill Soloway, Bob Odenkirk, Jon Favreau and more. Take a listen!
Matt Dwyer is a writer, stand-up and podcaster. He was one of the youngest people to be hired for the Second City Touring Company at the age of 21. He has written for Funny or Die and Jonah Ray’s Hidden America on Netflix. We talked to him about hanging out at Second City when he was high school, how getting fired at Second City led him to stand up, and the importance of writing for improvisers.
Mike Birbiglia is the writer, director and star of his latest independent film, “Don’t Think Twice,” about a popular New York improv group where one of the members gets his big break. Jimmy talks to Mike about some of the themes in his film, like jealousy, self-sabotage and fame. Mike discusses falling in love with improv and why it’s so important for him to create his own projects.
Peter Grosz is best known as one of the two guys in the Sonic commercials, but he has also written for The Colbert Report and Late Night with Seth Meyers. He has performed at The Second City etc., the UCB, Boom Chicago, and iO Chicago. Jimmy talks to him about why he still loves improvising, getting hired to write for Colbert and why he likes to play the unlikable Sidney Purcell in HBO’s VEEP.
Kelsie Huff is one of Chicago’s hottest comedians. She has studied at iO Chicago and Second City and she teaches the popular Feminine Comique, which is a stand-up class geared towards woman. Jimmy talked to her at this year’s Chicago Women’s Funny Festival about how she uses improv in her stand-up, how to make the transition from storytelling to stand-up, and how she has been able to transform pain into comedy.
Jason Winer is a director, an Emmy-award wining producer, and writer. He has directed and produced such hit sitcoms as Modern Family, Life in Pieces and The Crazy Ones. Jason studied at iO Chicago back in the late ’90s and was part of the team The Tribe. Jimmy talked to him about learning to improvise at young age thanks to his supportive parents, his initial reaction to Modern Family, and he how he works with actors.