Entries by Jimmy Carrane

The Only Guru Is the Moment

Mark Larson is the author of the wonderful book Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago Theater. He recently posted on Facebook an excerpt from a conversation he had with actor John C. Reilly for an interview that he did for The Paul Sills and Viola Spolin Oral History Collection at Northwestern University. Though it speaks […]

Who Turned You on to Comedy?

I have interviewed a lot of comedians and improvisers over the years, and I always find it interesting who turned them on to their first comedy album, or movie or TV show. For me, it was my older brother, Bobby. I was a grade behind him in school, so when I was in seventh grade, he […]

I Got the Vaccine. And I Feel Sad.

Yesterday, I got my second dose of the vaccine. In two weeks, I should be free. And I feel sad about it. This is not what I expected. I thought I would be excited, like my friends who got their vaccines months ago. Yes, I will not have to worry every time I go out the door that I […]

274: Erick Acuña

Erick Acuña is an improviser, teacher and lawyer. He started improvising in Peru ten years ago before moving to the States and studying at WIT in Washington, D.C. and UCB in New York. We talk to him about how he found his voice in improv, and he shares two exercises you can use to find […]

273: Nancy Hayden

Nancy Hayden is the Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center in Chicago. She is also a writer, actor, director, teacher and producer. We talk to Nancy about how she creates characters by using emotions and adjectives, how she believes improv can save lives, and what the future of improv may look like.

Following Your Passions on the Road to Success

If you’re a reader of my blog, you know that I often recommend that you stop looking to the gatekeepers to give them validation, but instead work on developing your own shows and your own work so you do the work that inspires you. So I was incredibly proud and impressed when I found out […]

Being More Positive

For years I thought to get good at improv you, had to get piled on by constructive criticism — what some people call “negative notes.” I was that student who would go up to the teacher after class and beg them to “be tough on me.” I was tortured that way. I even took this philosophy into […]

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

Since the start of the pandemic, I haven’t gotten to perform in front of a live audience. That changed last week. No, it wasn’t in a theater. It was for a small group of preschoolers and their parents in our backyard. Betsy, who is almost five years old, became obsessed with inviting some of her friends over to put […]

5 Biggest Mistakes Improvisers Make Online

In the last year that I have been teaching improv online, I have gotten to work with improvisers from all over the country and at various skill levels. And regardless of their experience, I have seen the students in my classes and workshops make the same mistakes over and over again. And I’ve also seen that once most […]

Blockbuster, I Miss You

I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called The Last Blockbuster. It’s about the last remaining Blockbuster video store in Bend, OR. It also takes a look at how the once-powerful chain that had 9,000 video stores collapsed. Watching this documentary brought back memories about when I was high school and first started renting videos. […]