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Should I quit improv?

If you’re an improviser, you have probably thought about quitting hundreds of times. And that questioning probably won’t stop any time soon.

As fun as improv is, it can be pretty shitty at times. You are dealing with egos, jealousy and lots of disappointment. You are reliving high school. And some of us would rather quit and avoid the pain.

I have always been an instant gratification kind of guy — the least amount of work for the biggest result. I thought if you are talented, that’s how it’s supposed to go. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in the arts or in life. Get used to it.

Over the last three years of doing Improv Nerd, I’ve wanted to quit many times. It is safe to say I have had that thought on a regular basis.

On so many different levels, Improv Nerd has been the best thing for me. It has made me a great interviewer and an even better improviser. I have met people that I would never have crossed paths with before from around the world. I have gotten to travel and had to reluctantly become a leader. But despite my successes, I get discouraged frequently – every time we have a small audience or a so-called “bad show” or experience some technical problems. It does not take much for me to want to call it quits.

Frankly, I’ve had thoughts about quitting almost as long as I’ve been improvising. The only difference today is that the feeling of wanting to quit doesn’t last as long as it used to. I bounce back quicker.  It can be a matter of hours, when it used to be days or weeks. I am also aware that sometimes the closer you are to reaching your vision, the louder the negative voices in your head become. The ones that scream things like “What are you doing with your life?” and “Why don’t you quit?”

I know if I had listened to the negative voices in my head, I would have stopped doing Improv Nerd and writing this blog months ago. If you have similar voices in your head that are telling you to quit the show or class you are in, or quit improv entirely, talk to someone before you do it, because these are the kind of thoughts that aren’t good if you keep them to yourself.

I have actor friends in L.A. who call me up ready to quit acting because they are tired of being broke and not being able to pay the rent. When I talk to them again a week later, they’ve booked six weeks on a movie or gotten some enormous residual check in the mail they weren’t expecting. After wanting to quit for 24 hours, they bounce back, forgetting about the conversation we had a week ago, until I remind them. I am always grateful that I get to talk to them on their darkest days. It gives me hope.

There is this incredible hokey saying, “Don’t quit before the miracle,” which really applies to everything, especially improv. In improv you never know the day, time, or year when you’re going to get good at it.

It happens slowly. And you’ll never know where it will lead you.

Like good improv, your dream or vision may morph into something completely different. Something even better than you imagined. That is what it’s supposed to do. And if you quit too soon, you will never give yourself the opportunity to know where it could have taken you. You will end up miserable for the rest of your life and you will criticize others who are doing what you like doing. You will be so bitter that nobody will want to be around you, and the worst part is you will not even know why you are this way.

So if you’ve been wanting to quit lately, here’s my advice for you: Keep persevering, keep showing up, be ready to play, and expect a miracle.

My Top 5 Favorite Moments of Improv Nerd So Far

This September, Improv Nerd turned three years old. At this point, we have recorded 106 episodes. Over the past three years, I have gotten to improvise with and interview some of the greatest comedy minds out there today. And lately, I’ve been traveling across the country, bringing the show to different theaters and improv festivals.

In honor of our three-year anniversary, I wanted to share my top 5 favorite moments over the last three years. They are in no particular order, but they are the things that have had a lasting impact on me. What has been your favorite moment from the show so far? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Interviewing George Wendt
    As a fat, insecure 19-year-old kid from the suburbs, I would drive my parents Buick station wagon into the city of Chicago to take improv classes at The Players Workshop of The Second City. On the wall was grainy head shot of a young George Wendt. At the time, Cheers was on NBC and was quickly becoming must see TV. I related to the lovable loser of Norm Peterson and to the actor who played him, George Wendt, who started out at The Player Workshop before making it to Main Stage at Second City.I wanted to be a character like Norm on a sitcom like Cheers and have a career like George’s. He was an inspiration, something I aspired to be. When he agreed to be on Improv Nerd Live in Chicago more than 30 years later, over Facebook, I was so excited and scared. The show was incredible. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who loved George Wendt, because the place was packed. That night, it seemed everything had come full circle. Listen >
  1. Meeting Key and Peele
    It’s always cool to get a guest right when they are about to blow up. We interviewed Key and Peele in a conference room at Second City. Everyone in the improv community knew how great the show was on Comedy Central and it would be just a matter of time before it would become a huge hit. During our interview, we talked about a lot of things: the show, the critics, adjusting to being in charge, being biracial. It is probably one of the most passionate conversations I have had over the last three years. I remember when I was done, I was exhausted and thought I had offended them, especially Keegan. Months later at the Detroit Improv Festival, Keegan was my guest again, and he assured me everything was OK between the two of us. As someone who suffers from chronic jealousy, I am proud to say that I could not be happier for their success, and having the chance to interview them was a dream come true. Listen >
  1. Getting Picked Up in a Lincoln Town Car
    One of my dreams has been to have my own talk show on TV where I get to interview people in depth, like Charlie Rose. I envision myself living in a big house and being picked up in a Lincoln Town car to be driven to the studio.Although I haven’t scored a TV deal yet out of doing this podcast, I have had experiences where I felt like a big deal. One of the best was when I got to interview Horatio Sanz, who I always thought Horatio was one of the funniest people I knew when I was starting out in Chicago. What made it even sweeter was that the interview was held at my alma mater, Columbia College in Chicago. The day of the interview, Columbia sent a Lincoln Town car over to my house and picked up me and Lauren, and we did the show in packed auditorium. Afterwards there was a reception, and I got my picture taken with the president of the college. I felt like a star. Listen > 
  2. Performing with the Improvised Shakespeare Company
    These guys are great, and I highly recommend anyone to see their show. I was so excited to have Joey Bland and Ross Bryant on as our guests to represent the group, even though I was terrified to improvise in the style of Shakespeare. I had never even read a Shakespeare play before, so a few days before the show, tried reading Shakespeare out loud to my wife, and I had no idea what any of it meant.Before the show, I told Joey and Ross how scared I was, and they said don’t worry. They did not lie. In fact, they really took care of me and it turned out to be a lot of fun. During one of scenes I uttered the phrase “oil of my loins,” where that came from I have no clue, but the audience loved it. And when I heard everyone laughing, I realized I had survived something I thought was going to kill me. Listen > 
  3. Intern enters the scene during the Amanda Blake Davis episode
    This was the strangest thing that I think has ever happened to us. One of our interns, who had Amanda as a teacher at Second City, decided during the improv scene with me and Amanda, that he was going to do a walk on. Which he did. To say I was surprised is understatement. Traumatic is the best way to describe it. I had no idea how to handle it or why it had happened. But afterwards, this event became a learning experience for me, because I realized that I hadn’t really been taking ownership of the show. I had never set ground rules for the interns, and believe it or not, I was supposed to be the leader, even though I had little experience in being one. This episode woke me up out of my sleep and made me realize people were looking to me to lead them. Listen >

Let us know what your favorite moment of the show has been so far!

Making Your Partner Look Good

You have probably heard this term thrown around in your improv classes a million times: “Make your partner look good.” And you have probably been confused by it. What does it really mean?

Recently Mark Beltzman was my guest on Improv Nerd. Mark is a highly respected improv teacher, actor and improviser. During the interview he used the ever-popular phrase “Make your partner look good and you will look twice as good.”

But how, exactly do you do that?

I asked him to explain and he paused for a second and said “You just have to listen.”

That’s how he interprets that particular phrase. If you ask 30 different improv teachers what “make your partner look good” means, you are going to get 30 different answers. That is what is so beautiful about improvisation. There is no right, there is no wrong, there’s only what works for you. And if you aspire to be an artist, what works for you will evolve.

So a couple days after the show, my wife, Lauren, and I are in our kitchen making turkey sandwiches, while she pitches ideas to me for today’s blog. We like to multitask.

“What does making your partner look good mean to you?” she asks.

I had to think about it. I have been using that term for so long I had taken it for granted. Except for Lauren asking me in our kitchen, I don’t think anyone has ever asked me to define it. So, I needed to think about it.

So I went for I walk and this was came with: I think in its simplest form, taking care of your partner, or making your partner look good, really means taking care of the scene. Are you willing to do what is necessary to make the scene work? In some cases, that may mean you will have to drop your agenda completely and get behind your partner’s idea, as if it were your own. It may be to give specific information that is needed to keep the scene going forward. It may mean that you will have to mirror your partner’s energy or playing an opposite energy. If a game or a pattern emerges in the scene, you have to heighten it. You get where I am going here.

The hardest part of making your partner look good is not focusing on how you are coming off to the audience, but only thinking about the scene at hand. If you’re focusing on the scene instead of yourself, you’re automatically making your partner look good.

That means you may have to be the one who doesn’t get any laughs, and instead play the straight man role or play a character whose sole purpose is to feed another character. Yes, it can seem thankless in our eyes, but it’s something both our partners on stage and the audience appreciate.

Or, it could mean that you play an emotional character and give your partner lots of specifics so they have something to react to.

When Mark and I improvised together last Sunday, both of us did things to make the other look good in the scene. When the scene started out, I added a bunch of specifics to give Mark a road map of who we were and what our relationship was – making his job easier. Then later in the scene, Mark made me look good by giving me a lot of space and playing it calm while my character went crazy and started kicking and pulling up bushes in front of his house. By him holding back, he set it up for me to play a big character.

If I could boil it down as simply as Mark did, I would say this: Making your partner look good means thinking about what you can give to the scene rather than what you can take from it.

I am interested to hear how you interpret this concept. Let me know in the comments below.

Improv Nerd Announces New Fall Season

Improv Nerd, the live comedy podcast hosted by Jimmy Carrane, is excited to announce our guests for our upcoming 2014 fall season!

This season’s guests include Antoine McKay of Comedy Central’s “Review with Forest McNeil” and the new Fox drama “Empire”; stand-up comedian and former Second City e.tc. cast member Chris Redd; and Rachael Mason, star of the Second City Improv Allstars!

Sept. 28: Mark Beltzman
Oct. 5: Jay Sukow
Oct. 12: Tim Paul
Oct. 19: Chris Redd
Oct. 26: Stephanie McCullough
Nov. 2: Jack Newell
Nov. 9: Antoine McKay
Nov. 16: Rachael Mason
Nov. 23: TBA
Nov. 30: TBA
Dec. 7: Jack Bronis

Also this season, audience members who attend at least six shows will receive a FREE Improv Nerd T-shirt.

In each interview, which is recorded as a podcast, Jimmy talks with an improv icon about his or her creative process and career in comedy. Then laugh along as Jimmy performs a totally unscripted scene with each of his guests and learn how they created the scene in a revealing interview and question-and-answer session.

SHOW DETAILS
All shows at 5 p.m. at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago

TICKETS:
General admission: $10, $8 for improv students

To purchase tickets, call Stage 773 at 773.327.5252 or purchase online at http://www.stage773.com/

There is no blog this week

This week there is no blog. I am taking the week off. I am exhausted. I have been traveling across the country teaching Art of Slow Comedy improv workshops and doing live Improv Nerd shows.

Trust me, I’m not complaining, I am grateful. Never have I been so in demand. Sure, I could sit down right now and squeeze out a blog on the computer, but if I did that, I would have a resentment. A big, juicy resentment. And I’ve learned that if I’m going to have a resentment doing something, it’s better to not do it.

Resentments make me think crazy thoughts like, “Why am I even writing this blog that I am not getting paid for? Nobody appreciates all the hard work I do. It doesn’t fill up my classes fast enough, anyway. I am wasting my time. So, fuck it. Let’s blow the place up and quit writing this fucking blog.”

I am not going to do that. I am going to do something different, because I value our relationship too much. I enjoy writing this blog too much. In fact, I have built something pretty nice here. So if you have not heard already, I will tell you now — this week there will be no blog, and no apologies to you or to myself. It’s OK. I need to recharge the batteries, because I have a big week coming up in Austin at The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, where I will be teaching and doing four live Improv Nerd shows, and hopefully, when I return next week, I will feel invigorated and inspired because I took the whole week off and did not write this blog.

That is how it works. It’s called self-care, and that is what I am doing by not writing a blog this week: Self-care. Remember those words, and the example I have set for you. In my improv classes I often tell my students: “Show, don’t tell.” That is what I am going to do right now. So, instead of telling you that I am not going to write a blog this week, I will show you.

See?

I am sitting on the couch not writing. I feel great.  I am looking out the window, and am thinking how nice it is to take some time off from writing. Why did I not do this sooner? You know what’s interesting when you take a break and don’t write a blog? You have time to put your feet up and relax. I am putting my feet up on the coffee table. I didn’t even know why we had this coffee table in the first place. Now I know it’s to put your feet up on it. See, that’s the kind of discovery you make when you decide not to write a blog.

I wonder if you’ll miss me if I don’t write a blog this week? I hope you do, actually, but no matter how much you please with me, I’m not going to do it. Just think of how excited you’ll be when you get my blog next week, after a whole week off. 

There are still a few spots left in Jimmy’s next Intermediate Level classes, starting Sept. 8 and Sept. 13. New this term — the Intermediate Class will include a performance on Oct. 18. Sign up today!

5 Tips for Getting Over Perfectionism in Improv

Have you ever been afraid to start a scene because you didn’t think you had the perfect initiation? Or do beat yourself up when you make a move that your teammates don’t seem to understand? If you suffer from these symptoms, there is a word for what ails you, and it’s called perfectionism.

If you think perfectionism in your improv is about making better art, you are wrong. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It robs you of the joy of improvising and ultimately causes you to want to quit. If there’s no joy, you are not making art, you are creating pain.

Improv is a very intimate art form. When it’s working, we are exposing our imperfections and we don’t even realize it.

The bad news is I am a perfectionist. The good news is I cannot think of anything better for a perfectionist than improvising. Doing improv shows and taking classes helps you confront your perfectionism and become more comfortable with our imperfect selves.

Perfectionism in improv for me can show up before, during or after a performance. It’s an obsession, it has no boundaries, it’s a black-and-white thinker. It may show up as over rehearsing or not rehearsing at all. It may look like having panicked notes session after a particularly rough show, or like taking too many classes at once.

In my life, my perfectionism can be so powerful that I won’t take any action at all. I can sit paralyzed on my couch for hours with a whiteboard on my lap with a list of 15 names of potential guests for Improv Nerd, and I can’t email any of them because I’m afraid of not picking the perfect guest. The only way I get out of it is with the help of my wife, Lauren, who says, “Just send the emails out. There is no perfect guest.”

The whole point of perfectionism is to get you to not do the thing you love doing.

If you think you may suffer from it, get help now. Here are five tips I have found that have helped me with my perfectionism in improv:

1. Admit It
Perfectionism is not an asset, it’s not noble. It’s a problem. So realize you are doing it and admit it to yourself and others right now.

2. Set up boundaries, and don’t do it alone
When I record the intros and outros of Improv Nerd, I can really get into my perfectionism and waste hours trying to get it exactly right. To help, I will say to Lauren, “I am recording for no more than one hour.” By doing that, I become accountable to someone else and my perfectionism hates that.

3. Trust the process
Remember that the real joy in improv is in the process — the learning and the self-expression that comes from the connection with others, not the results. When we focus on the results, we are feeding out perfectionism junk food, and it gets so fat that it crushes our art.

4. Accept that improv is messy
If you want to get good at anything, you are going to have to suck at it first. By sucking, you are getting closer to perfection. Sometimes, this cliché can snap me out of my perfectionism for 20 minutes, and often that’s all it takes for me to have fun again.

5. Get professional help
Your perfectionism may be a lot worse than you think. Find a mental health professional or therapist to talk about this with, because let me tell you, perfectionism is serious shit.

Want to study with Jimmy Carrane? Only a few days left to take advantage of the Early Bird Special! Sign up by Aug. 25 and pay only $249 for the next Intermediate Art of Slow Comedy Class. Includes a performance on the last day of class.

Lost in Creation

Sometimes in one of my improv classes, a student will say after doing a great scene with a strong character, “I felt lost. I did not know where the scene was going.”

“Good,” I will say in an ironic way. “Stay lost. It’s working for you.”

In our creative process, it’s a good thing to be lost. It means we are learning something new, and it’s right where we need to be. Yes, it’s uncomfortable and painful, but both can be great motivators. The creative process is not a straight line from point A to point B. We are attempting to make art, and sometimes we need to be lost, not knowing what the hell we are doing or why we are doing it. That is incredibly messy and hard to explain, not only to ourselves, but also to others.

It’s much more comfortable when life is predictable, but predictable and art don’t go together.

It’s kind of like if you were a sculptor and were making something out of clay, you need to get in there and get your hands dirty, molding the clay until it takes a shape. At first it just looks like a blob, and you wonder if it’s going to turn into anything, but eventually you reach a point where you stop and call it art.

Recently, I’ve been going through a similar process. For a couple of months, I had been posting on my personal Facebook page like it was my full-time job. I was posting 15 to 30 times a day, sometimes more, jamming up people’s news feeds. Whenever I had a thought, I put it on Facebook. If I had sex, I put it on Facebook. If I hated myself that day, it was on Facebook. Loneliness? Facebook. I had found a character, and I loved writing in that voice. I felt freedom. I felt I was becoming a better writer. I was enjoying it.

Some people liked what I was posting and others hated it. I was polarizing. At the same time, I was starting to feel resentment that I was working so hard and not getting paid. I was hitting a wall or hitting rock bottom, depending on how you looked at it.

I brought it up to my crazy shrink in group therapy. He suggested I stop writing on Facebook, and instead write the posts down in a spiral-bound notebook and save them for another one-man show, because at least then I could make some money off of them.

I got off Facebook that night, and since I didn’t have the instant gratification of an audience, my writing seemed to stop altogether. I was bitter and angry, like I had lost my best friend. I was detoxing. Two weeks later I found my muse as I was on the L heading downtown. I quickly wrote 20 or so posts in my spiral-bound notebook and I brought them into the session and read them out loud. I read 15 or so, after hearing them, the crazy shrink had another crazy suggestion. He encouraged me to get two separate spiral-bound notebooks, one for my “ironic posts” and one for my “sarcastic posts.” What the hell…? (I have neither written any new posts or brought the notebook since then. By telling on myself in this blog, I am hoping that I will get the willingness to go out and start writing again).

For a few seconds, after the crazy shrink said his crazy idea, I felt some shame, thinking that posting like a mad man for the last few months was a waste of time and in the end it had caused more harm than good. I can’t tell you if I am ever going to write another one-man show again, but to me, that does not matter. Because when those six seconds of shame had lifted like a fever, I realized I needed every one of those Facebook posts to get to this point in my creative process.

I am still lost, scared and confused, but one thing is clear: I don’t where the hell this is going to lead me. All I know is I am totally lost in this new process, and it’s exactly where I need to be right now.

Want to study with Jimmy Carrane? Spots are still available in his next Fundamentals of Improv Class starting June 28. Or, you can take his one-day Art of Slow Comedy Intensive on July 6. Sign up today!

Expectations: The fastest way to kill your improv career

I’ve heard that expectations are pre-meditated resentments, and the fastest way to kill your career is to have any expectations about how it is supposed to turn out. Apparently, that’s a lesson I still need to learn.

When you have a certain expectation about how a show or a team or anything else is going to go, you suck all the joy out of having the experience, and instead, you get stuck in a state that there is never enough and you forgot why you are doing it in the first place. You are part of the living dead.

This has plagued me my whole life, and this is where I am right now with Improv Nerd. We have had over 260,000 downloads for the podcast since it started, and we’re closing in on having produced 100 episodes in under three years. I get e-mails from people all over the world on a weekly basis about how much they appreciate what I am doing, and I am being flown all over the country to do Improv Nerd and teach The Art of Slow Comedy workshops.

But that is not enough. I am not where I thought I should be by now. When I started Improv Nerd, I thought I would be Marc Maron by this point. Clearly, I am not. I thought doing Improv Nerd would lead me back to the radio or would get me an interview show on TV. It has not. I have clearly forgotten why I am doing this.

If you are reading this and you are like, “Wow, Jimmy is filled with self-pity,” you are right. That’s what happens when you have expectations: They turn into resentment, then into self-pity, and if you are really lucky, bitterness. I wish you would see me in a better light, but right now, I am filled with self-pity and anger. No, rage. Rage at God and the Universe for screwing me over once again! I have worked my ass off with Improv Nerd and feel like I have gotten shit for my effort. Fuck you, God! Fuck you, Universe!

It all started over the weekend when I had a really small audience for Improv Nerd at Stage 773 in Chicago as part of the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival. We had a great guest, the super talented Beth Stelling, and Stage 773 could not have been more supportive.

But almost nobody came to our show, and what made it worse was when I was leaving the theater, there was huge a crowd that needed to be roped off waiting to come in for the next show.

Ever since then, I’ve wanted to die. I am tired. I am second guessing myself. My confidence has taken a hit. All because I had this stupid expectation that after almost three years, Improv Nerd should be a hit and I should have gotten something (read: money and fame) out of doing it.

Everyone always tells you that you’re supposed to do things for the fun of it, for the joy of doing it. Don’t worry about where it’s going to lead, just enjoy the moment. I’ve even said a lot of those same things in this very blog. But let me tell you, that is a lot easier to type onto a page than it is to do in real life. In real life, I have expectations that if I put effort into something, I’m going to be rewarded immediately  (read: more money and more fame).

The good news is at least I’m talking about this with my friends, in therapy and with you right now, so hopefully my resentments can be lifted.

The one thing I love about the accomplished guests I’ve had on Improv Nerd is when they talk honestly and openly about the times they wanted to quit and something happened that changed their mind and they not only persevered, but they became even more successful. This always makes their story even sweeter and their success more attainable. Here’s hoping that, like my guests, I can find a happy ending, because having these expectations is not only killing my career, it’s killing me.

Only a few days left to get the Early Bird Special for Jimmy’s next Fundamentals of Improv class, starting June 28! Register before June 16 to sign up for $249. Or sign up for his one-day intensive on July 6!

I Want to Quit Improv

If you are anything like me and you suffer any kind of disappointment in your improv career, you want to quit. Immediately. Change your phone number. Move out of state. Go into the witness protection program.

I am there right now. I suffered a big blow to my ego last week, and now I am struggling to keep it together — teetering between shame and wanting to sleep. I want to completely give up on improv: stop performing, stop teaching, stop doing Improv Nerd, stop writing this stupid blog because all I can think is “What is the point?”

And there is nothing more that I’d rather do right now than to blame — blame a person, a place, an institution or whomever for my problems and make them the reason that I throw it all away.

I see this happen all the time with improvisers here in Chicago, really talented improvisers who don’t get hired at Second City or don’t make a team, or their team gets broken up at iO and they end up quitting. And when you run into them a few years later at Starbucks they have a vacant look in their eyes and tell you the same sad story: “Second City didn’t hire me” or “Charna broke up our team.”

And the story always ends the same: They don’t improvise anymore, and instead they now sell copiers or work for a commercial real estate office out by O’Hare Airport. They’re miserable because they quit their dreams, and worst of all, they’re still bitter because all this time they’ve been blaming it on someone else.

I have been doing this my whole life. If a theater wasn’t going to reject me, I would do it myself. I quit doing my one-man show I’m 27 and I Still Live At Home and Sell Office Supplies because they weren’t treating me with the respect I thought I deserved. I quit doing godshow at Second City’s e.t.c. because I thought they weren’t treating me with the respect I deserved. And I left the Annoyance for the same reason.

It was always the same. I quit with a resentment because I would rather be a victim than be a success.

I didn’t realize it, but by quitting, I could stay small, and by blaming others, I could avoid taking responsibility for my own life.

Today, I’m beginning to realize that all of the times I quit something, it was never someone else’s fault. Same thing when I didn’t get hired or my team got broken up. It was me who was stopping myself, not any person, place or institution. There is a lot of rejection in this business, and we need to learn how to accept rejection and get back up again. That being said I am still struggling with moving forward after my big blow to my ego.

God willing, I am bottoming out on this because I am tired of blaming the Charnas or the Second Cities or anyone else that I can conveniently use as an excuse to call it quits. I am the only person standing in my own way.

I wish I could tell you that knowing this makes it easier to keep going or makes the feelings of wanting to quit less intense, but they’re not. But there is hope.

This morning I yelled at my wonderful and supportive wife, Lauren: “I DO want to push forward, I am just having a hard time!”

And I am, but in the moment I was willing to fight for myself, and it surprised me. I don’t know how I am going to push forward, I really don’t, but I know one thing: I cannot do it alone, and as you know, I will keep you updated on my progress. Thanks for all your support.

Want to study with Jimmy Carrane? Jimmy’s next Art of Slow Comedy classes start April 12 (Advanced) and April 14 (Intermediate). Plus, he has a Two-Person Scene Tune-Up workshop on April 5! Register today.

Improv Nerd announces new season of guests

Improv Nerd, the well-known comedy podcast hosted by improv veteran Jimmy Carrane, is returning for a limited time, featuring an exciting new line-up of amazing celebrity interviews.

The new season runs from March 30-May 18. All shows take place on Sundays at 5 p.m. at Stage 773 in Chicago.

This season’s guests include Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “The Goldbergs”); Jeff Hoover (“WGN Morning News”); stand-up comedian Candy Lawrence; Kevin Mullaney, former director of the Upright Citizens Brigade training center; Barry Hite; Nnamdi Ngwe; and The Reckoning. As an added bonus, improv legend Susan Messing will be interviewing Jimmy Carrane himself on May 4!

In each interview, which is recorded as a podcast, Jimmy talks with an improv icon about his or her creative process and personal life. Then laugh along as Jimmy performs a totally unscripted scene with each of his guests and learn how they created the scene in a revealing interview and question-and-answer session.

Since the live show and podcast began in September 2011, Jimmy has interviewed such guests as Andy Richter, David Koechner, Rachel Dratch, Tim Meadows, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, Scott Adsit and others. In December 2012, the podcast was picked up by FeralAudio.com, a Los Angeles-based podcast collective that hosts shows by comedians such as Matt Dwyer, Chelsea Peretti, Dan Harmon and more.

Whether you’re a casual comedy fan or a full-on improv geek, you’ll love this show!

SHOW DETAILS
All shows at 5 p.m. at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago

March 30 – Barry Hite
April 6 – Jeff Garlin
April 13 – The Reckoning
April 20 – Kevin Mullaney
April 27 – Candy Lawrence
May 4 – Susan Messing interviews Jimmy Carrane
May 11 – Nnamdi Ngwe
May 18 – Jeff Hoover

TICKETS:
General admission: $10, $8 for improv students

To purchase tickets, call Stage 773 at 773.327.5252 or purchase online at http://www.stage773.com/

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