Comedy Pros

de Brian Carter

Episodios

Paola Coletto: Physical Theater (Clown & Mime) for Improvisers and Stand Ups

por Brian Carter

One of my favorite improv teachers, Jet Eveleth, led me to Paola Coletto. When I interviewed Jet, several times she brought up the study of clown and its effect on improv, and when I asked Jet for more, she recommended I speak to Paola, her physical theater teacher. Of course, clown is not the circus thing- it's something much deeper and more rewarding for improvisers, and even stand up comedians. I am hoping I can get up to do some classes with her in the next year.This interview, truly, has some of the most out-of-the-box and impactful content we've seen! We talk about red nose, neutral mask, embodying animals, vulnerability and mime. 

Matt Besser: Improv, UCB and Stand Up Comedy

por Brian Carter

Matt Besser was one of the four co-founders (along with Amy Poehler) of the Upright Citizen's Brigade, which not only had a Comedy Central show, but was the first improv comedy theater in NYC, and included folks like Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, etc.), Armando Diaz. Before that he trained at iO (Chicago) with Charna Halpern and Del Close, and was part of the improv group The Family. Matt also has done stand up comedy (longer than improv!) and has a podcast called Improv For Humans. You can download his comedy albums for just $1.99 each here. Also, he just finished co-writing The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy improvisation Manual.

Tara DeFrancisco Part 2!!!

por Brian Carter

I already did the amazing bio in our first interview. She's back! Our first interview was so great, and I felt like I had so many more questions, we had to do more. The follow up is at least as good. I tried to be more excited in this one. Chicago's most enthusiastic cheerleader, Tara DeFrancisco.

Luke Ashlocke - Stand Up Comedian

por Brian Carter

Luke Ashlocke, who was Luke Francis when I interviewed him, is a super-prolific Scottish comedian. The Glasgow, Scotland native arrived in the United States on a mission. From the minute he stepped onto the comedy scene he has been making waves. From Appearances on The Comedy Network's; "The Great Canadian Laugh Off" and "The Montreal Comedy Festival" to The CWB's "The Daily Buzz" and NBC's "Night Shift" and"New Day", to reviews such as "Funny As Hell" -Good Times Magazine, Long Island, NY & "This is what live stand up is supposed to be" - Weird Magazine, Austin, TX. Luke is one of the hardest working comics in the industry today. In 2011 Luke was voted break out artist of the year at the Los Angeles Comedy Awards and won BEST Actor for his role in "Vicky and Sam" at the London Film Festival. You can hear Luke's unique brand of humor on one of his three Albums- "Ill be Nicer When You Are Smarter", "If My Jokes Dont Kill Them Im Sure This Gun Will Help", and "Head Full of Tales" or on Bob and Tom and XM radio station RAWDOG on heavy rotation. To add to this, Luke plays over 15 instruments, and has one of the best crowd interaction shows in the history of live stand up comedy. Apologies, we had to switch phones a couple times to complete this interview, but what Luke has to say about writing a comedy act is well worth sticking with it!

Jessie Shternshus

por Brian Carter

Despite having a hard to pronounce name with way too many consonants, Jessie Shternshus is a thoroughly charming go-getter who has created an improv dynamo in Jacksonville, Florida.  As the founder and owner of The IMPROV EFFECT, Jessie weds her lifelong passion for and expertise in applied improvisation with the fast paced demands of the corporate world. In her classes and workshops she helps people become better listeners, team players, leaders, and communicators. Her physically engaging and playful workshops are relevant to all fields of life; participants of her workshops vary from college professors to engineers and from web developers to lawyers. Jessie gained her formal education at USF and NYU. Throughout her career she has worked with Fortune 500 companies and companies such as CBS, Paramount Pictures, MTV and Sesame Workshop. She also facilitates communication skills workshops and speaks at conferences worldwide.

Gene Perret, Linda Perret: Writers for Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, and More

por Brian Carter

Gene Perret is a guru of comedy writing. He has written jokes for comedians such as Phyllis Diller, Bob Hope, Carol Burnett, Bill Cosby, Tim Conway, and many others. He earned three Emmy Awards for his work on The Carol Burnett Show. He wrote for Bob Hope from 1969 until the performer’s retirement, serving the last 15 years as his head writer. Gene's television career includes producing Welcome Back, Kotter, Three’s Company, and The Tim Conway Show. Other credits include Mama’s Family, All in the Family, Laugh-In, and many others. Gene has authored 40 books on comedy. His book Comedy Writing Step by Step is considered by many to be the textbook on comedy writing. A revised and updated version of this book -- The New Comedy Writing Step by Step was released by Quill Driver Books in 2008. Other books include Talk About Hope; Become A Richer Writer; and Damn! That’s Funny! Writing Humor You Can Sell. Gene's first novel, Breakfasts with Archangel Shecky, has just been released. For additional books visit our store. Gene has written for many national magazines including Reader's Digest, Good Housekeeping, Toastmaster and wrote a regular humor column for Arizona Highways for many years.

Frank Caeti - MADtv, Second City, ComedySportz

por Brian Carter

Frank Caeti is an alumnus of The Second City Chicago. One half of the acclaimed duo FrankenMatt. Performs consistently at Second City Hollywood, iO West, and Upright Citizens Brigade LA. Series Regular on MADtv. Face and/or voice have appeared in over 40 commercials. Guest star roles on NCIS, Key and Peele, and Reno 911

Charna Halpern, Co-Creator of Long Form Improv, iO Theater

por Brian Carter

This is as close as I've gotten to interviewing someone who "needs no introduction..." but if you aren't THAT into improv... the list of people's she's trained and worked with is a who's who of the funniest actors on TV and in movies right now. But if you're not part of the improv world, you need to know that Charna worked with Del Close, who trained many of the Saturday Night Live folks everyone knows, and together they created long form improv... before which improv was mainly exercises for actors (a la Viola Spolin) and short form games like you see on Who's Line Is It Anyway. Charna also founded iO in Chicago, which is one of the major improv theatres in the world, and which has expanded with another branch in Los Angeles, CA. When Lorne Michaels is looking for new SNL cast members, one place he turns is to Charna... and there's a great story in this podcast about her and Chris Farley.

Dave Schwensen: Talent Booker, Stand Up Comedy Coach

por Brian Carter

As the talent booker for A&E's Evening At The Improv, working with folks like Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno, and as Bud Friedman's talent booker at the L.A. Improv, Dave Schwensen has some insights for stand up comedy careers. I read two of Dave's books when I was starting with stand up comedy in 2006. Then I took a stand up career class put on by Bill Word in Orange County, CA and taught by Dave. 

Matt Craig: Sketch Writing & Improv

por Brian Carter

Matthew Craig is a professional improvisor, actor, writer, and director. He is an alum of The Second City in Chicago, having performed in their Resident Company for over three years on both their Mainstage and their ETC theaters. He spent several years traveling the world with their touring company and has worked for their corporate training division as a writer/ performer/ instructor/ director for over fifteen years. Matt began his career at Washington University with the troupe Mama's Pot Roast. Previous theater credits include The Annoyance, iO, iOWest, Disney Cruise Lines, Brave New Workshop, The Second City Touring Company, The Second City ETC, and The Second City Mainstage. Matt fills his days with occasional commercial, voiceover, and television work, appearing on “The Office,” “According to Jim,” and on “Mobbed”, where Matt, an ordained minister, marries unsuspecting couples. He teaches improvisation and sketch writing at Second City Hollywood and performs all about town with his two-man improv group FrankenMatt. (www.frankenmatt.com) Most recently, Matt worked as a writer on “Saturday Night Live” during the 2010-2011 season. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

Also, I went to school with him and he thought my dad was like Mike Brady.

Brad Montgomery: Magic, Comedy & Motivation

por Brian Carter

Brad Montgomery never planned to be a professional speaker and business humorist. He planned to be a lawyer. Brad now speaks to corporations and associations who need a lift, bringing laughter and magic with a simple-yet-powerful message about creating more humor in our lives. His corporate clients include Kraft, Proctor and Gamble, IBM, General Mills, Microsoft, The CIA, The IRS, The US Air Force, COMSAT, Merrill Lynch and Honeywell. He’s a speaker. Author. Comedian. Thought leader. Happiness expert. Magician.  Facilitator.  Audience participation master. He isn’t just another talking head blow hard.  He’s a nice guy who happens to be very funny when delivering meaningful business programs.

Jet Eveleth: Improv, iO Theatre and Clown

por Brian Carter

Jet Eveleth- the woman, the myth, the legend. Just kidding. Not really. Jet Eveleth is a member of the Harold team The Reckoning at the iO Theater and performs in the show Adsit and Eveleth and Jet and Paul. She has appeared in The Barb Lameter Show and The Armando Diaz Experience, and has understudied at The Second City. She toured in the two-woman sketch show I Live Next Door To Horses, winner of the 2008 Del Award for Best Scripted Show. She has performed at the Andy Kaufman Awards and was listed as New City magazine’s "Top 50 Players" in 2010 and 2012. She studied clown and physical theater with Paola Coletto and Philippe Gaulier. She has taught at the Comedy Studies Program at Columbia College, the Second City Conservatory, the iO Theater, and is the former artistic director of the Chicago Improv Festival. She currently resides in Los Angeles.

Andy Engel - Gotham Comedy Club Booker

por Brian Carter

Andy Engel has produced New Talent Shows in New York City for 20 years at the following clubs: Caroline’s Comedy ClubComix, and is now the exclusive booker at Gotham Comedy ClubLevity Live!, and Metropolitan Room. Andy is also currently a Consultant and Talent Scout for Ryan Seacrest & Mark Cuban’s AXSTV show “Gotham Comedy Live”, and an Associate Producer for David Brenner’s “What’s So Funny?”. His New Talent shows have been featured on BBC America’s “Crash Course with Richard Hammond”, MTV’s “Made”, and MSNBC. He also runs the Manhattan Comedy School.

Sean Patton: Stand Up Comedian, Conan, Comedy Central

por Brian Carter

Sean Patton is a comedian based in New York and Los Angeles by way of New Orleans. He cut his teeth doing standup in the Crescent city and since have performed at Caroline’s, The Comedy Cellar, Gotham, The Improv, UCBNY, UCBLA, The Melbourne International comedy festival (2011), The Montreal Just for Laughs comedy festival (2008, 2010), and many other clubs around the US and Canada. He made his Basic Cable debut on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” (2009) and my Network TV debut on “Late night with Jimmy Fallon” (2010). He  appeared on “Conan” (2011). In June 2012 he recorded his first album, Standard Operating Procedure.

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Greg Tavares, Theatre 99, The Have Nots, Improv For Everyone

por Brian Carter

Is it possible for great improv to spring up independently of Chicago, New York and L.A.? Yes. This Greg Tavares, one of the founders ofTheatre 99 in Charleston SC, author of Improv For Everyone, and proof along with Brandy Sullivan, Timmy Finch, and others, that there are many ways to approach improv and still make it awesome to do and watch.

Get the notes here (opens new window)

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Tara DeFrancisco, Chicago Improv: iO, Second City, ComedySportz – Part 1/2

por Brian Carter

The Free Press called Tara DeFrancisco “The Funniest Person In Chicago”. She won Top 25 Funniest Women in Curve Magazine.  Tara started in stand up but switched to improv! Tara teaches improv and sketch-writing classes at iO, Second City, and ComedySportz, and coaches a Harold team at the iO theatre as well. She performs for the Second City as an understudy for the resident stages, and at CSz several times a week. Her iO team Chaos Theory performs Saturday nights. She is now in four LasVegasDotCom commercials airing nationally (one of them is embedded below). And Tara is the only person so far that I absolutely had to interview twice right away. I don’t know why. Maybe cuz we’re both from Ohio.

Read all the notes and see the funny pictures here (opens new window).

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Bill Word, California Stand Up Comedy Contests

por Brian Carter

Bill Word is a fixture in Orange County, California comedy, probably the best known name in stand up comedy contests out in California and has had some success on YouTube as well. He has some great perspectives on how a stand up comedy develops, why comedy competitions are good for your development, and how different venues are for different comedians.

Read the notes for this interview here (opens new window).

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Watch an 11 minute preview of the full interview: