11/05/21 Birthday Show at the Improv Collective

I had an amazing birthday show on Friday night at the Improv Collective!

I was blown away by the talent of everyone who performed and shared their work:

Anatalia Vallez is a fire poet who can make you laugh and cry in a flash of a few lines, and not everyone can do that.

Book Jesse Joseph for all your magic needs – dude knows what he’s doing! (I suggest bringing Joey Shope too as your magician’s assistant!)

I didn’t know how much I missed the two man improv clown machine that is Ka-Blahm-o! Love you Frankie!

And Jac Floyd, Matt Thomas, Josh Heimendinger, and Juanito Velasco are much better improvisers than I ever hope to be, and I’m super greatful to them for playing on West Coast Selfie with me.

I’m truly humbled by the people around me, and I’m very lucky to have a front row to their gifts and genius.

In general, book all these people!

Also, it was super cool to read a bunch of my poems out loud to a group of live people – I’m going to do more of that!

Thank you to Robert Souders and Bridget Marie for making this happen, and to Chris Beal for doing tech.

I want to thank everyone who came out and supported – I appreciate you for that!

If you’re in LA today, come check out birthday show no.2 at Tao Comedy Studio at 7:30 pm. It’s going to be fun!

Do what you love as much as you can.

#improv #improvcollective #ocimprov #kablahmo #magic #poetry #clown

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The Improv Life: Just Be a Big Dumb Clown

The Improv Life: Just Be a Big Dumb Clown

Yeah, man, I’m a goof. I like to do bits and play dumb. If I see an opportunity for a joke, I’m going to throw one in there. If I can throw in some biting satire to comment on my surroundings, I will. If I see a sad person, I want to make them laugh. I don’t know why I do it; this is just me. Making people laugh is a calling, and I don’t question it. I’m a big dumb clown because, hey, life is short and we got to squeeze the joy out of it. And for me there is no higher joy than laughter.

#improv #sketch #clown #idiot #comedy #performer #shows #theater #joy #laugh #laughter

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The Improv Life: Why You Have to Read Books, Watch Movies, and Listen to Music

The Improv Life: Why You Have to Read Books, Watch Movies, and Listen to Music

I’m a big believer that everything you consume informs and contributes to your art.

You don’t know how it’s going to manifest in your art.

Unless your making a conscious effort to channel specific themes and references from a work of art that inspires you – which a lot of artists do in other kinds of mediums (but not usually improv) – you’re just going to go out there and see what comes out.

Improv is spontaneous and unplanned – there’s no way you can go into a scene knowing what’s going to inspire you in the moment.

Yes, you get a suggestion, but that’s just the starting point, not the whole scene.

You’re mind/gut sends you an impulse, you hold onto it, and use it to build a character, or to explore the scene while you figure out what’s going on.

But what is that impulse? It’s probably an idea for a character, or a vague feeling pushing you in a certain direction, with every move giving you more handles for you to grip your character.

But where does that idea come from? Well,  that probably depends on you. For me, and I don’t know how this developed, I’ll think back to some random thing I read, watched, listened to, remembered – and I totally have no control over this; it just arrives on its own, prompted by the moment and its unfolding action – and I use that for inspiration.

And you can create some wild stuff when you take what your mind gives you to cobble a character together. Some characters feel like they’ve been waiting to come out fully formed, and others feel like a mosaic I’m slowly piecing together with every choice. But the point is this: my subconscious is processing everything; the more I give it, the more it will give me for my art; I don’t control how it manifests, but I embrace whatever it gives me because I know there is gold there waiting for me to uncover it.

And that’s why you have to go read books, watch movies, and listen to music – you don’t know how it’s going to inspire you, but you can bet it will.

#improv #character #books #writer #director #books #art #creative #inspiration

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The Improv Life: I Miss Going to Canter’s After Shows

This Pastrami Rueben was amazing.

The Improv Life: I Miss Going to Canter’s After Shows

That post show come down is a doozy, man.

The better the show, the hotter the crowd, the tighter the set, the bigger the high.

It’s like you got energy for days.

Like I don’t need to do drugs because I do shows. The high of a great show is unmatched by anything else.

I want to say it’s adrenaline, but if I was an adrenaline junkie I would put myself in unnecessary dangerous situations just for a whiff of a high.

Nah, man, the stage is its own drug. When you’re in a fire improv set in front of a packed house, or your sketch is landing with the audience exactly how you wanted it to, or you’re doing some crazy clown bit that is pushing your limits and the crowd is with you every single step of the way, you’ll feel higher than you’ve ever been.

So how do you cool down? Well, me, I’m going to a diner* with some friends (or sometimes solo).

*For the purpose of this essay I consider Del Taco a diner.

I’m going to sit down, order some coffee, get some good food, and chat with some buds.

And one of my favorite places to do that is the world famous Canter’s Deli in Hollywood. My good friend from Cal, Alan J. Miller, introduced me to Canter’s just before I started going to LA to do comedy.

We saw a great show at UCB Franklin with his cousin, and then we went to Canter’s, and I loved it. Place just radiated good vibes with it’s awesome food and stuck-in-a-time-capsule ambiance.

I didn’t know it then, But Alan was introducing me to a place I would fall in love with. Once I started coming up to LA more to do shows, especially at the Pack Theater, Canter’s became a frequent stop. I even got my OC team to go with me once, and it was amazing.

Not going to Canter’s for over a year and a half was hard because of a). The amazing food, company, and ambiance, and b). I didn’t have a reason to go because I wasn’t doing shows, and that broke my heart.

I just want to get back to a place where performing in LA every week is normal, with the occasional visit to Canter’s peppered in to cap a great night of LA comedy.

#improv #sketch #food #losangeles #canters #pastramiruben #show #performer #theater #packtheater

Love you Canter’s.
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The Improv Life: Dance Like No One is Watching

The Improv Life: Dance Like No One is Watching

Here’s a tricky improv principle to ponder: dance like no one is watching.

So like go out there, give it you’re all (win, lose, or draw) and who cares how the audience responds to you.

Now that last part is what makes it tricky. How can you do improv and not adjust your performance to the audience’s real time response?

Damn, I don’t know! Maybe I just wrote myself into a corner?

I guess what I mean is this: whenever you’re performing 1). Have fun (that’s my no.1 rule for all creative endeavors), and 2). Withhold judgement of yourself (and of your teammates).

When you judge yourself, you’re telling the audience you’re not comfortable with yourself. If you’re not comfortable with yourself, they won’t feel safe watching you, things will get awkward, and everyone will want the scene to end ASAP.

Believe me, I’ve been that uncomfortable performer who made the audience feel awkward in his self rejection. But I’ve also been that performer who has connected with the audience by just going out there and having fun.

There’s a strong negative correlation between judgement and fun. The less you’re judging yourself, the more fun you’re having. I really wish I said that in the beginning, but I was going with the flow.

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow.

Fernando

#improv #performer #fun #judgement #dance #critic #performer #performance #performancetheory #technique #awareness #awkward #theimprovlife #theater #comedy #sketchcomedy #comedy

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