– I’m loving musical improv; it’s so fun to just go out there and sing a made up song on the spot!
– I’m so lucky to have Kristen Gull go on that journey with me. We had some great songs, always being in connection with each other and being affected by the other. I can’t wait to do FernGully again!
– And big thanks to Barton Lewis for playing music for us! He brought a great energy to the show, and his presence and contributions were welcomed!
– The Tango has a really coo, grounded and patient style with lots of listening and calling out stuff and layering of facts to build a world. I dig their stuff!
– Downtown Menagerie put up a loving homage to Chinatown and other classic film noirs. They play with a certain rhythm, always keeping you engaged and playing with steam to take the story where it needs to go in due time.
– Menudo! Such a fun group! You could tell they really love each other because they play with a freedom you can only achieve from having a strong bond built on trust and liking being around each other.
– The Story Goes is amazing! Everyone needs to see them! I felt like I was watching a traveling theater company that goes from town to town bringing the magic of acting and writing to the masses.
– Ka-Blahm-O! Frankie Estrella, man, dude turns up to an 11 every show. He’s leader guitar and vocals and I’m bass and drums, and somehow it all works!
– Finally, The Improv Council was very special last night as everyone who played last night were people I’m on teams with either officially or unofficially. It was cool to share the stage with people I love and respect.
Damn, that was a lot! Long story short – go book all these teams and players; they all rock and deserve to be seen by everyone!
Next LA Improv Summit is going to be Saturday, June 11! Stay tuned for the lineup!
So Much Freaking Improv-Sketch-Comedy Wisdom Right Here
Here are some quotes from the Epic AMA Brian James O’Connell did a few weeks ago to promote his upcoming All Improv class starting on Saturday, April 2nd at 12pm to 2pm
“We’re all just searching for something that works, but also for something that works better.”
“You know you’re ready to teach when you’re able to demonstrate the lesson without embarrassing the student.” (Eric Honeycut actually)
“Anything you have more than three books on that is who you are as an improviser.”
“There are nothing but positive outcomes when you treat other people like human beings.”
“People use the term guru to hold power over people.”
“Improv is the first thing that taught me that I am enough.”
“If you have a successful theater, you should be integrating vertically.”
“Theater politics will never make you feel valid.”
“Improv is like golf because you can keep doing it forever.”
“You can mine your pain, but this isn’t therapy. It’s helpful, it can be therapeutic, but it’s not therapy.”
“Hit-Hit-Backoff-Hit: Play the game, play the game, take a break, and then play the game again.”
“When a man lies he murders a part of himself.”
“When someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them – Maya Angelou”
“You know you’re ready to coach when someone asks you – Miles Stroth.”
“Learn your value.”
“Never apologize for being yourself.”
BOC is teaching an All Improv class Saturdays in April from 12pm to 2pm where you get to work on a specific thing you’re working on. It’s a $100 for 4 weeks, so it’s only $25 per class, and that’s a freaking deal – a steal quite frankly.
I know his class is almost sold out, and who knows when he’s going to teach it again, so I highly recommend you take it if you want to work with this improv-sketch-comedy madman genius.
To sign up, just hit up BOC or the All Improv page.
One of my biggest flaws as a human is that I like to hide.
I’ll show up physically in a space, but I won’t show up emotionally.
And I’m pretty sure that’s the result of a traumatic childhood where I was forced to be in abusive spaces with no escape.
When you grow up like that, you learn to check out mentally and be present physically in order to get through an experience.
So I learned how to retreat into myself at a young age. And I’m still pretty good at it to this day.
Now it’s different though: I’m a leader and an artist, and showing up emotionally is part of the job.
For the most part I do, but every now and then, I don’t.
It’s usually because I’m tired (there’s definitely a relationship with physical energy and emotional energy).
Or maybe I got some stuff from personal life that is affecting my performance in these roles.
I mean, it can be a lot of things. Whatever the reason, people notice when you don’t show up emotionally. And they’ll get concerned, and want to help you (if you’re lucky).
The problem is this: emotions are contagious. The emotions you broadcast will be reflected back to you, and then be amplified collectively, affecting the emotional energy of the whole.
And me? I’m a walking power plant of emotion. I’ve always been that way. When I’m happy, people dig that and want more of it. When I’m angry, people get concerned.
Being a big guy also means that I have a bigger emotional broadcast signal – other people can tell how I feel.
Even when I think I’m hiding, I’m not; my emotional signal breaks through, and people want to find out what’s up.
I mean, we’re human. We evolved to read each other’s emotions. So much of being a human is being able to read someone emotionally and respond in a way that fits what you want out of that situation.
So why am I writing this? I’m trying to be more consistent in how I show up emotionally in 2022.
How am I going to do that though!? How am I going to meet this goal?
Here’s what I’m going to do to show up emotionally in 2022!
1). I’m going to monitor my physical energy and health. I’m going to take care of my body and get rest so that I have the physical energy required to show up in a space emotionally.
2). I’m going to check in with myself before I enter a space, and make sure I don’t bring in weird energy into a space that is really unresolved tension from some other aspect of my life.
Side note: Chad Damiani is really great on this. When you do one of his Catsby Workshops, part of the warmup is reminding yourself to show up 100% to the workshop and leave whatever baggage from the outside world behind.
3). I’m going to remind myself of the role that I’m entering a space in, and what expectations are put on me in this role, and how I can best deliver them.
4). I’m going to breath more. I’m going to have moments throughout the day where I just relax and do nothing. Being busy isn’t the same as being productive.
5). I’m going to remind myself that emotional energy is reflected back. Whatever I give will return to me. I’m going to be positive as much as I can.
6). I’m going to stay away from haters, energy vampires, toxic people, and people who don’t treat me with respect.
7). I’m going to say more. I’m not going to hold back. I’m going to share what I believe if I think it can help someone, even if it’s myself being forced to articulate an idea.
8). I’m going to say “No” when I need to. I’ve learned that showing up as a half version of yourself is risky, and that you don’t want to leave someone disappointed when they expected all of you to show up.
9). I’m not going to take life for granted. I’m going to appreciate every opportunity that comes my way, and recognize that every moment is special while fleeting.
10). Finally, I’m going to remind myself that when I show up emotionally I open up myself to receive more than I put in. Mutual vulnerability can lead to amazing things, and I can’t be afraid to take the first step.
There’s probably more I can do, but this seems like a good start.
Steve Martin’s standup memoir “Born Standing Up” is must-read for all comedians.
He describes things only other comedians would understand, like doing a show in front of a packed house but being thrown off your game because of the one audience member in the front row that you can make eye contact with.
Honestly, I discover something’s new every time I read it.
One of its most enduring lessons, however, comes from a time when Steve Martin was on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson for the umpteenth time.
During a commercial break, Johnny leans in close to Steve and tells him, “You will use everything you know.”
In that moment, Steve knew exactly what Johnny meant. And when I first heard it, I knew immediately as well.
You will mine every single experience for comedy. Or everything you’ve ever read, watched, or listened to, you will use it for something. All information, insight, gossip, revelation, newspaper headlines, magazines articles, and whatever is yours to use for bits.
And I’ve been using that strategy all month long in my one-improv-blog-a-day project. Coming up with a blog post every day was hard, so I literally pulled from every corner of my comedy experience, and I loved it!
I now have 30 essays on the improv experience, ranging from mediations on the journey, comedy history, and at least one how-to piece. I hoped people found value in what I wrote, and at the very least, some of these posts set up a bedrock of improv comedy insight for me to explore further.
Honestly, writing every day is a great habit to clarify your thinking and get ultra specific in what you want to say. And the more you write, the more insight is revealed to you, and all that knowledge stacks up on top of each other, leading to some major discovery down the line – and its the major discoveries that make this art form amazing. I encourage you all to write every day. Thank you for reading these past 30 days.