The Improv Life: How Improv Saved Me

The Improv Life: How Improv Saved Me

Why haven’t I quit? I don’t know.

Maybe I’ll just slowly devolve into a bitter hack who laments his lost youth on a wasted dream as he smokes cheap cigarettes and store brand label whiskey in the patio of some forgotten LA dive bar where no one knows your name.

Who am I kidding. I love this too much to walk away. I did an improv show once at the Improv Collective for like five people, and it was one of the best improv shows I ever done.

I still remember it. Not that it felt particularly special when I was doing it, but looking back, man, that was a special show.

I got to bust out a Val Kilmer impression, y’all! Val freaking Kilmer! My Batman by an accident of birth! And it was stupid and dumb yet sublime at the same time. If your improv can fill the Venn Diagram of those three, then you got something good!

I did an Oscar Winning Moment where I played an alcoholic father who wasn’t getting enough shifts at CPK (California Pizza Kitchen). And my scene partners, Sam and Teresa, made me look like a million bucks.

This one dude laughed so hard at the moment, he was still laughing like 5 minutes later. That one dude’s laugh was enough praise that I’ve held onto it for years now. Sometimes I’ll pull out the memory out of the box I keep in my place of good feelings and remember that I was on my A-game for one night.

I mean, I didn’t know it was going to be a special night. I was at a weird place in life where I couldn’t appreciate what was in front of me because I was just fucking lost. Improv got me through those lost days where it felt like my best days were behind me, not realizing that these were some of the days I would cherish forever.

Life happens fast, y’all. Do what you want to do now because one day you’ll look back at now and realize this was a magical time.

One more to go. See you tomorrow,

Fernando

#improv #ocimprov #improvcollective #memory #goodtimes #heart #saved #life #lost #bryanadams #found #magic

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The Improv Life Ep.2 – Liam O’Mahoney, Fernando’s Improv Blog Podcast

I always love talking to Liam O’Mahoney.

Welcome to the 2nd episode ever of Fernando’s Improv Blog Podcast – The Improv Life! 

Today I talked to none other than Liam O’Mahoney! 

Liam is literally one of my favorite people in the whole world. There’s nobody I’ve probably done more improv scenes with in my whole life because of our time on Big Selfie together. 

Him and I share a crazy synchronized group mind. There was a moment in the interview where Liam was speaking, and I literally thought of the next word out of his mouth – and I was right! And I told him, “That was the same word I was thinking!” 

You don’t meet someone like Liam O’Mahoney every day. Dude is funny, kind, accepting, and creative. I’m very lucky to call him a friend, a person I’ve had a million good times with on stage, off stage, hanging out in the parking lot before a shot, and just in life. Love you Liam! 

You can listen to the latest episode down below!

Here’s What Liam and I Talked About: 

  • Our first meeting ever and how we heard about each other before actually meeting.
  • Liam’s early days at the Improv Collective and joining the community through Binh Ngyuen’s Improv Class at Orange Coast College.
  • How Liam and I have a crazy group mind because of our time together on Big Selfie.
  • How Liam was able to say “Yes” to what he wanted to do with his life.
  • How that choice has brought him many friendships.
  • Liam and I reminisce about all the crazy experimental shows we did back in the day and how it made us into better artists.
  • How I intentionally planted the seed of “Game” in Liam’s mind when I coached him and Keefer Langer for their two-man Harold team. 
  • His journey to dreaming of being an actor, denying that desire, and finally embracing his artistic destiny by choosing himself. 
  • How the Improv Collective embraced him and nurtured him in the early days of his improv journey. 
  • Liam talks about studying at UCB LA and how different it felt from the Improv Collective. 
  • Liam reveals how deep he got into the LA improv world with his various practice groups and indy teams. 
  • How this is the first time ever Liam has not done improv because of the crazy times we’re living in. 
  • Overall, check out this podcast to see two friends with a lot of history and a love talk about their journeys. 

Links 

Help Save Us, Improv Collective – the amazing theater where Liam and I cut our teeth at and formed our friendship needs your help. The Improv Collective has set up a Patreon to raise money to keep the theater alive. If you could sign up and donate, I would really appreciate it. 

The Improv Collective Facebook Page – Stay up-to-date on all things Improv Collective. 

The Big Selfie Facebook Page –  Follow the Big Selfie FB page to find out when we’re coming back! I don’t know when, but you don’t want to miss the announcement! 

Here are some blog posts where I talk about Liam and Big Selfie 

The Fernando Show – A Retrospective On Taking Risks and Failing Big – The one man show where Liam was my sidekick and everything that went wrong. 

The Improv Life: What I Learned About Owning Your Characters – I mention one of the last great amazing scenes and I did before the quarantine hit. 

Hardeen Profiles: Meet Liam O’Mahoney – A bizarre profile I wrote about Liam to promo one of our many failed Hardeen sketch shows. 

The Improv Life: Do It Together – A journal entry of when my Defenders like super team did a set at Idiot Dome. 

The Improv Life: The Importance of Side Projects, Or Some More History of How Big Selfie Came Together a little bit of background of how my Armando team, Big Selfie, came together. 

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The Year I Grew As A Writer, Producer, & Director

What an amazing year. You will live forever in my heart 2019.

The Year I Grew As A Writer, Producer, & Director

I’ve been telling people that 2019 has been the worst year for me as a performer.

I just felt I was off my game, and that I wasn’t the best me possible, the home run hitter I know I am.

And that’s because I focused all my efforts on writing, producing, and directing.

I gave my attention to others and had less for myself, which I’m fine with because I got to work with some amazing people.

These people astounded me with their passion, their gifts, their willingness to take risks and have fun while failing or succeeding, and always delivering finished projects.

This was definitely a year where I embraced the mantle of leadership and put the good of others in front of my own.

But it’s easy to serve when the people you’re working for are amazing and push you to be a better version of yourself.

We did a lot this year.

Two sketch teams were built (Moonshot and The Latinx Comedy Pachanga).

Moonshot crushing at the Pack.

The Pachanga crushing it at Second City, Heraldo, the Clubhouse, and Moving Arts.

X-Men themed experimental shows. (Thank you Elyssa Phillips).

We actually got the blessing of the X-Men The Animated Series Producers for those shows!

Pachanga Potlucks to fail and have fun.

Video sketches shot.

Table read of Macho Libre, an amazing and necessary and powerful pilot by Marcelina Chavira.

Mashup teams.

Two-prov with Tiffany Aleman and Diosa.

The Pack Inclusivity Jam with Tiffany, Royce Shockley, and Robert Clarke Chan.

Amazing stories from Neal Dandade, Joey Clift, Shaun Landry, and Bryan Phillip Cruz for the same jam.

Dingleberries with Rich Sohn and Neal Dandade.

Shit ton of amazing live sketches.

Speedface with Alli Ramirez at PackCon.

Got to host the final night of the Orange County Improv Festival. 

A lot of amazing conversations with Richard Aaron, my co-producer on the Pachanga.

Hanging out with my sister, Melissa.

Reading for Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble Artistic Director Sara Guerrero on her amazing production of Canto de Anaheim, a play written, produced, and directed by her in collaboration with Gustavo Arellano and the Pacific Symphony.

I got a UCB Diversity Scholarship and started taking classes. 

Taught a sketch writing class for Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble. 

Started teaching improv again after many years by leading the Specs Friday Drop-In. 

Teaching my first ever “How To Write A POC Sketch” Class at Second City for LADCF and then San Francisco for Colorized Improv. Thank you for the help Shirley Rivera.

One more Ka-Blahm-O! Show with Dwayne McDaniel.

Big Selfie Shows with Brandon, Liam, Sam, and Tee at the Improv Collective. 

Performing on the UCB Franklin Stage for the first time ever with the Latinx Comedy Pachanga. 

Did my first ever voice over work! A really fun Dora The Explorer cartoon for AOK. 

The Pachanga helped Bonnie He with a character called “John Yang” and she then performed it for 10,000 people the next day at an Andrew Yang Fundraiser! That then got us an opportunity to perform at Andrew Yang Fundraiser produced by her! 

Wrote 302 poems. 

Directed really fun video ads for my new company Helium 10. Here is my favorite, a QVC parody! 

And probably my two proudest accomplishments: shooting The American Dream with Moonshot in the desert (thank you Valerie and Baldev and crew); and directing the Pachanga for LADCF 2020, the best sketch show I’ve directed to this point.

And every project rewarded us with knowledge and experience for the next adventure.

I don’t know what 2020 has in store, but as long as I keep working with amazing people, I know it’s going to be awesome.

Love to all the amazing people in my life.

#moonshot #moonshotcomedy #latinxcomedypachanga #latinx #sketchcomedy #sketch #packtheater #LADCF #secondcity #poc #poccomedy #heraldo #americandream #improv #ucb #specsimprov #improvcollective #teacher 

 

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Hardeen Pofiles: Meet Victor Villa-Lobos

Hardeen Round III is coming up, so here’s an intimate look at some of writers, performers, and visionaries for the upcoming July 11th show at the Starlight Theater.

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One of the most matter-of-fact interviews I’ve ever done. What I like about Victor is that he tells it like it is. Not much fat chewing here.

Position: Performer, Up and Comer, Braggadocio, human embodiment of Bob Seger’s song, “Like a Rock.”

Favorite Food: Anything spicy. Mexican mostly and Asian. But anything spicy.

Favorite Movie Based on a Book: Recently, Drive, but Dr. Strangelove had me for a while (loosely based on Red Alert).

Comedic Heroes: Too many. Peter Sellers, Robin Williams, Chris Farley to name a few.

Quote: “Determination means staying loyal long after the mood you said it in has left you.”

Favorite Eagle: Joe Walsh, but I prefer the Eagles of Death Metal.

Why Should People Come: For $5 you can watch total strangers make complete asses of themselves, like Youtube, only better, because there are no ads. Plus there’s a liquor store next door just in case.

If you could steal a smooch from the hunkiest guy in Hollywood, who would it be: A tie between Mad Max and Snake Plissken.

You can catch Victor and other performers at Hardeen’s third sketch show at the Starlight Theater on July 11th at 09:30 pm.

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Hardeen Profiles: Meet Antoine Byrd

Hardeen Round III is coming up, so here’s an intimate look at some of writers, performers, and visionaries for the upcoming July 11th show at the Starlight Theater.

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Antoine owns the camera. Our gazes locked, separated only by the digital prophylactic of the itouch 5. A directer interview could’ve not been had.

Position: Performer, Scientist, up and comer, that guy who when people mention him at parties, you go, ” I know that guy! He’s cool!”

Favorite Food: Shrimp Scampi

Favorite Movie Based on a Book:  The Perks of Being a Wall Flower.

Comedic Heroes: I have so many that to rank order them would be impossible. I’ll say this. I find inspiration in all places.

Quote: “Does Marcelus Wallis look like a bitch?”

Favorite Eagle: The American Eagle.

Why Should People Come: It’s entertaining. It’s engaging. It’s interactive, and it’s delicious.

If you could steal a smooch from the hunkiest guy in Hollywood, who would it be: Channing Tatum, especially after Magic Mike.

You can catch Antoine and other performers at Hardeen’s third sketch show at the Starlight Theater on July 11th at 09:30 pm.

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