The Improv Life: I Love LA

The Improv Life: I Love LA

LA has a magic to it that is hard to describe.

I started coming here to do improv, as the thousands before me, so many now being my friends.

I drive these streets and get inspired creatively.

I feel the history around me in LA’s weird angles. An American City grid on top of a Spanish City outline in what used to be Mexico and native land before that. If that’s not improv, I don’t know what that is.

The one advantage is I didn’t have to live here. I can take what I need from it and return to my fortress of decaying suburbia just beyond the Orange Curtain.

But even then, I don’t escape LA’s grip. From the Grapevine to end of the 405, it’s all just one huge quilt of urban development, with LA being the pulsating heart driving the constant progress and expansion. This is Megacity 2.

And you see LA’s cultural reach in TV as well. You watch a TV show and you notice that key creative leads got their training at UCB, Groundlings, Second City, Pack, and a bunch of other improv schools and communities with people cutting their teeth in the LA comedy scene.

Of all the places to find my life – to find myself – LA has become an integral part of my journey, past, present, and future.

Love you LA,

Fernando
Son of Juan and Alicia

#improv #la #losangeles #comedy #ucb #groundlings #packtheater #secondcity #djwaldie #holyland #essay #city #cityscape #megacity2 #immigrant #journey #border

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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: My First Walk on Santa Monica Blvd in a Real Long Time

The Improv Life: My First Walk on Santa Monica Blvd in a Real Long Time

Took a walk on Santa Monica Blvd for the first time since the pandemic hit on Saturday.

It hit me different. Felt like no time had passed although it’s been over a year and a half since I stepped foot near the Pack Theater, one of my comedy homes.

I walked to the Broadwater Theater for my Fringe Show with Company of Angels, and I thought of all the people I would usually see on this walk, other Pack peeps going to the bar after a show, walking to their cars after a long night at the theater, going to go get tacos, whatever.

I really thought I was going to see someone I knew.

I forgot that theaters create time sensitive neighborhoods where you can see people you know and like during a very specific window of time, like Sundays from 6pm to midnight.

How often in life can you expect to bump into people you like and look forward to seeing? Theaters create those opportunities, and those opportunities to connect become relationships, and those relationships are what create a community.

I missed my Pack Theater Community in that moment, especially when I realized I wasn’t going to randomly bump into someone and share an unexpected special moment. I don’t know, it would’ve been cool to see Bryan Musil and give him a hug.

The positive takeaway is this: as I’ve been reconnecting with theater friends I haven’t seen in a while, it feels like no time has passed because we all went on pause together, so we can just pick off from where we left off – I hope we can all pick up from where we left off when we meet again.

#improv #theimprovlife #comedy #sketch #clown #packtheater #actor #writer #people #relationships #community #memory #saudade

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12 Things I Don’t Like About Bits

12 Things I Don’t Like About Bits

12 Things I Don’t Like About Bits

1. People who don’t get bits

2. People who don’t respond to bits

3. People who are threatened by bits
Because they don’t understand them

4. People who think you’re being serious when you’re just really commiting to a bit, and that seriousness forces you to double down on your commitment.

5. People who like to do bits in front of others without taking into account people’s reaction to it, not knowing how to turn the dial from high to low or vice versa depending on the response.

6. People who laugh at their own bits while they’re doing them, but who get mad when you don’t laugh at them to

7. People who think they’re funny telling you they’re funny, and then proceeding to do nothing funny at all, disproving their claim as soon as they make it.

8. Office clowns who win the position by default because they speak up the most while being oblivious to how people respond to them.

9. People who claim to like bits in theory, but don’t know how to emotionally react to bits in fact.

10. People who use bits to attack others, but then get hurt when the heat is turned on them.

11. People who think they’re funny but are not.

12. Bullies

*I’ve been all these people at some point in my life.

112.2020 #poem #poemaday #nationalpoetrymonth #bits #jokes #routine #act #comedy #writer #stevemartin #orange #sketchcomedy #standup #improv

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The Improv Life: I Miss My Comedy Adventures

The Improv Life: I Miss My Comedy Adventures

I’ve been consuming Star Wars like a mother fucker during quarantine.

Clone Wars, Rebels, The Mandalorian, the new Marvel Comics (The Darth Vader ones are lit), the old, decanonized Dark Horse Comics, Youtube clips of Obi Wan Kenobi killing Darth Maul for the second time, that new found footage sketch from Nerdist turning the Mandalorian into a 90’s sitcom.

I just miss having my own adventures with my comedy life; I watch Star Wars heroes try to save the universe and think of my own adventures with my crew of misfits as we try to make my world a better place through comedy bits.

I miss getting in my car and hauling ass to LA, driving with purpose and passion. The drive was ridiculous, but there was something waiting for me at my destination: community

My peers. People like me. Dreamers dedicating their nights to comedy and each other. One shared purpose: making it (whatever that means for each person).

Tomorrow is Sunday. And that day would always be an adventure in LA.

My very last day in LA pre-quarantine saw me taking a class at Groundlings, eating Ramen at my favorite spot, doing an improv practice with random people at my friend’s Renata’s apartment, doing a clown workshop at Catsby, hanging out with my boys Frankie and J-Blaze, watching three hours of amazing comedy, and then, the drive home.

This was such an amazing day, and I was scheduled to have this day every two weeks. I was looking forward to it. But it didn’t happen. It’s almost as if I got one last taste before it all went away.

I miss the drive. I miss the people. I miss the places. I miss the community. Most of all, I miss the purpose and meaning these adventures gave me: I was living my passion and being validated by the universe every step of the way.

Now I got Star Wars. And that’s filling my spiritual void. Star Wars is about family and hope. And they’re giving me hope that one day soon I’ll be reunited with my comedy family. Till then, I’m going to make Twitch Shows work for me.

#improv #comedy #adventure #starwars #purpose #meaning #power

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