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: Go Watch “Ghostbusters” Knowing That Bill Murray Improvised Most of His Performance

The Improv Life: Go Watch “Ghostbusters” Knowing That Bill Murray Improvised Most of His Performance

I’m never going to be an advanced Jazz musician who can tell you about the complexity of a player’s performance through their performance and phrasing, but I can talk to you about watching Bill Murray in “Ghostbusters’ after having trained as an improv comedian and having my mind blown away by his intricate, free flowing performance.

Not everyone might know this, but Bill Murray’s performance in “Ghostbusters” was largely improvised.

I didn’t know this as a kid. I just laughed at the movie, and watched it every time it came on television. I couldn’t tell you why it was funny; I just knew it was funny.

Later on when I decided to give myself heart and soul to improv, I discovered that Bill Murray improved large swaths of Dr. Venkman, his character in the movie.

It was a summer holiday, and I decided to watch it, specifically observing for Bill Murray’s performance, trying to see if I could catch where he was improvising.

Bill Murray was Dr. Peter Venkman, a sly, charming, confident, charismatic parapsychologist who was unfazed by any task (except for dealing with Slimer). It’s simply amazing, his performance.

I was a chump; I realized I didn’t know shit about improv. (What was I thinking? Who did I think I was?). I realized how much I didn’t know about improv and how much more there was to learn.

Here’s my main conclusion: I couldn’t tell you what was improv and what was scripted. If you can convince your audience that what you just improvised was scripted, then you have achieved something amazing.

Yes, I know that there was a script and an outline for the character of Dr. Venkman, but Bill Murray took the character and made it his own, exceeding the boundaries of the script and creating something so completely original and spontaneous that it’s become myth. And for that, thank you. Happy Birthday, Bill.

#improv #billmurray #ghostbusters

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The Improv Life Ep.10 with Diosa – Fernando’s Improv Blog Podcast

Improv and Magic – aren’t they the same thing sometimes?

The Improv Life Ep.10 with Diosa

Welcome to Episode 10 of the Improv Life Podcast! 

My guest today was the amazing Diosa! 

Man, I got nothing but love, respect, and admiration for Diosa. 

We met through improv and I’ve been amazed by her ever since! 

She is a multi-talented, spiritual, courageous, and bold Latinx artist who will open your third eye with her insights and magic. 

She is Colombian, so I’m going to say that she has a rich and robust personality with hints of witty observations and subtle notes of goddess energy; a great person to spend an afternoon with talking about a bouquet of topics from the absurd, to the perverse, the comically tragic, and the profound- no moment is wasted when you’re hanging out with Diosa. 

And I’m lucky to call her my friend! This was a great episode, one of my favorites so far, so check it out! 

*We talk about magic a lot in this episode. Diosa and her best friend Dre have a new podcast called The Magic Babes where they talk about “Misconceptions, the occult, tarot, history, botany, and cultura.” It’s dropping soon, so follow their IG to stay tuned for their first episode! 

What an amazing episode, one of my favorites so far.

Here’s What We Talked About

  • Her new chile relleno endeavor, Mami’s Chiles – Xicana Soul Food ‘Pa Tú Go
  • Getting hit by the putasos of life – the cause of Diosa’s diverse life experiences 
  • In reference to her tragic life experiences and challenges, Diosa said, “Instead of crying over it, or making it a weakness, you know that’s what comedy does, it gives you that power back. Like, okay I have a problem. Let me laugh at it and address it, you know, obviously, but not make it me…I’m making fun of it.”
  • How Diosa has been creative her whole life – how Kid Khristian is in Mujer Khristian
  • How MadTV, Strangers with Candy, and Upright Citizens Brigade sparked the idea for Diosa to one day be a comedian 
  • How Diosa one day decided to take improv classes at UCB and begin her comedy journey there 
  • The perverse wonder, ahead-of-its-time, ridiculous Strangers with Candy 
  • How Strangers with Candy led her to David Sedaris, and that’s how she knew she wanted to be a comedian 
  • “Life doesn’t get easier; we just get better at it” – Diosa 
  • A sneak peek into Diosa’s high school days 
  • Reflections on high school for both Diosa and Fernando
  • How Latinx high school kids get sucked into adulthood too soon because of relationships, teenage pregnancies, work, or running with the wrong crowd 
  • “What’s bad for your heart is good for your art” – Diosa 
  • Diosa’s journey into magic, tarot, signs, and the supernatural 
  • Madre Monte – a forest goddess that protects the forest; how Diosa likes the fact that her Colombian culture made this story up to serve a function 
  • How Diosa loves listening to these scary stories and folklore, and how they fascinate her 
  • Diosa’s experiences with having her tea leaves read, and how it’s an example of “magic as a tool to give you perspective on things” 
  • How Diosa’s favorite auntie introduced her to the woman who read her tea and opened her up to this larger world of magic 
  • How Diosa’s mom went to the same woman who read Diosa’s tea to spy on Diosa, and how that experience turned off Diosa to magic for a while 
  • Surprising Fact: your first Tarot Deck should be a gift from a friend 
  • “Be careful what witch you trust” – Diosa 
  • “You have to believe in [magic] in order for it to happen” – Diosa 
  • How Diosa’s recent awakening to magic is due to moving in with her current roommate, who is serving as her guide to this new world 
  • “Meditation is power” – Diosa 
  • How Diosa manifested a three month run at Second City with her team Fuck Shit Up 
  • “The connection between magic and mental health is the therapy, the talking about your problems.” – Diosa 
  • My positive Tarot experiences with Nancy Martinez, aka, Bandit the Oracle – check her out! Tell her Fernando sent you!
  • Diosa drops some knowledge on her thoughts about Tarot and its function and purpose in everyday life 
  • “You have to know your dark side in order to shine” – Diosa 
  • Follow Dre, Diosa’s best friend’s Tarot IG page @buzzbunnytarot for insights 
  • “Magic is science we don’t understand” – Fernando echoing Hank Pym from the Avengers 

Thanks for being on the show, Diosa. You can follow her on instagram at @diosanojoda 

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The Improv Life Ep.6 with Jorge Emanuel Berrios

Ep.6 of The Improv Life with Jorge Emanuel Berrios

Welcome to Episode 6 of The Improv Life! 

Alright, y’all, so I sat down with an improviser I am genuinely in awe of: Jorge Emmanuel Berrios. 

Jorge is probably the most physical improviser I have ever witnessed! The only improviser who I can think of who comes close is a guy in the OC named Mark Wolf. So Jorge and Mark are the only ones! 

Honestly, when Jorge does improv, it’s as if you’re watching a live action cartoon character. He stretches his body in every direction possible. He bounces. He jumps. He extends. I’ve seen him do the splits out of nowhere with no warning or setup. You can’t take your eyes off the guy. Hey, if you’re going to be a performer, that’s the one quality you’re going to want to have. 

Also, he is probably one of the most charismatic performers I’ve ever seen. You know they say, “Game recognize game,” but I know a good performer when I see one. With Jorge, there is no doubt about his abilities: this guy is the shit. 

So it was a pleasure to talk to him about his journey and how far he has come. Check it out! 

You can listen on SoundCloud too.

Here’s What’s Jorge and I Discussed

  • How Jorge was in an unheard of (9) Miami Quinceneras as part of the Court where he developed his dance abilities 
  • We talked about the importance of food in Latinx immigrant families and the relationship that creates with body image and perception 
  • Jim Carrey’s influence over Jorge’s comedy style 
  • Jorge’s experiences working in a call center and being told that “He had to be more serious and less funny” if he wanted to be funny 
  • How (1) stand up class changed his life and outlook on comedy by making it possible of him perceiving himself as a comedian 
  • How Jorge decided to move to LA after long and thoughtful reflection and used a job interview as a reason to come out here 
  • And a bunch of great tangents about our Latinx identities and shared experiences! Check it out! 

You Can Follow Jorge on Instagram @berrios305 and here is the link – https://www.instagram.com/berrios305/

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