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Subject: "Anyone really into improv comedy? A post about it maybe?" Previous topic | Next topic
Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
9819 posts
Mon Aug-27-12 09:13 AM

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"Anyone really into improv comedy? A post about it maybe?"


  

          

Searched for a while and only found quick mentions of improv now and then through various posts over the years, but is anyone really into it both doing and watching?

I've been into it for a while, but started taking classes back in February and coming up on 7 months I'm totally bought in. Pittsburgh has a really great budding scene, it's not Chicago or NY or Philly, but the first 100% longform improv comedy theater opened here in 2011 and has grown huge very quickly.

They sent 4 teams to the Del Close Marathon this year which is a big deal for a theater that is still very new, got a lot of press for it, and were named best addition to the comedy scene by Pittsburgh Magazine.

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/ae/theater-dance/steel-city-improv-groups-to-take-laughs-to-nyc-642060/?fb_action_ids=10100805727362843&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=246965925417366

Anyone regularly participate or have favorite podcasts, groups with videos online, lessons to teach etc...

I'm on a few teams personally but still only 7 months in still have a lot of work to do, this is my main team who got ourselves hyped by basically doing a youtube series that is mostly improv but follows a plot that followed our getting ready for our first show. It was pretty popular so we kept it going, feel free to throw us a like if you enjoy supporting people trying to do something.

https://www.facebook.com/LeakyBasement

Our youtube videos are here, though I doubt anyone feels like watching since you kind of have to start from the very begging since the first bunch were character introductions before plot starting in 'season 2'

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheLeakyBasement/videos

Point of this post wasn't to just hype my group though, just something I'm totally into right now after starting to do it in February and just seeing if other people are into long form improv and want to talk about it.
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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
Yeah, man. I'm a big fan.
Aug 27th 2012
1
Improv for Humans is a great one
Aug 27th 2012
2
Man, you are in for so much great shit when you get here
Aug 29th 2012
4
      I know, man. Cannot wait.
Sep 03rd 2012
13
yo soy
Aug 27th 2012
3
Currently in improv overload and kinda loving it (in Chicago)
Aug 30th 2012
5
I can't even imagine doing it in Chicago
Aug 31st 2012
6
Had one of those shows last night that gets you addicted all over again
Sep 01st 2012
7
wow
Sep 01st 2012
8
      RE: wow
Sep 01st 2012
9
           man when you hit that hive
Sep 02nd 2012
12
LOVE IT, miss it and ready to get back into it
Sep 02nd 2012
10
Tried it one time here in NYC, dug it.
Sep 02nd 2012
11
What are your favorite warm-ups?
Sep 03rd 2012
14
I like very high energy warmups
Sep 03rd 2012
15
I dont know Bunny Bunny or Bad Dance
Sep 04th 2012
16
      RE: I dont know Bunny Bunny or Bad Dance
Sep 04th 2012
17
           please try?
Sep 10th 2012
20
                RE: please try?
Sep 10th 2012
23
Short Circuit
Sep 08th 2012
19
Recently learned a fun simple one: Give me back my son
Dec 15th 2012
27
Help my theater build a new space
Sep 07th 2012
18
Update
Sep 10th 2012
24
Love it
Sep 10th 2012
21
Nice I love improv everywhere
Sep 10th 2012
22
The sitcom show I talked about a few months ago debuts Saturday
Nov 12th 2012
25
Anybody applying to Chicago Improv Festival?
Nov 12th 2012
26
It's the last night in our original theater before moving in January
Dec 15th 2012
28
So I finished my 5B run at IO....
Jan 15th 2013
29

Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
84684 posts
Mon Aug-27-12 10:34 AM

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1. "Yeah, man. I'm a big fan."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

In terms of podcasts, obviously the Earwolf people do a lot of improv-oriented podcasting. The closest thing to a straight-up improv show that you'd get on a podcast is Improv4Humans from Earwolf, which is often hysterically funny. Matt Besser is the host.

I like to see whenever the UCB or Second City touring shows come by wherever I am... I'll be super-pumped to move to LA and have the creme de la creme in my hometown.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

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Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
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Mon Aug-27-12 10:42 AM

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2. "Improv for Humans is a great one"
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

I recently discovered on the ASSSCAT DVD that there is a commentary track which I'm now obsessed with. I had seen the show on Netflix a ton but never actually watched the DVD.

Amazing just to hear the input from all of the performers on the choices they are making and why.

We just had a teacher from IO West in LA who had taught there for 25 years move to Pittsburgh and he is currently teaching my level 3 class and it is amazing.

The scene here is great and growing, but to have this IO teacher teaching my class you can just see the difference of where I strive to be.

I'm definitley going to DCM next year even if I'm not a part of it, you want to be immersed in the greatest the world has to offer that is it. I streamed it live this year but couldn't go because I was at my sister's wedding.
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buckshot defunct
Member since May 02nd 2003
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Wed Aug-29-12 02:53 PM

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4. "Man, you are in for so much great shit when you get here"
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

For as expensive as this town is, you can almost always score some grade A comedy for dirt cheap. So many spots for improv and stand-up that it's basically ridiculous.

-----------------------------
http://talestosuffice.com/
@kennykeil

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
84684 posts
Mon Sep-03-12 10:31 AM

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13. "I know, man. Cannot wait."
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

I'm literally counting the days til my arrival at this point... or at least til my departure.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

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Big Chief Rumbletummy
Member since Jan 31st 2006
2005 posts
Mon Aug-27-12 01:06 PM

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3. "yo soy"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          


Our stories are very similar, with the exception that I have 10 months under my belt since I first wondered in and took my very first Improv 101 class. Every Wd. & Thurs, at the Sacramento Comedy Spot they have these classes which are the barest basic “long form” essentials (establishing a scene, patterns, recognizing the game, etc.). No short form game stuff, strictly teaching the Harold format. After discovering that I really, really liked it I enrolled in the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd level Intensive courses in quick succession. Sometime around late December, a veteran performer asked me and 2 other guys if we wanted to get together and compete in the weekly “Cage Match” show. We clicked well and it was my first taste of stage time outside of classes. I got on a Harold team when they held auditions in March and have been doing weekly Wednesday shows since then. I’ve since joined another group that had a regular Thursday for 2 months but now only does 1st Saturday shows before the flagship Saturday show. I couldn’t imagine not having weekly stage time, its crazy to me when people can give it up.

Improv4Humans is a great show, fantastic performers, and while sloppy it often yields stuff that has me tearing up laughing so hard.
Itunes has a ton of Asssscat recordings
I’ve heard a bunch of people talk about Besser’s Master class show on itunes
A guys on the earwolf forums advertises his podcast of LA-based improvers but I have yet to listen
Marc Maron’s current wtf podcast has Andy Daly on and his story of auditioning for 2nd City is fucking great
Have you read Del Close & Charna Halpern’s book Truth in Comedy? Its very helpful and as a bonus, in the paperback copy I read there are pictures of Matt Besser, Ian Walsh, Neil Flynn (janitor from Scrubs) looking IMPOSSIBLY young on stage.

Whats the scene like in Pittsburgh? How much do you pay for intensive courses? Are you doing weekly shows?

  

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Darryl_Licke
Member since Jun 06th 2002
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Thu Aug-30-12 11:15 PM

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5. "Currently in improv overload and kinda loving it (in Chicago)"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Next month marks 2 years of non stop improv classes and I just had my first audition last sunday and I've got my IO graduation shows starting in October.

Oh and 2 weekends ago I was at the 25th anniversary for Annoyance Theatre (Mick Napier is the coolest cat you'll ever meet and his improv book is hands down the best).

Chicago is on some other shit. I live up the street from the Upstairs Gallery. it was created by a guy who found a spot to live and said hey it's also big enough to do shows and would subsidize a shit ton of the rent. Let's do shows here. Now EVERYONE who is ANYONE in chicago trying to make it in improv is performing there.

That isn't even considering the amount of Bar prov that goes on here.

It literally astounds me how much this stuff started here and comes back to kinda one guy that said EVERYTHING is a Harold and damn if I don't feel it when I do other forms like Deconstruction, BeerSharkMice, or The Larond.

AND IT'S ALL SO MUCH FUN!!!

But gotten too serious lately as everyone wants to make a team at IO. But even in that it's fun because this group I'm with now is ungodly talented.

And even then you can have a drink with TJ Jagadowski cause he's literally the nicest guy in the world. And then you watch him perform and you're like fuck I suck.

Fuck I'm just thinking about the past 2 years, the people I've met who have done things already or who will do things in the future and I'm extremely humbled...because everyone is so damn supportive I second guess a "good scene" or a "you're good" because finding this so late in life there is no way I could actually be good at this.

But it's still fun.

I could go on for hours about this but seriously Mick Napier's book...read it.

I'm in the mecca for improv and doing it for fun and still getting caught up in it.

but there is nothing wrong with being odd. i mean you arent inkast or adwhizz odd. - VABestBBW
Binlahab is a bitch.
I wouldn't trust okp, some of them don't even get any anymore since the Re's stopped - Anonymous OKP

  

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Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
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Fri Aug-31-12 08:35 AM

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6. "I can't even imagine doing it in Chicago"
In response to Reply # 5


  

          

I've read Napier's book also, great read

But the differences between the competitive scene there and how long you have to spend to get anywhere compared to here is ridiculous.

I'll be done all 4 levels by December and probably on a house team this Fall. Confident thinking, but I seem to be respected enough there to make it in the auditions.

My team has a monthly spot after only being together very shortly and only doing 1 previous show which would NEVER happen in a place like Chicago...I kind of like being able to get in on the ground floor like this in case it ever does get even bigger here.
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Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
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Sat Sep-01-12 08:00 AM

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7. "Had one of those shows last night that gets you addicted all over again"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

You guys who do it regularly know that kind of show I'm talking about where the energy is high and everything just clicks and works perfectly and the crowd is loving every second and you're just having a blast on stage with your team.

Need one of those every now and then to totally just re-energize me.

Was a crazy pace too, scenes hitting high points and getting edited really early. Looked up at the clock and we were finishing up our 2nd beats about 12 minutes in to a 25-30 minute set and didn't know if we would have the juice to pull of a crazy run of 3rd beats for that long but it all worked. Did about 12-15 minutes of short 1-5 line 3rd beats scenes at a frantic pace. It was fun but I wouldn't want to make a hobby out of that.

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Big Chief Rumbletummy
Member since Jan 31st 2006
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Sat Sep-01-12 09:25 AM

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8. "wow"
In response to Reply # 7


  

          


>Did about 12-15 minutes of short 1-5 line 3rd beats scenes at
>a frantic pace. It was fun but I wouldn't want to make a hobby
>out of that.
>


There's a girl on the team I'll be performing with tonight that has brought up ending like that a couple times. I think she calls it a Larond or something. I have no idea if I could do that.

The Sac Comedy Festival starts on the 7th and I have two shows during the weeklong event. The kind of show you spoke about I had Wednesday and wish I could have every time I go out.

  

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Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
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Sat Sep-01-12 10:39 AM

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9. "RE: wow"
In response to Reply # 8


  

          

La Ronde is when you do a show where you all play 1 character the whole time and just continue to tag into a 2 person scene tagging out whoever has been in longer then your character starts a scene with the character you leave in, someone tags that character out and starts a new scene with your character etc...I've only ever done it as an exercise before, never tried a full show of it.

This was just a ridiculous end to a Harold because we screwed up the pace by editing our first beats way too quickly and then had to make up for it later...total blast to pull it off though.
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ACRG
Member since Aug 21st 2007
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Sun Sep-02-12 10:57 PM

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12. "man when you hit that hive "
In response to Reply # 9


  

          

mind and the edits are coming clean. so beautiful. I loved working lights just because it helped my pacing and editing when performing so much

o00o

  

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ACRG
Member since Aug 21st 2007
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Sun Sep-02-12 01:20 PM

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10. "LOVE IT, miss it and ready to get back into it"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

my old troupe: http://www.bluedoortheatre.com/

o00o

  

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bski
Member since Jun 09th 2002
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Sun Sep-02-12 02:18 PM

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11. "Tried it one time here in NYC, dug it."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Wanna do it again.



http://twitter.com/collazo
http://www.reverbnation.com/livesociety

  

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Big Chief Rumbletummy
Member since Jan 31st 2006
2005 posts
Mon Sep-03-12 11:27 AM

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14. "What are your favorite warm-ups?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          



I like the ones that focus on getting us thinking together and, personally because I love character work, the ones that focus on identifying a character and pattern. A few I ran before last show were:

Crazy 8s (just a physical shake each hand/foot together eight times while making eye contact around the circle. Gets my nerves out. I do this by myself while waiting to be called on stage haha.

John the Loquacious Gardener - a game in which you go around the circle, the first 3 people supply one of the following: Name, adjective, occupation. Then the 4th person acts out, in a couple lines, that character's game.

Beastie Rap - "I met a girl by the name of ______" first person throws out a line with a name. Each successive person throws out a line descriptive enough that we all say the word at the end (that of course rhymes with original name). Good at getting everyone vocal, describing what you're going for, and getting that hive mind working.

  

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Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
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Mon Sep-03-12 11:59 AM

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15. "I like very high energy warmups"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

Crazy 8's is good from the green room right before stage time after war ups because it's so fast

Love 7 things (or 5 things) as a way just to get you yelling and clapping and thinking quickly

Bunny Bunny is always good just to get you laughing and having a fun time

Also really like bad sketch or bad dance

For me, I just want to be breathing heavy and kind of sweaty after warm ups. I want to do warm ups that make me want to stand the rest of the night and not stop moving


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Big Chief Rumbletummy
Member since Jan 31st 2006
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Tue Sep-04-12 07:30 AM

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16. "I dont know Bunny Bunny or Bad Dance"
In response to Reply # 15


  

          

  

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Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
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Tue Sep-04-12 07:56 AM

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17. "RE: I dont know Bunny Bunny or Bad Dance"
In response to Reply # 16


  

          

Bunny Bunny is really hard to explain through just text, but just a goofy high energy game, I thought they played that one everywhere.

Bad Dance you've probably seen with 100 different names or done 100 things like it. People just chant Bad dance to a rhythm as people take turns going around the circle doing an awful dance...just a good way to get blood flowing.
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Damali
Member since Sep 12th 2002
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Mon Sep-10-12 12:14 PM

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20. "please try?"
In response to Reply # 17


          

>Bunny Bunny is really hard to explain through just text, but
>just a goofy high energy game, I thought they played that one
>everywhere.

would love to know what this is..

>Bad Dance you've probably seen with 100 different names or
>done 100 things like it. People just chant Bad dance to a
>rhythm as people take turns going around the circle doing an
>awful dance...just a good way to get blood flowing.

i like that one..sounds really fun

  

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Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
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Mon Sep-10-12 12:59 PM

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23. "RE: please try?"
In response to Reply # 20


  

          

Ok so there are basically 3 parts to Bunny Bunny and you introduce them 1 at a time with new players.

First everyone circles up and one person starts by doing air quotes with their hands (bunny ears for this game probably, never had it explained)

They say "Bunny Bunny" pointing the fingers at themselves, then "Bunny Bunny" pointing the air quotes at someone else and making eye contact. That person then repeats: "Bunny Bunny" to themselves, "Bunny Bunny" to someone else...there is a rhythm to the way you say it which becomes real important as each step gets introduced and why it's hard to explain online, each step gets harder to not see in person.

So after you do that and everyone has that simple step down the 2nd step is when the person has the energy or the Bunny Bunny, the people on both side of them do a little dance next to them and say "Tiki Taki Tiki Taki" Basically same rhythm as the bunny bunny.

After that you stop the game and add the 3rd step, everyone who is not saying Bunny Bunny or Tiki Taki is drumming a slow rhythm on their thighs and chanting "Zumba Zumba Zumba Zumba" on the same rhythm.

You get all 3 going and the game speeds up pretty much based on the 3rd part and how fast people start drumming and chanting, people all trying to yell their parts in as the speed gets higher and higher gets fun.

Like I said, a lot lost in a text translation but it's a pretty common game played at most improv theaters as a warmup, you may have seen it with a different name.
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Darryl_Licke
Member since Jun 06th 2002
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Sat Sep-08-12 09:40 AM

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19. "Short Circuit"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

works great with a team of 10 or so.

Count of 1-2-3 and repeat till done with everyone.

1s start the circuit and make an "electricity" noise pointing at 3 people they decide on before everyone circles up.

2s pass the electricity with a "woosh" noise to the people 1 or 2 to their left/right.

3s are circuit breakers. As soon as the electricity hits them they make a "circuit breaking" noise and the energy stops.

Start with one 1 to get the hang of it. then add the rest as you see fit.

Learned this from jorin garuilo who is on Revolver at IO Chicago.

but there is nothing wrong with being odd. i mean you arent inkast or adwhizz odd. - VABestBBW
Binlahab is a bitch.
I wouldn't trust okp, some of them don't even get any anymore since the Re's stopped - Anonymous OKP

  

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Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
9819 posts
Sat Dec-15-12 11:21 AM

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27. "Recently learned a fun simple one: Give me back my son"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

Basically you are in a circle with one person it, they do their best Mel Gibson in Ramson impression yelling GIVE ME BACK MY SON in the face of someone in the circle

If the person breaks and smiles/laughs they become it. Of course you can interpret the line however you want, doesn't have to just be screaming.

It's fast to learn, gets a ton of laughter going and is a lot of fun

  

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Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
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Fri Sep-07-12 06:37 AM

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18. "Help my theater build a new space"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I know I don't know any of you, but if you want to support a huge growing scene here check out the kickstarter.

We have a huge opportunity to move to an amazing space in a much better area and really explode the scene.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/steelcityimprov/build-a-new-home-for-improv-comedy-in-pittsburgh?ref=home_location
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Y2Flound
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Mon Sep-10-12 01:00 PM

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24. "Update"
In response to Reply # 18


  

          

We hit the 5K goal in less than 48 hours which was a great testament to the community itself, but the real goal is 10K+

The 5K covers the permits and contractors and all but the 10K is what we really need to help build a great theater.

If you love improv or spreading the form, or just love helping art grow to new places please consider kicking in any small amount you can.
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Damali
Member since Sep 12th 2002
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Mon Sep-10-12 12:16 PM

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21. "Love it"
In response to Reply # 0


          

when I started my theater group, we'd do improv warm ups before every rehearsal...it really helped the actors gel and trust each other..i like ones where everyone ends up laughing at the end

I also regularly participate in "missions" with a group called Improv Everywhere (although its more public performance art than improv)

www.improveverywhere.com

you might catch a glimpse of me in either the Car Alarm Symphony video or the Mini Golf Open...

d

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." — Eleanor Roosevelt

  

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Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
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Mon Sep-10-12 12:52 PM

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22. "Nice I love improv everywhere"
In response to Reply # 21


  

          

The mini golf one was discussed in the sports boards

My favorite is the one with star wars bening reenacted on the Subway
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Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
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Mon Nov-12-12 03:49 PM

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25. "The sitcom show I talked about a few months ago debuts Saturday"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

We put a lot of time and work in to making the format since we couldn't find anything like it.

We are taping it and plan to submit to the Chicago Improv Festival since they have a genre category so I'll share it here if people want to watch.

We wrote a theme song for it and made a classic 90s style opening credits video that people love. It's so super white and cheesy that it's perfect. on.fb.me/POeyQr
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Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
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Mon Nov-12-12 03:49 PM

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26. "Anybody applying to Chicago Improv Festival?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Submissions open through the end of the year, festival is first week in April.
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Y2Flound
Member since Aug 16th 2005
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Sat Dec-15-12 11:22 AM

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28. "It's the last night in our original theater before moving in January"
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Bittersweet feeling, huge party and great line up of shows tonight. Closing out this tiny theater and moving to a much nicer area and bigger spot next year.

Kickstarter was amazing

  

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Darryl_Licke
Member since Jun 06th 2002
70279 posts
Tue Jan-15-13 01:03 AM

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29. "So I finished my 5B run at IO...."
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No I was not cast for a team, my notes were encouraging however. They did cast about 1/3 of my actual class that I performed with for 7 weeks which I find amazing.

This video not only highlights a lot of those cast but really encapsulates something really special and in some cases transfers the moments of improv:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRIFdpuHtDs

I love all these dinkles. And I meant every word I said.

Oh and I just got through with 2 weekends of sketch comedy here....I caught another bug ya'll. I'm gonna start writing this year. This scene here is so much fun...this is all so much fun.

but there is nothing wrong with being odd. i mean you arent inkast or adwhizz odd. - VABestBBW
Binlahab is a bitch.
I wouldn't trust okp, some of them don't even get any anymore since the Re's stopped - Anonymous OKP

  

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