I will miss Forte. He was definitely my favorite castmember from the last few years. I hope he continues on a path of great success and strays away from the Romantic Comedy path so many have gone down.
I get nervous about the dumbest things. I get into mini-panic mode about things that won’t be that big of a deal. Here are some real-life examples that happened to me today that I almost started freaking about:
- Had to work at a different Starbucks today that I have never been to. Started pre-planning what would happen if I didn’t call in. Came really close to hyperventilating.
Worked, and it went fine. Didn’t like the store, but that had nothing to do with my fears.
- Have been short $14 in rent this week. Almost didn’t go home when I got off work at noon from fear I would be kicked out.
Finally went home, no one was there, fell asleep after 24 hours of being awake. Woke up and went to School Night.
- Was outside UCB Theater an hour or so before School Night because I had nothing else to do, a friend of mine who techs it starts walking towards UCB from the intersection. I start thinking to myself about how stupid I look so early for a show that never has a line. I start thinking that all the people who walk by and see me (performers, audience, civilians walking the sidewalk, my friends) think I am some stupid loser. I start getting in the dumps.
She enters Gristedes and then exits. She sees me and very enthusiastically says hello to me. All is well.
- Was on the train headed home tonight. A stop passes and the doors open, Ben Rodgers enters my car. He stays on the train and I see him getting off at Montrose which happens to be my stop. He looks over at me spotting him. I turn away. I stand up and exit the train aswell. In my mind, he thinks I am following him and am planning on killing him or something…which I wasn’t. In fact, he is one of my favorite performers, why would I kill him?
NOTHING. I get home, he still has no idea who I am.
I AM STUPID!!! Why do I over-analyze and over-think all situations. I know these are stupid thoughts and anxieties, but I have them. UGH!
Will Hines posted on his Improv Nonsense blog a few months back about how he was getting in a rut with improv. Nothing was exciting him, and blah blah blah (I am paraphrasing).
Unfortunately, I feel I am getting to that point. I go to shows. If you go to a UCB improv show, chances are I am there or at least thought about going (I usually skip out on Friday/Saturday shows because I don’t have ten bucks to spend on improv). Lately, I have been predicting all the game moves and have just been unenthused with almost everything unless it comes from Neil Casey, Will Hines, Erik Tanouye, John Gemberling, or Jack McBrayer’s mouths (unfortunately, McBrayer is a rare sight now-a-days).
I am not asking for a Stepfathers vision quest monoscene (like Hines got) as a cure, nor am I asking for help or advice. Just wanted to get it out in the air that basically the only thing I love right now is just old news to me as of late. Someone needs to create a new form or a new team that just blows me away…or I need to have a class where I feel I improvise some amazing shit.
I wrote a pilot for the NYTVF, it didn’t get picked. I still love it. I want to film it. I want your help. If you want to act in it, direct it, lend your cameras, lend your locations, feed the crew, etc…let me know!
“If it’s funny, it is the game. You can do the game badly or you can do the game well, but there is nothing to criticize about the game done well. This thing about relationship scenes, we do have relationship in our scenes. My explanation is relationship is covered by the yesand part of improv. I kind of divide finding your scene into two aspects. The beginning is yesand part where you’re kind of fleshing out the world of the scene. The game part is the if-then part. You’re not just agreeing with the person and adding more information. You stop adding information and narrow it down. You start playing a pattern. If this happens, then this would happen and this would happen. That’s the game part of the scene.
Now, the game can be done badly. That’s a thrust in our organization, to make sure we keep our people [on point]. For us the [crux] of comedy is the game, but you’ve got to play things at the top of your intelligence. What does that mean? It doesn’t mean use big words, or share specific information that only you know. What that means is react like a human being. If people aren’t doing that, well, that’s part of good improv. That sneaks out sometimes. People are playing the game, but not reacting like they would. I always teach people in classes ‘When you start playing the game, do think ‘Oh now I’m doing comedy’ and now you stop being a human being.’ Almost every time you do a scene basically as crazy as that seems it’s probably happened, in the grand scheme of things. In comedy, you’re showing the day that broke the pattern. The only memories you even have in your life are the days when things didn’t go the way you would have them go. You remember the day that you got the crazy cab driver or you made a fool of yourself or you messed up the dinner. So, when you’re playing a game, don’t now go into some freaky comedy acting. Just respond. Just be a human being. It goes on both sides. When you are kind of driving the game and exhibiting the unusual behavior, realize no one sets out to be an idiot. If you agree that people are pursing pleasure and avoid pain, that’s the best choice they could make at that moment. Stuff like this gets brought up in straight acting. There’s this quote from Lee Marvin. They asked him ‘How do you feel about having played so many villains through your career?’ He said ‘I’ve never played a villain. I’ve played people who were making the best choices they could given the circumstances they were given.’ Like they say when you’re a villain and you’re acting, don’t twirl your mustache. Don’t ‘be a villain.’ Just be who you are. It’s the same thing. When you’re being an idiot in comedy, think of your own life. Think of all the idiotic, stupid things you’ve done. At the time just before you did these things you said ‘Yup, let’s do that,’ and you pursued it with belief that made sense. I think sometimes when the game gets a bad wrap it’s because people aren’t doing all the work involved in playing the game. There’s also an acting aspect of it. There’s ‘play at the top of your intelligence,’ which means pursue it like you belief it’s a worthy goal. We meet these people in life. If there’s someone you can think to imitate, the reason you can imitate them is because you can paw them down to some salient qualities. You’re like ‘Oh, that idiot,’ but they’re a human being in their life. They’re not a comedy character. So, I don’t know. I think sometimes people aren’t doing all the work, and they’re going around saying they’re doing game improv. They’re just not doing it well. But done well, I don’t see how you can have a problem with it. Improv that uses the game, that’s basically every Monty Python scene, every Kids in the Hall scene, every Upright Citizens Brigade scene. Scripted comedy has a game. If I can make my improv comedy look like scripted, which is what happens if you play the game well, if you don’t like that, then I’m not interested in doing something you like. So, go ahead. You do your thing. I’ll do mine.”—Ian Roberts
By the way you never finished telling me about your script...
The pilot was about these three dudes who are roommates/bestfriends who worked for this place called Burgers, Tacos and Beef until they got fired for being unprofessional, lazy, incompetant and just all around bad people. They decide to use this oppurtunity to find the perfect job. Each episode revolves around them finding a job and losing it through their antics and backstabbery. The first episode being them as night time security guards in a corridor of back alleys in China Town. The script is better than the synopsis makes it sound.
was a whole mess of fun. don fanelli is why improv was created. mitchell stephen fesh is why friendship was invented. i was why puppies were born? i don’t know.
none the less, school night was great as always and feel blessed to have had the oppurtunity so early in my improv life (first week of 201) to have done a set during it. justin purnell is a pure delight and all the people involved are great.
i love the ucb community and am so happy i am a part of it. i love you all!
Here Are Some Things YOU Could Do On A Tuesday Night:
Go to the UCB Theater and watch Harold Night
Go to the UCB Theater in LA and watch whatever it is they are doing tonight
Go to the movies with a date
Go to dinner with a date
Go to McDonalds
Go to Taco Bell
Listen to music in a bedroom with no lights on
Walk around a lot
No matter what it is that you decide to do, remember to DVR Comedy Central’s newest hit show Big Lake from 10pm until 11pm tonight as it debuts to the world. The show stars self loathing but easy to love Chris Gethard alongside Chris Parnell and Horatio Sanz. I say watch it and enjoy it! It is a multi camera set up with laughs, very classic feel, but it is written by Adam McKay and Willl Ferrell, so it isn’t a Family Matters or Boy Meets World.
Also, get enough sleep tonight so that you can come watch a sexual night at School Night tomorrow at the UCB Theater! Fuck yeah!
Now that we have formalities out of the way, my name is Brentt Austin Harshman and I am in need of a floor or couch to crash on for a few days starting Saturday. I have a few options in the longrun, but my sublet ends on Saturday and I am not sure if any of those options will be able to start come that day. My main option is a sectioned off living room in a decent apartment in Washington Heights. I viewed it today, and aside for a few things, I liked it. The problem with this option is that the guy wants to show it to a few more people and has said that if it all works out, I can move in Monday. Which is not Saturday. So if that is the case, I would only be littering your floor Saturday, Sunday and Monday. So, yeah! Waddya say?
Hey, my friends in Vantage Point did fantastic tonight! Also, I talked to some people tonight. Also, I have a blister on my foot (too much walking lately). Also, I am starting this whole eat healthier garbage. Also, I love fruit. Also, I love exploring. Also, I start my 201 with Ryan Karels on Sunday afternoon!!!!
Today, I went on an adventure through Manhattan with Mitch Fesh. We walked all the way to Battery Park area and then all the way up to the Upper West Side. I then took the trains home. Now I am in my bedroom about to fall asleep. I love not having to work for two days in a row.
Asssscat tonight, Whiplash on Monday, Harold Night on Tuesday, School Night on Wednesday, CageMatch on Thursday, then who knows!