Few writers can make us laugh out loud. Augusten Burroughs is one. Michael Ian Black is another. And Mick Napier is a third.
There’s an honesty to Napier’s writing that makes it instantly relatable. (And hilarious.) But beyond being funny, it’s also instructive.
If you have any interest in improv, comedy, theatre, or directing, do yourself a favour and read his personal journal about the making of Paradigm Lost.
Annoyance has thoughtfully put the whole thing online here.
Photo © Ted Tremper
This documentary on the making of Paradigm Lost – one of Second City’s most legendary revues - is a must-see for improv fans.
Just look at this cast: Scott Adsit, Kevin Dorff, Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Jenna Jolovitz and Jim Zulevic, all directed by a soft-spoken young maverick named Mick Napier.
The film follows the cast from rehearsal to opening night, and features some great interviews with the soon-to-be stars.
So turn off your cell phone and return to a time when Hanson was huge, a computer named Big Blue beat a human at chess, and Harry Potter was a household name (but only in JK Rowling’s flat).
Click here or below to watch.
If you’ve lost your improv mojo, one simple word can help you find it again.
Image © Jeff Rogers
Here’s a great example of a monoscene, by UCBT’s uber-talented Death By Roo Roo. Click here or below to watch.
Part of the fun of doing improv is being able to do anything. Like Neo in The Matrix, you can fly, stop bullets, or even hook up with The Woman in the Red Dress; things mere mortals can only dream of.
Sometimes we add crazy elements to a scene, thinking we’re making it funnier. But what often happens when characters go to Mars is so does believability.
The audience needs a reason to believe.
I once saw Jason DeRosse, Rob Norman, and Adam Cawley ask for a location that would fit on the stage. Someone yelled out “Shoe!”
The guys paused and looked at each other, then played 25 minutes as three roommates trapped in a stiletto.
The setting was absurd, but their reactions and their relationship to each other were grounded in truthfulness. And nothing is funnier than truth in comedy.
In this Fast Company video, Ricky Gervais explains how he used to make up crazy shit until he discovered the power of keeping it real. Click here or below to watch.
To view the Rob Ford rant video, click here.
(Thanks to S&P’s Isaac Kessler for helping us laugh through Toronto’s pain.)
Image © Comedy On Tape
If you live in Toronto, you may think you’re all laughed out from Mayor Rob Ford’s latest hijinks.
But if there’s one thing we Canucks excel at (and believe it or not, there are things besides smoking crack), it’s comedy.
That’s why improviser/KD heartthrob/friend of the blog, Devon Hyland, has launched a new thing called Comedy On Tape. It’s a live and online showcase of Toronto’s top-of-the-pops improv, sketch and stand-up.
Carefully curated by Hyland, the show features CCA winners, CBC writers, JFL veterans, and other super-funny folks not associated with acronyms.
The next show is Wednesday, November 13 at The Tranzac, 292 Brunswick Avenue, and the line-up includes improv superstars RN & Cawls, Falcon Powder, Chad Mallett, and many others.
Doors open at 7 pm, and admission is $10.
You can view past shows (in convenient, bite-sized viewing chunks) here or by clicking below.
Image © Comedy On Tape