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Posts from the TV, Film & Web Series Category

We were hoping Second City would release this one day! It’s the “Maya” sketch from their 50th anniversary, featuring Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and David Razowsky.

Now if someone would just post the full video of Pinata Full of Bees

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 below to watch.

Image © Comedy On Tape

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

Image © Comedy On Tape

Someone wrote recently that improv is like a cult.

It’s true. Once you learn improv, nothing is ever quite the same. Whether you’re an actor, comedian, artist, filmmaker, doctor, lawyer, call centre operator, grocery bagger, or a writer like me, improv informs everything you do.

And yet, for such a massively influential force, there’s very little evidence of its history on film.

Now two filmmakers are trying to change that.

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The Committee: A Secret History of American Comedy is a documentary about the legendary improv theatre company that took America by storm in the ’60s. Members included Del Close, Howard Hesseman, and Rob Reiner, and the group’s output changed comedy culture forever.

Jamie Wright and Sam Shaw, the brains behind the project, have launched a Kickstarter. But with only six days left, they still have a way to go to reach their goal.

After all that improv has given us, we couldn’t say no to this worthy cause. If you’d like to contribute in the spirit of “yes, and,” every bit helps.

You can read more about the project, watch the trailer, and donate here:

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This campaign for Dodge Durango is a copywriter’s dream. They shot 70 – yep, seven zero – spots starring Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy.

While the spots are obviously scripted, there’s no doubt Ferrell improvised a lot of stuff. So grab your Big Gulp, adjust your leather bucket seat, and enjoy.

The very best moments in every commercial I’ve ever written were improvised. It might be an ad libbed line of dialogue, a character’s walk, or something as small as a gesture.

Even when I’ve been living with a script for months and think I’ve got a character all worked out in my brain, a great actor will add his or her own inflection, changing the timbre of the lines and bringing them to life in a way I never imagined. They’ll play with the words on the page, adding something fresh in the moment.

What’s more, no two takes are ever the same. So even when an actor does something amazing, if you try to recreate it, it doesn’t work. There’s something about spontaneity that’s raw and just a little bit dangerous – which is why I like to film rehearsals. More times than not, especially with comedy, the genius take is the very first one, before everyone gets too polished.

That’s the magic of improvisation.

Watching these great movie moments reminds me that a great story is about ultimately great – and believable – characters.

(Click below to view.)

Image © Kevin Reome

Image © Kevin Reome

Oh. Muh. Guh.

You know when you see something so cool and so fun and so simple, you slap your head and think, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Then you hate yourself for not thinking of it, and you get all down on yourself for being a loser, but then you remember how funny it was, and you smile, so you watch it again and laugh?

This is one of those things.

Hosted by Kevin Reome, Episode One of FaceTime Improv features the Divine Ms Messing facing off with the Talented Mr Razowsky. Click here or below to watch.

Image © Kevin Reome

Image © Kevin Reome

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