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Posts tagged Jimmy Carrane Improv Nerd

Artwork © Jimmy Carrane

Artwork © Jimmy Carrane

Few people write as honestly (or hilariously) about improv as Jimmy Carrane, and his new book is no exception. But unlike Improvising Better, which focuses on getting better as a performer, this is a how-to guide for overcoming the kind obstacles we all face at some point – many of which we create for ourselves.

The book is broken into five sections:

• Embrace Imperfection

• Let Go of Resentments and Expectations

• Believe You Are Worth It

• Put Yourself Out There

• Take Care of Yourself

In each one, Jimmy breaks down the things that keep us from experiencing joy and success, in rehearsals, shows, off-stage, and in our relationships. He then offers practical solutions you can put to use right now.

Improv attracts very smart, very funny, and often very fragile people. That fragility often comes from low self-esteem. But Jimmy shows how the only person who can affect your self-worth is you.

If you constantly compare yourself to others, feel like you’ve hit a plateau, or just need a kick in the pants to get off the couch, this book will help you recognize the mind games that are holding you back, and find the joy in playing again.

The Inner Game of Improv is just $3.99 (USD). Available for Kindle on Amazon.

“How much money you make off your art has nothing to do with calling yourself an artist. I don’t care if you do improv as a hobby or you get paid to perform. If you’re an improviser, you’re an artist.” – from The Inner Game of Improv

We’re huge fans of Jimmy Carrane’s Improv Nerd podcast, and this season is no exception.

The line-up includes Saturday Night Live writer Katie Rich, Second City Mainstagers Scott Morehead and Rashawn Nadine Scott, iO Chicago teacher Jeff Griggs, Jorin Gargiulo of Revolver, and Rush Howell of 3033.

Jimmy will also be doing a special interview with Jeff Bouthiette, head of the Second City Training Center’s music program, at the first-ever Chicago Musical Improv Festival.

Since 2011, Jimmy has interviewed more than 130 guests, including Key & Peele, Bob Odenkirk, Broad City, Jeff Garlin, Andy Richter, David Koechner, Rachel Dratch, Tim Meadows, and Scott Adsit. If you’re in Chicago this summer, it’s one show you don’t want to miss.

SCHEDULE

All shows will be held at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue in Chicago.

June 20 – Katie Rich, 4:30 p.m. (as part of the Women’s Funny Festival)
July 5 – Scott Morehead, 4:00 p.m., Jorin Gargiulo, 5:00 p.m.
July 12 – Shithole’s Kevin Gerrity and Zach Bartz, 5:00 p.m.
July 19 – Rashawn Nadine Scott 4:00 p.m., Rush Howell, 5:00 p.m.
July 26 – Jeff Griggs 5:00 p.m.

TICKETS
General admission: $10, $8 for improv students

Call Stage 773 at 773.327.5252 or purchase online.

Jimmy Carrane headshot

Photo © Julia Marcus/Zoe McKenzie Photography

One of the reasons I started doing the podcast Improv Nerd was to show younger improvisers who are starting out that everyone faces struggles on their way to the top. What I find the most fascinating when I interview improvisers who have “made it” is how each of my guests have dealt with and overcome their struggles.

No one is simply handed a career. Everybody had to work hard, and most of my guests have experienced disappointment, rejection, doubt and fear along the way. It’s all part of the journey. Passion will always trump talent. And if you persevere, you will succeed.

If only someone had told me this when I was starting out.

Recently, I saw the move, Chef, written, directed, produced and staring Jon Favreau. I loved it. It had so much heart, and he did a great job with the entire film. Jon and I started out roughly the same time that I did at IO-Chicago, which was then called the Improv Olympic in Chicago, back in the late ’80s.

If improv was high school, Jon was not one of the cool kids. He desperately wanted to get hired by Second City, which didn’t happen, he couldn’t break in at The Annoyance, and his team at the IO was pretty much overshadowed. He was by no means embraced by the improv community.

Which makes his success that much sweeter. Even though Chicago didn’t pay much attention to him, Hollywood did. While still in Chicago, he was cast in the film Rudy as Sean Astin’s best friend. Jon’s big break was a huge part in a popular movie. Shortly after that, he moved to LA, and several years later, he wrote and stared in the independent film Swingers. He wrote himself onto the map. From there, he acted and directed in such films as Made, Elf, and Iron Man. The guy is a great film maker.

What inspires me about his story is that even though he did not have easy time here in Chicago, he preserved and succeeded on a whole other level. He was never improv royalty, never made it to the top of the improv ladder. He had modest success, but he did not let that define him or get in his way. He had a bigger vision for himself, something I aspire to do.

Improv can be both a stating off place and destination. It can be whatever you want it to be. It is a fluid art form.

Sometimes, some of us get stuck in this art form, and improv becomes too important and the center of the universe. I have seen improv creatively ruin people’s lives because they did not get on a team or they got cut from a team or did not fit in at one of the big improv schools. And when that happened, they thought their creative life was over. I don’t know what kept Jon going, but I am glad he did. He found his place, and more importantly, he has inspired people like me to realize that it’s up to me to make my own path.

Photo © Sam Willard

Photo © Sam Willard

Jimmy Carrane is host of the Improv Nerd podcast (http://jimmycarrane.com/improv-nerd-podcast/), and he writes an improv blog at http://jimmycarrane.com/blog/. He also teaches the Art of Slow Comedy in Chicago.

“If you say that you don’t want to learn how to act, it’s like saying you don’t want to learn how to do object work or learn how to do yes… and.

How many more father and son scenes can we see where the improvisers aren’t really emotionally invested in the relationship? Naming someone ‘Dad’ in a scene does not mean you have created a relationship that the audience cares about.

We’re doing theater, here, people. If we’re not acting, we’re just doing a parlor game, and a hacky one at that.” – Jimmy Carrane

Read the full post on Jimmy’s blog by clicking here.

Photo © Improv Nerd

Photo © Improv Nerd