Friday, February 08, 2008

Improv as art

Although I've always been a big fan of comedy, I've never been a student of comedy, except for reading the very entertaining "Live from New York" by Miller and Shales, which was more about personalities than the art form. I'm starting to realize what I've been missing. Check out this Vice Magazine article about improv. It features SNL/Second City/30 Rock types like Amy Poehler, John Lutz, and Jack McBrayer in interviews about improv and their styles.

Now I love me some Georgia Boy Jack McBrayer from 30 Rock and Second City. I want to muss up his hair and do something girlie to shock that innocent smile off his face. Like the others, he has a rich history in improv and relationships with the modern classics. He seems just as charming and endearing as his 30 Rock character, Kenneth the Page.

Here he is on Ellen:

In this article, McBrayer speaks of inspiration. "And this might sound weird, but I've always been inspired by cartoons. Maybe it's just the fact that ANYTHING can happen in a cartoon. But I love them. Sigh...I'm gonna die alone." Yeah, see his MO here:

Makes me want to do him all the more.

So many mention Del Close as a teacher and mentor. On Iconoclasts this weekend, in a Mike Meyer interview, he cites Del Close as his main influence. Of Close, Amy Poehler says, "'He also just challenged you to play to the height of your intelligence. He told us to 'treat your audiences like poets and geniuses.' He also encouraged risk. 'Fall, and then figure out what to do on your way down.'"

Although it's about stand up and not improv, this makes me very interested in a new book coming out: Time magazine editor and critic Richard Zoglin's "Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-Up in the 1970s Changed America." Also "Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life" by Steve Martin.

What is your take on comedy? Let it flow or discover the art form? Have you seen live improv?

Who is your favorite comedy personality? (I will accept and allow all but Dane Cook, as he is pretentious and preachy and I hate him in a very unfunny way.) Why?


Aunt Becky said...

Hmmm...I like Sarah Silverman and Dave Chapelle.

Loralee Choate said...

I just started watching 30 Rock and that page KILLS ME.

Best thing on that show.

I am a huge Ron White fan (Not the rest of them, just him. I can't help it. He's hilarious.)

I also LOVE Stephan Lynch. His lyrics SLAY ME.

Jim Gaffigan is good and I admit that I like Carlos Mancia's stand up, but his skits on his show fall flat with me.