Get To Know Us: Steve

From time to time we’ll be posting more in-depth information about our performers, guests, and people important to our troupe, in a segment we call Get To Know Us. Next up: Steve

Steve new

How old are you?

35

What is your “real” job?

Product Development Technician for a concrete block retaining wall company

How long have you been doing improv? 

I started my first improv class in November 2011, so a little over 2 years. It was an 8 week session (I think) and we did a show for friends and family at the end. When I came off the stage after that show I knew I was addicted.

What got you interested in improv? 

I was looking for something to push me outside my comfort zone. I always wanted to try doing stand-up but I struggle with memorizing lines.

How has improv affected your life off-stage?

Improv has taught me to take a “yes, and…” outlook on life, to find the game in even the most mundane activities, and to embrace adventures when they come my way.

What were some of your early comedic influences?

I remember owning a Bill Cosby record album (yes, vinyl) when I was really little. I would sit and listen to that for a long time. I probably didn’t get most of the jokes he was making, but there was something mesmerizing and therapeutic about the way he talked. I’ve spent most of my life watching stand-up comedy. Even when I was too young to I’d find ways to watch routines by George Carlin, Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, and many others. In the early 90’s (when I was finally old enough to stay up late) I found SNL, and really loved watching the likes of Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, and Phil Hartman create characters.

Is there anywhere else people can see you perform?

I currently only regularly perform with Fantastic Voyage, but I’m available as a fill-in for other troupes here and there.

What is your favorite game (short-form) or structure (long-form)?

My favorite short-form game to play is Three Things. I love the freedom of expression that comes with mime-and-gibberish games.
As for long form, I really enjoy doing a montage (a random series of scenes) but then finding a way to tie those scenes into a narrative story in the end.

Finish the sentence; “This one time on stage….”

This one time on stage I had intercourse with a golden squirrel.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I’m actually an introvert. I have no problems getting up in front of a group of strangers and making a fool of myself, but when it comes time to talk to that group afterward I struggle. Because I know this about myself I try to make a point to talk to as many people after a show as I can. If you see me before or after a show I welcome you to come talk to me!

What advice would you give someone just starting out in improv?

It’s ok to be nervous, but don’t be scared. Being nervous means that you’re doing something outside of your comfort zone, and that’s a great thing! If you’re not at least a little nervous it means that you don’t care. But remember that you don’t have anything to be afraid of because there are no wrong answers. What’s the worst that’ll happen, someone will laugh at you? That’s why you’re doing this!

Is there anything else you’d like to plug or add?

I really want to thank everyone who has ever been in the audience for one of our shows. I wouldn’t be able to get up on stage and continue to improve upon myself if it weren’t for you. I encourage you to go see live improv as often as you can. Whether it’s our show or one of the many other wonderful improv performances around the Twin Cities. Remember, in improv you’ll never see the same show twice!

 

Thanks Steve! If you want to tell Steve anything, have a question for him, or think you know someone who would be an awesome feature for this segment leave us a comment!

 

Get To Know Us: Travis

From time to time we’ll be posting more in-depth information about our performers, guests, and people important to our troupe, in a segment we call Get To Know Us. Next up: Travis.

Travis new

How old are you?

42

What is your “real” job?

IT Project Manager

How long have you been doing improv? 

Two years.

What got you interested in improv? 

Seeing the performances at (now closed) Yes & Food.  I decided to take classes to improve “thinking on my feet” at work. (I) didn’t realize I would fall in love with it.

How has improv affected your life off-stage?

I have found that I tend to be more open to others’ suggests and relaxed in dealing with certain tough situations.

What were some of your early comedic influences?

Never really thought about this before, but some people I think back on are Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams and Steve Martin.

Is there anywhere else people can see you perform?

At this time, my performances are restricted to Fantastic Voyage.

What is your favorite game (short-form) or structure (long-form)?

My favorite short-form game is Three Things.  I like the clever twists the audience comes up for this game.

I love long-form in the fact that it’s all scenic and you can find yourself on an amazing adventure based on a simple audience suggestion.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I have a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

What advice would you give someone just starting out in improv?

The biggest challenge I faced when I started out was thinking too much in the moment.  You need to empty your mind and let things happen because the beauty of improv is that nothing always becomes something and the other performers are there to support one another.

Is there anything else you’d like to plug or add?

The 80’s rule!!!

Thanks Travis! If you want to tell Travis anything, have a question for him, or think you know someone who would be an awesome feature for this segment leave us a comment!

 

Get To Know Us: Blake

From time to time we’ll be posting more in-depth information about our performers, guests, and people important to our troupe, in a segment we call Get To Know Us. First up is our most experienced player, Blake.

Blake new

 

How old are you?

31

What is your “real” job?

Teaching Improv to kids and adults through my business, Spontaneous Education. Also, teaching Community Ed LEGO classes, and giving tours of the Wabasha Street Caves.

How long have you been doing improv? 

I started in 2001 at St. Olaf College.

What got you interested in improv? 

Just a feeling that I needed to do it, and the fact that it looked incredibly fun.

How has improv affected your life off-stage?

Improv has impacted every aspect of my life positively and profoundly. Improv has empowered me to become the person I always wanted to be, and given me the courage to pursue and realize my dreams. It has also shown me the joy of supporting others and the incredible healing and bonding power of laughter and play. Improv has become my life, in more ways than one.

What were some of your early comedic influences?

My parents, the Three Stooges, Wile E. Coyote.

Is there anywhere else people can see you perform?

2-3 Saturdays a month at “Jesters Comedy Improv” at Ol’ Mexico in Roseville, and also occasionally at HUGE Theater in Minneapolis with “Silent Partner” and “Last Action Movie”.

What is your favorite game (short-form) or structure (long-form)?

Short form – Forward/Reverse ,185. Long form – Genre Narrative (one story, in a given  genre)

Finish the sentence; “This one time on stage….”

I got mooned (for real) by two different performers during a game of “Chain Murder”.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I have a brother with special needs who is the most amazing person I have ever met.

What advice would you give someone just starting out in improv?

Keep going. Relax. Play joyfully and fearlessly. Embrace and support your classmates/teammates on and off the stage. That is far more important than being “the funniest”.

Is there anything else you’d like to plug or add?

Life is improv. Jump in and play!

Thanks Blake! If you want to tell Blake anything, have a question for him, or think you know someone who would be an awesome feature for this segment leave us a comment!