Improvisors Talk Improv: The Groundlings and UCB
July 28, 2012 3 Comments
Before I went to see Tony Clifton last night, I went to The Groundlings’ All-Night Diner. The lobby beforehand was full of audience members gawking at the photos of famous Groundlings alumni on the wall. I was sitting next to pictures of Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, who were receiving major props. Me, I was touched by the simple sign about the theater doors.
The Groundlings dedicate this theater to the memory of Phil Hartman.
Here’s a video of Mindy Sterling and Jim Rash talking about their approach to improv. The video is aimed at those in the L.A. acting scene and are probably only interesting for those already interested in the Groundlings and improv. The opening is so serious that I wondered whether a parody was on its way, but it’s a very serious interview about funny stuff and what makes improv work.
I know some people who are interested in applying the techniques of improv to the business and social services world, and now I’m motivated to ask them how much they focus on that primary “being in the moment” approach.
I’ll be going to the Upright Citizens Brigade tonight. Here’s Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts, and Matt Besser getting interviewed by the same outfit who talked to the Groundlings above. Again, probably only interesting if you’re interested in the improv scene. For me, what’s interesting is that both UCB and the Groundlings emphasize the importance of writing, even though they focus on improv.
I love the fun and exhilaration of improv and sketch comedy, although stand-up comedy remains my main comedy interest. Stand-up goes to a darker place, and for me that actually means that it taps even deeper into the roots of comedy.