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July 20, 2016 - Cool as a cucumber.
Do us a favor, will ya?
Vote for us to be one of Boston's Coolest Companies!
Bostinno's annual competition will be nominating winners based on the amount of votes they get, so cast your vote today! I mean, we make people laugh for a living. That's pretty cool, right?
July 13, 2016 - Meet the Inmates: Alex Davis
Role: Light/Sound Technician, House Team Performer
Performs: Tuesday nights
Tenure: Since November 2014
Deep in the storage closet of the IA corporate office (the only unoccupied space at the time)….
Cami: HELLO HOW ARE YOU
Alex: Good! How are you?
C: I’m good. Slow, long day. How was your day?
A: Good! Slow and long.
C: So when and how did you get started at Improv Asylum?
A: I took workshops here when I was in high school. I began doing improv then, my high school actually offered an improv class where we met five days a week for two hours a day and I got an English credit for it. As part of that class, we took an annual field trip to Improv Asylum and we did workshops. One year it was with Chet, another year it was with Kiley. I think we had Chet a few times actually. Then I went off to college, and when I moved to Boston I applied to be an usher. I worked as an usher for about a year and a half and then I started training on tech. Now I do tech and take classes, and I often perform on Tuesdays as a part of House Teams.
C: Nice! Which team?
A: Right now my team is called The Lion Kings, but it ends today. Tonight’s the last night of this run. So I’ll have to re-audition and see what happens.
C: We’ll see what happens! So where did you get your acting/teching background?
A: I studied theater and dance in college, so that’s what I do. I grew up doing theater and eventually began training in contemporary dance styles and modern dance. Throughout all that training I had been doing improv. Then I went to college, did improv in college, studied theater and dance as well as writing, and then graduated. Now I do this along with other artistic pursuits.
C: Cool! So tell me more about your dance background and all of these artistic pursuits of yours!
A: I perform with Urbanity Dance. We are the largest contemporary dance company in Boston. I am a company member there, which means I’m dancing with them five days a week, and we’re performing all over the city, which is really exciting. And outside of the city. That’s my day job, and then I come to the Improv Asylum at night. I’m also the company manager of Urbanity, and in addition to that I also work with the Gold Dust Orphans, which is a fringe theater company here in Boston. I also pick up independent dance and theater work all over Boston. So my world is completely arts-based right now.
C: That’s awesome, it sounds like everything you’re doing is something that you love.
A: Yeah! And what’s really cool is I get to explore different aspects of things I love. I get to dance during the day and tech at night, I get to do improv a few times a week, I get to do theater. So, I’m very fortunate.
C: So how do these different arts relate to each other? Do you ever find that they cross over?
A: Not to get too heady here, but I believe what attracts me to the type of arts I enjoy participating in is their ability to create empathetic moments of relationship between audience members and performers. Dance is biologically empathetic - when you see somebody lift a leg or contract a muscle, your body automatically will contract or react to that in a physical way, as if it was doing it. It’s particularly prevalent in men - that’s why men love sports and porn, because they’re watching it and their body literally thinks that they’re doing it. I believe that dance, improv, and theater in general have the ability to create moments of empathy. They allow people to understand a variety of perspectives and experiences. Especially something like improv, where you’re creating it in the moment. The audience has a direct handle and impact on what is happening onstage. And I, as a technician, get to react to that direct reaction, and i get to contribute to the construction of that moment through light and sound.
C: So, when you’re not acting or teching, what can you be found doing?
C: Knitting? Nice! At home or everywhere?
A: Everywhere. I have two projects in my backpack right now.
C: Nice, what are they?
A: One is gonna be a shawl and one is gonna be a scarf. I know a lot of people who knit who don’t do it in the summer ‘cause they think it’s too hot, but i disagree. You gotta knit during the summer so that it’s ready for the fall and winter. I’m a fiber artist as well. I create practical things like scarves and hats and stuff like that, and lots of people around IA have things that I’ve knitted. But I also create aesthetic fiber sculptures. One piece was recently exhibited at an art gallery in Gloucester, where I created a fifty foot long fiber sculpture out of found fibers. It was interactive - it had its own room in the gallery, so it strung across the entire gallery and then there was a giant pouch at the end, and the audience was able to crawl into it. It was in conjunction with a commissioned dance piece, so the performers were able to interact with it as well.
C: Wow, so you’re a visual artist as well!
A: I try!
C: What’s your favorite scene at Improv Asylum?
A: It’s gotta be Lean Cuisine.
C: Yeah, Vicki is my spirit animal in that scene.
A: It starts with such a grasp on reality. You look at that woman, and you look at the situation like “okay we’re in an elevator, there’s this kind-of off lady who’s oversharing” and it starts with that. Then it just grows to be something so ridiculous, but the line of how we got there is very clear. That absurdity we end up with at the end is so justifying and satisfying because where we started was so clean. I think it’s a really well-written piece, and a very well performed piece.
C: My favorite has to be the foreign language song piece. I’m literally dying every time that I see that.
A: It’s really funny! They get spanish a lot. I wish they got a variety of languages.
C: What’s your favorite performance show in Boston in general?
A: Oh God, besides this place? I really enjoy seeing work at the Huntington. I think they’re doing what is often overlooked as very traditional theater work. I think they’re incredible for the fact that they create work in the city of Boston, create new work, support new -
Bryan: Alex, you can come out of the closet now.
A: Oh, stop it! You know I never will!
B: Girl, I hear you.
A: Anyway, I love seeing work at the Huntington. I’m always going to work at The Dance Complex at Central Square in Cambridge. They have a very beautiful facility, and they present and produce work from local choreographers. It’s a beautiful space so I always encourage people to check it out. Every weekend there’s something.
C: What are your pet peeves, inside and outside the theater?
A: Outside the theater, it’s bicycles that don’t respect road signs. So a bike that runs a red light or a stop sign, or rides on the sidewalk. I’m not a biker. I have mad respect for bikers. Boston isn’t a super bike-friendly place. Cambridge and Somerville are. But when i see a bike just blow a red light, it pisses me off. In the theater, talking during scenes is just annoying. It’s super disrespectful. And cell phones! I sound like an old person, but as someone who’s performed down there, even if you’re in the back row and your light is dimmed all the way, we can see and feel you not paying attention. And that’s just like a bummer.
C: What’s your favorite thing about Boston?
A: Walking places. I walk everywhere. I know i was just complaining about bikes, but I love it. Boston’s a very walkable city. And i will never get over public transportation. I know people complain about the T all the time, but growing up in a place where you had to drive everywhere, I love nothing more than sitting on a train and not having to drive. I can knit, I can read, I can listen to music. I love how easy it is to get around Boston. And I love the food. Food’s dank. And smoothies are everywhere now. Pressed juices, smoothies, bubble tea. I’ve been drinking all of my meals. I love liquified meals. That’s what I’m into. Is that a thing?
June 21, 2016 - Asperger's Are Us - Wednesday, July 6
Join us for this one-time opportunity to see guest artists Asperger’s Are Us as they premiere their latest sketch show as the first leg of their US tour and film segments for their upcoming sequel to their hit Netflix documentary.
Asperger's Are Us
This comedy troupe out of Boston is the first EVER to be formed by people with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum.
The four members; Michael Ingemi, Noah Britton, Jack Hanke, and Ethan Finlan, met at summer camp in 2010 and have been performing together ever since. Their custom-made “I DON’T WANT YOUR PITY” shirts highlight the fact that they would much rather the audience appreciates them as comedians than as people who have overcome adversity. With press in USA Today, NPR, The Boston Globe and TedX, Asperger’s Are Us hope to show everyone the positive aspects of Asperger's Syndrome.
A documentary about the troupe premiered at SXSW this past March and has been acquired by Netflix, produced by Mark Duplass. Production on a follow up to this documentary has begun and this show will be filmed as part of that project.
Wednesday, July 6th at 8pm
"Asperger’s Are Us is funny. More than funny: Hilarious. That has to be mentioned first, because it can sometimes be obscured by the fact that the four-man sketch troupe... is, in their words, 'the first comedy troupe consisting of openly autistic people.' [Their sketches] often consist of precisely worded, dark, observational comedy balanced with absurd humor. Even when there is no mention of Asperger’s, sketches often play off the affectlessness associated with their diagnosis, mixing up objects and people in bizarre combinations. It’s smart, weird, deadpan humor at its best.” -CultureMap Austin
"I think this is one of the best documentaries I've seen in a long time. It was fantastic from the beginning to the end" - GeekScholars review of Duplass Brothers Productions' forthcoming documentary Asperger's Are Us
June 13, 2016 - Tuesday at 8pm House Teams will perform in support of the Pulse Victims Foundation
Tuesday at 8pm House Teams will perform in support of the Pulse Victims Foundation. All ticket proceeds will be donated to the foundation.
Join us tomorrow in support of Orlando!
Can't make it? Donate here!
Get tickets to house teams, here.
June 06, 2016 - Meet the Inmates - Christine Cuddy
Role: Main Stage Actor, Training Center Instructor
Performs: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights
Teaches: Almost every other night of the week.
Tenure: Performed at IA since Summer 2013
Bryan: Alright! So Cuddy, you just had a steak salad.
Cuddy: I did!
B: That’s fantastic.
C: It was from Cobblestone. It was delicious, I highly recommend it.
B: Great, a little advertisement for Cobblestone. I’ll try and get some money from them. So! To start us off, how many revues have you done here with the Main Stage cast?
C: Oh god, I’m going to need help doing the math. Well, I’ve been here on the Main Stage for two and half years, so since January 2014. So, I guess including the Holiday Shows, this is my tenth? Does that sound right?
B: Yeah, that sounds right. We’ll go with 10.
C: Don’t tell Matt Catanzano- I didn’t include the Halloween Shows in that.
B: Deal, I won’t. Great, so how did you get your start as an improviser?
C: I started taking classes at Improv Boston in Cambridge in 2001 or 2002.
B: Very cool.
C: What I will say is that I almost didn’t show up to my first class because I was so nervous. And, then I did show up and I was still nervous. Then I was there for a couple years and we did what everyone does now and start our own independent team, except I had to do it in the basement of the Cantab Lounge in Central Square. Then I got cast on Theater Sports [at Improv Boston] in 2004 and I was on that cast until about 2006 when I moved to Chicago for a couple of years and took the writing classes at Second City.
B: What was it like doing comedy in Chicago?
C: It was very fun. I met a lot of very cool people. And then a lot of them moved away or went on Second City boats, but it was fun! Chicago is a great city. I had no money, and then I got home sick and came home.
B: Back to Boston.
C: Back to Boston, Boston sucks you in. That was in 2008 that I got back.
B: Alright, this is kind of a dumb question, who’s the funniest person you’ve ever worked with?
C: Harry Gordon.
B: That was very quickly answered!
C: Yep, hands down, Harry Gordon. I get really sad if people don’t know who he is, like younger people usually. I’m always like, ‘oh, he’s the funniest person you’ll ever meet.’ Oh, and he’s an alum of Improv Asylum’s Main Stage and Improv Boston’s, JUST LIKE ME!
B: Oh man, you’re twins.
C: Except that I still work here, so, almost.
B: So, of all the sketches that you’ve written for shows here, what’s your favorite?
C: Ohhhhhhhh (scoff).
B: Hard hitting journalism here!
C: Oh boy! My one favorite? It’s so hard! Well, maybe the brunch sketch a wrote with Tim Johnson in it, where I didn’t know what I was doing with it until I realized Tim would be in it and then I knew exactly where to go with it. I also really love the one where I played a lounge singer and Brian DiBello is on the tambourine and he just says stuff to me. It wasn’t even a sketch, it was mostly just audience work. But I was really scared to do it- so I made myself do it- and then it got into the show. So, if you’re scared to do something, and you write it, be prepared that it might actually get into the show.
B: I was kind of also hoping you’d mention the “putting on the jeans" sketch.
C: Oh yeah! I forgot about that one! I love that one too. It was to the song “What A Feeling” [from Flashdance]. A lot of women really connected with me after those shows. But I will say, I bought jeans that were too small for me, and I tried to squeeze my body into them- hence the sketch. So yeah, I guess I have three favorite sketches.
B: You can have three, that’s fair. Ok, so what’s it like to be on the Main Stage if you could describe it in one sentence?
C: Hmm, ok. It is nothing like what I expected it to be because it’s better than I thought it would be and it’s a lot of work in a good way. But it is a lot of work. That’s probably another sentence.
B: That’s ok. We can string them together.
C: Yeah, do what you can.
B: Ok, here are some rapid fire questions, so don’t think too much.
C: Ok, got it.
B: What’s your favorite TV show right now?
C: Key and Peele. Watching a lot of that lately.
B: Cats or dogs?
B: Alcoholic beverage?
C: Wine. Red wine.
B: Least favorite thing in pop culture right now?
C: Oh god. So, I hate it when, and I don’t know if this is really a thing, but when you say something, and people like it, instead of laughing or verbally agreeing with you they just start to snap their fingers. It drives me crazy.
B: That’s happening!?
C: I don’t know! But it’s happening to me. I’ve seen people in the audience at Improv Asylum doing it.
B: Like, just giving snaps instead of clapping?
C: Yeah, like (Cuddy closes her eyes and sways her head and starts snapping in the air).
C: Yeah! And I’m like, whhyy?! I was trying to get the bottom of it because I mostly hate it because I don’t understand it.
B: Haha, that is the perfect answer.
C: And I’ll probably start doing it once I make fun of it enough.
Catch Cuddy performing at Improv Asylum on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights or as your instructor in our Training Center!
May 18, 2016 - We're asking for your vote!
This is just a modest request for you to consider voting for us for Boston A-List's "Best Live Comedy" location. I mean, WE think we deserve your vote, but it's absolutely up to you to vote the way you see fit. We just ask for you to consider the last time you left one of our shows and were possibly hoarse from laughing so hard.
But again, vote how you will.
May 09, 2016 - Meet the Inmates: Bryan Patterson
Role: NXT Actor, Training Center Instructor, IA Bartender
Bartends: Almost every other night
Tenure: Worked for IA since November 2010
Cami: Do you remember how or when you realized that you wanted to work in comedy?
Bryan: I graduated from college and I had already worked here as a video intern. I was doing video stuff, I went to school for film. When I came back to Boston I needed a job, so I came here ‘cause I’d already had the internship. I really like working here, so I stayed.
C: You’re in a lot of different casts and shows here, including The Booby Trap, All The Single Ladies, NXT, and the Ghost Factory house team, as well as your own indie group Just Suspects, right?
B: How do you know all that!
C: I did my research! So how do these roles and shows differ from each other?
B: I’m not really sure what the status of the Single Ladies show is right now, but basically I dress like a woman - I shave my legs and stuff. That one’s fun, it’s on Saturday nights. I bartend here so it’s kind of nice that I can get a night off - somewhat. I get to perform, so that’s fun. Ghost Factory is a House Team. I’ve been doing House Teams for a long time and that’s one of my favorite teams. We’ll do like a twenty minute set. That show’s directed by Jeremy. This is my second year in the NXT cast. Right now we’re not in the revue process, we’re doing The Booby Trap, which is an all-improv show, which is fun cause you don’t have to prepare. But usually NXT is a revue, so we do sketch, improv, writing. That’s fun- it’s more of a process. I always find the process to be the most fun ‘cause you’re working toward it. It’s like a big goal.
C: And you get to see it come to life.
B: Yeah so, NXT is probably the most important, or at least the most challenging one, for sure. Just Suspects is my indie group. We’re going to start doing shows here on Wednesdays starting in May. We’ve been doing Wednesdays at The Hideout in Faneuil Hall for years. We’ve done a couple shows here, we used to. Way back before they had Show Against Humanity, we did a Just Suspects run Fridays at midnight. That was our first big revue. Then we did our own show at the Hard Rock Cafe called “About Time” directed by Jeremy. We got a run here on Mondays, that same revue. This new show is not so much a revue, it’s going to be more like our show that we do at The Hideout, which is more of a bit show. It’s very experimental comedy, very indie. Not so much sketch or improv, it’s a little mix of both. Sometimes we’ll have a host, similar to SNL, like a guest spot. We might have some standup. It’s basically a variety show, a lot of different stuff. We’re going to be doing it monthly which is great because we used to do a weekly show for a long time and it gets hard to pull in the audience. So once a month is a lot easier. We’re really excited for that. Most everyone in the group has been onstage for a long time, so It’ll be interesting to see the new challenges we’re taking on. Where we usually perform, The Hideout, it’s a bar. People are getting drinks and it’s loud. Your environment changes who you are. Over there, we initially just wanted to do improv, but we couldn’t do it at the bar ‘cause no one could hear us. We had to get microphones, we had to get speakers. What we found is more physical humor, more character bits. That changed it into the kind of comedy we do now. So it’d be interesting to see what we do because here, we know we can do improv successfully. It’ll be interesting to see how that mashup kind of show could evolve or change in a different venue.
C: Awesome, I’m excited to see it come alive here! Do you have any weird or funny warmup tactics for before you go onstage?
B: Sometimes I kind of get sick and almost throw up. I almost always have to throw up before a show. I think that’s just because I used to do wrestling in high school, and I’d have to throw up before matches to make weight or whatever. I feel like it’s just pressure - this is a stage. But other than that, we don’t really warm up for the Just Suspects shows. Just bantering with castmates and doing bits. If people want to do a warm up routine, we’ll do that. I’m a big fan of pattern games. We’ll be in a circle and order different T stops, so everyone has to say different T stops.
C: What’s your biggest fear onstage, or the worst thing you could imagine happening during a performance?
B: One thing that we love, all of us who perform at The Hideout, is that it's the place where we’re always failing. So much shit, all the time, goes wrong. So we’re pretty numb to messing up. But I would say the most embarrassing, worst thing that could happen would be...I would hate to accidentally say a word that I shouldn’t say. Something offensive. Other than that, if I ever accidentally hurt someone on stage doing something physical, that would be embarrassing. And I would never wanna do that.
C: Yeah, hopefully that never happens. What are your biggest pet peeves?
B: I’m trying to think. Eric, do you know a pet peeve of mine?
Eric: A pet peeve of yours? Uh, when anyone comments on you getting a haircut.
B: Oh yeah, I don’t like when people talk about my hair. That’s probably it, right?
Eric: Yeah, I mean you’re a pretty laid-back, easygoing guy.
B: Yeah I’m pretty laid back. I don’t really have that many pet peeves.
C: That’s a good thing. I have too many pet peeves, so I wish I could trade. If you could describe Boston’s flavor of comedy, what would you say it is?
B: The flavor is like the last sip of a beer. I think people wanna see that rash, Boston/Southie, kind of Irish humor. Not that I want to exclude anyone!
C: What’s your favorite part of being an Inmate at Improv Asylum?
B: The people! It’s all about the people. Everyone in my cast, everyone I work with. You can’t work with people you don’t like! But I like everyone. It’s just great working with people that you like. This place does a good job at hiring good people. Good work, people who work hard, people who do….stuff like that (Erica makes a funny face).
April 22, 2016 - Gamers Rejoice - Introducing A.G.E.
April 21, 2016 - Not Too Shabby
Improv Asylum and sister theater, Laugh Boston, were awarded the FAST 50 by the Boston Business Journal. This awards names us one of the fastest growing private companies of 2016 in the Greater Boston area.
Insert blushing smiley here.
Here's our Director of Sales, Helen Lin, very humbly accepting the award.
April 15, 2016 - Meet the Inmates: Erica LeBlanc
Role: Assistant General Manager, House Teams Performer
Works: Almost Always
Tenure: Been with Improv Asylum since Spring 2014
Cami: When did you start working for Improv Asylum?
Erica: May of 2014. I started as an usher, and then I believe it was April or so the following year when I started as a manager. And then September of 2015 I became AGM.
C: So what are all your different roles now?
E: Right now I’m Assistant General Manager, so I’m responsible for all the employees that are down there: scheduling, hiring, firing, training, every aspect of that. Beverage and supply orders, maintenance of the space...generally a lot of things, and whatever else may come up. On the performing side, I’m currently on a House Team, so I perform on Tuesday nights. I just finished up my level 6 and had my grad show March 21st. It was so good. It was so much fun. It was everything I wanted it to be. It was so good!
C: Yeah, I heard you talking about it in the office and you seemed really stoked about it.
E: SO stoked about it.
C: So did you always plan on working in comedy or did it kind of start after you got involved at Improv Asylum?
E: I have always loved the entertainment industry in general. I studied Media in college. I knew I wanted to be involved in some sense in regards to production, whether in theatre or television. I had been a patron of Improv Asylum countless times, and while I loved performing - I was in a sketch group at Suffolk - I LOVE putting things together. Like, being the point-person for things and making a production happen, even if it’s behind the scenes. If nobody knows that I’m there, then I’ve done my job right. And I love that.
C: Yeah, you lowkey run the show.
E: I lowkey run the show! And hopefully run it well enough where no problems occur for me to be noticed. My favorite thing about comedy is making people happy. Like, I will do prat falls for my niece day-in, day-out just to make her laugh. I love how raw of an emotion laughing is, you can’t help but show that you’re enjoying something. Even when I’m managing, I’ll sit back and watch the patrons. My favorite thing is to give out Laugh Passes because it’s like I’m thanking them for enjoying themselves. It’s kind of a compliment to not only the talent of the actors, but the work of the staff. Their experience overall is going so well that they can not worry about anything and just enjoy the show.
C: What’s a Laugh Pass?
E: A Laugh Pass is something we give to patrons we see just thoroughly enjoying the show. Like, losing their minds. Sometimes the actors will point someone out to us like, “That person in the front row has lost it for every scene. Can we give them something?” Totally give them a Laugh Pass for them to come back and just enjoy themselves more.
C: That’s really cool, I didn’t know we had that system in place. I laugh like so hard. All the time.
E: You can come anytime! We got you covered.
C: So obviously the laughter is your favorite part of working at Improv Asylum. But which show is your favorite down there?
E: Ooo, so hard. I mean, I love Main Stage shows ‘cause it’s just a culmination of each individual actor showing what they’ve got - stuff that’s personal to them that they’re bringing to the show. I love Vanity Project ‘cause it’s such an interesting mix of actors every time. Watching them build and gain the trust of the audience is really cool to see. And I also love the NXT shows because they’re up and coming. You know where they wanna go, and seeing them pour their hearts out into every show is so cool. I love watching them grow and seeing what they’ve become from the first week. Maybe it’s their first NXT show ever, but they’ve been here for two years at this point and they’ve got it no problem now. So that’s pretty cool to see.
C: What’s the craziest or weirdest thing that ever happened in the theatre? If there’s more than one, please, indulge me.
E: We always see patrons at their best, and sometimes at their...not-so-best. I had one patron one night stuff their jacket into a toilet, and then try to just leave without anything being acknowledged, in which case I had to tell the patron as they were leaving: “Excuse me, please come back downstairs, take your jacket out of the toilet, and never come back here again.” I didn’t say that, but essentially that’s what it was. They went into the bathroom, took out their jacket, started wringing it out in the trash can to which I said, “I’m not going to sit here and watch you wring out your jacket. You did this to yourself. Please leave.” Took their jacket, walked up the stairs, turned around, gave me the finger, and left. Definitely the strangest because I don’t know that I’ve personally ever been in a place where I thought, “Yeah, stuffing my jacket in the toilet is the thing I want to do right now.” But you know, everybody’s different, which is so great. I don’t know if it gets stranger than that. We’ve had some interesting bathroom incidents that I don’t think anyone wants to hear about, but yeah that’s definitely the strangest.
C: (laughing) I love that story.
E: So obscure.
C: What are your pet peeves inside and outside of the theater?
E: Oh man, I’m gonna eat while I think because I’m not sure.
C: That’s okay. I’m going to scratch my eyeball because it is so itchy.
E: Please write that down. I guess my pet peeve in the theater, and this is kind of like, Mama Bear instinct - not that I’m a mom - but when patrons are trying to take things out against my employees - if there’s something that they have a problem with, I have no problem with them yelling at me if they need to, or talking it out with me. But if they ever start to blame my employees for something, or yell at them or call them names, I hate that beyond belief. I want to do anything to protect my little babies. So I don’t like that. Obviously I would love everyone to come down there and know exactly what they’re about to experience, but a lot of people haven’t seen improv before - or live, rather - so we kind of have to teach them how to behave, which I’m perfectly fine with. You know, when it’s appropriate to shout out and when it’s not.
(Kid annoyingly banging his feet against a table next to us)
C: That’s my pet peeve.
E: Sure, that makes sense. But yeah, I have no problem with that. But when patrons try to escalate things in an inappropriate way, that’s what I don’t like. Outside of the theater...specifically, very specifically, tourists walking on Hanover street and stopping to read every menu they walk by. I just walk in the street because it’s quicker, and sometimes safer. But I can’t stand it. I don’t know why, I lose my mind. I’m like, “Sidewalk is for walking!” and then I get unnecessarily upset.
C: I’m not gonna lie, when I came to the North End the first time…
E: Come on!
C: The first time! After that, it’s kind of like...you learn all the restaurants are the same.
E: See for me it’s like, please. Take your Mike’s box, walk away, Google a restaurant that you want to eat at or just pick a restaurant. They all serve the same things, they’re all very expensive. Just pick and sit. Tourists, am I right?
C: So, what’s something you’ve been working on outside of work?
E: Um, well, I’m training to run the Boston Marathon.
C: You are?
E: I am!
C: That’s amazing! When did you decide to get into that?
E: Oh man, I applied to run with a charity like, two years ago, for last year’s marathon. But I didn’t get selected, which was kind of upsetting, but kind of worked out because it was such a horrible winter to train. And so this year I applied to [be sponsored by] charities in August/September and then I was given and invititaional bib by a family friend for the Beth Israel Team in November, so starting in December is when I started training!
C: Nice. So, my question is what do you think about when you’re running for like, a million miles?
E: I think about my thoughts.
C: Haha ok, great.
E: I don’t know! It varies from time to time. I think about work sometimes, because I’m always thinking about work. In terms of running, what I think about is how much further I have to go. I kind of break it down to “Well, I only have like 3 more 10k’s left instead of “I have 18 miles left.” Or like, “I have one more half marathon to run!” I break it down like that, and for some reason, it works. I don’t know why. It seems intimidating to think about it that way, but for some reason it’s the easiest way for me to think about it and keep going.
C: So, do you have a spirit animal, and if not, would you like to make one up?
E: Sure, I’d love to make one up. Hmm.. I don’t know, what’s your spirit animal?
C: Um, I took a couple quizzes online cause I couldn’t figure it out. I got everything from spider, to butterfly, to lion. Which I think resonates in me most because I’m a Leo. Whatever. (laughs)
E: I never thought about this. This is very serious for me right now. I don’t know why I’m putting so much thought into this. I would say a platypus. Because they’re just obscure enough to be cool, and I like to think that I’m an obscure person. I’m definitely a mammal, but barely a mammal. It’s cool cause people are like, “What a strange animal.”
C: And they’re cute!
E: So adorable.
C: And what’s your favorite thing to do in Boston?
E: I’m a big Red Sox fan and I love going to Fenway Park, even when there’s no game going on. I love the history of the park, I love my personal history with the park - I remember the first game I ever went to. Everything I experienced, from the smells to the sounds.
C: How old were you?
E: I was eight. And it was the best day of my life. Never forget it. So yeah, everytime someone comes into Boston and they’re like “I’ve never been to a Red Sox game,” or even if they live here and they’ve never been, my favorite thing is to take people to a Red Sox game.
April 04, 2016 - Meet the Inmates: Andy Bridges
Role: Main Stage Tech Director, House Teams Performer, Laugh Boston Talent Coordinator
Techs: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays
Tenure: Been with Improv Asylum since 2012
So you’re kind of like a Jack-of-all-trades at Improv Asylum. Could you give me a brief rundown of all the different roles you have down there?
I used to be an usher down there for two years. While I was doing that I started to work on this show ‘Movieoke’. It was like karaoke but with movie clips. So I’d be up in the office researching movie clips and putting them together with subtitles. That was fun- that show came and went. Then I started doing tech and I moved on to that. Similar to the ‘Movieoke’ gig, I got asked to write the cards for ‘Show Against Humanity’. So that’s a fun little creative outlet. I have a list on my phone and I hope no one finds it. It’s very weird and out of context. And then for Laugh Boston I’m the Talent Coordinator, which means I’m just the driver. I pick up and drive the comics.
So if you had to choose one of these roles to be your favorite, which one do you think resonates with you most?
Definitely making the cards. I can pretty much just write whatever. There are times when I would write something and be like, “I will run this by someone because I’m not sure if this will slide.” So that’s the most fun. Teching can also be very enjoyable. I also do House Teams and, as fun as it is to perform, I also really like being behind the scenes and being involved that way, just playing music down there. The Main Stage show we just put up is the first Main Stage show I’m doing tech for. I’ve had people come up to me and send emails or tweet at Improv Asylum asking, “hey do you guys have a playlist of the music you played at the show the other night? ‘Cause it was awesome.”
Yeah, the music is awesome.
When you first started teching for shows, did you find it difficult to sync the tech with the content? How does tech improv compare to acting improv?
Yeah, it’s tricky to tech improv. When I first started, part of me always felt guilty. Like everyone’s loving this scene, they’re loving it and having a good time but, I have to end it ‘cause I have to keep the timing down. So that part was weird. There’re a lot of variables. Scenes have to be a certain time limit, you have to end with a laugh. If they do a five minute interview, the scene usually needs to be at least five minutes. There’s a lot of different things to take into consideration: If there’s a big laugh before five minutes, do I end it there? Or do I think they have more in them?
Do you believe you need to be just as in sync with the performers as they need to be with each other?
Oh, yeah. I’ve been doing it for a couple years now and I like to think I’m a lot better at it now. If there’s a scene going on and it’s really funny and I want to end it, but then there’s a big laugh and someone walks out on the scene, I try to hold it for them and see what they have to bring to the table.
What is your biggest pet peeve inside and outside the Improv Asylum world?
I have so many dumb little pet peeves. I hate when I’m with people at a bar or something and they’re like, “Alright, let’s leave. Let’s head out.” And you’re all ready but then they’re like “Oh hold on, I want to talk to someone” or someone else walks past you and your friend starts talking to them, and then the conversation starts getting more detailed, and leads to other conversations...I’m a big fan of the Irish exit. Don’t say goodbye to everyone. That, and in the theater, when people in the audience talk during shows. It’s one of those things that everyone does to a degree. You might say “Oh, I never talk during a show,” but you might, to your friend, and you’re having such a good time that you might not even realize it. Talking during shows really gets beneath my skin.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Boston?
I like taking aimless walks. On any given day if I have time to kill, I usually try to go down to Jamaica Pond. It’s really nice, just walking down to the pond and walking on the side streets with those huge mansions, thinking “Maybe one day. Probably not, but maybe one day.”
So how many shows do you think you’ve been to at Improv Asylum? Hundreds? Thousands maybe?
It’d have to be thousands. Low thousands. I mean I’ve been there for four years, I’m pretty much down there 365 days a year.
What is your favorite part of working at and being a part of the Improv Asylum family?
Just that, that it is a family. I’ve made so many good friends here, so many good opportunities. Before I worked here I worked at a deli-type place for five years. I thought that was gonna be it. It’s a real bummer of a place to work, and I had no idea this whole community existed. I grew up in the South Shore so coming up here and being able to meet everyone...I just can’t imagine what my life would be like if I wasn’t working here. I think it’d be a lot sadder.
Same. I can definitely say the same. I just started working here two months ago and it’s such an uplifting place to work.
Yeah, and you fit in really quickly too. You just get this vibe. Like wow, people here are really nice and cool. When I was working in retail and stuff like that I was like, “I don’t like this job, but I could never work a corporate job. It just seems so blegh.” Then I came here and I was like, “well this is probably an exception.” It just feels like a big dorm room, and the people who live above you also pay you.
March 18, 2016 - We're adding a THIRD Main Stage show on Saturdays through April!
Thank you for loving us so much, Boston! Our shows have been super sold out. Like, back-to-back-to-back! Therefore, we're adding a THIRD Main Stage show on Saturdays through April!
- 6 PM
- 8 PM
- 10 PM
Don't get shut out. Get your tickets now!
March 14, 2016 - Meet the Inmates: Erin Berry
Role: Main Stage cast member
Performs: Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays
Tenure: Been with Improv Asylum since 2011
Do you remember the moment you realized that acting was your calling?
For me, it’s been like a lifelong journey. I have a brother - an older brother, he’s two and a half years older than me, and very shy. So for my whole life I’ve been kind of displaying for the both of us, like “this is what we wanna do!” and taking the reigns on that. I think I always wanted to be an actor. If you were asking three-year-old me what I wanted to be, I’d say, “an actor!” That always would have been my answer. I also loved sports so, in fifth grade when they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was “actor, but if not actor, football player.”
Speaking of when you were a kid, do you recall any particularly funny or embarrassing moments from your elementary school plays?
I was in two elementary school plays, Annie and Fiddler On The Roof. Sticking with the theme of me demanding to do male things as a kid, I wanted to be Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof, who is the older male Jewish character in the play. So I had to audition for that. I was very hard to embarrass, so at the time I feel like I never would have said this embarrassed me. But everyone was split up into lines for the role they were auditioning for, and there was this long line of guys auditioning for Tevye, and then just me standing there. I had to put on a fake beard for the audition ‘cause you have to wear one in the show, so they wanted to see how we could sing with it on. So in front of everyone who I went to school with, I sang “If I Were A Rich Man” wearing a full beard. But I also had the deepest voice, by far.
And you got the part?
I didn’t get the part! My best friend’s brother got the part.
I know! And I got Yente the Matchmaker, which was a great part. But there was just a part of me that was like, “cowards!” Elementary school politics.
So, which show was your favorite?
I loved doing Annie ‘cause it was my first one. I was in fourth grade, and I got the part of Pepper, who was the scrappy orphan. I got a bunch of special treatment from my fourth grade teacher, in whatever weird world this qualifies as special treatment. I got to leave class early sometimes because I had to go to the principal’s rehearsal or something. It was the first time I was like “oh yeah, this is what I want. I wanna be driven by a friend’s mom in a sedan to a rehearsal that I have like, four lines in.” That was the first time I got special treatment for an acting thing. It got me out of other stuff and gave me this prowess in my very small elementary school campus. It was the funnest ‘cause I didn’t have any pressure either. I’m the youngest orphan up here, I’ll just f*ck around with whatever. And because the show is set up so all the orphans have all the scenes together, I made way more friends than I ever had in my life. I was like “oh my God, all of you have to hang out with me? How cool!” On the Monday after the weekend of the shows we would perform for the school, and all day everyone’s like “You’re so good! You’re so good!” Free lunch, miss your first two classes. Ah, it was great.
So what’s the worst thing that happened to you onstage?
I have a really dark answer to that. I did Grease in middle school, and the next performance we were gonna do was for the whole school. That Sunday, after our final cast party and right before our Monday show, our friend Marica who was in the play passed away. She drowned in a bathtub. But we did the play anyway on Monday. And it was the weirdest, worst...like, she was in the chorus of it, but she had been in drama with us for years and stuff and I just remember thinking, “this is so hard.” I was in eighth grade.
Wow, that’s heavy.
Yeah, I mean, my costume also ripped one time. But I mean, when I think about it, that was the worst. But the experience onstage kind of made me realize how much I love theater, and actors, and the support. Our drama department head was just the best person to have had be the anchor for all of us kids. We didn’t go to class at all, we just sat in the theater. So it was one of those times where I realized man, I don’t know what I would have done in a situation like this if I didn’t have that level of support and emotional understanding from people at a time where I didn’t know much about emotions. Everyone was like “safe space, whatever’s happening, it’s fine, we can talk about it, we don’t have to, whatever you want.” So yeah, that was a cool, awful, sad theatrical thing that happened.
Switching moods a bit, what are some of your pet peeves inside and outside your life as an actor?
My pet peeve in my regular life is when someone gets out of the shower while they’re still soaking wet to grab a towel, but they won’t grab it when they’re in the shower, so then the bathroom floor is soaking wet. So easy to not do! But everyone does it, they’re just like, “out of the shower!” and all the water comes splashing out. Pet peeves onstage...I would say breaking (Laughing onstage at another actor's joke/breaking character). I love commitment, almost to a detriment, where sometimes I’ll commit to something that isn’t funny cause I’m like “no, this is my character choice.” Yeah but...that’s not funny. I just don’t like breaking or calling people out for choices and stuff onstage. I feel like in theater, it doesn’t happen that much. But in improv, it happens for sure.
Yeah, it happened yesterday. I was at the show last night and there was this drunk girl in the audience who just interrupted the show to tell everyone it was her sister’s birthday and that they needed to do a skit about her. So I can only imagine how annoyed you would have been in that situation.
And it happens all the time too! People call out, or someone will just like fall, and it’s just tough. I love theater, and when you watch theater, if that happened people would be like “Can you believe our play got interrupted? It’s madness out there!” But this is like an everyday thing. It’s not a huge pet peeve but, it’s definitely one of those things where I’m like, ugh. Be quiet.
Do you have any strange or funny warm-up tactics you do before you perform?
Oh yeah! I went to theater school so I do a lot of vocal warmups, physical warm-ups, and acting warm-ups before plays, and I took a lot of classes on that stuff. One that I do if I’m going to do a show down here is rolling down my spine. Basically, it’s touching your toes but really slowly, and visualizing all your vertebrae. It’s just a way to get yourself in your body. People always say “be in your body.” If you’ve performed, you know sometimes you feel very present in yourself. If you’re not, and you’re performing, then you’re just like “I don’t care! I can’t even feel what’s happening and nothing matters!” So that tactic always grounds me really well. If I’m doing a dramatic show or an actual play, I’ll just pant very heavily. Fun fact, if you’re ever trying to cry on stage, if you just hyperventilate, your body gets so freaked out that when you go onstage and start giving lines you’re just like, *sobbing*. It makes all your internal organs like, “WHERE ARE WE WHAT’S HAPPENING WHAT DO WE DO” which is what happens when you’re really hyperventilating. Which is not fun. But if you fake-do it, you’re fine.
Fake hyperventilating, got it. So what’s your favorite thing to do in Boston?
Go to the ICA. Have you ever been? The ICA is my fortress. I love that place so much. I’ve seen every one of the exhibits there. I’m so familiar with them. And I don’t love contemporary art. I feel like the building is what initially entranced me, and then I started taking a closer look at contemporary art and I was like wow, this is so my speed. It’s so cool. Usually makes some kind of interesting, sometimes very heavy, sometimes very light point, and you can’t really tell until you look at it. Yeah, I love that place, man. And that Wolfgang-Puck Cafe! Mmm.
The store’s pretty cool too.
Every gift I’ve ever gotten anyone since I moved here is from there. I got a little teapot from there. My whole family loves tea, but my mom loves Japanese tea and English tea, so I got her this insane bone china teacup & saucer. In the middle it looked like it had a huge crack in it, so that half of it was in the style of British china and the other half Japanese china. It’s like this cool Frankenstein teacup, it was the perfect gift.
That sounds awesome. Do you have any advice for people interested in exploring improv or comedy/acting in general?
Figure out what you want out of improv and comedy. I’ve seen people who love it drive themselves crazy because they want to get to some goal or something and they lose what was fun about it. I’ve also seen people who come in, and it’s just a hobby for them and they have the most fun in the world, and they wind up rising way quicker. No matter what you want out of it, don’t ever let it not be fun. The second improv isn’t fun anymore and you’re forcing yourself to do it cause you want to move to New York and get on SNL...the second you come onstage and start beating yourself up...what do you have then? You’re literally making stuff up and killing yourself if you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. Don’t. You can do it with writing and that kind of stuff, where you can critique it and make it better. But improv doesn’t get better by critiquing after the fact. It gets better by working hard. Once you do it, it’s done. The scene is over. Don’t talk about it for four hours after, that’s so awful. You won’t feel free on stage if you feel like you’re tethered to those choices for the rest of the week that you’re gonna think about it. It’s very easy to say and very hard to do.
March 10th, 2015 by Cami Aponte
May 08, 2015 - Check us out on Robi on the Road!
Our Corporate Training program was recently featured on WBZ's Robi On The Road.
February 19, 2015 - Hey, Thanks BU!
Check out our coverage in Boston University's BU Today featuring a nice overview of our new Main Stage show, "Please Note the Irish Exits" playing every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights!
February 18, 2015 - For you and that special someone
Cabin Fever is a real thing. You may think that another night of ordering-in and Netflix will keep the romance alive, but really, who are you kidding? Put your boots on and take your boyfriend/girlfriend/bestie to the North End for a little dinner and entertainment. Hey, we're a great date night! At least, Thrillist thinks so..
Check out our feature in Thrillist's "16 Actually Great Date Ideas in Boston"
October 16, 2013 - Training Life is Good on NECN
Improv Asylum on NECN! New England Spotlight: Improv Asylum in Boston, October 14, 2013
August 05, 2013 - We Won!
Improv Asylum has been named "Best Live Comedy" spot by Boston A-List!
Read the full article here
and help us revel in our success.
Thanks to all who voted! We couldn't have done it without you.
April 17, 2013 - Fun, New Drinks !!!
Fun New Drinks at IA's Bar !
We've added some fun cocktails to our bar . . . .
In addition to our Beer (draft/pitchers, bottled/buckets) & Wine (glass/bottle), we now offer Cordials! Stop by our bar to see the latest drink specials:
Grape Crush Skyy Grape & Soda
Orange Drop Skyy Blood Orange, Ginger Ale, Lemon
Pineapple Sunrise Skyy Pineapple, Club Soda, Cranberry Juice
Cherry Coke Cherry Vodka & Coke
Jäger Bomb Jägermeister & Red Bull
or ask about our House Shot
Or . . . . Make Your Own Cocktail:
Admiral Nelson Spiced Rum
Skyy Raspberry Vodka
Skyy Citrus Vodka
Skyy Grape Vodka
Skyy Pineapple Vodka
Skyy Blood Orange Vodka
Burnetts Cherry Vodka
Burnetts Vanilla Vodka
Evans William Honey Whiskey
January 03, 2013 - Our Annual Gift Card Swap
Seriously, Improv Asylum will LITERALLY take ANY gift card, from ANY company, for ANY product in exchange for tickets to Wednesday & Sunday night*or Saturday matinee performances.
All you need to do is show up with your gift card, let us know the value and we will give you the value in tickets. And if you don't have the exact amount? No worries. Improv Asylum will round up to the nearest amount, so if you only have a $25 gift card, but two tickets are $30, then we'll set you up with the two tickets.
Questions? Call our box office at 617.263.6887
*Sunday night performances to resume January 27th
October 25, 2012 - Improv Asylum Swims with the Sharks
Improv Asylum Swims with the Sharks!
Members of Improv Asylum's business office met with shark Daymond John (Shark Tank).
left-right: Chet Harding, Daymond John, Stacey Princi, Norm Laviolette, Bob Melley
Photo Courtesy of KeithSpiroPhoto
January 13, 2012 - Fear of Swimming
Fear of Swimming on Sale Now!
Improv Asylum’s own Kirsten Opstad releases her debut full-length studio album Fear of Swimming. With the release of this album, she’s combining her songwriting talent and musical ability with her experience performing comedy every weekend year-round. Recorded in eight days at Interstellar Studios in California, Fear of Swimming reveals an impressive range in tone tied together by earnest lyricism and understated arrangement.
The album was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised over $5,000 in 20 days in October 2011. In March, she’s launching a month-long national tour to support the release.
You can buy the album at Improv Asylum’s Box Office or here: http://kirstenopstad.bandcamp.com/album/fear-of-swimming or on iTunes. For more information, please visit http://kirstenopstad.com or follow @kirstenopstad on Twitter.