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September 12, 2016 - Meet the Inmates - Helen Lin
Role: Director of Sales and Events
Tenure: Since July 2015
This interview took place about 12 hours before Helen boarded a plane to Russia.
Bryan: So Helen, tell us a little bit about what you do here at Improv Asylum and Laugh Boston.
Helen: Well, I am the Director of Sales and Events and what I do is mostly oversee all of the private events at Laugh Boston. So, mostly corporate clients and events.
B: So you’re talking to all the fancy people.
H: Exactly, all the fancy people.
B: And how long have you been here now?
H: I’ve been here just over a year now. It went by so fast!
B: Oh yeah, we actually met at an informal meeting at Rock Bottom. Of all places.
H: (laughter) It’s true.
B: Well, I kind of know what you’re into when you’re not at work, but why don’t you tell us about some of the extreme sports you participate in.
H: Well, I am a marathon swimmer, which is swimming long distances in the ocean. So, technically a marathon swim is anything over a 10K, which is 6.2. miles. So I did a couple of those last year and a few this year as well. When we do it in the winter time…
B: Wait, you swim in the ocean in the winter?
H: Haha yes, marathon swimming is during the warmer seasons. But in the winter, that’s considered ice swimming. So once the ocean gets too cold to swim marathon lengths, it becomes ice swimming. There is this whole subculture of ice swimmers that probably started in Russia or Finland, and they started with plunges and crazy things like that-
B: Sure, because, why not?
H: Right, why would you not do that? The only reason I got into that is because I didn’t want the summer to end. I was too stubborn to stop and I was like, well if I don’t stop, summer won’t end. Next thing I know it’s February and we’re still going out for swims like crazy people, and by then, our swimming group was down to like, three of us. And then we found out that there is actually a whole group of people who do this internationally. We were like, wow, we’re not alone or crazy! It’s actually really big in Europe.
B: Well that’s amazing.
H: Yeah! So there are ice swimming competitions all over the world where they just cut a section of ice out of a frozen lake or whatever. Think of a swim meet, except it's in a cut out of a frozen body of water where they put lane lines in, and then you compete.
B: Where’s the farthest-away competition you’ve done?
H: Um, I did one in the UK a couple years ago- and that was a lot of fun. And now I’m going to do one in Russia!
B: Ok, please tell me more about that.
H: Haha, the Russian one was an invite-only one that I got because I’m an ice swimmer and because I’m a member of this club called the Ice Miler club that was started by this group of guys in South Africa. Basically they decided if you could swim one mile in under 41 degree waters, you're a member of the club and they send you this red jacket. So, two people did it in Boston a couple years ago, so my friends and I decided to do it, and we did!
B: You’re a card carrying member of the club!
H: I am!
B: So how did this lead to an invite to Russia?
H: Haha, well I was invited to participate in this thing called the Gulf Stream Festival that’s celebrating the 100th anniversary of the city of Murmansk. So this festival showcases fifteen different sports all over Murmansk. One of them is actually this guy that’s going to tow a nuclear ice breaker.
H: I know! I looked it up, it’s like this huge boat! I was like, what!?
B: Please take pictures.
H: Haha definitely. So there’s a list of these sports, one being the towing of this huge boat, one is like extreme obstacles, one is extreme running, and one is extreme swimming where they invited 40 swimmers from all over the world to showcase. And I’m the only one from the United States!
B: That’s amazing!
H: Yeah! So, I guess I’m representing the US in Russia in this crazy swimming event.
B: That’s really cool. So you’re also into other extreme sports, right?
H: I am! After the marathon swimming I decided I wanted to get into something else as well, so I found rock climbing- which I’m also equally obsessed with.
B: And weren’t you doing parkour for a while?
H: I still am, I’m just finding that I don’t have enough time.
B: Haha, right. You seem just a little busy.
H: Yeah, I like, have to work sometimes, ya know, haha. But yeah, I’m trying to balance swimming and rock climbing and parkour lessons at the moment.
B: So what’s the ultimate goal here with doing all these sports?
H: Well, I mean, I’d love to compete for American Ninja Warrior. I mean, the swimming isn’t so much a part of that, but the rock climbing and parkour skills are definitely transferable.
B: When are you going to audition?!
H: Haha well I gotta try out training on one of those sets first!
B: You need to keep us posted when you audition. You’d be the first-
H: The first IA Inmate Ninja Warrior?
B: Oh definitely. I think you’re a lot of firsts for Improv Asylum. First to just randomly get invited to Russia.
H: Haha, yes I’m sure that’s true!
August 19, 2016 - Meet the Inmates: Cami Aponte
Bryan: So Cami, the tables have turned! You’re the one who typically does the Meet The Inmates interviews.
B: How does it feel to be on the other side of the table?
C: Pretty awesome.
B: So how long have you been with Improv Asylum, and how did you get your start?
C: I have been here for eight months now. I started in January. I was scrambling for a co-op with Northeastern for the second half of 2015. In December, I actually interviewed at Laugh Boston and Bob Melley was like, “Hey, Improv Asylum needs you,” so I ended up here. I’m very grateful.
B: What do you typically do on a daily basis here?
C: Well I’ll walk in and usually have a couple graphic design projects waiting for me in my emails. I design the Half Cocked graphics. I manage a lot of the listings and do some social media promotion. I make the Facebook events, do social media promotion. I also write releases and pitches for various outlets that cover or promote the company.
B: And you’re an usher at Improv Asylum.
C: Yeah, I started ushering about 3-4 months into my co-op. I kept getting bothered by Mike to apply to be an usher, so I was like, fine, I’ll take the extra money. And it’s super easy to just go downstairs for my night shift anyway.
B: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen in our theater?
C: Jesus. I got puked on once.
B: Oh, please tell us about that.
C: Okay, so this guy was blackout drunk. He was in the most inconvenient section from which to walk someone across the stage for a bathroom emergency. I did not realize the urgency in this man’s face when he stood up in the middle of the scene, so I asked him, “Is this an emergency or can you wait?” He was immediately like “No, I can’t-” and then he threw up on himself and ran past me, brushing up against me. I was just in so much shock.
B: So you basically got drive-by puked on?
C: Yeah, it was a passing of the puke. As soon as it happened, I was told not to worry about the scene and to just follow him out and make sure he was alright, but I was like screw this guy! He’s like 40 and can’t handle his alcohol, and I got puke all over me right now! I went to the kitchen and I cried for about five minutes as I washed everything off my arm. I grabbed all the scented sawdust we have for puke messes and poured them on my body. I was like, can I go home now. It was crazy.
B: Well, what’s your favorite part of being an usher?
C: Aw, I love all my coworkers. They really make my day. Sometimes I’ll be kind of down and they’ll just cheer me up instantly. They’re very supportive. There’s always jokes being thrown across the room, everyone’s doing bits all the time, it’s never-ending fun. I’m really glad I started working down there. I’ve made a lot of friends.
B: Cool! So, you’re originally from Florida correct?
C: Well - that’s not true. I’m originally from Puerto Rico, but I did grow up in Florida.
B: So even cooler.
C: Yeah, yeah.
B: What made you wanna come to Boston?
C: I got a full scholarship to Northeastern.
B: That’s a good reason.
C: I immediately was like “Yeah, I’ll take it.”
B: And you are a founding member of Boston Flow, correct?
B: Tell me a little more about Boston Flow!
C: So my best friend Sarah Tamburelli and I founded it in 2014. We met at Hempfest, just hooping -
B: Wait, stop. Tell us about hooping.
C: It’s a form of dance with a hula hoop. It falls under the category known as Spinning Arts, or Flow, which is just dancing with or manipulating some sort of prop - hula hoops, juggling balls or clubs. People spin poi, people spin staffs. There’s new toys being invented all the time. There’s levitation wands, dragon staffs, fans, silks, orbiters, rope dart, puppy hammers. You can set most of them on fire. They get weirder and weirder, and harder to use.
B: And how long have you been hooping?
C: A little over two years, but at the time Boston Flow was founded, I was just a beginner. Sarah was doing a trick I really wanted to learn, so I just approached her and asked her to teach me. We sat down for a second and were like “Hey, I feel like there’s a lot of spinners in Boston, but the community is sort of segregated.” There were a few spinjams around the city, but nobody was bringing these people together to do more than just spin in the same space. The cool thing about these people who spin toys and stuff is that a lot of them are itching to make making a difference. They’re generally pretty progressive people. But there aren’t many fun outlets or ways to make a difference. There should be a way to make a difference while doing what you love. So, we made the Boston Flow Facebook group and started hosting spinjams that doubled as food drives, beach cleanups, and nonprofit fundraisers.
B: How large is the community now?
C: Just over 780 members, and we do a lot more than just spinjams now.
B: You’ve performed at a couple festivals this year, correct?
C: Sort of - I was supposed to perform at Tent City in June with my friend Hoopercat, but somebody in the community passed away, so that didn’t really happen. Most of our performances take place at the events we host ourselves. The Boston music and performing arts scene can be difficult to navigate if you’re an indie artist. Sometimes it can be easier to just make your own gigs. So that’s what we do.
B: So that must be your mentality about performing at Boston Floyd. Wanna tell me a little about that?
C: Yeah! So this Wednesday the Boston Flow Troupe and a bunch of other local flow performers will be performing at Boston Floyd. It’s a Boston Flow production for a good cause - a charity event for the Rafael Hernandez School in JP which currently has no water fountains. We have all these volunteer flow artists, bands, visual artists, and live painters who are donating their time to contribute to the experience. But what I’m most excited for regarding Boston Floyd is seeing Pink Floyd light patterns coming out of the smart LED hoops, which you can download or design your own patterns to. It’s like the future of dance. Oh, and hearing Great Gig in the Sky.
B: So when is that? What are the details?
C: It’s this Wednesday, August 24th at Laugh Boston! They were super cool and were just like “Hey, yeah, we’ll go halfsies with you on this event.” Which is dope, because finding a venue in Boston is very difficult, especially one that is open to flow props and people going all out in expressing themselves. A lot of venues won’t even let you in if you have too much of a getup going on. So this is something different. We want people to come as they are - whatever you spin, however you flow, whatever your art is, just come through and enjoy the music with us.
B: That’s awesome! Shameless plug, everyone needs to come.
C: Yeah, it’s gonna be dope. Especially if you love Pink Floyd as much as I do. The bands we have performing, they’re so awesome. They’re all volunteering their time. We’ve got them covering the Animals, Dark Side of the Moon, there’s some Grateful Dead mashups going on...lots of awesome stuff.
B: Dope! August 24th, Laugh Boston, 9PM. I’ll see you there!
July 27, 2016 - Meet the Inmates - Anne Krane
Performs: Fridays/Saturdays in The Best of Improv Asylum at Laugh Boston, Sundays/Tuesdays at IA
Tenure: Since April 2014
C: So, you’re on the NXT Cast - When did you realize acting was your thing?
A: Oh, since I was the youngest child. My sister is a professional actress - she’s incredibly talented and very beautiful. Growing up two years younger than that, I had to do something. So I just was funny. I learned all of Johnny Cash’s Cocaine Blues and would sing it at dinner parties when I was like six years old.
C: So you were always performing. Would you say she was kind of like a role model for you?
A: My sister? Yeah, for sure. She’s great, she’s still really getting after it. I’m proud of her.
C: That’s awesome. So, I really love your crying bit [in the NXT show], mostly because I resonate with it so deeply. I was just wondering- what you were thinking when you wrote it, or what inspired you?
A: So that’s from a real blog I wrote. I was in a crappy relationship and I was really sad for a minute. This was years and years ago. I would cry in different places in Boston and people would have different reactions to it. Sometimes you want attention when you’re crying and sometimes you want to be ignored - I just always thought that idea was very interesting, so I wrote a little thing about it.
C: I love it, because I am literally crying all the time in random places.
A: I love crying!
C: I feel that so hard. It’s like, everyone needs to hold me right now. But you also need to F-off.
A: The monologue gets a very sad response from the audience. They’re like “oh no!” but it’s really not supposed to be sad - I think that a lot of the things I drew from to write the monologue are sad things, but I look at old people holding hands and I cry. I see children playing together nicely and I cry. I see old dogs in wagons and I cry.
C: We’re just emotional.
A: Yeah, I love it. It’s great to cry.
C: So how did you get involved at the Improv Asylum, and how long have you been down there anyway?
A: I’ve been here around three years. I started stage managing All The Single Ladies, and I used to do some corporate shows at prisons. Well, I did that by myself and then Improv Asylum helped me out with the prison shows. Then I started taking classes and stage managing ATSL. Then I auditioned for House Teams and then I auditioned for NXT.
C: Nice! So, two weeks ago you did the Half Cocked show and your theme as the expert was Jesus. That was really funny, watching someone wasted preach about Jesus. I went to Catholic School in Hollywood, Florida for middle school and two years of high school but I had to switch out.
A: It’s a lot.
C: It was too much. But tell us about your life outside of Improv Asylum!
A: I got my Masters in Divinity from BC - I did religious studies and divinity for a long time, and then I started working for the Catholic church. It was fine, but I left that job because I felt very called to teach. So now I’m a Pre-K teacher in Brighton, which is just, the most fun you could have in a job.
C: And it’s a Catholic school?
A: Yes. It’s Pre-K, so it’s a lot of play-based learning. We do some religion stuff, because it is a Catholic school, but it’s just learning about the presence of Jesus and God loves you and stuff like that.
C: Cool! So, this summer you’re in the Best of Improv Asylum show at Laugh Boston. What’s that show all about? I mean, I don’t think I’ve even been here long enough to know any of the scenes.
A: I haven’t either! A lot of it is taken from years and years ago. There’s so many great sketches that are in there - they’re all super funny and very fun to do. It’s great to have been relatively new and be able to be a part of that show because I get to read the parts of people who I would come to see - people who were my teachers, who I would see on stage. And now I get to do parts that they had played, which is just a really cool opportunity. It’s really fun to get to play around with that, and the people who are in it are just so hilarious and fun.
C: Who all is in it?
A: Matt Catanzano and Kiley Fitzgerald - who are in New York now, but they came back for it - plus Joey Lopez, Eric LaMonica, and myself.
C: And what’s your favorite scene from that? If you can reveal!
A: So there’s a scene with cheerleaders, and it’s SO funny. It’s very hard for me because it involves dancing (I’m not very good at it) but it’s a very, very funny scene. There’s a lot of choreography.
C: Word, I’m so excited I need to go see that.
A: It’s SO funny. Some of the stuff when we were reading through it seemed a little dated, because it talks about like Instant Messenger, but we updated that stuff.
C: And it’s Fridays and Saturdays, right?
A: Yes! You gotta come see it.
C: How does performing at Laugh differ from performing at Improv Asylum?
A: Really different space. There are people eating, which is hard if you like, love french fries. I love french fries, and there was a guy in the front eating a big plate of french fries the whole time and I really wanted one. It’s a bigger space, it goes back farther, so it’s hard to get used to having to project differently than if you’re in such a small space. However, the stage is slightly smaller.
C: So do you guys have mics?
A: We do, there’s hanging mics and I think we’re gonna start using laugh mics. We’re not doing, which I’m really happy about because I wear glasses and I always end up having trouble.
C: I can relate, I’m an usher with glasses and I have to wear the walkie mic all the time. So, is the show all sketch or is there some improv?
A: Little bit of improv. It’s pretty heavy on sketch, but there are some fun improvised structures in there that are very fun. Some of the structures they’ve done are in older shows too. Kiley does a really funny improvised structure that I had never seen before until the opening of the show and I laughed so hard tears were streaming down my face.
C: Ah, it’s great working here. Do you have any pet peeves when you’re in the theater?
A: In the theater? I wouldn’t call it a peeve, but I get a little frustrated when people don’t ask enough questions about what the show is and they bring little kids down. Especially since I’m a teacher - we clean up the show a little bit if we see a kid in the audience, but sometimes we don’t see them right away. I always feel a little guilty because I don’t want to give kids and education that their parents aren’t looking for them to have right in that moment. So I guess that’s my pet peeve, but it really can’t be helped I think.
C: It’s kind of on them. If they don’t like it, they can leave - but they usually don’t. I see the parents get surprised sometimes but they stay. Most of the material goes right over the kid’s heads anyway.
A: It’s true. There was a girl in the front row yesterday, did you see her? There was a little girl right front and center, so cute, and she was laughing so hard at all the funny parts. I was like oh man, this is a smart little girl.
C: What about a real life pet peeve? Something that really grinds your gears, day to day.
A: I was talking to Andy this morning about something that bugs me a ton: when people try to pronounce words the way they are said in their native country. My dad would do this thing where if he wanted to order a croissant, at a Dunkin Donuts in New Hampshire, he would say - “oh yeah, she’ll have a bagel with cream cheese and I’ll have a *French accent* CROISSANT.” Like, why? And it wasn’t a bit! He was doing it seriously. He would say the word “basil” weird too. I hate when people try really hard. I had this ex, we used to go to this Greek restaurant, and he’d be like, “may I please have the HEE-RO?” and the waiter, who was Greek, would be like, “the gyro? You mean the gyro?” And he’d be like “oh, yeah.” It bugs me when people do that. Like, guys, let’s all agree that we live in America and we don’t really know. We’re all trying.
C: What’s the strangest or weirdest thing that you’ve ever seen happen at Improv Asylum?
A: There was a couple that made out throughout an entire House Teams show. Like, the whole time! They made out the whole time! I was sitting with Rosena, and she was like, wow. We just kept waiting for them to come up for air and they didn’t. They stayed in their seats during intermission and made out for that too. And it never progressed further than making out. We were also looking for that, but they just made out the whole time!
C: Ew! How old were they?
A: Old enough to know better.
C: There was a couple making out for almost the entire show yesterday as well.
A: Ew, guys!
C: I see that all the time. I see some gross stuff when I’m ushering. I sit behind the patrons, so I see where everyone’s hands are going.
A: I guess that’s how you know it’s love, when you do it at Improv Asylum. In the audience. In front of a lot of people.
C: Anyway, what’s your favorite part of Boston?A: I’ve lived in the same place since I moved to Boston six years ago, and I love my living room. It’s my favorite place to cry! I love the people I live with, and I love when people come over. We have a bunch of board games and puzzles, we have a grill that’s really nice. I love being home. I love the city of Boston too but, I really like hanging out with people.
July 20, 2016 - Cool as a cucumber.
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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?
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.