The Apiary


Advertise on the NYC BlogAds Network.


Syndicate this site (XML)

Site built and designed by

Logo designed by Tim Bierbaum

Video of the Day
Eleven Heads on 11/11 | Koren Ensemble
Fanatical About

Entries in Improv (39)


The Most Intense Improv Class Ever

Not sure if this is a typo, but the UCBT is offering what appears to be the most intensive Improv 101 class ever devised. For one week in August, 16 students will put their bodies on the line and improvise for AN UNHEARD OF 7 HOURS A DAY. Someone will die!



RuBin is Binu Paulose & Ruby Marez | Photo: Jeremy Bales

  • THE PLUG: Don't miss "RuBin"(Binu Paulose & Ruby Marez), happening TONIGHT @ 7PM at The Magnet Theater | $5

Wanna plug? E-mail me photo & credit. And join our flickr group. Send 10 days in advance.



Veal | Photo: New York Musical Improv Festival

  • THE PLUG: Don't miss Veal, performing TONIGHT @ 10PM at The Players Theater (115 MacDougal Street) | $5

Wanna plug? E-mail me photo & credit. And join our flickr group. Send 10 days in advance.


Lost Del Close Interview From the 80's Found

Via Justin Purnell:

Check out this interview with Del, actually shot by Brian Stack in 1986 for a local Chicago public access channel. So sayeth Stack:
I'm proud to say I shot this 'interview' the summer I first started taking improv classes at IO back in ‘86. I was an intern at a local public access cable company that summer. Due to my technical incompetence, I had the camera set on 'monitor' so it came out in B&W. I also cringe when I hear my dorky voice-over. I’m glad people enjoy seeing it anyway, and I’ll always be grateful to Del for doing it.



Photo: George Kareman

 Wanna plug? E-mail me photo & credit. And join our flickr group. Send 10 days in advance.



The PIT's 4th annual SketchProv tournament kicks off this Sunday at 5PM. Sketch and improv teams will vie not only for a $2,500 prize purse, but also a considerable boost to their comedy careers.

Lucas Kavner, one half of last year's winner Swords, said: "We got a few meetings with casting people after the tournament, but more importantly, Swords was just starting out as a group at the time and it really inspired us to keep going." He added: "The final round proved to be really amazing for us -- having 10 minutes to come up with a basic structure based on one idea and then improvising around it. That was some of the most fun I had on stage last year."

What is SketchProv?
Improv teams and sketch teams will compete in rounds of competition that will challenge them at the craft they know best. For groups that make it past round one, improv teams will do improv AND sketch, sketch teams will do sketch AND improv. Teams that advance to the finals will try their hand at SketchProv, using the Second City routine called "The Pad."

Here's a quick guide to some of the hot tournament match-ups next week (full disclosure: I will be competing in this tournament with improv team Borealis):

SUN, SEPT 19 @ 5PM (prelim sketch round)
Audience of Two vs. Peoples Sketch Association: The 2008 SketchProv winners Ao2 take on Peoples Sketch Association. Two years later, and Ao2 are still reaping tournament success, having recently performed at the Out of Bounds Festival in Austin, Texas, and soon heading westwardly for Seattle SketchFest. But expect PSA to trot out some smart, edgy comedy; last year they did this restaurant scene that had a fishbowl drink and Mexican sombreros. Then a remote-control car did a walk-on. It was tits.

SUN, SEPT 19 @ 8PM (prelim improv round)
Jen+Steve vs. We're Matt Weir: These two improv duos from The PIT and Magnet theaters, respectively, are sure to bring their A-games. Jen+Steve have home-court advantage, but We're Matt Weir have identical-name advantage. Which is pretty g.d. incredible.

MON, SEPT 20 @ 10PM (prelim improv round)
Doppelganger vs. Dave & Ethan: Improv talk-of-the-town Doppelganger have this magical thing they do in scenes where one player will hang a sharp turn and the other two will just lean into that shit so hard they Tokyo Drift -- it's sick. Meanwhile, Dave & Ethan share their own special dynamic that sometimes results in Dave making out with Kiwi fruit. But expect these guys to dig deep for the truth in their scenes; I fear someday they'll get trapped like those Pennsylvania coal miners. Only it'll be an awesome tragedy.

--SketchProv runs all week at The Peoples Improv Theater from SUN, SEPT 19, to SAT, SEPT 25. Buy advance tickets for the final round here or a festival pass here.



Nicole Byer, Keisha Zollar and Sasheer Zamata are Doppleganger | Photo: Keith Huang

By: Lucas Hazlett

Every year the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre hosts Cagematch, a long-running improv competition where UCB Harold teams and indie groups compete head-to-head with the winner determined by audience votes. So far this season, a triumvirate of ladies (Nicole Byer, Sasheer Zamata and Keisha Zollar) called Doppelganger have made a name for themselves by defeating a pair of UCB Harold teams and accumulating the fourth highest "Votes Per Show" margin in the tournament's history. I spoke with the ladies about their Cagematch experience and what it's like to be a black women in the predominantly white, male New York City-improv scene.

How did you guys meet and form Doppelganger?
SASHEER: We met last year through the [UCB] diversity program. Nicole and I had the same mentor [Christine Nangle]. I met Keisha through the diversity meetings as well. After Harold team auditions we were all texting each other, "Did you make it? Did you make it?" [ed's note: They didn't]. We started talking about getting more active and doing more shows.

What's the origin of your name?
KEISHA: Originally our name was "Rainy Boots." I think what happened is we each had a story about being mistaken for each other. I thought it would be funny to call ourselves Doppelganger because the only reason we were mistaken for each other is we're black girls who do improv!

Most teams in the UCB community perform the Harold or whatever form is en vogue, which lately seems to be monoscenes. What do you guys do in your shows?
SASHEER: We do a Deconstruction with organic transitions. [Our coach] Ashley Ward saw us do [an improv exercise called "Follow the Follower"] and she was like, "Why don't you just do that in your show?"
KEISHA: The most important thing for us is that we have fun and have fun with each other...organically.

What were your thoughts when you defeated a UCB house team in your first CageMatch appearance?
NICOLE (laughing): I was really excited because I don't think anyone anticipated us doing it. And I don't think anyone thought we were going to win by the amount we won by [Doppleganger def. Badman, 97-63]. It meant a lot to me personally because three of the team members were my coaches for a long time. It was nice to show them that they did teach me well.
KEISHA: Someone actually said to me, "When I first saw you three black girls step on stage I thought you could never be funny, and then when you killed it, I had nothing but respect for you."

How has being black and female helped, hurt or frustrated your experiences in classes and performing?
SASHEER: It has hindered people from saying certain things to me as a character, or they will say it but they won't realize what they're saying. I was in a scene where a Hitler class president was classifying people in groups, "We'll put the blacks over there and the Jews over here." As soon as he said that everybody in the front row looked at me. I was like, "I'm not even in the scene! Calm down!"
NICOLE: I don't think being black or a woman has hindered me, or helped me, only because I'm so aggressive I make myself the man most of the time. I play dudes most of the time and I very rarely play black people. Except for once in 101, someone named me Bo'quetha but then I was like "Hey Buffonda," so we were both black people. [Everyone laughs].
KEISHA: Being a part of a female group of strong black women has really helped me to see that my voice is just as valid. If there can be all male groups, why can't I be in an all black female group?

What would your ideal community look like if it were perfectly diverse?
NICOLE: Like a bag of Special Edition M&Ms.

 -- Lucas is a comedy geek who improvises with anyone he can. He can be seen Sat, July 24, with Nobody's Token at The UCBT-NY.


Diamond Lion @ UCBT-NY - 7.12.10

Eliza Skinner & Mike Still (and "Beeper" the Moustache) | Photo: Keith Huang

By: Lucas Hazlett

Last night's Diamond Lion show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre was a hilarious sampling of unusual worlds as explored by improvisers who perform regularly with legendary musical troupe Baby Wants Candy.

Somewhere between Eliza Skinner's mastery of the musical form and Thomas Middleditch's inspired lunacy exist a recently shaved mustache in search of adventure, Seinfeld porn, calendars blocked off for "Sandwich Week," and rapping bar patrons reminiscing about the weird accoutrements (nipple tassles and monkey feet!) left behind by their erstwhile fathers. All set to song. Amazing.

-- Lucas is a comedy geek who improvises with anyone he can. He can be seen Fri, July 16, guesting with Centralia at The Peoples Improv Theatre, and also performing with Nobody's Token at The UCBT-NY on July 24.