TV’s Neil Flynn (Pt. 2)

Neil Flynn (The Fugitive, Mean Girls, Scrubs, The Middle) returns to talk about how he manages to work both sides of the acting street: comedic and dramatic, improvised and scripted. A theatre vet, Neil marvels at the times he’s been allowed to frequently act onscreen in 4-5 page scenes (something that rarely happens), and shares the reasons he doesn’t do many talk shows; the bites he’s gotten to take out of dramatic apples; the best business decision he ever made; how basketball led to his role of the Janitor on Scrubs; the joy of getting lucky twice; and his absolute satisfaction about his place on the showbiz ladder. (Length 18:52)

Phony Winning Musical

Laura Hall (from TV’s “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?”) discusses Phony Award Winning, the improvised musical comedy inspired by classic musicals that she co-created and which performs Sunday nights at the IO Theater in Chicago. Laura, who got her start at Chicago’s Second City and Annoyance theaters, reveals how her early training and connections led to this exciting new improvisational form. Laura shares which other musicals they’re considering for future performances (and why none of them will be Hamilton); how the cast is flexible enough to swap roles every performance; the extent to which doing televised improv differs from doing it onstage; how to make audiences completely relaxed right at the top of the show; the exciting motivation to see the show more than once; and how improvising in the language, style, and tropes of different musicals offers fun and specific new challenges. (Length 21:15)

Adam Felber: Memoirist

Improviser, novelist, TV writer, podcast host, panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me, and now memoirist Adam Felber is the co-author, with Charles Band, of Confessions of a Puppetmaster: A Hollywood Memoir of Ghouls, Guts, and Gonzo Filmmaking, and he discusses the extraordinary life he’s helped document; how he makes sure his writing is entertaining; his foray into the multi-podcast-verse; how his career has progressed in ways he didn’t anticipate; the futility of thinking one can “win” showbiz; the rewards of jamming with local dads; his ongoing adventures in writing for television; and, ultimately, how a bullshitter knows a bullshitter. FEATURING: a special appearance from Mr. Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me himself, Peter Sagal! (Length 17:09)

Everything Is Theatre

Richard ET White is the former artistic director of the Eureka Theatre in San Francisco, Wisdom Bridge Theatre in Chicago, and the outgoing and longest-serving chair of the Cornish College of the Arts Theatre Department in that institution’s 103-year-old history. Richard was also an acting and directing teacher at the University of California Drama Department where many RSC members got their early training. RSC co-artistic director Austin Tichenor talks with his former professor about how theatre can be anything and everywhere; how comedy about serious issues from the San Francisco Mime Troupe became life-changing; the influence of Richard Schechner and the Performance Group; sneering at prosceniums; what people forget about Brecht; the value of immaturity; the immediacy of improv; the storytelling and performance art of stand-up; being both expansive and inclusive; the value of sharing your lived experience; and how you want theatre to have the visceral impact of a great rock concert. (Length 24:06)

Rachel Dratch Thanksgiving

Old friend (and Thanksgiving bestie) Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live) joins us for this very special 14th Anniversary episode! Rachel shares holiday memories; how she’s navigated her career; and reveals who she always associates with Abba’s “Dancing Queen;” the opportunities she’s had and the ones she’s fought for; how she’s drawn to more comedic roles than dramatic ones; how she’s made peace with the uncertainties of an acting career; the creation (with Paula Pell) of Debbie Downer (left); a shout-out to John Cariani and the late lamented Broadway-bound musical Minsky’s!; obscure silver dishes; a very special holiday meet-cute; doing Love’s Labors Lost with Shakespeare in the Park; and the glorious power of mid-level fame! (Length 22:22)

Here Are Frangela

Frances Callier and Angela V. Shelton, better known as Frangela, host the essential funny political podcast The Final Word and this Saturday night September 26, 2020, are performing as part of Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour, appearing right in your living room (on your computer)! Frances and Angela talk about how they joined comedy forces and share tips about the importance of using your voices; bringing the funny to the people; mutual Second City origins; memories of the TBS pilot The Week Reduced; the myth of world hunger; finding comic angles; possible spoilers to Star Trek: Discovery, the valuable bond of having opinions about everything; the importance of remembering that we have options and things don’t need to be this way; and the cathartic release of breaking crockery. (Length 22:04)

Standup Vs. Improv

Liz Allen is an improviser and teacher who, among other things, coached the improv team in Mike Birbiglia’s film Don’t Think Twice. Liz’s trip to the Mayo Clinic became an existential crisis that caused her to reflect on her work and career, and she shares with us her revelations about angels on earth, comedy with a purpose, misdiagnoses, spontaneous jokes, enriching laughs, weird complications, having a face for comedy, surviving a long night of the soul, embracing life lessons, coaching movie actors, the surprising spiritual element of joke-telling, and best of all: solid endocrine humor! (Length 20:10)

Episode 555. The Improv Nerd

”Jimmy Carrane is an improviser, teacher, and creator/host of “The Improv Nerd with Jimmy Carrane” Podcast, and last week he sat down with me on a beautiful Chicago morning to chat with me about his improv and performing philosophies. Featuring great teaching tools, the value of details and specificity vs. frantic Read more…

Episode 515. Baby Wants Candy

”Baby Wants Candy creates a completely improvised musical at every performance based on a single audience suggestion, and Tim Sniffen is one of its featured players in addition to being a playwright and parodist. Tim talks about what goes into creating musicals on the spot, his latest Wagner parody, whether improv Read more…

Episode 506. Shakespeare In China

”In July 2016, we taught theatre workshops and directed a reduced version of Midsummer Night’s Dream in Beijing, China. Hosted by Tin House Productions, who is producing our three-week Chinese tour later this year, we worked with a fantastic group of kids as well as (for one night) a large group of Read more…

Episode 466. Creating ‘Improv Zombies’

”Creating shows using improv is not something the RSC does, but Reed Martin has used the Second City model to devise with his students a new show called Improv Zombies From Hell at Napa Valley College. With one weekend left in the run, Reed talks about how the show came together, using Read more…

Episode 372. There’s Always One

”Even in the middle of a hugely successful run like we had at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (where our production of The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) sold more single tickets than any production in their 2014-2015 season except for A Christmas Carol), there will be at least one Read more…

Episode 370. Meeting Mike McShane

Let’s ring in the new year with an old friend! Improv legend (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) and TV (Doctor Who; Brotherly Love) and film (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; A Bug’s Life) veteran Mike McShane talks about his wildly eventful life and shares tales about the differences between improv Read more…

Episode 357. Outtakes And Extras

”In many of our interviews, the conversations will veer into territories that are either off-topic or cut for time. This week get to hear two of those conversations. Reed Diamond (from Homicide, Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing etc.) talks about the supposed risk and definite importance of improvisation, and how helpful Read more…

Episode 351. A.D.D Comedy Podcast

”Our month-long block of comedy-themed podcasts continues this week with a conversation with Improv guru, performer, teacher, improviser’s improviser and RSC alum David Razowsky, who hosts (with Ian Foley) the A.D.D. Comedy Podcast, where he talks to some of the most interesting folks working in comedy today: Folks like Stephen Read more…

Episode 342. ‘Bible’ Down Under

”Finally! We return to Australia, with RSC veterans Michael Faulkner, Jerry Kernion, Mick Orfe, and Dominic Conti performing The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) in Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane, and Sydney. This week, playwrights and directors Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor chat with original cast member Matt Croke about putting together the original Read more…

Episode 328. Our Reduced Workshops

”In addition to performing our shows around the world, we teach theatre workshops in many of the various communities where we appear. This week we talk about the various workshops we offer and discuss the importance of listening, how you can book a Reduced Shakespeare Company Workshop in your community, Read more…

Episode 316. Favorite 12 ‘Days’

”In The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged), we take suggestions for things to replace the lords-a-leaping, maids-a-milking, and other assorted animals featured in the song “The 12 Days of Christmas”, and this week we share some of the favorites we’ve received. Featuring awkward silences, gift statistics, acceptable gifts when you come Read more…

Episode 218. City of Champions

”Even though the Steelers didn’t win Super Bowl XLV, Pittsburgh is still a city of champions. Specifically, Quidditch champions. We talk to a couple of their players, and answer questions about improv, play development, and why we have to do so much gosh-darn running. (MP3. Length 17:52)