Improv Can Help People With Anxiety and Depression

An article from the Fix.com talks about how improv can play a role in making a judgement free zone for others. "...It’s important to set up an environment where people can make mistakes without judgment, which makes them more adventurous and less afraid of failure."

A part of our philosophy is creating a safe space. Go Comedy strives to be safe, supportive, and inclusive. Everyone has different reasons for immersing their lives in improv. We welcome the opportunity to help, and there is no obligation to disclose your reasoning to be here. So if you're still on the fence, consider taking a class and see where it takes you.

Posted on January 3, 2018 .

DuFort & Peacock, Detroit & Chicago

We ask Nate DuFort and Adam Peacock, two Detroit good ol' boys who moved to Chicago to make their place at The Second City, about their personal paths, the differences between the DET and CHI improv scenes, and what they're up to now.

(Spoiler - the call is coming from inside the neighbor's house...)

Where are you from? 

AP: I'm from Allen Park, Michigan.
ND: Plymouth, Michigan.
AP: AP from the AP, baby. So, it makes sense that I pretty much base all of my characters on Juggalos, that style of person. Does that sound terrible?
ND: Of course it does (laughing). And I think Plymouth has influenced me in that it’s a balance of blue collar and culture which definitely gave birth to my aesthetic and work ethic. I’m either giving Plymouth or myself too much credit there for sure.  

Where did you work/perform in Detroit? 

ND: We both came up in the Second City Detroit training center system when it was downtown.
AP: Then I was your stage manager with you and Timmy (Tim Robinson) on Tour Co.
ND: That’s right. I feel awful, but we tortured you. We were awful. Great company though – Tim Robinson, Jaime Moyer, Quintin Hicks, PJ Jacokes, Brett Guennel toured with us, Tiffany Jones.
AP: Yup and then the Ant.
ND: Planet Ant was like home to both of us.
AP: The Home Team,  we did the original comedies there.
ND: How many of those did you do?
AP: I don’t know, five or six.
ND: That sounds high. You’re definitely exaggerating.
AP: I don’t know. Does it really sound exaggerated?
ND: (laughs) and then I ran the film fest. It’s so important to have a home base like that and I imagine that’s how a lot of people feel about Go now.
AP: It’s gone now, but Improv Inferno was big for a lot of us. The Damnation Game and Eye Candy with PJ, Chris, Timmy and Tim McKendrick.

What took you to Chicago? 

ND: I was running Second City Novi and then when the partnership at Second City and the Novi venue was ending I was hired in Chicago to produce so I made the jump.
AP: For me, Second City closed and I didn't really know what else to do here in Detroit you know and I wanted to try it out of Chicago because they were supposed to be the best.  And so I wanted to go up there and see if I can hang with those guys and Timmy and Sam were out there, you were out there – a bunch of people. So I went.

What did you do in Chicago? 

ND: You go first.
AP: Yeah, I did a handful of ships for Second City, I understudied Timmy on the Mainstage for what like six months?
ND: Yeah.
AP: After that I joined Blue Co (one of the Second City’s Touring Companies) , did a lot of the shows in the UP Theatre, Theatricals and improv shows and then did a six week run at Wooly Mammoth in D.C.
ND: And my story was that I was the Producer of Second City’s Theatricals division and the Producing Director of the Touring Companies and some weeks was producing up to 105 performances weekly. That’s a lot of comedy. Some of the cooler things I did was produce the show we did with Lyric Opera with Renee Fleming and Sir Patrick Stewart and then led the producing team for the Second City partnership in the collaboration with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. I was really lucky to have been on those shows and work with that amazing talent.
AP: Relax.
ND: Fair enough.

What are some major differences between the Detroit and Chicago improv scenes? 

AP: This one's really tough to answer.
ND: For sure. Well, even though the Detroit scene has grown significantly since we've been here it still seems like it's one big family. And it’s a family that you’re part of forever. I know that even now when I walk into a theater in this scene it feels like I’m going to see my favorite people in the world.
AP: Totally. I think the biggest thing and correct me if I'm wrong, but like there's more opportunity in Chicago because of the industry.  
ND: Yeah I think that's a huge difference. If you hustle you can make a career in Chicago just playing and teaching.
AP: In Detroit that’s less true, but the difference is everyone here (in Detroit) does it for love.
ND: Exactly. That’s huge.  And there’s less pressure here because of who might be in the audience that can hire you for this gig or that gig so it doesn’t seem like you’re auditioning all of the time.

Do you have any advice for Detroit improvisers looking to move to NY, LA, or Chicago? 

ND: My advice is really that Detroiters are everywhere. The best advice for people who want to move out of the city is to reach out to the people that have done it before you. When I visit Los Angeles those are always the first people I reach out to – old castmates, directors, teachers, people I look up to…and so far every single person I've ever reached out to has been so giving so accommodating.  I just recommend making sure you have a strong base of people and don’t forget that building a career takes years. There’s nothing that will kill you faster than expecting things to happen overnight.
AP: Yeah, you know it's a pretty tight knit community so I wouldn't be afraid to reach out to anybody and just ask them for some advice. I mean, reach out to one of us for sure and we’ll happily share all of our failures.

What projects are you working on now? 

AP: We have the podcast My Neighbors Are Dead.
ND: Adam interviews side characters from horror films with some of our favorite improvisors.
AP: TJ (TJ & Dave’s TJ Jagodowski), Katie (SNL’s Katie Rich), Tim Ryder (MST3K), Brendan Dowling, Asher Perlman, Blaine Swen (Improvised Shakespeare Co.).
ND: Susan Messing and Rachael Mason, so many great players. Jaime Moyer.
AP: Totally. And then I’m just focusing more on writing solo sketch material.
ND: And I have another podcast called Midstream and a few more coming out this summer. 

 Adam Peacock, Nate DuFort, Jaime Moyer

Adam Peacock, Nate DuFort, Jaime Moyer

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Listen to My Neighbors Are Dead here and check out Midstream here

Posted on June 16, 2017 .

Failing an Audition

by Michelle Giorlando

“You will SO get cast. You’re so funny! They’d be crazy not to cast you.”

Back in 2010, I was a fresh-faced improviser with a year of Second City classes and then a year of writing, rehearsing and putting up a show under my belt. Auditions for the newest Go launch group were coming up, and I kept hearing endless variations of the above. I was flattered, and I had an inkling that my friends were right; improv happened to be pretty much the only area in my life where I had some self-confidence. I knew I was a decent improviser, and I was looking forward to acing my audition and showing them what I could offer.

Audition day came, and I nailed it. I had pored over Pj’s audition tips (which I highly recommend reading) and I was ready for it. The line game was great, my scenes went really well, and I even got brought out to do an additional scene. When it was finished, I went to the WAB with the rest of the auditioners, and I felt fantastic. We’d been told we’d get a phone call by 5:00 p.m. the following Friday if we made it.

I wasn’t even worried – I knew I made it.

(Everyone knows where this is going. Even my friend’s fetus knows where this is going.)

I totally didn’t make it.

To further add a thrill, that Friday, I was departing on a cruise with my friends, and we were pulling out of port at 5. I had my phone in my hand all afternoon, and when 5 came and went, I lost it. Incidentally, if you’ve never tried hiding an hours-long sobbing fit on a dirty Carnival cruise ship, you are missing something from your life. My friends were sympathetic, but I had to work hard to pull myself together and not ruin the next three days. It was so hard. I just kept going over and over the audition in my mind, wondering what I’d done wrong.

It took me some time and distance to realize I hadn’t done anything wrong. I simply wasn’t the right fit.

It’s hard not to take it personally.

It’s hard not to wonder, “Why did SHE make it and I didn’t?”

It’s hard to realize you spent money on classes and went through a whole program and didn’t make it.

It’s hard not to rant on Facebook.

It’s hard not to look at the auditioners and wonder what the hell they were thinking.

It’s hard not to feel like you deserved to make it.

It’s hard to look at yourself and realize that maybe you have more learning to do or experience to get or life to live before you’re ready to be cast.

It’s hard to stomach that 90 people might audition each time, but only a dozen or so move on and you might never get cast.

There are a thousand reasons you might not be cast. None of them are that you are a garbage person and should quit, so please don’t quit.

Find people you like to improvise with and form a troupe. Hire a coach to get you going and give you notes and advice. Play with a wide variety of people. Play the jams. Enter tournaments. Take a workshop. Go to improv camp. Go see shows. Check out other theaters. Write sketches. Play 1001 in the car on your way to work. Hang out in the lobby. Hang out with your non-improv friends and remember that the world is bigger than this.

One of my favorite things about improv is the fact that it’s so fleeting. Once it’s done, it’s done. We don’t generally film it and re-watch our scenes over and over and dissect them. Once your audition is done, let it move behind you. It’s so tempting to analyze every word or movement, but once it’s done, it’s done. No matter what the outcome is, there’s always something else beyond it.

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Michelle has been improvising for nine years, and is a teacher and Resident Company cast member at Go Comedy. Her lifelong dreams were finally realized when she got to play both a princess and Laura Ingalls Wilder in a sketch show.

Posted on May 25, 2017 .