Monday, January 12, 2004
Buy This Book
America's foremost improvisational comedy director and teacher, Mick Napier, has written a book on scenic improvisation, Improvise: Scene from the Inside Out. Go to the Annoyance Productions website and buy this book through their Amazon link program. I saw a draft copy about 18 months ago, and it's a solid distillation of the Annoyance philosophy in Mick's inimitable style.
For those of you who don't know who Annoyance is, read Whose Improv Is It Anyway?. They're responsible for much of the improv resurgence in the 1990s, as well as such cultural phenomena as "The Real Live Brady Bunch" (though they try to downplay that for obvious reasons). Their signature show was "Co-ed Prison Sluts." The most recognizable actors you'll see are Andy Richter and Jon Favreau, but their influence on improv, sketch, and late night comedy is much greater than the names of actors who have "made it."
If you want to see him in action, go to Second City's site and buy a copy of Second to None, which documents him directing the revue, "Paradigm Lost." "Paradigm" was the first Second City show I saw in person, and it featured current SNL cast members Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch, Conan O'Brien writer Kevin Dorff, Scott Adsit (who you will recognize in the Honda SUV commercials as the guy who's sniffing the wolf and goes chasing after an antelope, reprising a character from that show), the amazing Susan Messing (an ImprovOlympic instructor and Annoyance legend), and (former?) MadTV writer Jim Zulevic.
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