I’m still a little buzzed from tonight. No, I haven’t been drinking but with all humility I can honestly say that tonight at the National Comedy Theatre, we threw down a helluva couple of shows.

Also playing tonight was Kramer, Chris, Kevin, JT, and Dan (Dan is another newbie to the group and tonight was his first show! He did a great job!).

Both shows were clicking and everything fell into place. We had a couple of really good crowds and they were into it as well. We went up there with a great cockiness (the good kind of cockiness; we went up there knowing we could do no wrong and were guaranteed to have fun and bring the audience with us for a good ride) and we brought it home. Both shows, bam, bam, one right after another.

Once in a while you have a night where you can do no wrong and tonight was definitely one of them for us. It was such a good time and an amazing experience. I’m looking forward to another great show tomorrow night, too. Bring it on!

I Am Chita Rivera

At the National Comedy Theatre there is a game we play every show called 5 Things. One of our teammates will leave the room so they can’t hear what’s going on and the ref will get 5 activities from the audience (Olympic sports, team sports, extreme sports, household chores, etc). After getting those 5 activities the ref will then go back to the audience to get substituions for those activiities. For instance, a suggestion we get a lot is Football. And instead of the ball, we will ask for something completely unlike a ball, not even sporting equipment. For example, a toaster. Then instead of playing against a football team, the ref might ask for a famous group of people to replace the football team. And we’ll get crazy replacements like that for each of the five activites. The player who left the room will then return and the rest of the team has to get the player to guess all five activities, with the replacement suggestions, but we can only use pantomime and gibberish to get the ideas across. So, we would have to get the person to play football but instead of a ball they’re using a toaster and they are playing against N Sync and the Rolling Stones. Oh yea, and we have to get the person to guess all five things in three and a half minutes.

It’s fast and furious, but it can be done. This week was a great week for 5 Things. I had a blast with it and surprised even myself at times. Friday night Chis and Virginia were on my team and Virgina was guessing. I’m not sure if I have the activity correct, but I believe we were trying to get her to guess that she was playing chess, the chess pieces were teeth, and she was playing against CHITA RIVERA. I don’t know how in the world I got her to guess Chita Rivera (no one thought she’d figure it out) but Virginia came through and she nailed it. During the same show, Chris and I had to get her to figure out she was playing soccer and she was playing against the Mormons and the Amish. Chris and I were working like madmen and Virginia got that, too! It was a blast.

Saturday night I was playing on a team with Amy and Isaac. Isaac was guessing and Amy was trying to get him to guess “Liza Minelli.” I had no idea how she was going to do it, but Amy did a great impression of Judy Garland having a baby and it was hilarious. Of course Isaac got it correct.

If you are in the NYC area on a weekend you should definitely swing by and catch a show. The upcoming schedule is listed on the front of my profile. There’s also a Valentine’s Day show coming up on the 14th and if you’d like to take some workshop classes they are coming quickly as well.

Saturday was my 20th performance with the team (I’ve been playing every Friday and Saturday night for a little over a month now) and I’m having a blast. Good times. :)

The Toilet Paper Championship of 2006

When a group of people are forced into a confined area for a set amount of time, it’s pretty amusing the games that will be created to keep everyone entertained.

At the National Comedy Theatre, the cast members stay downstairs in the basement before each show. It’s a pretty big and open space. Our call time is 6:30 each night, so we’re usually down there about 30-45 minutes before the show starts. Most of the time the guys play soccer while the girls yell at the guys for accidentally kicking the ball into their heads while they sit on the sidelines.

Last night our first show was canceled/postponed (depending on who you talk to). Chris was scheduled to be the referee for the 7:30 show and JT was on the schedule to ref the 2nd show. Because Chris claimed the first show was canceled and since JT was scheduled to ref the 9:45 show, he claimed JT should be the ref. JT claimed that the first show was only postponed and since Chris was to ref the first show, the 9:45 was technically the first show and so Chris should ref.
And what better way to settle the dispute than a good friendly competition. The rules were simple: The two guys stand at opposite ends of the basement. One of them is blindfolded and given a roll of toilet paper. The other chooses a spot and must stand there while the toilet paper roll is thrown at them. If they’re hit, then they have to ref.

Pure and simple. Sure, it’s a bit juvenile and what-have-you, but that’s how guys settle things. There was no question about it, Chris won fair and square. The rest of us had a good laugh as they continued to go back and forth blindly throwing toilet paper at each other and all was well in the universe.

Happy New Year!

Wow. Really. Wow.

That’s the only word that comes to mind. It was an amazing show last night at the National Comedy Theater‘s New Years Eve Comedy Spectacular. It was a sold-out show and there were even reports of a few people trying to sneak in to see the show.

As far as the cast goes, it was the biggest cast I’ve gotten to play with (3 against 3 with a DJ and a ref) and we all had a blast. I was in red once again. Kevin was our captain and we also had Adi on our side. We played against JT, Tyler, and Virginia in blue. Chris was the DJ and Kramer took ref duty.

The show began at 9:30 and we were off and running. The crowd was amazing. They were all truly happy to be there and every time someone sent them into a wave of laughter (and it happened quite a few times!) it was incredible. During the game of “185” I got an overwhelming response to a joke I didn’t think would go over very well and it caught me by surprise. I’m still not sure why people went nuts over it but I’m not complaining. It was a fun moment.

Faithful readers of my blog are probably tired of hearing me going on and on about how great my fellow cast members are, but I don’t care. They deserve every bit of credit and last night’s show was a model of how great they are.

After the show there was catered food and we had about a half hour to wait to ring in the new year. It was fun mingling with the people who came out to see the show and at the stroke of midnight, we all yelled and whooped accordingly.

It was a great way to start off the year; doing what I love to do with people I love doing it with.

Greetings, 2006. Let’s dance.

Playing It Again, Sam

Here comes the giddiness again! :)

I just received the schedule for this weekend’s improv shows at the National Comedy Theater and I am slated to play the shows both nights, Friday and Saturday. I’m stoked!!

The Friday shows are at 7:30 and 9:45 and of course, it’s still not too late to make reservations for the big New Year’s Eve blowout Saturday night! Tickets are going really fast for that show, so if you’re in the NY area and want to find something to do besides mingle with a billion smelly tourists* in Times Square then this is it! Check out NCT’s New Year’s Eve Comedy Blowout!! How do you know it’s going to be fun? Because there’s no set time when the fun will stop. That’s right! It’s scheduled from 9:30 to QUESTION MARK!!!!!!

Tell 2005 thanks but no thanks and ring in 2006 laughing your head off!!

*[No offense to my dear friend Edlyn, who will actually be in Times Square as a tourist that night to watch the ball drop. I assure you she is not smelly. But I also assure you that everyone else will be.]

Friday Night (A Look Back)

Simply put, Friday night was a blast.

And it went by so fast, I can hardly remember what happened just a couple of days later.

The week approaching my off-Broadway debut at the National Comedy Theater, I was pretty nervous. I don’t usually get nervous before a show (what I usually feel is probably best described as anxious), so the fact I was finding it hard to sleep on Tuesday night was a new experience.

It’s hard to say how much of it was nerves and how much of it was that familiar anxious feeling. I was just eager and excited and ready to play. I’ve been to pretty much every show since I’ve started rehearsing with them a couple of months ago and after weeks of watching some great improv week after week I wanted to jump up there and play with them.

As Friday evening rolled around I found that the closer it got to showtime, the calmer I became. It was like entering a Zen-like state without all of that annoying Zen stuff. Of course, what helped the most was knowing that I was going to be up there with a great team of people whom I knew had my back. Their support over the last few weeks has been amazing and to have that level of trust like I have with them over such a short time is a blessing I don’t take for granted.

The players scheduled for that night also included Kramer, Chris, Tyler, and Michael Jeffrey Cohen. That’s right. It was going to be a two-on-two improv competition. When I got to the theater I got word that Gary Cohen, one of the players not scheduled to be there, was going to show up to play the first show. I was stoked! Cohen has been a great support and made me feel right at home on the team and the fact that he wanted to be there to play my first show really meant a lot to me.

You know all of those shows I’ve been attending over the last few weeks just as an audience member? Well, it paid off. I played a bunch of games that night that I had never played before and I had a blast! Because I’d seen the team play them before, I had a general idea of what was supposed to happen.

It was Tyler and me in blue “against” the two Cohens in red. Kramer was the ref and Chris was the DJ (Designated Jokester). We played Emotional Symphony, Blind Line Fairy Tale, Dinner at Joe’s, Five Things, Beastie Rap, and Story. And that was just the first show.

It was a really good crowd and I experienced everything from the “deer in the headlights” to genuine laughter and it was a great ride. Afterward I told Kramer I couldn’t believe how quickly it went. Thankfully my buddy Paul was up in the sound booth taking pictures for me to help me remember what I was doing up there (I’ll post the pictures as soon as I get them from him).

The second show was a much much smaller (and quieter) crowd, but I was still riding the high from the first show so it didn’t bug me much.

All in all, I was happy. There were some things I would have done differently and some things I was happy with. I think the people who were there left the theater glad they had come and had smiles on their faces, and that’s all I ask.

Let’s keep this E-Train rolling!


Well, it’s almost here. Friday is the big day for me at the National Comedy Theatre. After months of rehearsal and then joining the performers in their rehearsals for a few weeks, this weekend is the weekend I take the stage.

I’m stoked. I’m excited. I’m nervous. And I’m also aware that a lot of the regular players are out of town for the holidays and they are in need of players for the weekend so that may be part of the reason I’m getting my shot this week as well. But I’m not complaining. My first off-Broadway production and it’s a show I am very proud to be part of.

The cast has been great to get to know and work with and it’s really cool how amazingly supportive they’ve been. It’s been an extremely welcoming vibe and after watching them on stage each weekend I am anxious to get up there and play with them. A lot of improv is about trust and it’s a team of players I know I can definitely depend on.

So here we go!!

New York State of Mind

I don’t know if this will make any sense, but I think tonight was the first time I actually felt like I lived in New York. Or maybe I should say I felt like a real New Yorker [even though Gary says I’m not a real New Yorker until I’ve seen a Yankees game].

Tonight I was with some of the guys from the National Comedy Theater and there were a few moments that felt like I was in a party scene in a Woody Allen film. That was really cool.

Afterwards Kevin, Cohen, and I were on the subway and that just felt…I don’t know, I guess it fit. Guys just on the subway hanging out after a fun evening and all was well with the universe [despite the impending MTA strike]. Combine that with Friday night when, after the show, I got to spend some time hanging out with Chris and Amy and had a blast getting to know them a little more.

Not only have I found the chance to be involved with excellent improv at the NCT, but I’ve also met some great people and am forging great friendships and conversation. Despite all that’s going on with me right now and the divorce and all that, life is pretty darn good.

Another good weekend of comedy

I gotta tell ya, I have to give it up for the gang out at the NCT. If you weren’t able to catch any of their shows this past weekend, you missed out on some great competitive improv. The second show last night was particularly rockin’. The crowd, although smaller than the crowd at the 7:30 show, was really into it and the gang (Gary K, Gary C, Chris, Andrew, Kevin, and Adi) stayed one step ahead of them the whole way. At one point I found myself laughing so hard, I was literally crying. And I wasn’t alone.

I’m looking forward to finally joining them in rehearsal on Tuesday. In the meantime, if you’re in the NYC area, come on out and see some great comedy. I’ll see you there next weekend. I’ll be the guy by himself in the audience laughing along with everyone else.