Category Archives: Improv

PythonProv and the Python Process

My Python Process writing class and PythonProv improvisation classes at the iO Chicago are getting ready for their graduation shows, and I couldn’t be prouder. If you want to see why I’m so happy with them, stop by the Jason Chin Cabaret at 7 pm at the iO Tuesday, April 18 for PythonProv, and next Sunday night at 7 pm at the Chris Farley Cabaret at the iO. You will laugh.

Happy Birthday Del

Del Book coverDel BlobDel Close would have been 83 years old today.

I think he’d be pretty happy.

The new iO theatre building is attracting students and audiences from all over the world, and Charna is continuing to carry on his work.

Long form improvisation is still growing in popularity every year, and has become accepted as a legitimate entertainment in its own right, and more than just a way to develop sketches (which was always his goal).

There’s even a movie under way loosely based on his life.

So happy birthday, my friend. You are indeed a gift that keeps on giving.

 

School’s In…

If you’ve been putting off taking classes at the iO Chicago, wait no further. A new session is starting, and if you’re not careful, you may even find yourself in one of my classes. Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6:30, I’ll be teaching Talk Show Packet (part of Michael McCarthy’s writing program), in which, if you put in the time and the work, you’ll find yourself with a packet of material to submit to your favorite TV talk show!

But that’s not all. Next Sunday will be the first session of both of my Monty Python-inspired classes, The Python Process and PythonProv. The former will show you how to use the same writing techniques utilized by the members of Monty Python to improve your own sketch writing. It’s a great adjunct to Michael’s SNL Sketch class, and we’ll present a show at the end of the eight-week session! And let’s not forget PythonProv, a brand new type of long form improvisation in which you’ll learn how to perform Python-influenced improv.

If you’re interested, you’ll need to contact the iO very soon to sign up, and please let me know if you have any questions.

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Terry and Terry

I know Terry Jones will be very excited and happy to see all of the well-wishes from his fans from around the world, and I’ll make sure his family is aware of them. Even though they are dealing with a lot nowadays, the outpouring of love, affection, and support is pretty incredible.

tj-hj-selfie

In the midst of the announcement of Terry’s dementia, however, another bit of sad news for Python fans may be overlooked. Terence Baylor, one of the rep company for Life of Brian, passed away this week.

I got to spend many jolly hours with Terry B on the set of Brian in Tunisia, and he couldn’t have been nicer—I’m glad I was able to interview him for my Monty Python’s Tunisian Holiday book. He appeared in numerous roles throughout the film, from Carol Cleveland’s husband in the Sermon on the Mount scene, to the crucifee who said “I’m Brian and so’s my wife.”

tb

One indication of how much the Pythons valued him was evident when keeping in mind how little the Pythons improvised on any of their projects. When we were filming the crowd scene outside Brian’s window, the crowd responds to Brian’s “You’re all different” with “Yes, we are all different.” Terry B, who was standing near John, suggested something to him, and there was a brief discussion. The next thing I knew, when the hundreds of people shouted “Yes, we are all different,” Terry raised his hand and said “I’m not.” It worked, and it stayed in the final edit. Terence Baylor had just improvised in a Python film!

The last time I saw him was at a Python anniversary party in London in 1989, where he and some of the other rep company members were commenting (and rightly so) on how good Carol Cleveland still looked. I didn’t see much of him afterward, as he was a busy working stage, film, and TV actor, as evidenced by his appearance in the first Harry Potter film. But even Harry Potter didn’t let him improvise!

A PythonProv day…

What’s better than teaching a PythonProv workshop at the iO Chicago for 16 students from around the world?

Remembering to take photos of the class so that I could have posted them here…

 

Saturday Night this Sunday!

We had a great crowd and a great show last Sunday when we presented “Pythons in a Van” at the iO Chicago as the student show for my Python Process class.

If you missed it, you have a chance to see its silly cousin, “Sunday Night Live,” at the Farley Cabaret in the iO at 7 pm this Sunday night, June 19th. Different show, a few familiar faces, and an awful lot of laughs. This is a great group of students and some terrific writing, and it’s absolutely free.

If you missed Colin Jost in town this week at Zanies, we have our own Colin Jost, sort of. And our own version of Michael Che. And pretty much doppelgangers for the whole cast (at least the ones we need, anyway). You don’t have to travel to New York, or stay up until 10:30 (and the older you get, the more appealing this will be. Trust me.). It’s the best deal in town!