Tag Archives: improvisation

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.

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.”

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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!

Sunday Night Pythons Live in a Van…

Baron's B reunion

A couple of cheap laughs–actually, they’re free!–are coming up if you’re in the Chicago area in June.

You may already know that I teach at the iO Chicago. Well, this session, I’ve been teaching two writing classes.

The first, for the great Michael McCarthy’s Comedy Lab, is an SNL Sketch Packet class, designed so that at the end of our eight week session, the students will have a packet of sketches ready to send out to seek representation.

The second class is my Python Process class, in which I teach my students how to use the methods used by Monty Python to write sketches more efficiently and more creatively.

At the end of our eight week sessions, each class will be casting and directing a staged reading in the Chris Farley Cabaret at the iO Theatre. And those days are almost here!

This Sunday night, June 12, we will be presenting “Pythons in a Van” at 7 pm. We auditioned and cast our actors for this show yesterday and, honestly, I’ve never heard this much laughter from a group of jaded actors reading student sketches. This is going to be very funny.

And next Sunday at 7 pm, June 19, we will be presenting “Sunday Night Live,” featuring our talented writers and an amazing cast doing some equally funny sketches in the style of SNL.It’s a wonderful mixture of writers and performers that range from a very talented high school student writer to my old pal and fellow Baron’s Barracudas member Bill Russell, who keeps getting funnier and funnier as he gets older and older, and is sidesplittingly hilarious in these shows.

And the best part is, you’re all invited. It is absolutely free.

Come and laugh.

And by the way, if you like what you see, I’ll be teaching two more classes starting Sunday June 19. The first is Talk Show Packet for Michael McCarthy, and if you show up and do the work, at the end of the eight weeks, you will have a packet of material and know how and where to submit it.

The second, for improvisers, is a session of PythonProv, in which we used Monty Python to affect our longform improv. My last group did a series of four shows at the iO, doing some pretty amazing work. If you’d like to be a part of it–for either class–be sure to contact the iO at classes@ioimprov.com. End of commercial.

io Old sign

My pal Homer

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Honored to join the ranks of The Simpsons pop culture references last night!

Thanks for the shout-out, Homer (and the whole Simpsons gang)!