Tag Archives: iO theatre

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!

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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

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

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

PythonProv Rising!

…You may recall that I’ve been teaching PythonProv–where Monty Python and Improv come together–at the iO Chicago theatre recently. My Level 2 class is wrapping things up in a big way–with a free show this Friday night at 7 pm in the Jason Chin Cabaret at the iO.

This one is going to be fun, folks, and a great way for the class to go out in a blaze of glory. You’re all invited. End of commercial.

Remembering Del…

Del Close died 17 years ago today, March 4, 1999, less than 24 hours after his farewell party.

He taught us a better way of life through improvisation, he showed us how to die, and he certainly knew how to edit.

There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t think of something Del said or did, or that I don’t share something with my students.

Just last weekend, after they did a scene about a living person at his own wake, I had to tell my PythonProv class that Del had done it first. Coincidentally, they will be on stage tonight at the Chris Farley Cabaret at the iO, doing work that I taught them to do because Del taught me to do it first.

If you’re an improviser and were lucky enough to know Del, tell someone a Del story. If you didn’t, then find someone who knew Del and ask them. (And if you can’t do either, then I would opportunistically suggest you look through a copy of The Funniest One in the Room.)

If Del was still here, he would be very happy–though probably not surprised–at the way that long form improvisation has continued to grow, and very proud of the way that Charna and so many others have carried on his work.

#delclose #iochicago #improvimage

More Python Classes

Graham Colonel

I’m sorry I’ve been posting less often lately (most of my posts seem to begin this way), but, among other things, I’ve been devoting a lot of my formerly free time to my Python classes at the iO Chicago. And it’s been a blast. To paraphrase something that Graham Chapman once told me, “I don’t let them know how much fun I’m having or they won’t want to pay me.”
Both sessions are winding up; my writing class, The Python Process, will be wrapping up with a staged reading on February 21 at 7 pm at the Chris Farley Theatre at the iO. This group has been turning out some incredibly funny material, week after week, and the audience is going to have a great time. My improv class, PythonProv, will be performing beginning at 7 pm February 26 in the same space, and this one will be just as funny.
Improvising in the style of @montypython is not the easiest thing in the world, and we may be the first group that’s made a serious attempt at it. And it’s going so well that we’re not going to let it drop after this session ends. And that’s why we’re going to continue on to a second level of PythonProv with the same group.
So why am I telling you all this if you aren’t in the group? Because we’re launching another session of PythonProv Level One classes beginning on Sunday, February 28. I don’t want to tell you how we do it, but I’ll give you one hint: while doing a long form improvisation, we chip away at everything that doesn’t look like #montypython. And it’s working!
If you’re interested, contact the iO Chicago. If you like Monty Python and improvising, you’re going to have a blast.

Del’s Rolling Stone debut…

If you read my Del Close biography The Funniest One in the Room, you probably know that this is the 50th anniversary of Lysergic a Go Go, which preceded the first Acid Test by one week.

Del Book cover

The former was a happening organized by Del and Hugh Romney (later Wavy Gravy), and it’s finally being recognized by the historians. Well, okay, Rolling Stone, but still, this was nice to see. sic/news/acid-tests-turn-50-wavy-gravy-merry-prankster-ken-babbs-look-back-20151130

This was very likely the first psychedelic light show; Del liked to say that he invented them, and there’s no reason to think that he didn’t. BTW, many years ago, he gave me the lantern that he used for the light shows, and somewhere or another, I still have it…

 

For those of you who have been asking what some of my incredibly talented classes have been up to: well, this is what some of my incredibly talented classes have been up to.

Yes, the next step for my Python Process class at the iO Chicago appears to be videos, specifically, writing sketches and then recording them. My class is called Sketch to Video, and signup is about to begin. Get ready…

Python Process Redux…

I’m always a little uncomfortable blowing my own horn here, but I’m about to start another session of iO Chicago classes. The ever-popular Python Process class, gets under way Sunday, May 3 at 12 noon, and spots in the class are disappearing faster than…well you can insert your own joke here. Students will learn about the Monty Python approach to sketch writing, with a heavy emphasis on re-writing and collaborating. But if you’re a Python fan–or even if you don’t think you are–you’ll enjoy watching classic videos, rare pre-Python clips, exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes stories . Want to know what it was like backstage when the Pythons played the Hollywood Bowl? What a visit from Graham Chapman was like? What I learned from years working for John Cleese? I’ll tell you what I remember (and that’s going to be getting less and less as the years go by, so this is a good time to find out). This class sells out every time, so if you haven’t signed up yet, I wouldn’t wait.

And then, I’m going to be teaching a brand new class, also on May 3, starting at 3 pm. If you’ve taken The Python Process or the iO’s great SNL sketch-writing class, I hope you’ll consider my Sketch to Video Process class. This is aimed at people who have experience writing sketches, but then want to take it to the next level by recording them. Want to learn how to shoot and edit videos with your smartphone (or more sophisticated equipment) edit the results, and post them on-line–or compile your own video portfolio? This is the place! Get in on the ground floor by signing up here for the¬†Sketch to Video Process!