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Sick Puppies Cast Member Q&A with Tom Neile!

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Improviser, author and all-around great guy, Tom Neile is in the spotlight for this week’s cast member Q&A!

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Tell us, Tom, how did you find out about Sick Puppies Comedy?

I met Casey at a summit meeting of improv theater owners/team leaders years ago. He mentioned that he was thinking of starting an improv troupe in Boca. I live in Boca. I jumped on and volunteered to help. Been with Sick Puppies ever since.

What got you involved and interested in improv?

When I was 6, my dad sat me down in front of a tape recorder and began doing audio improv comedy with me. He wasn’t an improviser. Just a clever, funny guy. Did it in college as well, and did improv and sketch (audio) on the radio. Never really stopped doing it.

Tell us about your first improv show ever. What was it like?

The first improv that I did for an audience was on radio. My old friend and partner, Steve, and I had a late-night radio show in upstate NY. In addition to music, we also did comedy. Most of it was sketch comedy, and most was produced in the studio and prerecorded. But we started by doing Improvised stuff live on the radio. The first one of those was an interview show. He was the host and I was a guest who had invented, as I recall, fertilizer for artificial turf. That bit later became a continuing sketch.

What’s your favorite game/form of improv? Why?

Duo improv. It’s all about finding the right partner. Lennon finding McCartney. Simon finding Garfunkel. Establishing chemistry. Then creating a whole lot of stuff with just two people. I find that to be the most rewarding improv I do. It’s pure, and when done right, proves the power of improv.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had based on your life in comedy?

I don’t do mosts or bests. The times when I get it right, am totally in the moment and present and thoroughly connected with my partner are rewarding. The times when I delight my partner are rewarding.

Newer improvisers might be surprised by how much you continue to learn from improv, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. What’s something you recently learned, or that you’re currently working on?

My team has been innovating continually. We never stop. We’ve currently invented and perfected a long-form format called Deja Vu. It’s staggeringly cool. We are in the process of inventing another piece that lampoons and is in the style of corporate America. It doesn’t have a name yet. But it will probably come to fruition in the next few weeks. We are also experimenting with a format involving a large family dinner setting.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new improvisers?

Look for a generous, intelligent person who truly sees the world in a very unique way, then beg them to partner up with you until you mesh. As The Killers once sang: I don’t shine if you don’t shine.

Catch Tom at Robot Brewing Co. this Sunday for Local Craft Improv! Be sure to check out his book, “The Tao of Improv” and sign up for the 4-week Tao of Improv: An Improv Dojo class today!

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Sick Puppies Cast Member Q&A with Jesse Sheriff!

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The very fabulous, Jesse Sheriff joins us for this week’s cast member Q&A! So, tell us, Jesse – how did you find out about Sick Puppies Comedy?

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I had just moved back home from college and was doing my best to adjust to adulting. I wanted to find a rewarding hobby and my dad suggested that I take improv classes with Sick Puppies Comedy! I actually convinced my mom to join me and we took all 5 levels together. It was an amazing experience and we made so many great memories together.

What got you involved and interested in improv?

I’ve always been interested in theater but with zero experience and a terrible singing voice (seriously) I never thought I would have the chance to get involved in any shows or plays. I saw a few improv shows and I realized this was something I might be able to do (with a lot of lessons of course). Not to mention, it looked like a blast! I was so impressed by everyone and wanted to learn the art of improvising.

Tell us about your first improv show ever. What was it like?

I was nervous all day. I kept imagining the worst possible scenarios (the crowd booing me, forgetting to wear pants) and of course the outcome was so much better than I could have hoped for. It was such a great feeling to put on an entertaining show that people genuinely enjoyed. I knew I wanted improv to be a permanent part of my life after that.

What’s your favorite game/form of improv? Why?

I love a good nightmare! It’s so much fun to interview an audience member and act out their life right before their eyes. Everyone is discovering the input at the same time and it’s super rewarding to see how it all plays out on stage. Our cast brings so much energy and excitement to this piece – it’s a crazy roller-coaster ride that you don’t want to end.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had based on your life in comedy?

I had the opportunity to reenact a Gilda Radner skit at a fundraising event for Gilda’s Club – an incredible organization that helps families that have been impacted by cancer. I prepared my monologue for months with the help of an awesome coach (shout out to Aniela Tuchband) and the event was a great success. The audience appreciated the tribute and we were able to raise money for an amazing cause. It was so rewarding to see how comedy can positively impact the lives of others. Watch it here.

Newer improvisers might be surprised by how much you continue to learn from improv, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. What’s something you recently learned, or that you’re currently working on?

I am always trying to explore new characters and perspectives. I tend to play the same stereotypical female roles (OMG!) so I am constantly pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone. It’s scary to try something you are unfamiliar with/not good at but it’s important for your growth.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new improvisers?

Try not to be too hard on yourself! It’s very easy to be critical and wish you had made a different choice in a scene but that’s the beauty of improv. Everything is unfolding in real-time as it was meant to. Whatever happens, try to make the best of it and stay present within that scene.

See Jesse, along with #NoFilter this Saturday at 9:00p! Get tickets now: http://bit.ly/JesseS2018!

Sick Puppies Cast Member Q&A with Joshua Winer!

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Me and Lamont Awkard Sibling - Joshua Winer

Hey Joshua! Tell us, how did you find out about Sick Puppies Comedy?

“Improv+Boca+Raton” in Google

What got you involved and interested in improv?

I loved performing in front of folks ever since I was a child. Took plenty of acting classes in school and enjoyed the heck out of the stage. Out of nowhere I started having seizures, which got in the way of my acting. To hinder the seizures, I had part of my brain removed. Just so happened that it was the hippocampus (memory) that they took out. Couldn’t memorize lines anymore, I felt defeated. Then my brother, out of nowhere, suggested I try improv. So I searched for improv around here (Boca Raton) and was lucky enough to find the Sick Puppies.

Tell us about your first improv show ever. What was it like?

It was fun, there was a large audience, everyone was smiling. I think my smile at the end of the show was the biggest though, I was so proud to be on stage again.

What’s your favorite game/form of improv? Why?

I love many that I can’t remember the name of, but one thing in particular I love are line games. I love coming up with things on the spot.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had based on your life in comedy?

Performing my first improv show and being able to hear my brother’s laughter over everything else.

Newer improvisers might be surprised by how much you continue to learn from improv, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. What’s something you recently learned, or that you’re currently working on?

Not physically throwing myself around so much. I can’t help it, I come from a pro wrestling family!

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new improvisers?

Above all else, have fun! If you’re having fun, the audience is having fun, so above all else perform for yourself!

See Joshua, along with Awkward Sibling & The Mighty Few this Saturday at 9:00p! Get tickets now: http://bit.ly/JoshW2018!

Sick Puppies Cast Member Q&A with Andrea Comart!

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Andrea

So Andrea, how did you find out about Sick Puppies Comedy?

Through a friend!

What got you involved and interested in improv?

I wanted an outlet for stress, a place to be my weird self (or someone else, because improv!) and to meet new people with creative/fun/quirky minds.

Tell us about your first improv show ever. What was it like?

Terrifying but unforgettable. Being on stage with all lights on you and an audience with expectations can be really intimidating. I remember how fast those fears and inhibitions melted away when I focused on my cast mates and let myself just enjoy the moments as they came – the good, the bad and the awkward. At the end of the night, you’re always reminded that your improv family has your back and I think that feeling of support Is always extremely rewarding.

What’s your favorite game/form of improv? Why?

I have respect for both long form and short form games. That being said, my favorite game is one called “Follow the Leaver” which is kind of a medley of both short and long form. Follow the leaver involves establishing a scene with at least 2 characters, as the scene develops one character has a reason for leaving to which you “follow” them to the next scene while they interact with other/new characters, the goal always being to follow whoever has the excuse to remove themselves to go do something different. The “leaver” can be the same character or a different character every time, which helps create a universe in which these characters live and revolve in. I love this game because the scene possibilities and character development choices are really endless. It’s a fun blend of the two improv styles.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had based on your life in comedy?

The camaraderie and sense of family is what I love most about being part of Sick Puppies. There is a lot of trust and vulnerability that comes with improv, always feeling accepted regardless of whatever random, weird or inappropriate thing that just came flying out of your mouth is liberating.

Newer improvisers might be surprised by how much you continue to learn from improv, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. What’s something you recently learned, or that you’re currently working on?

I’m currently pushing myself to make bolder character choices. Right now I’m really working on accents and being more animated in a way that is convincing and embodies the character Im bring to life.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new improvisers?

Listen and gift. Let go of thinking about the funny lines you want to deliver for laughs. Instead, listen and focus on honestly reacting to your scene partner. Gift them with details, emotions, motives, etc. When both partners focus on making each other successful in their scene, the laughs, the energy and the flow will happen naturally. You will create a scene that an audience will love getting swept up in with characters that they will root for.

See Andrea, along with The Clamazons this Saturday at 8:00p in Wilton Manors! Get tickets now: http://bit.ly/AndreaC2018

Sick Puppies Cast Member Q&A with Barry Rosenblum!

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Hey Barry! How did you find out about Sick Puppies Comedy?

I found out about Sick Puppies while I was living in New York City and attending the Del Close Marathon (An improv marathon hosted by the UCB in NYC that consist of 3 days of non-stop improv). I knew I was going to be moving back to South Florida soon and seeing that they were part of this gigantic marathon inspired me to call them and get involved.

What got you involved and interested in improv?

As a little kid I wanted to try comedy after becoming obsessed with Comedy Central Presents and of course Saturday Night Live. At the time I was too young to be admitted into any stand up comedy class, but my mother found improv for kids at a local theater and I was immediately hooked.

Tell us about your first improv show ever. What was it like?

My first show was an awesome blur of adrenaline and excitement. I can’t remember much, but do remember one of my favorite first scenes was about these 2 astronauts traveling in a rocket and being extremely excited about going to outer space. Eventually the level of excitement got so high in the characters that we were nearly insane, and because of our crazy insane level of excitement the scene eventually made a turn where we were ended up actually being two people in a basement trying to get to space in a cardboard rocket ship.

What’s your favorite game/form of improv? Why?

My favorite game right now is more of a warmup called Fuzzy Duck, where improvisers stand in a circle and say either Fuzzy Duck or Ducky Fuzz as quickly as possible going around in a circle. The game more or less has it built in that eventually someone will curse and get people to laugh, so I like it because it is just plain silly and gets people out of their heads.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had based on your life in comedy?

Getting to design and teach comedy classes to students who have never taken any sort of comedy class, and then have them come back after because they want more is undeniably the most rewarding part of doing comedy in my life.

Newer improvisers might be surprised by how much you continue to learn from improv, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. What’s something you recently learned, or that you’re currently working on?

I’m constantly reading and researching to learn new exercises, warmups, and forms to be able to approach what I’m doing in a more clear and concise way. Currently I’m trying to explore and focus on a more efficient way to teach “game of the scene” and my team is currently working on a format called the Pretty Flower which focuses very heavily on character exploration.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new improvisers?

See shows! One of the best ways to get better at improv is it watch it live. It’s easier to do good improv if you know what good improv looks like. And while in scenes listen more and stop planning, if we simply listen, have an emotion, and respond to what we hear based on that emotion the scenes become easier.

See Barry, along with Miniature Giant this Saturday at 9:30p at Sick Puppies Comedy! Get tickets now: http://bit.ly/BarryR2018