Interview: Kenny Kinds

kennykindsIt’s such a joy to know people who are talented, passionate and successful. It’s even more of a joy when those people – with the chops to back up a little cockiness and self-importance – are just the opposite: humble, helpful and kind. Kenny Kinds is one of those people. His comedic talents have brought him a great deal of success. He even opened for Keenan Ivory Wayans this year. Everyone who knows him loves him, and everyone who doesn’t is missing out big time.

Meet Kenny Kinds. Continue reading

Interview: Marshall Cox

marshallWell, that was a nice little vacation, wasn’t it? We’re back now, and better than ever. There are plans for some video and other interesting projects in the near future, but for today, we talk with one of the kindest, loveliest people on the planet, Marshall Cox. I met Marshall at the first meeting of what became The Last Sketch Comedy Show on Earth in St. Louis. My first impression (ugh, another hipster) very quickly evolved into feeling super lucky that I get to be his friend.

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Interview: Bill Chott

billchottI’m really honored to have interviewed this person. He was responsible in large part for me getting into improv, so technically this guy changed my life. Because of him, I learned the incredible value of saying “yes” to new opportunities and of being around people who support me without hesitation. Because of him, I learned that taking time to play can help you in your work. And because of him, I found my second family – the improv community of St. Louis.

Meet Bill Chott. Continue reading

Interview: Tony Nguyen


Photo credit: David Guo

Tony Nguyen is quickly becoming one of my favorite people. Ever since we met at a rehearsal for Denver’s Next Improv Star, a weekly show we’re both doing, I’ve thought he is fun and nice. Getting to know him better – through DNIS and through our new independent team, Free Gluten! – has convinced me that A) I was right: he is fun and nice, and B) he is also polite, thoughtful, smart, funny and dedicated. This interview with Tony is the first in a series of interviews with members (and maybe even the coach!) of Free Gluten!

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Interview: Amber Klear

amber-birdWho says stand-up comics are competitive and only out for themselves? Not only is Amber Klear funny; she is also generous, thoughtful, compassionate and a true team player. Through her successful company, Amber Klear Entertainment, she develops and books a variety of comedy shows featuring many of her talented friends and fellow stand-ups. Amber also helps non-human animals (except fish), including her dog, whose social media fame is pretty much all thanks to Amber. And when Amber found out about a terrific writers’ workshop opportunity with NBC, did she hoard the information for herself? Nope. She spread the word to her stand-up, sketch writing and improv pals, including yours truly. (No, I didn’t get in, but I didn’t want to anyway). …

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Interview: Justin Franzen

franzenWhen you find out someone has friends in common with you – friends that are some of the loveliest people in your life – you feel an instant connection and camaraderie with that person. Such is the case with Justin Franzen, who shares in common with me a few friends who are some of the most wonderful people, including the recently interviewed John Langen. Justin isn’t too bad himself either, with his down-to-earth personality, impressive improvising and hilarious positive spin on “Yo Mama” jokes.

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Interview: Jacob McGuire

jacob-cowI want to start out by saying how difficult it was to type “Jacob McGuire” without adding “friggin'” between “Mc” and “Guire.” And I want to move on from there quickly, to a silly improv bio I wrote for Jacob a few weeks ago:
What do you get when you mix a Ronald McDonald House with an Andrew Jackson Jihad? Probably a kind hearted yet punk rock, baby-faced, all around nice guy. On a completely unrelated note, Jacob McGruice* has been performing improv all his life, but he only added stages and willing audiences to the mix about two (?) years ago. Whatever a scene calls for, McGruice* brings it. A scene partner’s dream, he is quick-witted, focused on his craft, never a stage hog and always ready if someone needs to be picked up – literally and figuratively.

*I made a typo while writing McGuire, but I thought it would be funny, so I left it. You’re welcome.

Meet Jacob Mc-Friggin-Guire. Continue reading

Interview: Neil Baker

Neil1This week’s interviewee, a person I don’t know, was nominated by another person I don’t know. They seem nice, though. I’m sure they’re good people.

I must admit: I am a little nervous about it, because they both have my email address now, which contains my first and last name. With a quick Google search, they could probably find out where I live, where I work and where I go to get great seitan wings and vegan milkshakes. … Tell my parents I’m sorry.

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Interview: Lisa Kelly

lisakelly “We got John Langen,” I said, as if there’s more than one person in charge of this blog. “Who’s going to follow John Langen?” I asked. While I waited for an answer from no-one, an idea struck: It would have to be someone powerful, someone witty and smart, someone kind and uniquely beautiful. It would have to be a Lisa. (Actually, the truth is that previous interviewee Jodi Werner nominated Lisa and she sent me her answers on time to get in this week. Sometimes lies are more impressive though. I think we all learned a lesson here today.)

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Interview: John Langen

langenToday, you have the privilege of reading an interview with one of the funniest people I know. He studied improv in Chicago and now teaches and coaches at The Improv Shop in St. Louis. He is partially responsible for whatever it is that I do well (he can’t be held responsible for the things I’m not good at though). He’s on my top ten list of improv role models, alongside people like Amy Poehler. This interview better be good, John.

Meet John Langen. Continue reading