lessons from Dave Razowsky and Susan Messing

via the ADD Comedy Podcast with Dave Razowsky – wise words from Susan Messing

I like to bring it down to that purest form of just playing.

The only way to heighten clever is to be more clever, and good f***ing luck with that.

Look, if I’m writing an essay, I’m gonna write funny shit, and if I’m doing stand-up, I’m gonna do stand-up, and if I’m writing a pilot,  you better believe I’m gonna add a couple jokes to this page or else they’re gonna send it back and ask for other pages,  I get that, but in improv, the audience doesn’t laugh at funny shit, they laugh at specificity, and it’s not funny specificity, it’s just fucking specificity.

Good selfish is you take care of self, bad selfish is “I hate myself I wish I’d never come up here.”

And as a  , my job is  that they’re right, and my job is to make them more right.

Smell it, touch it, taste it, feel it, fuck it – that’s being in the moment. 

And, frankly, funny comes from commitment and re-commitment to your choices, not funny choices.

If I’m in the moment, the audience is in the moment.

I guess it really is ultimately about pursuing joy.

But when it comes down to it, we’re artists because we want to create.

A recycled mistake is your greatest comic gift.

I always think that everybody’s better than I am, and that raises my game.

It’s one of the few arts where, if everyone succeeds, everyone wins.

When I see a girl in comedy, I just get so fucking happy I could just eat her alive in joy.

I guess I think that everything is the funniest thing I ever say because I’d hope that offstage people would think I wouldn’t fuck poo, but onstage, fuck poo!

Comedy needs to be protected so that people will be willing to watch. [talking about different theaters and the contexts they offer – annoyance, iO, second city…]

But rules are suggestions that might get you off faster – they’re not right.

I call an audition a free workshop, because then you get your power back.

For me, an improviser means, “I will do anything.”

The onstage integrity and the offstage integrity are night and day.

The greatest place to be a loser, and the only place to be a loser, is onstage.

I’ve gotta be me 23 hours a day, for 1 fucking hour I can’t wait to try on everybody I’ve wanted to be and everybody I’ve never wanted to be.

If my friends don’t kick me offstage and let me hang there, I am the happiest person in the world.

and Dave Razowsky

A lot of my students said, “What do you mean I don’t have to give the who, the what, and the where at the beginning of the scene?” I don’t give a fuck about that!

– No, you’ll just discover all that shit pretty quickly!

You can only have your own path, and I wouldn’t want anyone else’s path at all.

Your demons are stopping you from being fucking vulnerable because you are a smart person, you’re a great actor, you’ve done some fantastic fucking work, but you know what? Nobody wants to fucking play with you anymore. And you know why? Because you’re being a bully.

Your personality’s not allowed onstage.

All improvisation is acting. You’re standing onstage and playing a role.

I also feel that your improv gets 100 times better the minute you call yourself an actor, because you allows yourself to have this long fucking tale that goes back thousands of years.

These people are legitimate, equity actors who are improvisers and I’m going, “Oh, thank god.”

And his [Carell’s] acting is phenomenal, Colbert’s acting is phenomenal.

Listen here!


people who i’ve learned from

I was about to start writing up a draft of my theatrical resume and was going through a list of all the people I’ve taken workshops with in the past two and a half years.  If someone had told freshman year Laura that she would get to work with all of these people, she probably wouldn’t have believed them. Here’s the list:

UCB Tourco

Joe Bozic (Brave New Workshop)

Splendid Things (Minneapolis)

Peter McNerney (Magnet Theater)

Jason Chin (iO)

Susan Messing (Annoyance, Second City)

Shelly Gossman (Second City, iO, SNL)

Joe Bill (Annoyance, iO)

Drew Kersten (UCBLA, HUGE, etc)

That list may not be very long, but it’s almost hard for me to believe that I actually took workshops from this group of people! I’ve met them! They remembered my name for at least a few hours! Huge thanks to the HUGE, too – I wouldn’t have been able to do many, many of these workshops without them.