How did you get started with improv?
I had never even heard of improv until I moved away from Arkansas (go figure) to Chicago. As a Freshman @ Northwestern in the Theatre Department, you pretty much just audition for absolutely everything and hope somebody will let you play 3rd Tree from the Right if you're lucky. I remember someone saying "Hey, there's an audition where you don't have to memorize anything!" and that sounded great because I was exhausted. Turns out it was for the improv group Titanic Players. I guess i was goofy enough to fit in. I had so much fun I forgot it was an audition. That troupe introduced me to fellow future CSZers Eric Lindberg & Liz Cackowski. I remember playing a show in the basement of Cafe Voltaire (RIP) for a fraternity thinking, this is it! My first show in downtown Chicago! Clearly I loved improv, and clearly they had not wrung all the Arkansa naiveté out of me.
What brought you to ComedySportz?
Ryan Raddatz was an improviser on campus I looked up to immensely. We later became roommates (with Cackowski) and he spoke highly of the year he spent performing with ComedySportz. When I graduated, I took the musical improv class with Tom Farnan and Jeff Shivar. I loved the people, loved the intensely positive and fun attitude, and knew I had to come back as a company member.
What sets ComedySportz aside from the other improv you have done?
ComedySportz demands something that almost every improviser I know finds challenging: play to every age. That takes skill, because going blue is easy, and you know, it's fun. ComedySportz taught me that you know what? Not going blue can be HYSTERICAL. It's the smartest group of improvisers i've ever worked with, because the audience never thinks twice about it. There's innuendo and suggestiveness, but you can bring everyone in your family and all experience an amazing comedy performance. That's unique, and I don't know any other comedy troupe that does it better. I was proud to be a part of a group that achieved that night after night after *yawn* prom night.
You are now rocking LA doing standup. How has ComedySportz prepared you for performing standup?
ComedySportz taught be to play to the top of my intelligence. That has never let me down. Now I like a good fart joke, of course. I'm an Arkansan. But usually I write a joke, then imagine Dave Guadet as my only audience member, and then i go back and make it 3 times smarter. :) Because of CSz, I have zero fear of talking to the audience, or a making a mistake. Everyone is there to have a good time, so why not? Also, now I bring a bag of costumes on stage with me. What? I might.
What other things have been keeping you busy in Los Angeles?
Standup standup standup. I feel very fortunate to have worked on so many great projects since my move. I've filmed 3 national commercials. One is for Babybel Cheese, one is for some other product that shall remain anonymous, and another one is coming out this fall. If it's good I'll send you an update. If it's bad i'll deny this conversation ever happened. I'm finishing up a book of short stories as well as an original half-hour comedy and filming a podcast. Writing sketches with some Chicago peeps this summer. I am in the lead right now for being called back for the role of "girl who dies dramatically in 1st scene" more than anyone I know. Oh, and I love tweeting. (Gross)>
What is something you miss about performing ComedySportz?
ComedySportz was my family away from family. Not only did I perform there but I worked in Group Sales, which I loved. It felt good to sell tickets to something I truly believed in. I miss that feeling of longstanding camaraderie that I have rarely experienced anywhere else. In musicals, we always bond together, but it's only for 8 weeks or for 6 months. Showmance! I was so fortunate to perform with my friends in ComedySportz for years, and those people will always be my friends. Standup is a very different experience, and although it's extremely satisfying to write and create your own act, you miss the ease of which 3 people who knew each other's styles so intimately could tackle a game and make the audience bowl over with laughter.
What do you like to do when not performing?
Now that I live near this ocean machine thing, i run 4 miles a day, bike 50 miles up the coast on the weekends, and hike in the mountains. It's kindof a dreamy life. I'm not gonna deny that. I'm a private tutor for one wonderful girl in junior high, which is probably just as enriching for me as it is for her. Except when I make her learn fractions. I took up painting and play softball with a bunch of Second City peeps I worked with on Romeo & Juliet. You know what we always end up talking about? Chicago. We live here now but we all know where we really learned comedy.