Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Simon" A Really Cool New Short by Dylan Stern

Dylan Stern, actor/producer of many of the Improv Network improvisodes is raising money for a short film he is directing entitled "Simon". It's a dark comedy about an underdog. Shortly after recovering from an automobile accident, Simon has decided to throw himself a birthday party, invite all of the people that snubbed him while he was in the hospital, and not long after he's blown out his candles; hang himself for all of his guests to find him.

It's a great script with an exciting young director at the helm. Please take a minute to watch the video, and you can help them reach their goal of $10,000 by clicking here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Improv News tackles VP Debates & Lady Gaga

Improv News is a new show created by Roger Roth where current Headlines are written on a card and given to our standup newscaster. it's their job to deliver a late night monologue style joke in the moment - unscripted and unverified.

This broadcast features the VP Presidential Debates, Lady Gaga Puking, and the recent split of Danny Devito & Rhea Pearlman

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

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Please watch our latest vlog and help us out by subscribing and sharing with a friend.

If you want to get involved follow @ImprovTweet to start participating.

The goal of The Improv Network is to create a collaborative group that can create content in a way that's never been done before.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Comedy in a Post Louie Era

The times they are a changin' indeed. Read Patton Oswalt's two open letters that he read aloud at the Just For Laughs Comedy Conference in Montreal.
Dear comedian in 2012:

How are you? I am good. In answer to your last letter, the mozzarella sticks at the Irvine Improv do taste weird. I’m taking your advice and sticking with the nachos.

Hey, ‘know what I was thinking the other day? Everything I know about succeeding as a comedian and ultimately as an artist is worthless now, and I couldn’t be happier about that.

I started doing comedy in the summer of 1988. That was a different time, wasn’t it? Joe Piscopo was president, Mary Lou Retton won the Cold War, and Andy Kindler turned 50

If I hadn’t popped that goddamn ‘P’, the Piscopo joke would’ve annihilated.

When I say everything I know about succeeding a comedian is worthless, I know what I’m talking about because everything I know became worthless twice in my lifetime.

The first time was the evening of May 22, 1992. I’d been doing standup almost four years at that point, and that was Johnny Carson’s last ever Tonight Show.

Up until that night, the way you made it in comedy was very clear, simple, straightforward. You went on Carson, you killed, you got called over to the couch, and the next day you had your sitcom and your mansion, and you’re made. Just ask Drew Carey and Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen DeGeneres. And Bill Clinton. That’s how you did it.

But now, Johnny was gone and he wasn’t coming back.

All the comedians I remember starting out with in D.C., all the older ones, told me over and over again ‘you gotta work clean, you gotta get your five minutes, and you gotta get on Carson.’ And it all comes down to that.

And in one night, all of them were wrong. And not just wrong, they were unmoored. They were drifting. A lot of these bulletproof comics I’d opened for, whose careers seemed pre-destined, a lot of them never recovered from that night. You’ll never hear their names. They had been sharks in a man-made pond and had been drained. They decided their time had passed.

Keep that in mind for later. They had decided their time had passed.

The second time everything I knew about comedy became worthless has been petty much every day for the last three years.

I know that’s not an exact date. Some other younger, not yet famous name in this room – you are going to pinpoint that date 20 years from now. But for now, every day for about the last few years will have to suffice.

I just want to give you a brief timeline of my career up to this point, when I knew it was all changing again. Listen to my words very carefully. Two words will come up again and again and they’re going to come back later along with that phrase “they decided” and people are going to carry me around the room.

I was lucky enough to get hired onto King of Queens in 1998. I had nine years on that show. Money, great cast, even better writers, a lot of fun. I bought a house. Then I was lucky enough to get cast as a lead voice in a Pixar movie in 2007. Acclaim, money, I got to meet a lot of my heroes. Then I was lucky enough to get cast on The United States of Tara on Showtime. I got to watch Toni Collette work. I got to perform Diablo Cody’s writing. After which, I was lucky enough to get cast in Young Adult, which is where I got to make out with Charlize Theron. I will use that as an icebreaker if i ever meet Christina Ricci.

I’ve been lucky enough to be given specials on HBO, Comedy Central, and Showtime. As well as I’ve been lucky enough to release records on major labels, and I was lucky they approached me to do it. And that led to me being lucky enough to get Grammy nominations.

I know that sounds like a huge ego-stroking credit dump. But if you listened very carefully, you would have heard two words over and over again: “lucky” and “given.” Those are two very very dangerous words for a comedian. Those two words can put you to sleep, especially once you get a taste of both being “lucky” and being “given.” The days about luck and being given are about to end. They’re about to go away.

Not totally. There are always comedians who will work hard and get noticed by agents and managers and record labels. There will always be an element of that. And they deserve their success. And there’s always going to be people who benefit from that.

What I mean is: Not being lucky and not being given are no longer going to define your career as a comedian and as an artist.

Remember what I said earlier about those bulletproof headliners who focused on their 5 minutes on the Tonight Show and when it ended they decided their opportunity was gone? They decided. Nobody decided that for them. They decided.

Now, look at my career up to this point. Luck, being given. Other people deciding for me.

In the middle of the TV shows and the albums and the specials, I took a big chunk of my money and invested it in a little tour called The Comedians of Comedy. I put it together with my friends, we did small clubs, stayed in shitty hotel rooms, packed ourselves in a tiny van and drove it around the country. The tour was filmed for a very low-budget documentary that I convinced Netflix to release. That became a low-budget show on Comedy Central that we all still own a part of, me and the comedians. That led to a low budget concert film that we put on DVD.

At the end of it, I was exhausted, I was in debt, and I wound up with a wider fanbase of the kind of people I always dreamed of having as fans. And I built that from the ground up, friends and people I respected and was a fan of.

And I realize now I need to combine both of the lessons I’ve learned.

I need to decide more career stuff for myself and make it happen for myself, and I need to stop waiting to luck out and be given. I need to unlearn those muscles.

I’m seeing this notion take form in a lot of my friends. A lot of you out there. You, for instance, the person I’m writing to. Your podcast is amazing. Your videos on your YouTube channel are getting better and better every single one that you make, just like when we did open mics, better and better every week. Your Twitter feed is hilarious.

Listen, I’m doing the Laugh Trench in Milwaukee next week. Is there any chance for an RT?

Your friend, Patton Oswalt
And here is his second letter.
Dear gatekeepers in broadcast and cable executive offices, focus groups, record labels, development departments, agencies and management companies:


Last month I turned in a script for a pilot I co-wrote with Phil Rosenthal who has had a share of luck and success I can only dream of. Thanks for the notes you gave me on the pilot script. I’m not going to be implementing any of them.

And no, I’m not going to call you “the enemy” or “the man.” I have zero right to say that based on the breaks I’ve gotten from you over the years. If I tried to strike a Che Guevara pose, you would be correct in pointing out that the dramatic underlighting on my face was being reflected up from my swimming pool.

I am as much to blame for my uneasiness and realization of late that I’m part of the problem, that I’m half asleep and more than half complacent.

And I’m still not going to implement your notes. And I’m quoting Phil Rosenthal on this, but he said after we read your notes – and I’m quoting him verbatim – “We’re living in a post-Louie world, and these notes are from a pre-According to Jim world.”

I just read a letter to my fellow comedians telling them what I’m about to tell you, but in a different way. Here it is.

You guys need to stop thinking like gatekeepers. You need to do it for the sake of your own survival.

Because all of us comedians after watching Louis CK revolutionize sitcoms and comedy recordings and live tours. And listening to "WTF With Marc Maron" and "Comedy Bang! Bang!" and watching the growth of the UCB Theatre on two coasts and seeing careers being made on Twitter and Youtube.

Our careers don’t hinge on somebody in a plush office deciding to aim a little luck in our direction. There are no gates. They’re gone. The model for success as a comedian in the '70s and '80s? That was middle school. Remember, they’d hand you a worksheet, fill in the blanks on the worksheet, hand it in, you’ll get your little points.

And that doesn’t prepare you for college. College is the 21st century. Show up if you want to, there’s an essay, there’s a paper, and there’s a final. And you decide how well you do on them, and that’s it. And then after you’re done with that, you get even more autonomy whether you want it or not because you’re an adult now.

Comedians are getting more and more comfortable with the idea that if we’re not successful, it’s not because we haven’t gotten our foot in the door, or nobody’s given us a hand up. We can do that ourselves now. Every single day we can do more and more without you and depend on you less and less.

If we work with you in the future, it’s going to be because we like your product and your choices and your commitment to pushing boundaries and ability to protect the new and difficult.

Here’s the deal, and I think it’s a really good one.

I want you, all of the gatekeepers, to become fans. I want you to become true enthusiasts like me. I want you to become thrill-seekers. I want you to be as excited as I was when I first saw Maria Bamford’s stand-up, or attended The Paul F. Tompkins show, or listened to Sklarbro Country….

I want you to be as charged with hope as I am that we’re looking at the most top-heavy with talent young wave of comedians that this industry have ever had at any time in its history.

And since this new generation was born into post-modern anything, they are wilder and more fearless than anything you’ve ever dealt with. But remind yourselves: Youth isn’t king. Content is king. Lena Dunham’s 26-year-old voice is just as vital as Louis CK’s 42-year-old voice which is just as vital as Eddie Pepitone’s 50-something voice.

Age doesn’t matter anymore. It’s all about what you have to say and what you’re going to say. Please throw the old fucking model away.

Just the tiny sampling at this amazing festival…. I’m excited to not be the funniest person in the room. It makes me work harder and try to be better at what I do. So be as excited and grateful as I am.

And if in the opportunities you give me, you try to cram all this wildness and risk-taking back in to the crappy mimeographic worksheet form of middle school, we’re just going to walk away. We’re not going to work together. No harm no foul. We can just walk away.

You know why we can do that now? Because of these. (Oswalt holds up an iPhone)

In my hand right now I’m holding more filmmaking technology than Orsen Welles had when he filmed Citizen Kane.

I’m holding almost the same amount of cinematography, post-editing, sound editing, and broadcast capabilities as you have at your tv network.

In a couple of years it’s going to be fucking equal. I see what’s fucking coming. This isn’t a threat, this is an offer. We like to create. We’re the ones who love to make shit all the time. You’re the ones who like to discover it and patronize it support it and nurture it and broadcast it. Just get out of our way when we do it.

If you get out of our way and we fuckin’ get out and fall on our face, we won’t blame you like we did in the past. Because we won’t have taken any of your notes, so it’ll truly be on us.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the stuff uploaded to Youtube. There are sitcoms now on the internet, some of them are brilliant, some of them are “meh,” some of them fuckin suck. At about the same ratio that things are brilliant and “meh” and suck on your network.

If you think that we’re somehow going to turn on you later if what we do falls on its face, and blame you because we can’t take criticism? Let me tell you one thing: We have gone through years of open mics to get where we need to get. Criticism is nothing to us, and comment threads are fucking electrons.


Patton Oswalt

Friday, October 5, 2012


Check out our latest Improvisode: "JOKESTAR", featuring Hersh Rephun, Melanie Burstin, & Michael Gantz

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Larry David's new Improv Movie is shaping up . . .

Larry David
It looks like Larry David's new improv film now has a great cast:
When it was announced that Superbad’s Greg Mottola would be directingLarry David’s improv comedy, the film’s only cast members were Jon Hammand Michael Keaton. Now we are learning that the film has a new title, and that the cast has grown immensely.
THR reports that the comedy now titled, Clear History, will center on a marketing executive (David) who makes the terrible decision of getting into a petty argument with his boss and abruptly quits his job at a new electric car company. Ten years later he realizes the mistake he made when he sees the same company he worked for is now worth billions, so he changes his name and his reputation and rewards himself by purchasing a summer cottage on a private island. However, he bumps into the same boss he quit working for and from there he decides he wants to get revenge.
In addition to the new title, Hamm and Keaton will now be joined by Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Philip Baker Hall, Amy Ryan, Kate Hudson, Eva Mendes, and JB Smoove. Filming is expected to begin in Massachusetts later this Fall.
 HBO Films, which is the channel that runs David’s other comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm, holds the rights to this film, so it’s likely that we will see the feature on that network instead of in a theater. Despite that caveat, I am very interesting in seeing how well the mix of comedy and non-comedy actors plays out in this film. No word yet on when Clear History will show up on HBO. Hader, McBride, and Smoove are great comedians, and Hamm, Ryan, and Mendes are versatile actors who can make the switch from comedy to drama very easily.

SOURCE: Geeks Of Doom

Banned iPhone 5

Check out Roger in the latest installment of the Banned iPhone series
Now that the new iPhone is here, consumers can finally throw out their old out-dated 4S phones for brand new 5. And what’s so new about the 5?
Well, besides for being slightly thinner, lighter, and faster…  JLE points out that not much has changed at all. Why does this still impress people?

SOURCE:  ViralViralVideos

Louie C.K. wins an Emmy!

We are big fans of what Louis CK has been doing, and it's wonderful to see that the Emmy's are recognizing him.
Louis C.K. took home the Emmy for Outstanding Writing For A Comedy at the 64th annual Emmys awards ceremony for his work on "Louie".
The FX show beat out "Parks and Recreation" (Amy Poehler included), Lena Dunham and "Girls," and "Community's" beloved "Remedial Chaos Theory" for C.K.'s work on the episode, "Pregnant."
 "Well, I won an Emmy just now," C.K. said after he took the stage. The comedian closed his relatively serious speech with, "Mary and Kitty, your daddy won an Emmy."
C.K. also picked up another Emmy on Sunday night for Outstanding Writing For A Variety Special.
SOURCE:  Huffington Post

Nick from Good Neighbor and the future of YouTube Filmmaking

Comic Nick Rutherford at Westside Comedy Theater. (Eric Thompson)

The LA Times recently did a fantastic article on Nick from sketch group Good Neighbor and the future of viral content and how filmmakers can start making money on their own:

In a sparse room, not much bigger than a walk-in closet, Nick Rutherford sits at an editing bay, head in hand, peering up at half a dozen versions of himself on a giant flat screen. He taps his Converse-clad foot nervously as a video editor assembles the images. It's the raw footage for his first comedy special. And it's headed straight to YouTube.

"In the past, if Comedy Central or Showtime or HBO didn't say, 'You deserve a special,' then you didn't deserve a special," says Rutherford. "And we'd all accept that."
But who wants to wait for a cable network to greenlight their career?
"I realized I can do it on my own," he says. "That's what YouTubers are all about."
The reach of digital media — YouTube, Twitter and podcast networks like Earwolf and Nerdist — has allowed comedians to bypass traditional gatekeepers and reach their fans directly.
YouTube, longtime home to funny user-generated videos of giggling babies and piano-playing cats, has invested $100 million to create slick, professional-quality entertainment across 100 new channels, creating opportunities for both established and aspiring comedians. Household names Amy Poehler, Rainn Wilson and Nerdist's Chris Hardwick all launched dedicated YouTube channels within the last six months.
Louis C.K. grabbed headlines when he produced his own comedy special and sold it to fans online for $5 a pop — famously reaping a cool $1 million in just 10 days. ComediansAziz Ansari and Jim Gaffigan soon followed suit, helping to redefine how established comedians connect with audiences as well as how newbies can break through to the mainstream.
"Louis' success proved that if you already have a large, significant following, you don't need to deal with anyone else," Ansari says. "You can do something like this yourself."
These DIY approaches might be daunting to an emerging comedian with far fewer followers than C.K. et al, leaving Rutherford wrestling with his options as he prepares to leap into the digital comedy abyss.
"I could put up the whole thing for free on YouTube or put up a clip and link to my website to buy the longer version. We could go through iTunes," says Rutherford, who just turned 30 and is a member of the L.A.-based sketch group Good Neighbor. "There are so many options — it's overwhelming!" (For a taste of Rutherford's comedy,click here, but beware some adult subject matter and language.)
The special Rutherford is producing with Maker Studios, a Culver City-based entertainment company that specializes in YouTube videos, will be his calling card. Like many young comics, his dream is to land a coveted Comedy Central special, parlay that into a national stand-up tour, then a feature film role and, of course, he jokes, become "super-rich and famous."