February 2014

Some recent happenings and projects I’ve been working on…

SPLITSIDER

My SNL coverage on Splitsider seems to have quite a bit of reach, with shout-outs by Andy Samberg on the WTF Podcast and a recent New York Times article profiling SNL after-parties. Below are links to my recent posts:

IMPROV

My new iO house team Wheelhouse debuted in early January, and our shows have been packed. It’s great to be on such a stacked team. We perform every Wednesday night at the iO Theater with Heyday. Meanwhile, my indie team Herr Doktor has also been making the rounds. We will be performing in the San Diego Improv Festival on Feb. 16, at 8pm, at Finest City Improv in San Diego.

My improv blog, Vossprov, has kind-of blown up in the past month, due largely to a post I wrote that compared the UCB’s improv manual to Truth in Comedy that got shared around the community. If you’re into improv theory and comedy nerd stuff, the blog is right up your alley.

STORYTELLING

I’ve taken a temporary break from my Evil Blond Kid podcast, but I’m getting back into live storytelling. I will be performing in the LA Scripted Comedy Festival on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 10pm in the iO West Loft. It’s an audience-vote kind of deal, where the winner gets to move on to the finals. I’m not going to beg you to go, but my stories are going to be pretty great.

SKETCH AND OTHER PROJECTS

I’m still chugging along on my iO house sketch team, Taste Test, which performs every second Sunday of the month at 9pm at the iO Theater. Our next show is Sunday, Feb. 9, at 9pm with It’s The Cops and Redford. I had two New Years Resolutions — 1) make more videos and 2) write 10 jokes every day. I just shot a video with some super funny friends that should go up in the next week or so. And so far I’ve stuck to my 10 jokes routine — sometimes barely — and if you’re curious to see the process you can find them all here. I’ve also been writing short McSweeney-esque humor pieces, one of which should go up on Splitsider in the coming days. Finally, I’ve been in the planning stages for an alumni reunion for Theatre Strike Force, my college improv group at the University of Florida, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this fall. Our alumni have been blowing up lately — touring with Second City and getting hired on SNL — so it’s about time we recognized this awesome group we were all once part of. More info should be coming out in the coming months.

2013 in Review

In these last few days of 2013, I’d like to review some of the projects I’ve been working on this year.

EVIL BLOND KID

My biggest creative endeavor for the year was Evil Blond Kid, which began as a humor storytelling podcast and grew into a pilot script that was a finalist in the 2013 Fox Comedy Script Contest in the New York Television Festival, which I attended in late October. The script is a half-hour animated comedy and here’s the logline:

EVIL BLOND KID: After escaping an assassination attempt by a stranger from the future, a straight-laced student with blond hair discovers that he is destined to become an evil warlord. With the help of a robot sent to protect him, he must confront his past demons, prevent a dystopian future, and answer the question: does golden hair mask a heart of evil?

Meanwhile, I released a new episode of the podcast every month, including a Christmas episode a few weeks ago. That and a few of my favorite episodes are listed below:

SPLITSIDER

This year has been my most active yet writing for Splitsider. In addition to my weekly reviews of SNL, I covered the new season of Arrested Development on Netflix and interviewed comedy stars like Will Forte, Mike O’Brien, Al Madrigal, Broad City‘s Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, and writer DC Pierson. I also wrote an article that examined the latest diversity controversy on SNL that was widely shared and even referenced in the New York Times. Links to that article and other recent posts are below:

I also recently went back on the Nick G Show on WGN Radio 720 in Chicago to discuss this season of SNL. You can listen to the interview here.

IMPROV

It has been a year of change on the improv front. I’m still actively performing at the iO Theater in Hollywood, though, sadly, my longtime house team The Cartel ended its run (along with most of the theater’s house teams in a big shakeup in December). However, after auditions, I was lucky to be placed on a new house team, WHEELHOUSE, which will perform weekly on Wednesday nights at 9pm starting Jan. 8, 2014.

Other improv developments: I attended the Del Close Marathon in New York in July, performing with the groups The Cartel, Ranger Kamp, and Riggins. I formed a new indie team called HERR DOKTOR that I’m very excited about. I’ve been more involved with improv coaching, working mostly with the team Next of Kin, while sub-coaching teams like Bush League, Mr. Body, and Koosh, and I will begin managing the iO Lottery starting January. I maintain an improv blog that people in the community seem to find useful: Vossprov. And you can also find me playing with teams like We Brooklyn, Cute Guys, and Strike Force West (an LA-based group of alumni from our college team, Theater Strike Force).

SKETCH

My house sketch team at iO, TASTE TEST, is alive and well after a run of a little over a year. We’ve seen some changes to our cast and directors along the way, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done. The highlight for me was our October show, CHOOSE YOUR NIGHTMARE, an innovative fear-themed show in which the audience chose the run order. Our recent December show was also a big hit, and it included sketches like this one below, which I wrote and composed the music for.

Our next show is a “best-of” compilation of our funniest sketches from the past year, and will take place on Sunday, Jan. 12, at 9pm.

I’ve got a lot of exciting projects in the works for the new year, so make sure to keep an eye out and follow me on Twitter: @eavoss.

November 2013

The past month has been perhaps the busiest for me since I moved to LA. Here’s a monthly update on some of the big things I’ve been up to.

A week ago I was attending the New York TV Festival in NYC. My pilot script, EVIL BLOND KID, was a finalist in the Fox Comedy Script Contest. The fest was extremely productive — as an “official artist” I had access to various panels and industry mixers, and I had a one-on-one meeting with a development exec from Fox, who gave me some positive feedback on my script. I also had a sit down with a top agency, with whom I’ll be following up in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, I made contacts with several fellow finalists, as well as producers in other events — all amazing and talented folks — so all in all it was a successful few days.

In the days before the trip, I released the newest episode of my humor storytelling podcast upon which the pilot script is based, also titled EVIL BLOND KID. Listen to the episode, titled “Stuck in the Past,” here:

As usual, I’ve been very active on the SPLITSIDER front. I’ve continued my weekly SNL recaps, and I wrote an in-depth analysis of SNL’s recent diversity controversy that made the rounds and even got referenced in the New York Times, which was pretty cool.

Earlier in the month, my iO house sketch team TASTE TEST celebrated its one-year anniversary with its first concept show: CHOOSE YOUR NIGHTMARE. Rather than just a traditional lineup, we had the audience choose a number, with each number corresponding to a different fear-themed sketch. We got a great response from the crowd and I was thrilled the team was so enthusiastic about my idea. (Watch a clip from the show here.) Our next show has a Thanksgiving theme and will be Nov. 10 at 9pm on the iO mainstage.

My iO Harold team THE CARTEL is alive and well, still performing on Tuesday nights at 9:30 on the mainstage with Triggerfinger. We recently added the very talented Tom Christiansen to our ensemble, and he’s been a great addition to the team. Aside from The Cartel, I’ve been playing on the indie teams HERR DOKTOR and WE BROOKLYN, with several other hilarious improvisers. And I’ve been booking more improv coaching gigs, continuing working with the amazing Next of Kin, as well as sub-coaching teams like Bush League and Mr. Body. 

So while I wait to see what the next step is with my Evil Blond Kid pilot script, I have a new pilot script in the works, a new episode of the EBK podcast to wrap up the first season, as well as a few other cool projects I’m excited about. For more updates on what’s going on with me, follow me on Twitter: @eavoss.

October 2013

A quick breakdown of some of the projects I’ve been working on lately.

I’ve resumed my coverage of Saturday Night Live for Splitsider for Season 39. With six new cast members, it’s an exciting season to watch, so make sure to check out my weekly recaps.

On the improv/sketch front, I’m still performing with the Harold team The Cartel at iO West on Tuesday nights at 9:30. We recently added two new members: Justin Uretz and Muretta Moss, who have been awesome to work with. Starting this week, we will be sharing the hour with Triggerfinger. We’re pretty stoked to share a slot with such a dynamic team.

Next month marks the year anniversary of being on the iO West mainstage sketch team Taste Test. The team has grown quite a bit during that time, adding a few new members and a new director, Megan Grano. For our next show on Oct. 13 at 9pm, we have an interesting, high-concept show in the works that you won’t want to miss.

I‘m also currently playing on a few different indie teams around town: Herr Doktor (Drew Coolidge, Justin Uretz, Joe Clabby, Sky King, Greg Gallant, Calvin Dittmore, and myself); We Brooklyn (Jeremy McKiernan, David Danipour, Joe Cabello, Chris Poole, and myself); and Cute Guys (Blake Hogue, Drew Coolidge, Justin Uretz, David Danipour, Mark Schroeder, and myself). I’m also coaching the awesome indie team Next of Kin. I love those guys.

Finally — and probably the most exciting news — I’m preparing for the New York Television Festival in a few weeks. My pilot script – EVIL BLOND KID — was chosen as a finalist in Fox’s Comedy Pilot Script Contest. I’ll be an “official artist” at the fest and I’ll have an opportunity to meet with various industry folks. Also, the winner gets a development deal with Fox and $25,000. But if I could just get a manager to represent me out of this, that’d be a huge step. And for the fans of my storytelling podcast upon which my pilot is based — yes, I’m working on a new episode. I’ll try to release it within the next few weeks.

Taste Test Sketches

I’m currently writing and performing on a house sketch team at iO West called Taste Test. We do a show every month, and below are some clips of sketches I wrote and performed in. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

For more videos and info on Taste Test, check out our YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Splitsider: Talking With DC Pierson About His New Book, ‘Crap Kingdom’

DCPiersonCrapKingdomI interviewed novelist/comedian/actor DC Pierson for Splitsider about his new book, Crap Kingdom. We talk about his strategy to boost pre-order sales by making rap videos about customers and why it’s totally cool if kids don’t want to read.

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Splitsider: Improv’s Babel: Defining the Game of the Scene

I worked with Matt Visconage on an article for Splitsider about the concept in improvisation known as “the game of the scene,” specifically the various definitions of the term from improv teachers in Chicago and the UCB. Check out the article for some great interviews with Matt Besser, TJ Jagodowski, Cook County Social Club, Will Hines, Joe Bill, Susan Messing, Jimmy Carrane, and Kevin Mullaney.

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Splitsider: 12 Colleges with Great Improv Groups

I wrote an article for Splitsider‘s “college week” about some of the great improv groups at colleges across the country.

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Splitsider: Craig Cackowski on ‘Trust Us With Your Life’ and Improv on TV

I had the pleasure of interviewing Craig Cackowski — veteran improv performer, teacher, coach, etc. — for Splitsider about his experience shooting Trust Us With Your Life, a new improv TV show for ABC in the style of Whose Line Is It, Anyway? Craig talks about doing improv on TV and the prospects of a long-form TV show.

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Tournament Season at iO West

We’re in the middle of a period I’ve decided to call “tournament season” at iO West, with two major improv tournaments, both leading up to the LA Improv Comedy Festival in June (which has a number of improv and sketch tournaments of its own). Competitive improv isn’t really my cup of tea — it can get uncomfortable and bring out a few negative qualities in performers — but I like the idea of a playoff-style tournament, with no incumbency advantage and a clear, definite end. Tournaments can be a great way to boost excitement in the community, bring in a new audience, and encourage interaction between people who don’t normally perform together. They’re also fun to speculate over.

One of the two tournaments is the (second annual) United States of Improv Tournament, in which improvisers compete on teams defined by their states of origin. The winning team receives a limited run on the mainstage and bragging rights. Last year, one-man musical improv team Tom Christensen of North Dakota swept the whole thing (knocking my Team Florida out in the first round), and this year, with heavyweights New York, Texas, California and Ohio seeing early defeats, it really could be anyone’s game. It’s a great idea for a tournament — you get to see top improvisers at the theater play on teams with new faces, and everyone gets really excited about it. Tonight at 11:30, Team Florida kicks off the second round, competing against New Jersey’s team for a spot in the semifinals.

The other big tournament is the annual iO West Harold Tournament, in which iO’s house teams compete against each other for bragging rights, a performance slot representing the theater in the festival’s tournament, and a rumored “protected status” from the Harold team chopping block. All of the Harold teams will compete, except previous winners (Local 132, King Ten, USS Rock N Roll, and Bandit), and most mainstage teams are “top seeded,” which means they get a bye week. This will be my first year in the tournament, and I’m on The Cartel, which will face off against either Riggins or Medium Cool on May 23 at 7:30.

I’d love to weigh in on various teams and make predictions, but when the audience decides the winner (or partially decides, in the case of the Harold tournament), these things are damn impossible to predict. So I’ll just say my money’s on Florida and The Cartel. If both of my teams don’t win it all, may lighting strike me dea–

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