A new start for me and the Improv Resource Center

Over the past few years, I’ve been a co-owner and the Artistic Director of Under The Gun Theater in Chicago. During that time, I’ve had the pleasure of producing many shows at our space in Wrigleyville, and being a part of an incredible ensemble of performers. On the whole, it has been a wonderful experience. I’ve learned much about producing and marketing shows. And I’ve sharpened my vision of the kinds of shows I’d like to direct and perform in.

However, after discussions with my business partner, we agreed to part ways. Our projections for the company were different. And week by week, our visions for the theater and our strategies for getting there were diverging more and more. In the end, she offered to buy me out and I agreed. As of about a month ago, I resigned as the Artistic Director of Under The Gun Theater and notified our ensemble and staff shortly after.

I also formally started a new company, one that I founded nearly 20 years ago, the Improv Resource Center. For the first time, the IRC will have a physical place in the real world to call home. From there I will be offering classes in improvisation and sketch comedy. And I will produce a number of shows in the next year, but at a much more reasonable pace. Instead of directing and producing a dozen new shows a year, I look forward to working on 2-4 shows instead.

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Deliberate Practice, Not Just Reps

Over the last few years, I have thought a lot about how we approach improv training, and I think we can do much better than we do. To develop mastery in any art form takes practice, not just reps. What is the difference?

Deliberate practice means focused, challenging exercises with specific goals, led by a coach or teacher who knows how to encourage you to be better. It means nudging students to get to that sweet spot of learning where they are reaching just beyond their current capabilities. Truly effective training is hard, it should leave you mentally tired. But when you practice like this, you get better.

Summer intensive programs shouldn’t just be about filling a notebook with ideas that you might practice later. They should be about getting better now. You should be able to walk away on the last day knowing that you acquired skills that you can put into practice the next time you improvise.

If this kind of training sounds intriguing to you, think about taking my Improv Bootcamp at Under The Gun Theater. It’s 5 days of intensive training in Chicago, July 11th-July 15th. It’s the same workshop I’m teaching in New York in June and in Washington DC in August. Those bootcamps are sold out, the improv bootcamp in Chicago still has room for you.

Improv Resource Center Podcast with Amey Goerlich

Amey Goerlich talks to Kevin Mullaney about improv exercises and concepts. Amey is the host of the Indie Cagematch in at UCB East and an independent improv teacher in New York. We talk about Krompf, pummeling, improvising with your eyes closed, bad rap warmups, half ideas, button lines, teaching film to 5 year olds, e-Improv, and bonsai tree houses.

Links related to this episode:

Download the episode

Improv Resource Center Podcast with Karen Graci

Karen Graci is a coach and performer at iO West. She is also a writer for Girlboss, a new Netflix show in production. We talk about about coaching Harold teams, openings, group games, short form, and Vertical Harolds.

Karen Graci is a coach and performer at iO West. We talk about about coaching Harold teams, openings, group games, short form, and Vertical Harolds. She can be seen performing with King Ten at iO West. Special thanks to Camp Improv Utopia East where this podcast was recorded.

Check out this episode!

IRC Podcast with Jack Newell

Jack C Newell is director of the films Close Quarters, How to Build a School in Haiti and Open Tables. He is head of TV, Film & Digital at the Second City Training Center and a graduate of Columbia College Chicago in film/video. We talk about using improv to make movies, the job of the director and his latest feature which seamlessly weaves improv into the fabric of the film.

Read more at http://ircpodcast.com/irc-podcast-2015-09-016-jack-newell#1LeEQIEk0v6KhFkT.99

Improv Resource Center Podcast with Ric Walker

Ric Walker, Second City instructor and member of the Improvised Shakespeare Company is our guest. We talk about reacting emotionally, clown work, developing shows and more.

IRC Podcast with Mick Napier!

Mick Napier, the Artistic Director of the Annoyance Theatre is our guest for the IRC Podcast. We talk about nudging students to get better, breaking out of your habits, playing without making sense, presenting long form, improv auditions and Martin de Maat.

To support the IRC podcast, visit patreon.com.
You can subscribe to this podcast in iTunes.

Watching True Detectives, S2 E1 – The Western Book of The Dead

I’ve started a new podcast with fellow Under The Gun ensemble member Will Meinen. We are doing a weekly recap of HBO’s show True Detective. It’s not available yet via iTunes and may not be for a few days, but you can download and listen to the podcast on our website at listen.undertheguntheater.com or use this link for podcast players that use RSS feeds.

New episode of IRC podcast: Kevin Reome

There is a new episode of the IRC Podcast up today. It’s an interview with Kevin Reome, teacher at the Second City Training Center in Chicago. We talk about how to treat students new to improv, using you statements and being the guy that everyone wants to improvise with.


See Kevin’s video improv project called Facetime Improv.

Hump Night, July 17th

humpnightposterHump Night returns this week with another great lineup of standup, improv, music, and storytelling.
7:30 – The Improv Hour
The improv hour features teams of players coached by Kevin Mullaney

  • Pancakes Tonght! with Will Meinen, Oopey Mason, David Prouty, Danielle Bluford, Shana Weinstein and Alex Frenkel
  • Richard and the Kids with Richard Scruggs, Jude Tedmori, Kyle Reinhard, Alex Hanpeter, Bethanie John, Matt Pina
  • Delicately Seasoned with Grant Grieshaber, Sara Cardon, Caitlin Wilson, Alex Romero, Jeff Jackel, Phil Caron, Dan de Dios
8:30 – The Variety Hour
Standup, storytelling, music, sketch and occasionally some improv.

  • Stand Up by Marz Timms
  • Solo Performance by Claire Friedman
  • Storytelling by Angie McMahon
  • Storytelling by Shannon Cason
  • Music by Plucky Rosenthal
9:45 – Mullaney Chain
Kevin invites a great improvisor to play, who invites a third, who invites a fourth who invites one more.

  • Chris Witaske
  • Tim Stoltenberg
  • Beth Melewski
  • Tim Mason

Please RSVP on Facebook!