Improv Resource Center and the former Artistic Director and Improv Chief of the UCB Theatre in New York. I also taught, directed and performed at Improv Olympic in Chicago before that (now iO Theatre). I created the Cage Match, an improv show that has played in many places in many forms.
I’m the host of the Improv Resource Center Podcast, in which I intervieww notable improv teachers about the exercises and techniques they use in their classes and rehearsals.
Besides improv and the theatre, I’ll probably be blogging about a number of things including poker, web design, Second Life and dementia.
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How might one interested in talking the podcast get in contact with you? E-mail? Twitter? Text message? Let me know, thanks!
Email me at ircmullaney (at) gmail.
Hi there from a land where we don’t have what you have in improv (pretty much everything) but we do have the internet. We were discussing the importance of the Harold in improv and why it is used so much. Is there already a podcast that covers this already? Cause right now my best argument is “that is what they do in Chicago” (maybe not my most thoughtful but it’s hard to top).
We start to get into something like that near the end of the podcast I did live in NYC. I think one could construct a better argument than that is what they do in Chicago. Perhaps that might be a good topic for a post here or a themed version of the podcast. Here are some thoughts about it though. Assume that when I refer to Harold, I’m referring to the traditional structured Harold that is described in Truth in Comedy:
Harold is a form that requires you to bring back scenes and do second beats where you specifically explore and heighten something you discovered in a previous scene.
Harold has group games built into the structure where everyone is supposed to be onstage working together toward one goal.
Harold is a form that forces you to create scenes and characters that are initially not connected to one another and wait to connect them until the third beats.
Harold eats everything, meaning it’s a form where everything is welcome: serious scenes and funny scenes, performance art, music, poetry, parody, satire, etc.
There are a lot of forms which lack almost all of these features, so that if you did montages of two person scenes instead of Harolds, you wouldn’t end up practicing all the great things that can go into a Harold. I don’t think there is anything particularly magical about the Harold structure. It’s kind of like writing sonnets for poets though. You can become a great poet without studying sonnets, but most likely you will be a better poet if you learn how to write sonnets and practice doing them early on. I think the same is true of Harold for improvisors.
Hello Kevin (if I may),
I am your listener (or one of your listeners) from Turkey that you mentioned on your 31 May podcast. I’ve been practicing improv for almost a year. A bunch of us have, under the auspices of our friend Curtis, an improv veteran who moved to Istanbul 10 years ago from Chicago. We’re thrilled that Turkey got a shout-out on your podcast, and we would love to have you visit us. Please contact me if you’re interested in doing that.
Your podcasts help reinforce what I learn–I benefit from them very much. Thank you!
So great to hear from you! I notice the downloads form Turkey came to a halt for a few weeks after I did that shout out and I wondered if I had jinxed it or scared you all away. Glad to hear that you are still listening and I would love to visit some day.