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Geek Pilgrims,
Geek Pilgrims podcast



Geek Pilgrims 18: Make Stuff Happen! (MSH!)

It’s our end of year special! In this episode we talk about our favorite parts about 2012, our goals for 2013, what we love about Christmas, recent movies we saw (The Hobbit, Life of Pi, Skyfall, Lincoln, Hitchcock), less recent movies we saw (Love Actually and THE CHRISTMAS SHOES), Batman, girls, and much more! Enjoy!

Such a good post. Exactly what I needed to read with where I’m at with improv right now. (Billy has a way of doing that.)

Short version/my takeaway:

* When someone gives you criticism, listen to it and don’t dismiss it, even if you instinctually disagree with it.

* You can get opposite advice where both notes are correct; find the golden middle.

* Lots of improvisers have gotten the “don’t argue”/”you really should have argued there” notes.


First off, take the note. Don’t waste any of your time [or the class/practice] trying to fight the note in your head or with the teacher/ coach.

You will, at some time in your improv training, get a note you disagree with. Or a note that is the opposite of what other teachers and coaches might have given you. This is to be expected. If you disagree with the note let it slide, you don’t have to act on everything said. BUT if you get the same note three or more times from different sources, you have a problem that needs fixing.

Sometimes when fixing a note we receive, we can overcompensate. For instance: One of the first notes given to me [1958] was I improvise like a stand up comedian, jokey, full if ironic detachment. [I know, ME?] This hit me hard, I didn’t want to be that guy, and then I found that I overcompensated and played every scene too serious, taking whatever fun that could be had, out of the scene. The note given to me then was, lighten up, your doing comedy. Both notes were right, and both notes were about the same player.

These are called Pendulum Swing notes, you go back and forth with notes about a certain issue that seem conflicting, but in the long run, you will settle down right in the middle. [unless you fight the note]

Sometimes notes can stop a bad habit right away, but most of the time it takes time and practice. Be patient, surrender yourself to the process. 

Sometimes a note is the polar oppisite of what another teacher has told you. Know that there must be a reason for that, find the justification. [You shouldn’t do argument scenes, they tend to stall/ You should of argued in that scene, it would of called out the unusual]   

Sometimes a note is given to get something out of you at that moment, but doesn’t apply to the rest of your improv career. [Do that same scene, but like your an animated cartoon]

A note to the note givers: Relax with all the notes. If giving notes on a Harold takes longer then the actual Harold, you’ve gone too far. Know that if you wanted, you could give a note on every word uttered in a scene. Pick and choose. Decide a theme, for instance, tonight’s ‘note focus’ will be on justifications, or “If that then what else”.

Best notes given to me:

“Everything you are doing is wrong, move to New York”

“Did you really need to be a tornado?”

“Play the Horror”

Sean London wrote about an article I did. Here I am reblogging his post, so if Tumblr goes down due to eating itself, that’s my fault.


Mike Roe collected some choice quotes from Maria Bamford’s Reddit AMA. You can check it out here, but I especially loved this quote:

Just do it. Do what you think is funny. Do it again and again. Fail, try, try, fail, enjoy, triumph, again. That’s all there is. We’re all in the same boat — i’m just as scared as you are.

That’s the whole thing, isn’t it?

I saw Maria Bamford at some random free show in Burbank. I, not being a standup geek by any stretch, had no idea who she was. And she just blew my mind.

Read More

HuffPo’s lorem ipsum text makes me so incredibly happy.



I think the Huffington Post is trolling the Internet

Huffpo Hates Hipsters.

Agreed. (My dissertations like this are usually about improv or comic books.)

Cool collection of comic book documentaries on YouTube. I really loved Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, and I look forward to checking out the rest.

PC only? In 2012. REALLY. *sigh*


Street Fighter X Mega Man!

Huh? Okay! This surprise Capcom crossover releases as a free PC download on December 17. Instead of fighting eight Robot Masters, Mega Man takes on eight Street Fighters this time, gaining their powers with each victory.

This is all very weird! Maybe it’s awesome too? We can all agree, though, that it’s a thing with Mega Man. And it looks a lot better than a lot of the other Mega Man stuff Capcom has released lately.

BUY SSFIV 3D Edition, 25th Anniversary Collector's Set

(via thechrishaley)

Great show last night at the UCB Cagematch from both Convoy and Heather & Miles. Winning an audience-decided improv contest 45 shows in a row. Cheers to the Heather & Miles era!


Heather & Miles (Heather Campbell, Miles Stroth) have officially broken the record for consecutive cagematch wins at UCBTLA. Last night, they competed against the previous record holders Convoy (Alex Fernie, Alex Berg, Todd Fasen), earning win #45.

This has been truly an amazing run of shows and I love that the improv community has really embraced them. Miles went from teaching a class or two to now teaching 5 classes a week (!). Some of these cagematches have sold out in less than 30 seconds. Even on days where they don’t announce the time the reservations will be released. That’s nuts!

The big question is: what’s next? There’s no more gauntlets (where they have to play past champions) and there’s almost no one left for them to play; they’ve played nearly every UCB regular. Recent shows even brought giants like The Swarm and Derrick for fuck’s sake. I wonder if it’s possible that they’d retire the cagematch (or be asked to retire)? I hope not. I don’t know what it’d take to beat them, but I’d like to see them lose fair and square. I think there’s still a handful of teams that deserve a shot (Murdercliff and recent Improv Prize Fight tournament winners 3 Step spring to mind, along with regulars like Hot Sauce and Shitty Jobs). But maybe it’s not possible, given their following at this point, and the fact that Heather & Miles does not have another show.

And that’s the other thing, I hope they get a show out of this. I don’t know what the rules are for that, but I’d love to see Heather & Miles get at least a monthly show at UCB and expand from there, if need be. Miles said him and Heather used to do their show for an hour long, at iO; I’d love to see that! 

In any event, it’s been an awesome year of cagematches so far. To me, there are very, very few teams who operate at the level of technical proficiency and sheer outrageousness that they do. Some of these shows they do are not just perfect, they’re above and beyond perfect. I’ve seen them play 8 or 9 characters in a 3 minute scene, I’ve seen their sets explode into movie form, I’ve seen both of them play high and low status, straight and absurd, normal people and weirdos, and then those callbacks. No one does callbacks like them. It’s been a great, great year from them.

And as good as it’s been, I’m excited to see their post record-break shows. I’d love to see them experiment and get weird and try new forms. I just love this team.

Congrats, Heather & Miles!

Their poses in the last panel are kind of genius.


Female Fantasy III

I have never bought an issue of Vanity Fair but that is tooootally about to change.


In Vanity Fair’s first-ever comedy issue, writer, director, and producer Judd Apatow convened his most talented friends and idols to contribute, write, and pose for a 19-page Mark Seliger portfolio—as well as act incredibly dignified and businesslike in costume for three different covers. [One cover] features Jim Carrey dressed up as Evel Knievel, Maya Rudolph doing an ancient Egyptian like Steve Martin in his King Tut days, Will Ferrell as a corny cowboy, and Amy Poehler as a 60s go-go girl. 

(via comedynerdsunited)

So, girls hang this much of their stuff? (Yeah, I’m working on this whole being an adult thing.)

(via crackintheuniverse)

I drive by this sign every week as it’s just across from my comic store, House of Secrets. It’s awesome and memorable and a little bit of everything you ever thought California would be, right in the heart of Burbank.


ok, you know, possibly, that i love old l.a motels.
and i have this dream of buying an old motel with david lynch and turning it into an art space where each room is it’s own tiny gallery.
here’s hoping.
in the meantime here’s an old l.a motel.

it’s actually not that old (maybe late 50’s? early 60’s?).
and architecturally it’s nothing to write home about.
as far as l.a motel signs go this one is the ne plus ultra, the zenith of l.a motel signs.

a.it’s gigantic.
b.it’s falling apart.
c. it’s amazing.

so, the motel itself just kind of looks like the motel in ‘breaking bad’ where hank teaches walt jr about prostitution.
but the sign is amazing.

and i think the sign is based around a surfboard motif. or a jungle shield.
which is odd as it’s about 30 miles from the beach and about 8,000 miles from the jungle.
oh well.



I’d want to marry all the ladies who read this.


Finally, a fashion magazine for ladies like me! (Big ups to David Kantrowitz for his help on this!) 

I’m immortalized in the promo video for MaxFunCon 2013, struggling with opening a beer because of how rarely I drink. ENJOY!