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: 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–

iO West Harold Team Changes: The Cartel

There has been another seasonal shake-up of Harold teams at iO West. My old team, Natural 20, was sadly broken up after an 8-month run. However, after auditions last Sunday, I have been lucky enough to be added to a different mainstage team, The Cartel. The Cartel has been a popular team at iO West for the past few years, and it’s a huge honor to be asked to join them. Also joining the team is the wonderful Lauri Roggenkamp, of Hot Toddy fame (and a fellow Student of the Year).

Since I got the good news on Monday, things have been moving fast. I had my first rehearsal with the team last night (which was also the team’s first rehearsal with its new coach, Annie Kouris), and we have our first show tonight at 9:30 on the iO West Mainstage (with Bandit). After meeting the group and rehearsing with them, I was impressed by their dedication to the craft and their passion for the team. Also, they’re hilarious. It’s gonna be great working with these guys.

For a full list of all the changes (cuts, additions, new teams, etc.) read below the jump.

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Sitting in with USS Rock N Roll

ImageI have been invited to sit in with USS Rock N Roll, one of the top Harold teams at iO West. USS is well known for their dynamic group work and ability to consistently produce inspired, thematically connected shows. They won the 2009 iO West Harold Tournament and were named “Best Harold Team” at the 2009 and 2010 Del Close Awards. USS is a popular team in the community — they’re great about going to watch other teams, and they do cool things like invite a novice performer from a recently cut Harold team to play with them for two weeks. While I’m a little nervous to guest perform with a team with such a strong sense of group mind, I love how well they support each other and I’m anxious to experience first-hand how they attack the Harold.

I am also excited to work with Jason Pardo, the team’s coach, a well regarded guru in the iO West community (and a fellow TSF alum). He’s been working with USS to take a different approach to scene work and character work, and if you’ve watched them lately, you’ve probably seen how funny they can be in scenes (very).

My two shows with USS will be Tuesday, Feb. 21 and 28, at 10:30 pm on the iO West Mainstage. The first one is tonight. If you’d like to come, let me know, and I’ll see about getting you comped. If I can’t, it’s only $5, or free for iO students and alumni.

Watch USS do an opening: