9.25.14 Playhouse Masterpieces with Neil & Paul: These Are Our Kids at UCB LA. I love Neil Campbell & Paul Rust as improvisers, but hadn’t gotten the chance to get to one of these shows before last night. Playhouse Masterpieces is the performance of a semi-improvised play, in this instance taking loose inspiration from the existing play “This Is Our Youth”. Neil & Paul were great, but set their guests up to be even better - Mary Holland and Joe Wengert drew the biggest laughs of the night.
9.23.14 Erin & MeLissa: One Night Only at UCB. I met Erin about a year ago in line at UCB, and though we only talked for a bit, I liked her sense of humor. A few months later, I saw her perform with improv group Charm School, and discovered that she was a talented improviser. A few months after that, I saw Erin & MeLissa for the first time, and discovered that not only is she funny and talented, she can play the trombone.
Erin & her friend MeLissa, who has a lovely voice and plays the guitar, sing funny & relatable songs about being a twenty (or thirty) something person. These ladies play a tight 30 minute show, currently running once a month, and I urge you to go see it if you get the chance. Their next show at UCB is October 14th, and their album is on Spotify if you’d like a preview.
9.20.14 The Seekers of Perpetual Love: Live Reading at The Ricardo Montalban Theater. We’ve been to a bunch of the live read events at LACMA that obviously inspired this blcklst.com series. But instead of using established movie screenplays, they are taking scripts that have been featured on The Black List, casting them with well-known actors, and reading them in front of a live audience. Because these screenplays have no corresponding film, it’s a little trickier to follow along than it is for something like Groundhog Day, where you already know the story. But The Seekers of Perpetual Love, written by Victoria Strouse, was very easy to follow and thus a great choice of script for this event.
I won’t give too much away, but the story revolved around three siblings searching for their sister, who has joined a cult, with the help of a cult deprogrammer. I won tickets to this event thanks to a mindyprojectfans.com tumblr-linked giveaway. Originally, Adam Pally was supposed to play Wes, the gambling, pill popping brother of Kayla and Zach. However, he couldn’t make it, so Seth Green filled in and did a fantastic job. Jean Smart, Dean Cameron, Nathan Fillion, Alison Brie, Justin Bartha and Melanie Lynsky filled in the rest of the cast, with Cooper Thornton as a very smooth narrator. The script was funny, and the actors were well-cast in their roles. They offered posters for sale, designed by Pixar artist Craig Foster & signed by the cast, and I had to get one. I had never been to this venue before, but it was a really nice fit for the event. We’ll likely be returning for future Black List productions!
9.19.14 Soundtrack/Your Fucked Up Family at UCB. Soundtrack: Brian Huskey, Scot Armstrong, Andy Secunda, Miriam Tolan, Jesse Falcon & DJ Scott Davis. Your Fucked Up Family: Jon Gabrus, Pam Murphy, Dan Black & Dan Klein.
Every time we’ve seen YFUF in the past, the family of the audience member onstage has been disappointingly normal. But last night, the audience interviewee had some very interesting family tales, which made for a great show.
9.7.14 Gravid Water at UCB LA. September’s Gravid Water lineup: improvisers Sean Conroy, Stephnie Weir, Thomas Middleditch, Becky Drysdale and Brian Stack, paired with actors Maria Thayer, Shelly Slocum, Cristin Milioti, Michael McMillian and Kimmy Gatewood, directed by Neil Ruddy. Truly, they’re all great (as Mr. Ruddy said at the top of the show), but Becky Drysdale finds new ways to kill me with my own laughter every time she does this show.
9.5.14 Dead Authors Podcast at UCB LA. Last night, podcast host H.G. Wells (Paul F. Tompkins) had author Ian Fleming (Matt Gourley) on the program. Fleming was a bit of a scoundrel, but it made for a great show, and I highly recommend tuning in when it comes out!
9.4.14 Casey & Woods at UCB LA. I’m telling you, watching these guys improvise together just does not get old. Some of the topics addressed last night: the immorality of video game cheat codes, Flannery O’Connor, and the Prince of Darkness.
9.3.14 Amy Poehler: Yes Please Live at UCB. Sometimes being unemployed is the most depressing thing in the world. But other times, it allows you the opportunity to snag free tickets for events that sell out in seconds, like Amy Poehler at UCB LA. Despite having been to literally hundreds of shows at the LA theater, I had never seen Amy perform, since she doesn’t do improv there. So I was absolutely ecstatic to get the chance to see her at least once, and so were all of the other people in the audience. I have honestly never heard such intense applause at UCB for anyone else. She read us a chapter from her new book, and unsurprisingly, it was funny, relatable, and awesome. Cannot wait to read the whole thing.