+ Any time I don't discuss my improv misadventures is too long. Right now I'm in level 4 at IO, which means I'm about three months away from my next class performance. My teacher is Lyndsey Hailey, one of the most highly sought-after actresses on the Chicago improv scene and a really awesome chick. You've probably never heard her name before, but may you have seen the back of her head on occasion. She was Sophie Bush's stand-in on the second and third seasons of "One Tree Hill." In class, we've been working on Del Close's famed Harold technique --a long-form improv style that is too complicated to explain here-- with a focus on scene openings and montages. Would it be redundant to say I'm having a lot of fun?
But that's not all, folks. On Sunday afternoons I have improv with Lynz, but Monday nights are for writing. As I've mentioned before, my teacher is Nate Herman, a writer for SNL during the Eddie Murphy/Joe Piscopo years and the guy playing the wine steward in this 1982 sketch. The majority of my classmates knew beforehand about Nate's credentials, and as such most of us were too nervous to make small talk until our second or third week. Being an SNL expert of sorts, I've been especially sheepish about asking questions, but he's shared a few stories from time to time. In Writing 1, we mostly covered the art of the late night monologue joke and everything that entails (desk pieces, Jon Stewart-style rants, etc.), and in Writing 2 we've working on penning SNL-type sketches. Last week's homework was a commercial parody, and now we've moved on to movie and TV show spoofs. Nate is a very grounded, jovial guy, and he's been a pleasure to have as a teacher.
+ Early last week, Broadway Video confirmed what most SNL die-hards had been expecting to hear but didn't want to: there will be no further complete season DVD sets. In their press release, Lorne Michaels' underlings admitted that licensing for the musical guests' performances had become too expensive and unwieldy. Season 5 (the last with the original cast) arrived in stores almost a year ago, which meant the dreaded Season 6 would've been next in line. The licensing excuse is not a complete lie, though it feels like an exaggeration; Aretha Franklin and James Brown's estate might've drawn a line, but I can't imagine the likes of Kid Creole and Ellen Shipley playing hardball. (Who are they? Exactly.)
First of all, how do you market the worst 13-episode schneid in the history of the most beloved late night variety series of all time? Secondly, Lorne has all but disowned the five-year period (1980-85) in which he wasn't associated with the show, and repeats from that era rarely air anywhere, except maybe on Canadian television. Thirdly, had this set made its way to Best Buy, bootleg tape-makers would lose their only means of income, and that guy who posts Year 6 clips on YouTube would be forced to interact with the rest of society. (Addendum: when I told Nate the news, he quipped "Oh shoot. I was really hoping to get some seven-cent royalty checks.")
+ How's fantasy football going? I'm glad you're not asking. Both teams are 3-7 after Week 10, and any prospect of a turnaround is slim to nil. I've never had any roto teams in any sport struggle like this before, though sometimes I wonder if I was overdue for a comeuppance. This week, however was a unique abnormality; both of my opponents had three Eagles starters, one guy owned Michael Vick, and in spite of his career-defining performance I beat both teams. As some of you know, I'm doing okay for myself in the TV.com picks contest --I've been hovering in the top five since Week 2, and now I have a tenuous share of first place-- but I'm ready to chalk up the 2010 fantasy season as a wash.
Next Week: my sixth annual "thanks/no thanks" list.