INTERVIEW: Timmy Mayse

I try to play every show as if they’re going to take it away from me.

Timmy Mayse

I had never met Timmy Mayse before he walked into Starbucks to meet me for this interview. Timmy had gotten his hands on the TIM review I posted a few months ago and emailed me to thank me. After very little convincing, I was able to persuade him to meet me for an interview, but only knowing what I’ve seen of him on stage, I had no idea what to expect him to be like in real life. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Timmy plays the most loud, boisterous, inappropriate characters on a regular basis. So when he turned out to present himself as a Southern gentleman filled with humility, I was completely thrown off. We had a blast chatting about climbing improv hurdles, his celebrity crushes, painting, his qualms with The Little Mermaid and his background in law. It was a pleasure to sit down with Timmy and I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I did conducting it.

Alright Timmy, where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town north of Dallas called Plano, Texas. That is where I spent the majority of my life until my father took a job transfer when I was about to enter high school and we lived in Jacksonville, Florida for four years. After that, I came back to school in Dallas at Southern Methodist University.

How do you think your childhood contributed to a career in comedy?
Wow, whoa…um, my family are pretty laid back individuals. I wouldn’t say a goofy household, but they really put up with a lot of stuff. I’m an only child so I had a pretty active imagination. They encouraged it, but I don’t think they knew how to handle it.

Haha, that’s fair.
So they would just kind of go along with it, but I don’t think they ever knew how to handle me as a child. I had an overactive imagination.

That seems to be a common trend, I think, in comedians. Was there anything specifically you did on a regular basis? Any imaginary friends? Did you put on shows by yourself?
Sometimes I would put on shows. I don’t remember having an imaginary friend, I might have. I do remember one time, very vividly. My parents had this cat, years before I was born and it hated me when I came around because I was now the center of attention instead of this animal. When it died, we buried it in the backyard and I remember that was kind of my first encounter with, I don’t want to say death, but loss. My parents were saying, “Socks is not here anymore, he’s in heaven” and they would point up and we’d look up. Then about a week later my mom was walking through the kitchen and she see saw me and about 10 of my friends in the backyard staring up at the sky…

How old were you?
I was probably about 5…5ish.

My mom called me in and asked me “Timmy, why are all your friends in the backyard staring up into the sky?” And I told her I charged each one of them a dollar to watch my dead cat go up to heaven.

My mother flipped. She flipped. She made me go back to each of their houses and apologize to their parents and give the money back. Give them their dollar back. My mom walked me to every house. She would stay at the end of the curb and I’d have to walk all the way up and explain, “Mr. and Mrs. Miller, I have to apologize. I charged your son a dollar to watch my dead cat go to heaven.” Some of these parents were super pissed at me and some of them were just like, “If my son is stupid enough to give you a dollar, you should keep it.” Haha. So that was my crazy childhood.

That’s a great story. That’s awesome.
My mom remembers this vividly, I once, for some reason, one day I went through this phase where I just kept taking envelopes or letters and I’d put them in holes and I had a hat on. My mom kept asking me, “What are you doing?” and I told her that “In a previous life I was a mailman.” But I said those exact words, “In a previous life, I was a mailman.” I’d be a mailman for like a month. I had a little satchel and a hat on and I’d go around like a mailman for a month.

“Mom, this is my thing. Why don’t you get me?”
Yeah, pretty much.

That’s great. In 6th grade I used to get my girlfriends together and choreograph dance routines to Spice Girls and No Doubt “Walking Through Spider Webs” and put on shows and stuff.
Ooo, good song.

I specifically remember one instance, choreographing- in my grandma’s nighties- mind you…
Classic. Classic show attire for that age.

They were nice. We put on a show to Selena. What’s her main song? We performed it at the YMCA, in my grandma’s nighties. I like to pretend I can sing.
Haha, so we’re talking Selena, the dead Latin pop star.

Yeah, Selenas.
Selenas. Now I’m going to wonder what that song is, I know what song you’re talking about…

Dreaming? Is that it? (Kiley breaks into song) Dreaming…of you tonight…
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes… I’ll be holding you tight.

Yes, there it is. I can’t sing, so there’s that. Anyway…good times.
Haha, I love Kiley’s segues into the next question.

When did you come to Chicago?
I came to Chicago a little over eight years ago.

Directly from college or was there any in-between?
It was. My dad, classic, took another job transfer to Chicago. When I finished college, there’s not much to do in a small town unless you want to work at the Frito Lay factory or the Coca Cola plant or Plano tackle boxes. I mean there are so many lucrative careers in Plano.

Everyone in my family has pretty much always stayed in the same state. None of them have ever gone out of the country and I was always this person who wanted more than what a small town would always offer. So my dad suggested I come up to Chicago, check it out and if I like it, I could stay. If I didn’t, I’d just leave. So I came up here and pretty much fell in love with Chicago and I wasn’t even improvising or doing anything in this field. I stayed with my dad for a little bit until I got on my feet and then I moved to the city and one day he called me and said, “Alright, my job here is done. I’m going back to Texas” and I said, “Cool. Have fun.” And I just stayed. No family.

Did you know anyone?
I had a core group of friends, but none of them were actors or improvisers. I had no idea what that world was yet at that point in my life. I had no idea that institution even existed.

Timmy Mayse_Be A Lawyer QuoteWhat was the career path you were pursuing? What did you go to school for?
That’s a great question, Kiley. That’s a great question. My degree is in Criminal Justice and my parents wanted me to be a lawyer. I didn’t think I would be a good lawyer; I didn’t think I’d take it seriously enough. I would be way to jokey- too bity and no one would get it. Talk about a tough crowd! If you can win that courtroom crowd over, no crowd will ever throw you at any show.

So I got a job as a criminal investigator working at DuPage County Courthouse, here in Illinois. So I was trekking out to the suburbs and I worked in the adult probation department where we did, it’s about to get real technical, we did pre-plea and pre-sentence reports. It was a pretty hectic, crazy, 9-5 job. Half the time I was interviewing people in jail.

Before you went in front of the judge, my department would write a report on you. We’d outline the details of the crime, do a mini-background check on you and the judge would read those reports to help sentence you properly or to also help get you treatment if we could find a pattern of why this behavior exists.

Ok, geez.
I interviewed all these crazy people in jail because when you’re a newbie, they give you all the cases no one wants to handle. Those cases are usually sexual crimes, so it’s like “Thanks guys.” It’s very depressing. It’s not uplifting. People cursing at you constantly. But you do a lot of good when it comes to younger people who are like 18 or 19 and you try to help change their outlook on life a little bit. Then sometimes you get people who are upstanding citizens who just made a mistake.

We would also give them community service, so I’d help assign community service to people. We’d have these huge caseloads. We didn’t make a whole lot of money, but you didn’t do it for the money, you did it to try and help people. Try and not make people feel like a name and a number in a system. I worked with a lot of grizzled veterans and oh boy, they drank a lot and got real bitter about life.

I bet. Wow, so what changed from there? Was there a transition point or while you were doing that did you find a spark that interested you in comedy?
Um, growing up I always enjoyed making people laugh; I enjoyed making my friends laugh but I didn’t know exactly what we were doing. So a girl I was dating at the time worked at the Metro and grabbed a flyer one day for iO and said she thought I’d be good at it. And I was like “What!?” and I went in, signed up for classes and started taking classes on top of doing this job and then I realized I needed to get out of that job because the commute was too far. So I went back to what I did in college, which infuriated my parents, which was a banking job, so just I could be closer, in the city. So I did a banking job in the daytime and I did comedy at night. My parents were furious about it.

Why were they so mad?
They just felt like I was taking a step down in my job. I went to school and worked hard for my degree and they were still pretty pissed that I wasn’t a lawyer.

What do they think about it now? Are they still pissed, eight years later?
They’re not pissed, I think they get what I do, but they only get it to a point. Ironically, I work a part-time job and it’s at a law firm, so they’re happy about that.

What? Haha.
It’s like, jobwise, I’m punishing myself.

Wow, so you’re currently work a part-time job at a law firm.
Yup, I work a part-time job at a law firm and that’s about half my income. Then the other half is, knock on wood, from being a commercial actor. I make enough money with commercial work, some small television roles and teaching a few classes, doing shows and coach a few teams.

That kind of sounds like the best of all worlds.
It is.

Minus the law firm part. A part-time job to pay for half of it, sure. Personally, a law firm kills me, but for you, yes, that makes sense.
It’s great. I’ve worked so many jobs where acting and comedy had to be a mistress or a secret. I remember when I was working at a bank, on my lunch hour, I would race downtown and do an audition and I remember panicking to get back into the office because I couldn’t juggle it. There’s no way they would let me take time off to do an audition, whereas this law firm, they’re 100% open to it. They’re super supportive. They are amazing to me. All those years I had to eat it hard getting yelled at. I got yelled at so many times at my other job. I had to make so many excuses for long lunch hours and such.

I’ve had to do that too and I hate it because I’m a terrible liar.
Me too!

I start lying and my face gets red and I get nervous…that’s why I don’t lie because I’m so bad at it.
Me too. Know what else I’m really terrible at? If I want to surprise a girl, I’m awful. Any girl I’ve ever dated, I can’t go get a gift and give it to her. It kills me inside; I can’t even keep that in.

Haha, ok, I cut you off when you were talking about starting at iO.
Ok, back up? So we’re backing the train up?

Yup, backing it up. So when the girl you were dating suggested signing up at iO, you signed up and then…
Yes. I started taking classes while I was working this banking job. I went through the system and met an amazing group of people, people I still work with to this day. I was so bad. God, I was so bad at it when I first started, I was so bad. I was so jokey. I kept just trying to say a line that was funny. I didn’t invest enough. I was so bad. I had to get better; I had to work at it. I still work at it. They’ll never be a day where you hear me say, “Oh, I know everything about it.”

No, because that’s not a thing.
You learn something every day and it makes you stronger.

Timmy Mayse_Went Through The Program Twice QuoteIt’s nice to hear you say that. I was actually out with some iO people last night and I asked if they had any questions they wanted me to ask you and one of the things they wanted to know was how did you view yourself as you were going through the training center. So you answered it without me even asking. It’s nice to hear stuff like that because it’s such as skillful craft and it takes so much time and so much investment in so many different aspects of life, skills, techniques and talent. I think so many people get so impatient because they see so many talented performers and they just want to know how they get there.

Yeah, I actually went through the program twice.

You did?
I did.

The whole thing?
Yeah, that’s how bad I was.

I probably need to do that.
That’s how bad I was. I went through it the first time and I was super lucky and got placed on a team, that team got broken up and I got cut. I remember being super devastated but I wanted to know what I could do to improve myself. So I reached out to all my teachers and they gave me amazing feedback. I still have those emails today. I’ll go back and read them. After I got cut, I went and did nothing by barprov for three years straight. I did barprov anywhere I could get up in front of an audience for three years.

All improv?
All improv.

So you just found a group of people to play with?
I found groups of people. People I went through class with. People I met along the way. I just did it and honed my craft. I wanted to get those chops in in front of any audience. Never let any audience throw you. I have done shows for three people that were mega drunk and hated everything about comedy.

So wait, you went through the program, you got cut from the team, you did barprov for three years and then you went back through the program.
Yup. Friends of mine were questioning me but I wanted to do it. I took all new teachers. I did my 5Bs. I was lucky enough to be placed on a team of really great improvisers and individuals. Then that team got broken up and I got placed on another team and I was really grateful for that. About a year, year and a half into that, Deep Schwa asked me to start playing with them and then I just hit the ground running.

How long have you been playing with Deep Schwa?
A little over three years? Three, three and a half years? It’s great. That was the team I always watched when I was coming up through classes because they had so much fun together but they still pushed the form and the piece. The fun didn’t overtake everything. They just found a balance of equal fun and equal drive. I was a nervous wreck. The first three or four shows, I barely got out there. It wasn’t until Jason Chin and Craig Uhlir were like, “You have to get out in this show.” I would sit on the wall and maybe come out once.

Really? Were you scared?
I don’t know if it was that I was scared, I think it was that I just wanted to do well in front of people I looked up to when I was coming up. Plus, I was also learning everyone’s style of play.

Fun. Now you claim that you were terrible when you first started doing improv.
Oh, I’m sure I was.

What steps did you take to get better at that? Any exercises or classes or specific things you did to work on that?
Well, I’ll never forget, probably the best note I ever got from Peter Gwinn. He was an improv mentor to me and I kind of act like a 13 year-old girl around him to this day. Every time I see him I get very giddy and flushed and I act really weird. He directed a solo show I did and he was a coach of mine and he recently just moved back to Chicago. He gave me the best advice I’ve ever received. I have so much energy and told me to liken it to a laser beam. A laser beam can be this huge beam, but if you can take that huge laser and get it down really tiny but it still has the same amount of force behind it. That resonated in me and just clicked. Just focus. I can still have that energy and drive and commitment and lose myself but the beam is much smaller.

That makes sense.
When he told me that, it blew my mind. That was it.

Which experience thus far would you say has been your most inspiring or motivating?
Probably the television work I’ve done. It’s such a fun and interesting world. I’m always blown away that no matter the size of your role, they just assume you know what to do. It’s like someone shoving you in the deep end of the pool and you have no idea what you’re doing. It’s been the most challenging, but I’ve learned so much from it. It’s all about fake it ’til you make it.

Everyone keeps saying that.
You have to walk in with such confidence. No one tells you where to look, your cue or anything.

If there was one piece of advice you could give to people going on television auditions, stepping into the shoes you’ve been in not knowing what they’re doing, what would you tell them?
Go in there with the most amount of confidence you’ve ever had in your entire life. Confidence-not cockiness. Don’t be a dick. Even if you’re not confident, be confident and roll with the changes. No one wants to hear you say no. Lines change and you just have to go with it.

Noted. Who are some of your comedic idols?
I don’t know what this says about me, I hope it says a lot about me, but growing up I was always a fan of Phil Hartman and Chris Farley. I probably know way too much about either one of them. Small world, one of the attorneys at the law firm I work at went to college with Farley.

At Marquette?
At Marquette.

I went to Marquette.
Get out of here. This attorney remembers him vividly because they went to Marquette at the same time.

I lived on the floor above where Farley lived my freshman year.
Crazy. Even smaller world, the bank I worked at, the president of that branch, his sister briefly dated Farley.

Yup, right when he moved to Chicago. Isn’t that a small world?

Ok, so Phil Hartman and Chris Farley.
Yeah. I feel like I know way too much about those guys. I love just how committed he was to everything. In my eyes, those two people can do no wrong. Hartman is so focus and driven and committed to his characters and Farley is the fun and the energy and I love smashing the two of those together.

Any comedic people you have your eye on today?
Ohhh, that I have my eye on? Let’s see…

Take that however you want.
Ohhhh. Let’s see…lately I’ve been watching a lot of Nick Kroll stand-up. I dig his stuff. I can’t think of anyone right off the bat that I watch a lot. When I was coming up through the ranks, an improv teacher of mine said that you should watch someone you admire and watch them a lot and ask yourself what it is you like about them. My two at the time, were Brad Morris and Steve Waltien. I didn’t know Steve well at the time and when I introduced myself to him, I was like, “Oh, I watch you all the time…”

Haha, creep!
I know it was super creepy, but he was really kind though. He was like, “Cool, cool” and I stopped him and I was like, “You don’t understand, I watch you a lot…” Haha. I was so creepy.

Even if that’s true, you just don’t usually say that. “Hi, I’m stalking you on stage.”
I did learn a lot from those two dudes. Just really ask yourself why you like who you like on stage. What is it about them?

Ok, so what does an average day or week look like in the life of Timmy Mayse?
Whoa, ok. Do you want me to get real technical and get real boring with it?

Uhh, let’s not get boring…but we can address boring, let’s just not spend a lot of time on boring.
Ok, I see. We got to start off hot, ok. Let’s see, I work three days a week at a law firm. Usually I will teach one or two classes a term at iO. On top of that, I try not to coach more than three groups.

That’s a lot.
Yeah. Then inserting on top of that auditions that might come up throughout the week. Some weeks I might have one audition; some weeks I might have three. Then on top of that you find time to memorize lines and try to insert a personal life on top of that and hanging with friends.

Yes, so how do you manage that? I think a lot of people have that same issue, how do you do all those things and add on a social life?
I’ve been pretty blessed that I’ve had a lot of patient people in my life. People who are very understanding and know that this is how I make a living and afford this lifestyle. Jugging these multiple jobs but also working hard at all of them and not half-assing them. I wish I had more consistency, like one night a week friends could meet, but that’s me being too anal retentive about my life.

I wish I could do that too.
Yeah, getting very OCDish, like, “Why can’t we all meet on a Wednesday until a year from now or whatever.” I think this is sad, but I literally live by my day planner.

I live by my phone calendar.
I haven’t been able to transition into that.

I used to live by my planner because I like to write it all down.
I have to. It’s kind of sad, but I would forget and everyone would be really mad at me.

I think it’s totally necessary, especially for people who try to balance so many things. It’s not black and white and if I don’t write it down, I forget. If it’s not in my phone calendar, then it doesn’t exist. It’s terrible. Anyway, do you have any outside interests?
I do. I don’t do them enough, but I love to read. I’m a huge reader.

What kind of books?
I’m a history nut. I jones out on history. I go crazy on it. Right now I have three books I’m trying to get through. I’m lucky if I can read for like an hour a week.

Really? I try to read on the El.
I can’t do that, I get motion sickness. I’m awful on car trips. I can’t navigate, I get real bad. I’m reading things right now that my friends think sound really boring.
I try to find as much time as I can to do it. Lately, I’ve been geeking out on these books I have. I’m reading things that my friends think sound really boring. Like right now I’m reading a book that literally is 50-60 years before the Revolutionary War.

Oh boy…
I don’t know why. The majority of books I read are history based. I read this biography of Charlie Chaplin that was about 700 pages. It was ridic. Ridic. That took almost no time at all. It was so fascinating. I’ve read too many books and know way too much about the supermodel Gia. I don’t know if you remember her…

What!? No! Wait who? That’s weird.
You don’t know Gia, the supermodel?

No, and why are you an expert on her?
I don’t know. There’s something about her life I find super fascinating. She was a model that came up in the seventies and eighties. Super tragic. She had this drug-fueled history. She ended up dying at a very young age, like 25 or 26 in 1986. She was one of the first people to contract AIDS as a woman and die. I know way too much about her life. Where she grew up, modeling biz, etc. The time she was coming up, everyone was blonde and she was brunette so that blew everyone’s mind. I don’t know. I know way too much about Gia the supermodel.

(Speechless)…That’s a fun fact, Timmy Mayse…
Haha, that’s a fun fact everyone, stop me on the street, talk to me about Gia.

Ohhhh, ok. Gia the supermodel.
Google her tonight.

I will Google her because I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Oh what?

Ok, outside of being a history buff and a Gia the supermodel aficionado…
Oh, I also like to draw. Alright, I cut you off. That was really rude, I apologize.

No, it’s ok. You like to draw. We were talking about outside hobbies, you said reading and we got into all that.
I do, I love to draw. Draw, paint and pastels- all that.

Oh, I love it. I wish I could do that more. I wish I had the time to do that. If I could do that and read…

Have you taken classes for that?
Uh huh, when I was in high school I took a ton of art classes. I almost went to an art and design school in Georgia. I remember, I had my application all filled out and I had my interview and they sat me down and told me that I would literally be drawing six plus hours a day. And as much as I love drawing, I don’t know if I’d love drawing for six hours a day and I felt like I couldn’t take that slot away from someone who would have a passion for doing it. I have a passion for doing it, but it’s not a passion that would override everything. For me, it’s something that I do to relax me and calm me and for fun. So I’ve been taking photos of things and trying to recreate the photo onto paper.

I’ve done that a lot.
It’s great.

I love it. I took a lot of art classes too, but it’s funny that you say that, because that’s exactly what I would always do. Draw from a picture.
I mean…I don’t mean to brag Kiley, but I’m really good at shading and cross-hatching. So….

I’m going to have to see some of your work.
Ok, I warned you. I don’t have garages full of it, but I’ve got it all under my bed.

Ok, let’s see, where are we? Ok, what goals are you working towards right now?
Well, I think my goals right now are trying to do more and take advantage, in a good way, of the medium we have and the potential of what we can do. Trying to write more. Trying to put up more videos, but put up stuff I think is funny. Just put up something I think is funny. I love what the Katydids did with the Teachers series.

Yeah, that just got partnered with The Onion, I think.
That’s what someone told me. I love that those ladies filmed that in one weekend. Can you believe that, 24 episodes or something in one weekend. I have been writing more pitches for TV series. Trying to write two pilots right now, which has been a really interesting process. Just get more content out there. That’s one of my goals for 2013; just get a little more content out there. You know when you try to write what you think everyone else will think is funny, you put yourself in a tough position, because we all laugh at different things. So why not write what you think is unique or different or interesting but for yourself. What’s something you think is funny? I think it’s all about the work we put into it. Even from the media perspective. There are so many people in this community that are good at so many things, filming, etc. Just trying to take advantage of these resources, in a good way.

Thanks for clarifying. What’s your greatest fear?
Let’s see…wow, I have to think about that one. I guess my biggest fear in life would be if someone took away what we do from me.

Took away comedy? Improv?
Took away performing. I try to play every show as if they’re going to take it away from me. Every show is my last show. I try to really do that. As if the thing you love the most, whatever it is, if someone were to take it away from you and never show it to you again. That’s how I try to play- from a place that I love this and care about this so much, I would never want anyone to take it away from me, so I have to relish the time I have with it. Whether it’s 15 minutes or 30 minutes.

Timmy Mayse_Never Judged QuoteOooo, that’s a good one. That is terrible. Well done, that’s a good answer. What do you find most alluring about performing or comedy in general?
The bonds that you make with people on stage. That you’re never alone on stage. The people I’ve been lucky enough to perform with have seen every facet of me on stage and have never judged once. That blows my mind. Whether you’re doing scenes that are the silliest, stupidest scenes in the world or you’re doing things that are moving and powerful that you might even be crying on stage or losing it. That, to me, is very special.

Today has been very interesting for me, because we have not met prior to today. I’ve seen you perform, but I think your range of characters blows my mind. I think it goes back to your energy comment, that you very often play so many loud, boisterous characters and so many times I find them to be the most appropriate characters and I love them. But when I received that first email from you, it was so polite. Please don’t take that as an insult, by any means, but it was maybe the most polite email I have ever received.

Maybe. And I just thought to myself, “Who is Timmy Mayse?” because you’re on stage shouting out so much shit and doing all of these crazy things and then you send me an email signed “I hope this email finds you doing well…” I was wondering if you were just super polite. I was so confused. So I guess my question is, where does that come from on stage? Because you are really polite. Is that just a switch or deliberate character choices?
I guess I tend to play more emotional based. Sometimes I end up dissecting line for line what my scene partner is saying but also the way they say it. So, whether they intend for me to receive it one way of the other, my emotional side of improvisation just addresses it. If it makes me feel whatever way, I’m just going to respond to it. I tend not to over think and just go for an emotion.

That’s great. It works well.
That’s so funny you gave, it makes me sound like an enigma.

I was so blown away. I had a hard time believing you were the same person.
It’s my southern manners. But now I’m curious, do people think off-stage that I’m exactly like I am on stage?

I don’t know. Just having no other context to think about who you are as a person and only knowing what I’ve seen on stage…We’ll see what people actually think of you in real life. I’ll start asking.
Oh boy. Make that as a blog post.

All miscellaneous comments.
Yeah, all miscellaneous. I don’t want to know names, just let her rip.

Haha, that’d be funny. Maybe I’ll do that. I have a few silly little questions for you; maybe they won’t be so heavy. Timmy Mayse, what is your drink of choice?
Ok, I am kind of an old man sometimes when it comes to drinks.

Shocker, history buff.
Old man. My drink of choice is usually Captain and Coke all the time.

That’s not old many.
Well, that starts it off. Lately, I’ve been drinking a lot of Old Fashions. That’s kind of a Mad Men drink. I love white wine…does that make me…

That makes you a female, because I love white wine. Haha.
Man, I can drink some white wine, let me tell you.

I don’t like red wine.
I hate red wine.

I don’t like it at all. I don’t like the smell of it, the taste of it…
Nope, it’s warm. I don’t like drinking my wine warm.

I don’t want to drink wine warm. I don’t like red wine at all.
No. Wine though, it’s the best buzz.

And then people think you’re classy. I drank white wine at New Years and some guy came up to me and goes, “Oh you think you’re better than the rest of us.”
That’s when you go, “Yes.”

Trader Joes. You can get a real good bottle of wine for under $6.

I really like Sauvignon Blanc. I’m like an old lady; sometimes I’ll come home and pour myself a glass of wine.
Are you doing it while you’re making dinner?

Haha, do it while you’re making dinner. If you just come home and pour yourself a glass of wine and turn on Netflix, then that’s…

Well, sometimes, that is what happens. If we’re being totally honest, yes, that does happen.
Haha, alright, we won’t judge.

Alrighty, do you have any secret passions you’d like to share?
Secret passions…I do. Some people know this about me, but not a whole lot of people, but I really like hiking and camping.

Really? You grew up in the south. Did you do that a lot?
Not really.

So where did that come from?
I don’t know where it came from. I would just like to go to Wisconsin and find a place to hike. That and waterparks.

I love waterparks.
I love going up to…

Noah’s Ark?
Noah’s Ark up in Wisconsin. That place is great.

Yes. I always made it a goal to go every summer. I can’t go to Six Flags because I get motion sickness, but I love water parks. I used to be a synchronized swimmer, so that’s my athletic abilities. Waterparks.
I love it. Lazy River. I’ll sit in the Lazy River all day. So yea, hiking and being outdoors.

A few years back I went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and you can go on these hiking trails. We did this 10 mile trail and you have to get there right when the sun comes up because you basically go all the way up this mountain and come all the way back, but the reason you have to get there early is because when the sun goes down you’re in the middle of the woods and darkness. They warn you everywhere, don’t do these trails drunk or high or anything like that because people have died doing that. But it was the most beautiful scenery. We were in the Smoky Mountains. I was dead by the time we finished it, but it was beautiful and amazing. Something about it. It was so calming to me.

Who is your celebrity crush? You can have a couple.
[Insert embarrassed, flushed face.] Haha, who is my celebrity crush? Let’s see…trying to think. I would say I’d have two. I think Alison Brie is a beautiful woman. Totally beautiful. I’d probably act like a fool in front of her. I would probably say Zooey Deschanel. She seems like a pretty laid back person.

I love Zooey. She seems fun.
Yeah, those two.

Alright. Ok, getting back to business. Where are you currently performing?
Right now, I am performing at iO and The Annoyance. I do four shows at iO and one show at The Annoyance.

So you’re performing five nights a week.

It’s a lot.
Busy, isn’t it?

Do you like it that busy?
I like it. I think it’s the nice balance. Sometimes I go to BYOT at iO. Those guys are really great, I like what they’re doing with that. Improv, sketch, stand-up and characters. Just your name in a bucket and they pull names. I dig that.

It is cool. So, where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? What do you hope for?
Um, I hope I’m still fortunate enough to be doing what we do. It would be great to be able to parlay into more television work.

Do you want to move to LA?
That’s been going around a lot lately.

People have the bug.
Everyone moves in waves. I’ll be there for pilot season and I’m looking forward to that, but I think eventually, you just have to choose. New York or LA?

So not Chicago? I feel like a lot of people work their way up here and then they split.
They do. I think at the end of the day you should stay where you’re the happiest and the most fulfilled. As we know, there are no guarantees here, but there also aren’t any guarantees in New York or LA. I say stay where you have the most fun. It’s not impossible to do this here. There aren’t as many opportunities, but it’s not impossible.

Ok, my last big question for is what’s the greatest insight you’ve discovered about life and comedy?
That’s such a good question. Damn. I thought it was going to be something like, what’s your favorite Disney movie?

I mean, we can ask that next.
Haha. Let’s see…don’t judge. Learning not to judge. I feel like life gives us a lot of those moments to judge. I think we’re judged even if positive ways as well as negative ways.
We’re judged in the sense that we want to do well, go to a good school and get a good job. Those pressures to succeed even outside of theatre and acting. To have that in both worlds, where you’re not judged and you’re encouraged to do what makes you happy, I think is a perfect little present in a box to sum up how we act in life. God no one has ever asked me these really powerful, important questions. No one has asked me these kinds of questions before.

Not really.

Maybe like close friends have asked me that, but I’m talking people who know me 100%. Those are huge questions, those are really good questions. I don’t know if I could come up with a question that good. Maybe I could.

Timmy Mayse_Wanting To Be Better QuoteThat’s the crux of my whole blog. Ok, my last question for you is do you have any final comments?
I guess, don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to grow and learn and hone your craft and be better at it. I do that every day. Whether it’s taking a specific class or getting stronger on camera. Never stop growing and learning and wanting to do more and wanting to be better. I think it’ll make you feel better about yourself in life. You won’t feel as if you’re just doing the same thing all the time. It sounds so cliché, and I know it does, but I literally learn something after every show. I do. I feel like it makes me stronger.

Anything else? Oh wait, what’s your favorite Disney movie?
Ohhhh, I have two. I really like Alice in Wonderland and I also like The Sword in The Stone. It’s really good, uh, it’s so good. My third one would be Pinocchio. Pinocchio always cracks me up. I love the fact that he’s a puppet and people clearly know he’s a puppet but no one says it. They just assume he’s real. But there’s something about Little Mermaid though that I’ve never understood and kind of annoys me.

Ok, so you know Ariel can talk to the creatures of the sea and she can talk to the creatures of the air, right?

She sees a dog on a beach and she can’t understand one damn word the dog says? Think about that.

Is it because she doesn’t understand the things on land?
Maybe. I don’t know, then that’s a Disney flaw. Shouldn’t she be able to talk to every animal?

Isn’t that part of the thing? She’s trying to get her feet so she can be with the prince and doesn’t understand the things on the streets? What is that song?
I wish there was a song, “I Don’t Understand The Land on The Streets.”

Hahahahahahaha. That’s the new 2013 version.
The classic Disney version, “I Don’t Understand The Land on The Streets.” I could be wrong. Maybe I’m overthinking The Little Mermaid too much.

I don’t know. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it.
Beauty and The Beast is really good too. Talk to Tim Baltz about that.

Is he a big Beauty and The Beast fan?
Ohhh yeah. That’s a great movie.



Timmy Mayse has been performing improv at the iO Theater and other venues for 8 years. iO credits include Solid State, The Diplomat Motel, Challenger and famed house team Deep Schwa. He has also performed at the Del Close Marathon and Chicago Sketchfest. At Second City Timmy’s performed with Second City Communications aboard the NCLPearl and has written and performed Jacoby’s Promise and Fisting at the Annoyance Theater.

Interview conducted on January 19, 2013.


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posted on by Kiley Peters posted in Chatter, Interviews

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