The Last LAF

All Good Things Must Come to an End This is the most difficult post I've had to write and coincidentally, it will also be my last. Today marks a day I was never convinced would come. Today, LAFS is two years old. It has been an incredible two years, absolutely incredible filled with more excitement, laughter, awe and humility than I could have ever dreamed. However, today is bittersweet, because today is Read More

INTERVIEW: Charna Halpern

The Mother of Improv Comedy I first fell in love with improv at iO's Clark Street location. iO changed my life, but my story is not unlike many others. Charna created a world at iO that many call "home" and it has become the center of their universe. Charna Halpern is one of the most influential people in improv, has paved the path for hundreds of comedians over the last few Read More

INTERVIEW: Matt Besser

Focus on the Game. Matt Besser is one of the founding members of Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB). UCB started as a Chicago-based improv team composed of Besser, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh and Amy Poehler and has transformed into a well-known comedy establishment in New York City and Los Angeles. These folks not only formed UCB but Besser, Roberts, Walsh and friends regularly perform together as ASSSSCAT. ASSSSCAT will be performing, with a Read More

INTERVIEW: Dan Bakkedahl

Just make a choice. Dan Bakkedahl has made his mark on Chicago's comedy scene. Coming up in the late 90s and early 2000s, Dan spent a lot of time at iO and Second City. Since his departure, you may have seen him on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Community, Veep, Legit or a number of other television appearances. He was also in The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa Read More

INTERVIEW: Carisa Barreca

Do everything, because you’re going to need all of it. I am declaring Carisa Barreca Second City's sweetheart. One of the most beautiful, talented, kind and humble ladies I have ever met, Carisa has a heart of gold and nothing but good intentions. With a lifetime of performance background, she can do just about anything you throw at her. I was so lucky to be able to sit down with Read More

INTERVIEW: Scott Adsit and John Lutz

Hitting Your Mark in Hollywood Thanks to Aren Zolninger from Chicago Improv Productions, I was able to sneak in a few minutes to interview Scott Adsit and John Lutz before they took the stage for their "Super Secret" midnight show at Stage 773. As we were waiting for the show ahead of us to clear out, Scott, John and I stepped into a back hallway with CIP staff and a Read More


If you’re not listening, you’re going to miss the joke. After months of trying to nail down both of our schedules after Tim left Second City's Mainstage, I was finally able to meet up with him to talk life and comedy. I had the pleasure of meeting Tim last Fall at Jimmy Carrane's Improv Nerd and for obvious reasons, I was dead set on interviewing him. Tim is extremely passionate Read More

INTERVIEW: Ted Tremper

Just love what you love and let that be the work that you do. It was a true pleasure interviewing Ted, as I have an incredible amount of respect for him as a person, performer and filmmaker. He's so talented and is such a genuinely kind human being. We met at iO on a late November morning and, truth be told, divulged a great deal of personal details, some of which Read More

INTERVIEW: TJ Jagodowski

I am truly the luckiest person I know. TJ Jagodowski is not only one of the most brilliant improvisers I have ever seen, he's also one of the nicest guys I've ever met. I've bumped into TJ a number of times around iO, but it wasn't until the end of October where I had the pleasure of taking a class taught by him. This man is a poet and every Read More

INTERVIEW: Jet Eveleth

Dream big and then do it. I met Jet at her apartment where she lives with her improviser beau, Brett Elam and his sister Erica. We chatted about where her name came from, some of life’s big questions, drinking sake before bed to live longer and then she told me the details of the secret she’s been keeping from everyone for the last two years… Alright Jet, the first thing I Read More

Tribal Chanting Transformation

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The Greatest Inspiration is People

Yes, I am continuing my inspiration hunt and it has been going well thus far. However, the real reason for this blog post stems from my improv class last night. People kept telling me I should take improv, soI thought I’d give it a shot. Last night we started the class with this exercise called Tribal Chanting Transformation and it blew my mind. My instructor started off explaining this exercise was based on inspiration. It was as if she was inside my head. Thank you Jessica Rogers.

She had us all lie on our backs on stage with our heads in the middle of a circle and she turned the lights off. We were to communicate through sound, not words, only sound and the next sounds would form from inspiration from the previous sounds. We all chimed in and what happened during those 7 minutes of chaos was beautiful. I wish I had it recorded. We went through raindrops, hissing cats, cheering, rollercoaster roars, pounding, chanting, coos, bird calls, the Amazon, grunts, sickness, chuckles, evil villains, the Opera and so much more. No one tried to steal the spotlight. Everyone accepted and supported the new sounds introduced into the game and somehow our voices all became one without anyone directing us to do so. No judgement was passed. No questions asked. We all just made sounds and expressed ourselves, all inspired by the other people in the room.

It might have been one of those things where “you just had to be there” but it really was an incredible experience. This was just such a clear example of how people are the greatest inspiration.

Don’t judge. Don’t mock. Don’t question. Just let it be, observe and digest.

If you’re open to allowing your vision of the world to change, it will.

Just let go.


(…and take an improv class.)

Inspiration Hunt

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Where Does My Inspiration Lie and Why Does it Keep Moving on Me?

Inspiration Hunt

I just spent the last few days at SXSW Interactive and got my world rocked. Having walked in as a Southby virgin, everything was incredibly overwhelming and I’m pretty sure I spent the entire time lost. Lost in what? I wish I could say. Lost in Austin? Lost on Dirty 6th? Lost in the Convention Center? Yes, to all of it. But I think the most consuming thought was knowing that amongst the 18,000 people there, the next Steve Jobs, Groupon CEO and Oscar-winning director were probably walking right past me or buying me a drink. I think the first cohesive realization I discovered Friday morning was that I just felt privileged. Privileged for the opportunity to go (thank you to PointRoll for sending me) and privileged to be surrounded by some of the most intelligent people in the film and interactive industries, both of which I love and admire dearly.

Why am I telling you about how lost I was at SXSW? Because while I was there, I started to think about how nice it would be to come home to Chicago, sleep in my own bed, eat food that doesn’t upset my stomach for days on end and maybe go to the gym (maybe). The irony is though, that the moment I left Southby, I felt empty and all I wanted was to be back in the madness. The vibe at SXSW, the innovation, the idea generation, the IQ levels became this invisible hub emitting vast amounts of inspiration and I didn’t even realize it until I was gone.

Now, here I am, back in Chicago, feeling drained and inspirationless. So, I’ve decided to begin an inspiration hunt. I feel like I do this pretty regularly, but it always changes. Whenever I feel like I’m stuck in a rut, I’m not happy about a prolonged situation or worst of all I’m not bouncing off the walls with excitement (those who know me, know that means something is terribly wrong), I begin these unofficial inspiration hunts. Well, now I’m making it official. I’m going to start making deliberate moves to help fuel more inspiration into my life and then I’m going to post about it. I have no idea how long this will last, but I already have a few plans on my iPhone calendar.

My first step is reading more. As someone who has to carry everything with them living in the city, books have become heavy and this fact has halted me reading as much as I’d like to. Today, I ordered a Kindle. No more excuses.

Your inspirations will most likely be different than mine, but hey, who knows, maybe my inspiration hunt will inspire yours.

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