improv

Chris Ellis guides Meathands into our own Fresh Hell

Many thanks to all who came out to our Tag Team show this past Saturday! We had a great night mashing stand-up comics and improv comedy into one big show, and judging by the laughs, you seemed to like it too!

Last month, we sadly said goodbye to our director Bill Johnson but that doesn’t mean the end of the Magic Meathands striving to get better and better. We’re now pulling from a number of experienced improvisers to serve as temporary coaches during our rehearsals.

Our first is Chris Ellis, a longtime member of the The Trans4merz, an improv group playing regularly at Fanatic Salon and originally directed by improvisation innovator Stan Wells. He is also co-creator/director of the hit web-series Fresh Hell, the comedy/tragedy starring Brent Spiner as himself in a world where a mysterious incident has destroyed his career. As you might expect, guest appearances and cameos abound, among them Star Trek: The Next Generation co-star LeVar Burton and The Guild‘s Jeff Lewis and Sandheep Parikh. The series was created with Spiner and writer/fellow Trans4merz Harry Hannigan (According to Jim). Meathands alum Heather Brumley can be seen in the opening credits of each Season 1 episode, and cameos as a Trekkie Nerd in Season 2, now playing on YouTube.

Oh and Chris Ellis is also British. So if you notice an inordinate amount of terrible British accents in our shows, now you know why.

Here’s a Fresh Hell promo:

The above was cross-posted on the Magic Meathands blog. I’ve been a member of the Magic Meathands for over 3 years, performing over 150 shows of improvised comedy. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, give yourself a treat and catch one of our shows.

Open Mic Improv at The Improv Space every Wednesday night

Last night I went to The Improv Sessions for the second time. This is a weekly open show held by The Improv Space for exactly zero dollars. If you’re part of an improv group or just want to show up alone and get thrown in with others, this is a great way to play and learn from others. Just throw your name or team’s name in a hat to get called up to do 10-15 minutes. Then at the end a bunch of random people are called up for a jam, which challenges you even more to play with people you might be meeting for the first time.

There’s a great energy to the show thanks to the able hosting of Benjamin Crutcher, and all of the players are supportive, and skilled enough to do fun and funny mini-shows. Usually with this kind of format, there’s that guy or that team that’s just kinda painful, but that hasn’t happened yet. (Maybe I’ve just lucked out on the nights I’ve gone. Or… maybe I’m that guy!)

It starts at 9 PM every Wednesday night and runs about two hours. And yes, it’s FREE.

Saturday’s Tag Team Comedy Show to feature lots of stand-up and improv

Improv group Jump Start first to perform at Heyler’s, our new venue

This Saturday, the Magic Meathands Tag Team Comedy Show will be bursting with more funny people than ever before!

We had a great debut at Heyler’s last Saturday with our Family Friendly Show. Thank you to all who came out to help us celebrate our new home! We’ll be there again this Saturday night with our biggest Tag Team Comedy Show yet! Before you know it, Heyler’s will be known as the biggest comedy spot in LA! Or at least, the biggest on Pico Blvd. Surely somewhere between those two benchmarks.

We’re very happy to have three stand-up comics help us kick off the first Tag Team Comedy Show at Heyler’s:

  • John Vargas made his debut at The Comedy Store and has been performing regularly at comedy clubs in and around LA.
  • Vance Sanders is a Groundlings graduate who works the local comedy club circuit and is the host for the Scoomies, the award show celebrating stand-up comedy in LA.
  • Pat Reilly is another regular of the LA comedy club scene, which helps him study sociology at UCLA.
  • Ceci Noire came from Haiti to live the movie star lifestyle, and has unlocked the secrets of the universe.

A trio of comedians should be enough to pass the legal requirements of a comedy show, but that wasn’t enough for us! We’ve also got the improv group Distant Relatives! They perform every Friday night at The Improv Space, and now we’ve got them! All they need is one suggestion from the audience, and they turn it into a fully improvised long form show. The group includes former Meathand Eric Chad Ho, as well as Jason King, Tim Limbrick, Samir Forghani, and Stephen Perlstein.

To finish it all off, it’s the Magic Meathands! Yes, us! We perform a mixture of long form scenarios and short form games to create a lively and energetic show. So we’ll have you laughing one way or another!

See you Saturday at 8 PM!

Heyler’s
10659 West Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(one block east of Overland)

Tickets: $7

PARKING: The meters on Pico Blvd. do not need to eat after 6 PM. They’re on a special diet. Yes, that’s right, free street parking on Pico Blvd.! But look closely at the signs if you park on the side streets off Pico.

The above was cross-posted on the Magic Meathands blog. I’ve been a member of the Magic Meathands for over 3 years, performing over 150 shows of improvised comedy. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, give yourself a treat and catch one of our shows.

Bringing Improv Comedy to The Heyler Space

This Saturday night, the Magic Meathands will debut at our new home, The Heyler Space! Our popular Family Friendly Show with Jump Start Comedy Improv will break in the new performance venue on Saturday, May 12 at 8 PM. Tickets are still only $7 for adults and $3 for children.

Located on Pico Blvd. only one block east of the Westside Pavilion in West Los Angeles, Heyler is owned by Heyler Realty, one of the community’s oldest local businesses. They just recently moved to this great new location and with their interest in giving back to the community, we knew they’d be a great fit for us and our community outreach. Heyler can be easily accessed from the 10 and 405 freeways.

Straight from their Facebook page, below is a peak at Heyler’s spacious offices, which will be transformed into a fun and comfortable theater this Saturday night! Bring your friends and the whole family to witness the start of a new age of madcap mirth-making from the Magic Meathands!

Family Friendly Show featuring improv comedy with the Magic Meathands and Jump Start

Saturday, May 12
8:00 – 10:00 PM
$7 ($3 for kids 12 and under)

10659 West Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(map)

The above was cross-posted on the Magic Meathands blog. I’ve been a member of the Magic Meathands for over 3 years, performing over 150 shows of improvised comedy. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, give yourself a treat and catch one of our shows.

Is This Saturday the Final Mary Pickford Studio Show for the Magic Meathands?

Change is certainly in the air for the Meathands.

This Saturday night, our Tag Team Comedy Show with the variety show Fun Night Live may well be our last time performing at the Mary Pickford Studio.

In case you haven’t heard, Indiewire initially broke the story and Deadline Hollywood has the most recent information. The basics is that the Mary Pickford Foundation cut off funding of the Mary Pickford Institute, which owns the Mary Pickford Studio. For those that don’t know, here is the Mary Pickford Institute’s mission statement:

The Mary Pickford Institute (MPI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating awareness of film pioneer Mary Pickford’s life, preserving her work, furthering her philanthropic legacy and honoring her creativity. Our community resources and services provide a bridge from early cinema to modern filmmaking. Our innovative outreach programs ignite an excitement for learning while building participants’ sense of accomplishment and self-esteem by utilizing teaching tools that are immediate, relevant and current.

There’s an online petition set up to ask the Foundation to reconsider. Please join us in adding your voice in support of continuing the legacy of Mary Pickford and the Institute’s (and our) efforts of outreach.

Truthfully, we don’t know much more than what’s been released in those links above, but we know that this Saturday night’s show will almost definitely be the last chance to catch the Magic Meathands in this great venue. We’re crossing our Meaty fingers for a last minute Hollywood ending. But in the meantime, we’re going to give the Mary Pickford Studio one heck of a blow-out for our final show! Please come out and help celebrate the good work the Institute has done. We have given a percentage of the box office from every show we’ve held at the Mary Pickford Studio to the Mary Pickford Institute. Maybe if we completely pack the house, we’ll send the signal to the Foundation that the Studio has value in the community and both the Studio and the Institute deserve to stick around.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  1. Come to this Saturday’s Tag Team Comedy Show at the Mary Pickford Studio at 8 PM!
  2. Sign the online petition to Save the Mary Pickford Institute and the home of the Magic Meathands!

Help Save the Meathands' Home

The above was cross-posted on the Magic Meathands blog. I’ve been a member of the Magic Meathands for over 3 years, performing over 150 shows of improvised comedy. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, give yourself a treat and catch one of our shows.

Magic Meathands: Our First April Show Will Feature More Making $#!& Up

I’m writing about our first post-Bill show and I’m already cartoon swearing. And the show is Family-Friendly! Oh, we’re doomed.

Come on out and see us completely make… stuff up based on your suggestions. (There, is that better?)

Every second Saturday of the month, the Magic Meathands (that’s us!) and Beach Cities’ Jump Start Improv put on a full night of improv comedy appropriate for the whole family. While staying sharp we offer a night for grownups where they can feel comfortable bringing the youngsters along.

A portion of ticket sales is donated to the Mary Pickford Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating awareness of film pioneer Mary Pickford’s life, preserving her work, furthering her philanthropic legacy and honoring her creativity. Part of the organization’s outreach includes the Mobile Film Classroom, which brings cutting edge digital film technology and the opportunity to learn to children throughout Los Angeles.

Tickets: $7 ($3 for kids 12 & under)

Mary Pickford Studio
8885 Venice Blvd. Ste 102
Los Angeles, CA 90034-3242

Plenty of parking in the lot right there at 8885 Venice Blvd. (cross street National Blvd.).

RSVP on Facebook

The above was cross-posted on the Magic Meathands blog. I’ve been a member of the Magic Meathands for over 3 years, performing over 150 shows of improvised comedy. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, give yourself a treat and catch one of our shows.

Magic Meathands: Goodbye to Our Director, Hello to Our Future

Bill Johnson sees something he has to go do. Shane doesn't like it, Marshall ignores it.

Sunday’s rehearsal was our final with director Bill Johnson. He was the original founder, teacher and director of the Magic Meathands improv comedy ensemble.

After 8 years of guiding us, he is leaving us behind to let us grow to the next level while he pursues his own opportunities.

Bill taught most of us for years and encouraged us to explore the absurd, the silly and the joyful. Because of that influence, the Magic Meathands have developed a dynamic, high energy that is unique among most improv groups. He also brought his focus to community outreach, making the Magic Meathands the only improv group in Los Angeles that regularly brings live comedy to the very people most in need of joy and laughter. Just this past Saturday, we played to an enthusiastic crowd at the Ocean Park Community Center, a facility in Santa Monica that serves the homeless and mentally ill. Next month, we’ll return to our friends at the Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services facility in Altadena, where they house over 40 boys aged 10 to 18. We first performed for them in early 2008 and continue to visit them several times a year. And finally, because of the variety of our audiences and venues, Bill developed a team of performers comfortable with audiences of different age groups and content preferences. Not too many improv groups have their own rating system for their shows, but the Meathands do to make sure audiences know what they’re getting into.

So yes, Bill created a pretty magnificent thing but the time has come for him to go. So now what?

Always passionate about reaching out to the community and helping children, Bill is pursuing a teaching career at a school in the Coachella Valley where he’s teaching math to struggling kids. Yes, math. We don’t get it either.

We also expect him to continue his writing. Bill’s first novel, The Dark Province: The Son of Duprin, debuted last year to great reviews. We’re told a sequel and another novel are in the works.

Meanwhile, the Magic Meathands have been preparing for this day for some time. Over the last year, we became a self-directed performing group. That means we all share the responsibility of running different parts of the show, instead of Bill serving as sole director and emcee every show. In turn, our shows have been evolving into a completely new format that is bringing out the best in our cast. Simply put, if you haven’t seen the Meathands in the last 4 months or more, you haven’t seen the Meathands!

Your next chance is the popular Family Friendly Show with Jump Start Comedy Improv at the Mary Pickford Studio on Saturday, April 14, at 8 PM! See you there!

The above was cross-posted on the Magic Meathands blog. I’ve been a member of the Magic Meathands for over 3 years, performing over 150 shows of improvised comedy. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, give yourself a treat and catch one of our shows.