The hub of Milwaukee’s improvised comedy is housing a two-day workshop this weekend for sketch comedy writers.
Kevin McDonald – the comedian, actor and voice artist best known as a cast member of “Kids in the Hall” – is presenting a 14-hour how-to on creating comedy sketches from improv.
“I get students to do improv and then help teach them to turn their improv into actual comedy sketches (like the Kids in the Hall used to do),” McDonald says in a statement. “So basically, I’m teaching to write through improv.”
McDonald has been touring the U.S. and Canada teaching the workshop. And his Milwaukee stop, at ComedySportz, 420 S. 1st St., still has spaces available.
The class costs $300 and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 16 and 17.
For more information and to reserve a spot, please call ComedySportz during business hours at (414) 272-8888.
Why wait for the weekend? Milwaukee has comedy for you right away to start the week.
For free, you can check out the Mellow Monday Comedy Showcase at 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 21, at INdustri Café, 545 S. 2nd St.
Tom Grimm will be the emcee, with performances by
- Ryan Mason
- Ryan Lowe
- Liza Marie
- Sammy Arechar
- Tim Hunter
- Gary Zaj
- Jason Hillman
- Tyler Menz and
- Adam Loeding
And don’t be surprised if you see some of the same comedians developing further material at the Comedy Show Comedy Show Open Mic at 8 p.m., Monday, Oct. 21. That’s also free, and it’s at the Bremen Café, 901 E. Clarke St.
But don’t stay out too late. Pace yourself. It’s only Monday, for Pete’s sake. And a lot of these same comedians will be attending the second bi-weekly workshop known as The Writers Block. They’ll be getting together to share deep discussions on the word choices and other craftwork that help make them funny.
That starts at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level.
Milwaukee is a hotbed of improvisational comedy. Not only is it the home of ComedySportz, which started here nearly 30 years ago and has spread internationally. But it is also where Patrick Schmitz is based.
Among Patrick’s accomplishments is assembling and coaching Organized Chaos, a team of more than 100 schoolchildren at the renowned First Stage childen’s theater. Patrick has performed and taught improv at ComedySportz, trained in improv at Second City and IO in Chicago and facilitated open-improv jams and workshops for adults.
But enough about Patrick (although there’s more). Now about an opportunity to study with him.
Every Tuesday night for six weeks, from June 18 to July 23, Patrick is teaching a workshop called “Improvisational One-Act Play.”
Classes meet from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., lower level. The fee is $50 for the entire six weeks or $10 per class.
According to Patrick, the workshop centers on the monomyth formula that maps out the archetypal storyline running through ancient myths, world religions, classic literature and blockbuster movies.
Patrick says via email that class work includes “creative rapid-fire responses and spontaneous dialogue/role play. Students learn to act out interesting and effective stories on the spot by listening, reacting, and supporting each other on stage.”
The workshop also emphasizes all the basic of of improv, such as character work, story telling and acting spontaneously.
Email Patrick by Friday, June 14, to let him know you’re interested. Spots are limited.