Improv Yak

Improv Yak is an improv podcast hosted by improv teacher and Los Angeles improviser, Carla Cackowski. Each week Carla interviews an improviser about a specific technique that she admires in their performance and at the end of the show, Carla and guest improvise a scene in which Carla attempts to utilize the technique they discussed. Guests range from seasoned improvisers to first year improv students.
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Improv Yak




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Mar 22, 2016

In Episode 28 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with LA based improviser and teacher, Jaime Moyer, about her take on being a female improviser and the importance of making bold initiations. Then Carla and Jaime improvise a scene as two men and Jaime makes Carla laugh so hard she cries.

Mar 9, 2016

In Episode 27 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with her improv buddies Monique Madrid and Corey Rittmaster about performing improv and sketch comedy on cruise ships. They discuss what they did on the ship in between shows, as well as give advice on avoiding the buffet as much as possible.

Mar 4, 2016

In Episode 26 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with improviser Drew Coolidge about his different ways of exploring “theme” in improvisation. They also chat about Drew’s experience on Harold teams at iO West and UCB, as well as a short term correspondence he had early on in his career with improv guru and mentor, Dave Pasquesi.

Drew Coolidge is a member of the iO West Harold team MAX as well as one half of the improv duo Ranger Danger and the Danger Ranger. He has performed for the last 13 years and taught improvisation all across the US, from Pennsylvania to Texas, Utah to Alaska. He has hosted videos for New Media Rockstars on YouTube and his writing has been featured on sites like CollegeHumor and Higgs Weldon.

Feb 25, 2016

In Episode 25 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with writer and improviser Charity Miller about the different improv schools she has studied and performed at in Los Angeles. They also talk about how improvisation has influenced Charity's writing technique. 

Feb 18, 2016

In episode 24 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with Los Angeles based improviser Pepper Berry about the assorted tools he picked up from studying and performing at a variety of LA's improv schools and theaters. Then they go to jury duty! (In an improv scene.)

Feb 11, 2016

In episode 23 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with Bob Dassie and Stephnie Weir about two person improvisation. They lay out what a Weirdass structure looks like on stage and discuss the idea of challenging each other and themselves after years of performing together.

Feb 4, 2016

In episode 22 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with Los Angeles improviser Chris McGowan about his thoughts on supporting the ensemble in improvisation. They also talk about the different ways "success" can be interpreted in regards to making a house team and they improvise a scene in the style of Doctor Who!

Jan 27, 2016

In episode 21 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with Los Angeles based improviser and Life Coach, Deanna Moffitt. They talk about the similarities between the feelings you have when falling in love and the feelings you have when improvising, as well as how the philosophy of "yes and" can change your life, and maybe one day, the world!

Jan 20, 2016

In Episode #20 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with LA Improviser and Teacher, Celeste Pechous, about her recent experiences teaching improvisation at a Retirement Center.  They also discuss how improvisation has inspired Celeste in both her professional and personal lives.

Jan 13, 2016

In Episode 19, Carla wraps up her Portland series by sitting down for a yak with Brody Theater's Artistic Director, Domeka Parker.  They discuss Sound Improv and briefly touch upon the importance of a good cup of Portland coffee.

Jan 6, 2016

In Episode 18 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with Nicholas Kessler, one of The Liberator’s, Portland’s longest running improv group.

Dec 23, 2015

In episode number seventeen of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with the Artistic Director of Curious Comedy Theater, Stacey Hallal. They discuss the Portland improv scene, CORE (characterization, objective, relationship, environment), and improvise a scene as father and son.

Dec 14, 2015

In Episode 16 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with Marc Warzecha about the different approaches he takes to teaching improv, coaching improv, and directing sketch shows through improvisation. They also speak about Marc’s love of political satire, his improv group with his buddies from Detroit (313), and challenging himself to be okay with failing. OH, and Viola Spolin!

Dec 9, 2015

In Episode 15 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with Paul F. Tompkins about his heightened listening skills, his comedic influences, and his desire to stay present and live in the moment both onstage and off.

Dec 7, 2015

In Episode 14 of Improv Yak, Carla yaks with Ithamar Enriquez, an improviser and solo performer in Los Angeles.  They talk about playing the silence of a scene and then improvise a scene about two teens on a date in the backseat of a car.  Also, Muppets are discussed.  MUPPETS.

Dec 4, 2015

In Episode #13, Carla yaks with four different students at the beginning of their improv studies. 

Dec 2, 2015

In Episode 12 of Improv Yak, Carla talks improv with co-director of OTRimprov in Cincinnati, Kat Smith.

Nov 26, 2015

In Episode #11 of Improv Yak, Carla sits down with her friend Dwayne Colbert for a conversation about directing improvisers.  They also discuss auditioning for a Nerdist House Team, diversity in the Los Angeles comedy scene, and then Carla goes blue in their improv scene (these things happen sometimes).

Nov 18, 2015

In Episode 10 of Improv Yak, Janet Varney discusses vulnerability in improv and the ins and outs of producing the San Francisco Sketchfest.  

Nov 11, 2015

When Carla was recently in New York City, she sat down to yak with the Artistic Director of Magnet Theater, Megan Gray.  They yak'd about the importance of having fun in improvisation and improvised a scene featuring a couple of film geeks.

Nov 9, 2015

Carla sits down with her buddy Mark Gagliardi to discuss how he applies his training as an actor to improvisation.

Nov 4, 2015

In Episode 7, Carla speaks to LA comedian and actress Amy Phillips about using improv to create characters and generate content for the web.

Nov 2, 2015

Carla discusses specificity in improvisation with improviser and improv teacher, Craig Cackowski.  

Oct 28, 2015

Carla speaks to Todd Cooper, a newer improviser in the Los Angeles scene, about the blocks he has been feeling as he navigates the techniques he has learned over the last year.

Oct 27, 2015

In the fourth episode of Improv Yak, Carla chats with improviser James Mastraieni about his philosophy on the role of “straight man” in a comedic scene.

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