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  • Oct 30 2014

    The Power of Creating Your Own Work: An Interview with Ithamar Enriquez

    Written by Christa Nannos

    The Second City Alum, Ithamar Enriquez, has created his own, one-man show called, Ithamar Has Nothing to Say, and though he doesn’t say a single word throughout the show, he captivates the audience with body language, music, and impeccable characterizations. Having moved to LA a few years ago, he quickly realized the benefits of creating his own work. I had the privilege of interviewing Ithamar to get the inside scoop on the show, and to hear how much he does, in fact, have to say about his creative process and advice for upcoming comedians.

    CN: What was your inspiration behind the show?

    IE: This type of work is something I’ve always been drawn to. Since I was a kid I really loved all the physical comedians. Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Steve Martin, Jerry Lewis, and, of course, Mr. Bean who is a huge influence. I remember seeing Rowan Atkinson’s One Man Show on video, and that changed everything. There are a couple of scenes in that show where he doesn’t speak, and I thought to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, you can actually do this’. Once I started getting more into sketch and improv, I tried to figure out ways I can create sketches that aren’t typical. Physical sketches, musical sketches. So this show has been in the back of my brain for a very long time.

    CN: Why is it so important to create your own work?

    IE: Once I got to LA, I realized it’s very easy to sit back and ask why certain things aren’t happening for you as an actor. ‘Why aren’t I getting an audition? Why aren’t I booking the role’? So the cure for that was to write my own show. As an actor you literally have to create your own job out here. So I decided to write this show. I knew it would be a challenge and really fun, and it’s been all those things. The very first version of the show was 25 minutes long. And since then it’s grown into a 50-minute version and now we’re also working on a web series. In the past year I have worked on it creatively and now see more doors opening for me as well as opportunities for it to be exposed to a bigger audience.

    CN: Your characters never speak in the show but are extremely physical. How did you train for this show?

    IE: By watching those who did it before me. I always tell students, when you’re in this work you have to throw yourself in completely. Watch every movie, read every book, do anything and everything that has to deal with comedy. It really makes me sad when I mention Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers or Laurel and Hardy, and students will have no idea who I’m talking about. If you don’t know those people you should not be doing comedy. You can take every class in the world that you want, but if you’re not throwing yourself into this world and making it your life, then you’re not going to benefit from it. I think that’s what I’ve always done.

    CN: What came first, the music or the characters?

    IE: It depends. Sometimes I would think of a funny, physical bit and then try to find the perfect piece of music that would try to fit that. There’s one scene I do with a puppet, and at first that scene had a completely different song. By the time it got to the show I changed the song, knowing the bit wouldn’t change that much. For another scene I knew I wanted to do something to the song “White Rabbit” because it’s such a weird and funny song with such a great build, so the bit came after the song.

    CN: How did you come up with your bits? Did any of them come from real life experiences?

    IE: I think just like any show, some of it comes from personal observation, and some of it comes from just sitting and brainstorming ideas. I think Jazz Face came from noticing how people react to Jazz music. And then the Luchador scene is basically what I was doing as a kid. I’ve always loved wrestling and Luchador masks, so that scene was inspired from that.

    CN: You tackle so many variations of body language and physical movements in this piece; you really stretch the audience’s imagination and change all expectations of what might happen next. Was it difficult coming up with so much diverse physicality?

    IE: When you give yourself the task of coming up with a 50 minute show where you can’t speak, you have no choice but to vary it up. Just like a standard sketch show will have blackouts, some political stuff and relationship scenes, I had to translate that into a show where I didn’t speak. Some of the scenes have to be high energy, some of them, a little bit smaller. For some of it you use other parts of your body, ‘Oh, cool! I’ll use my hands and only my hands’. Some scenes you play multiple characters and some you just play one character. And variation in music. Making sure I’m hitting a bunch of different time periods. For the most part my taste tends to be really, really old. So I thought ‘Ah, I should throw some Daft Punk in there’.

    CN: I love how you use some improv, and audience participation in the show. Why did you decide to layer in that art form, and did you find it difficult?

    IE: It was another challenge for me. Can I do pieces that are improvised while not speaking? So I came up with this scene that is mad-libs like, where the audience gives me suggestions and then I act it out. Here’s the thing: I love this type of work so much that I can sit and think about it forever and still come up with ways to do the things that standard comedy shows have, but without speaking.

    CN: Can you tell me a little about the web series idea?

    IE: It follows a curious, whimsical character as he experiences life without speaking. Frank Caeti (director of the live show) and I are writing and producing it along with Maker Studios, Principato Young Entertainment, and Key and Peele. Some of it is taken directly from the live show, and some of it has been written exclusively for the web series. This character experiences everything from a hipster coffee shop to a jazz club to his thoughts that wander when he’s at a laundromat.

    CN: Ithamar Has Nothing to Say is a one-man show, but how important was it to have a creative team to collaborate with, such as working with your director, Frank Caeti?

    IE: Once I knew I wanted to do this show, there was no question in my mind who I wanted to direct it. Frank and I have known each other for so long, and we’ve been working together for so long that it’s such a great, fun, working relationship. He is so smart when it comes to comedy. He’s such a good director because he’s such an amazing performer and writer. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do this without him.

    CN: Can you give some advice to upcoming comedians who might want to create a one-man show but don’t know where to start, and who want to get seen more but are afraid of failing? What are some things you learned during your process of creating, Ithamar Has Nothing to Say?

    IE: First thing I’d say is you have to see a lot of comedy and do a lot of comedy. There’s something to be said about creating your own work. Taking all of the stuff that you’ve learned, and really going out there and writing something for yourself. I remember watching this documentary about comedy, and the one thing that remained constant was everyone saying, ‘The whole time we were writing, we were just writing to make ourselves laugh’. Trust your own comedic instinct and just try it. Don’t be afraid of it failing because the good thing about it not working is that you figure out a way to make it work. Give yourself the opportunity to try it somewhere in front of people. You have to be willing to throw yourself out there without a net. Otherwise you won’t succeed and you won’t create. Also know that you’re never done with something you create. There’s always stuff to work around with and a year from now who knows where this show will be? Maybe I’ll be in another show where I’m talking non-stop. You just never know what’s ahead. So do the thing that you’re excited about now and trust that it’s going to grow into something else and might lead you in other directions.

    ITHAMAR HAS NOTHING TO SAY can be seen every Saturday at 8pm through Dec 20th at Second City Hollywood.

    TICKETS

    The Second City Studio Theatre is located at 6560 Hollywood Blvd. LA, CA 90028

    10/30/2014 Comments (0)
  • May 30 2013

    Second City Offers Exclusive New Video Course in Partnership with Funny or Die

    Two of America's top comedy creators, The Second City and Funny Or Die, have collaborated on an exclusive new video course. The pilot program will launch at The Second City Training Center's Hollywood campus (6560 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028) beginning July 2, 2013. Similar programs will be launched at The Second City Training Centers in Chicago and Toronto in the Fall of 2013.

    The first course offering focuses on DIY or guerilla-style filmmaking with an emphasis on creating short form comedic video content. The course curriculum includes pitching video ideas, scripting and on-location coaching. Basic cameras, lighting equipment and editing software will be provided by The Second City. Students are encouraged to use their own equipment as well.

    Course curriculum has been co-created by Funny Or Die Creative Director, Andrew Steele, and Second City Training Center Artistic Director, Joshua Funk. Course will be taught by Mr. Steele, Mr. Funk and other key Second City and Funny Or Die talent.

    "While The Second City has perfected the process for creating theatrical material," states Andrew Alexander, CEO/Managing Partner of The Second City, "our friends at Funny Or Die have been perfecting the formula for creating funny, edgy and satirical short form videos. In the current comedy environment, it pays to be prolific. Having the right tools and coaching for short form digital content is an important asset for any writer and performer."

    "It makes perfect sense to us. No one teaches short form sketch comedy better than Second City and we think we're pretty good at translating that form to the web," states Andrew Steele, Creative Director for Funny Or Die. "We were kind of stunned that they would come to us but I guess they know what they're doing. I hope they know what they're doing." He added, "This is a natural fit for us. We both have short form comedy in our DNA. And it gives us the added bonus of maybe stealing some of their better talent."

    Course Description
    Creating Video for Funny Or Die is a 12 week course in creating comedic digital shorts. Each student receives weekly feedback from Funny Or Die creative staff and has weekly check-ins with a Second City writing instructor and director. After completion of the 12 week course, each student will have his or her own fully produced digital short. Funny Or Die will post all student content on their main site under a section specifically designated for Second City Training Center student works.

    10 classes meet over 12 weeks
    $995
    Prerequisite: None

    Class meets at the Second City Training Center Hollywood, 6560 Hollywood Blvd.
    Tuesdays beginning July 2. Class runs through September 17. 6:30-10:00pm

    Register for the class here.

    5/30/2013 Comments (0)
  • May 30 2013

    Congratulations to Brian Gallivan on His Overall Deal with Sony TV

    Congratulations to Brian Gallivan on landing an overall deal with Sony TV. He will be continuing with his current project, "The McCarthys" and create new projects for the studio. Read more at Deadline.com

    5/30/2013 Comments (0)
  • May 20 2013

    Jeff Garlin Joins ABC Fall Line-Up with "The Goldberg's"

    Jeff Garlin joins the ABC Fall line-up with a new family sitcom, "The Goldbergs." Set in the '80's, "The Goldbergs" also features Wendy McClendon-Covey. Click here to check out the trailer.

    5/20/2013 Comments (0)
  • May 17 2013

    Jane Lynch Stars in "Annie" on Broadway

    Alumni of The Second City Touring Company Jane Lynch began performances as orphanage matron Miss Hannigan in Broadway's "Annie" on May 14. Click here for more information about the production and ticket information.

    5/17/2013 Comments (0)
  • May 17 2013

    Martin Short Joins the Cast of Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice"

    Second City and SCTV alum Martin Short is set to star in Paul Thomas Anderson's new movie "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the 2009 Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. Click here to read the full story from Splitsider.

    5/17/2013 Comments (0)
  • Nov 26 2012

    More Reasons to Celebrate! The Second City's Christmas Carol Adds Special Guests

    Looking for more reasons to check out "The Second City's Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens" at the Kirk Douglas Theater in LA? Center Theatre Group and The Second City have assembled an eclectic collection of stars from the worlds of stage, screen, radio, politics, music, food, fitness, spirituality and interplanetary transport who will drop in, one by one, for a special surprise cameo performances during the run of "The Second City's Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens."

    The partial list of guest stars includes musicians Lance Bass and Henry Rollins; actors Rose Abdoo, Jason Alexander, Ed Begley, Jr., Barry Bostwick, Neil Flynn, Keegan-Michael Key, Sharon Lawrence, John Lehr, Ben McKenzie, Lamorne Morris, Danny Pudi, Shoshannah Stern, George Takei and Fred Willard; radio personalities Lisa May and Sandra Tsing Loh; writer Bruce Vilanch; performer Miss Coco Peru; scientists Bobak Ferdowsi and Bill Nye; chefs Susan Feniger and Valerie Gordon; professional wrestler John Hennigan (formerly known as WWE superstar John Morrison); child actress turned politician Sheila Kuehl; and LA treasures Father Gregory Boyle and Richard Simmons.

    Please note that to keep the surprises, no one will be announced in advance of each performance. Most will appear only once, some may appear more than once. Our Audience Services staff will not know who is appearing.

    Click here for more information and to book your tickets.

    11/26/2012 Comments (0)
  • Nov 21 2012

    The Second City's A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens Opens This Weekend

    The world premiere of The Second City's A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens!, written by Peter Gwinn (formerly of "The Colbert Report") and Bobby Mort (currently of "The Colbert Report"), begins previews on November 24 with performances through December 30 at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.

    Directed by Second City alum, Marc Warzecha (Resident Director, The Second City) the cast features Frank Caeti ("MADtv"), Larry Joe Campbell ("According to Jim"), Dan Castellaneta ("The Simpsons"), Amanda Blake Davis ("Second City Does Dallas" at the Dallas Theatre Center), Brian Stepanek ("The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"), Jean Villepique ("Up All Night") and Ron West ("3rd Rock from The Sun") as Scrooge.

    Click here to reserve tickets and for more information. Want to go backstage? Watch below for interviews with the cast:

    11/21/2012 Comments (1)
  • Oct 24 2012

    Hilarious Cast Set for "The Second City's A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens"

    The Second City scoured their address book to assemble a cast of seven luminary L.A.-based alumni for their hilarious take on the beloved Charles Dickens tale of hope and redemption. The world premiere of The Second City's A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens! is written by Second City alums, Peter Gwinn (formerly of "The Colbert Report") and Bobby Mort (currently of "The Colbert Report"), and opens November 29, 2012, at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre. Previews begin November 24 and performances will run through December 30.

    Directed by yet another Second City alum, Marc Warzecha (Resident Director, The Second City) the cast features Frank Caeti ("MADtv"), Larry Joe Campbell ("According to Jim"), Dan Castellaneta ("The Simpsons"), Amanda Blake Davis ("Second City Does Dallas" at the Dallas Theatre Center), Joe Flaherty ("SCTV," "Freaks and Geeks"), Brian Stepanek ("The Suite Life of Zack and Cody") and Jean Villepique ("Up All Night").

    The scenic design is by Tom Buderwitz, costume design by Leah Piehl, lighting design by Brandon Baruch and sound design by Cricket S. Myers. The production stage manager is Kirsten Parker.

    With its trademark humor, irreverence and originality, The Second City, in a creative collaboration with CTG, is taking the classic Charles Dickens' Christmas tale and giving it a hearty twist. In addition to Scrooge (played by Joe Flahety), the ever-morphing ensemble will bring the famous Victorian streets to frenzied life with Tiny Tim, that fat, plucked goose, all those know-it-all ghosts, a host anachronistic characters and hilarious improvs which will have Dickens guffawing in his grave. The cast will be joined by an ever-changing stable of starry, drop-in special guests.

    The Second City specializes in sketch comedy and improvisation and has delighted audiences for over 50 years. With resident stages in Chicago and Toronto and touring ensembles, The Second City entertains over a million guests each year. It is also the largest training center in the world for improvisation, sketch and acting, with schools in Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto, and 20,000 registrations per year. The Second City served as a training ground for a host of famous alumni, including Mike Myers, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Candy, John Belushi, Catherine O'Hara, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and more. Colbert said, "The Second City was everything to me," and Murray said, "Second City is the best job anybody in the American theatre can get. It's incomparable." The New York Times reported that "The entire recent tradition of America satire can be summed up in three words: The Second City."

    Tickets for A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens! are available by calling (213) 628-2772, online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, in person at the Center Theatre Group box office at the Ahmanson Theatre or two hours prior to performances at the Kirk Douglas Theatre box office. The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232.

    10/24/2012 Comments (1)
  • Oct 15 2012

    Second City Network Mentioned in New York Times

    On Sunday, Stephanie Cutter was featured in the New York Times and they included a nice shout-out regarding the "Stephanie Cutter Freaks Out" video that had been produced by The Second City Network's Andy Cobb.

    10/15/2012 Comments (0)