Community Reputation0 Neutral
EPISODE 189 — Apes Will Fight If We Must
mysterlund replied to JulyDiaz's topic in improv4humans with Matt BesserSo far this is the only person with anything relevant to say about Mr. Razowsky. I was actually pretty surprised by the reactions of Besser and company given that they admittedly have little or no experience with his teaching style or improvisational style at all. It seems as if no one on the show (or anyone on the forums for that matter) has given him more than a cursory listen and is mostly going off of hearsay. It sounds like Matt improvised with him once and had a bad experience years ago. That, and a couple of videos are what they are judging this person by? Hearing insinuations that he has no talent and all this aggression about someone stating a personal preference seems pretty unprofessional and lazy. To go off of YouTube videos for Improv also seems ridiculous. Improv is never captured very well in a video. Just look at Assscat. There are a only few clips out of how many shows now? Personally, I have gotten a LOT of worth from the UCB. I belong to an Improv group who found the UCB Manual to be very enlightening and informative. All of the members in my group took classes in Seattle. We formed during classes as a practice group. We were excited by Assscat and looked into the UCB style. We got the Comedy Manual right when it came out and found the lessons to be very refreshing. There is a lot of focus in Seattle on narrative styles and following the plot, so, the UCB game theory was fascinating. We actually created our own curriculum based on the manual and drilled the UCB game theory stuff hard for over a year. We consistently sell out shows and get really good feedback. This is in part thanks to UCB. However, we also have tried to merge the UCB style with the style that we learned at Unexpected Productions. Not only that but some members have studied at Jet City (the other main theater in Seattle) and we have all participated in many different workshops and show formats. Every teacher will say "forget about that improv rule, we are going work on ________." In any class I have ever had there will be something that one teacher taught one way that this teacher teaches another. From talking to other improvisers and looking around online, that seems to be pretty par for the course. Razowsky is no exception. I have listened to every episode of this show and enjoy it thoroughly. It is a perfect example of how to "follow the funny" and create humorous and enjoyable scenes. However, obviously, that is not all there is to Improv. As Matt points out, there are many different styles of improv within UCB itself. Personally, I find improv that is not hyper focused on getting to "the funny as quick as possible" quite enjoyable if it is good improv. TJ and Dave do a great show for example. There are a lot of really quality improv shows that do not explicitly focus on "the funny" that create engaging and super-entertaining improv. The problem with improvisers focusing on "the game", or any other technique or set of improv tools, is that it still takes a good improviser to pull it off. Bad improvisor, bad scenes, bad show. Folks like Razowsky are aiming to strip away all the "rules" to simply focus on good scene work. To do this he uses a very intense focus on REALLY listening, and responding honestly. These concepts are universal in Improv and the fact that there are people who are able to fill up workshops, get improvsers to let go of all of their preconceived notions of "how to do improv", and really work on listening, connecting emotionally with their scene partners, and becoming aware of their actions and their environment should be applauded. So what? He doesn't like UCB game stuff? Who cares? What he is teaching is very valuable and only will serve to create better improvisers who may then very well go on to study at UCB. Like Marcus Keeley, I go to as many workshops as I can to learn about different aspects of improv. I have even tried to set up weekend UCB "game theory" training in Seattle through the UCB touring company but it ended up being to expensive. I had never heard of Razowsky but saw he was coming to town and teaching a workshop on "Finding the Game of the Scene". Our group was excited to hear about "the game of the scene" from what seemed to be a reputable source and many of us signed up. It looked like a better deal to sign up for the whole weekend intensive than just one class so I signed up for the whole thing. I was immediately blown away by his teaching methods. I think almost everyone in the class was inspired and appreciative of how he was able to work his students. Without going into too much detail I will say that I found the entire weekend to be very, very rewarding. I have since done another weekend intensive as well as multiple skype sessions with a large group. There is nothing wrong with Razowsky folks. He is actually a great teacher. This is coming from someone who has been through a complete Improv curriculum, multiple workshops, and has been performing regularly with great success for over two years now. Not only that, but there have been improvisers with much better chops and longer histories than mine who would agree. Razowsky stressing to his students that he does not want to talk about other theater styles, or expressing a personal dislike for certain teaching methods is not the same as him bad-mouthing UCB. Rather than ask a guy who explodes at strangers on the street for his amazing "flower power" advice, just think about it for a second and be professional. UCB is doing just fine and has a lot of support. There is no need to rile up your fanbase to arms in a "war" based on hearsay and hurt feelings. You are a role model. Jeez, just look at this thread. Everybody is now mimicking you guys. Talking smack about someone they know nothing about and have never experienced. Everybody jumping on the bandwagon to tear this person up just because everyone else is and forming opinions about him through second-hand information and what little clips there are on the interwebs. In summary, I hold both the UCB and Razowsky in high regard. Both of these sources have provided me with great tools and insight. I am sure there are others that feel this way as well. I hope it stays that way.