Though I’ve listened to the podcast, it was interesting to see the actual show and experience the structure. Jimmy starts off with a short comedic monologue then intros his guests. They have a conversation, do some improv together and then digest a little what they performed. At the end there were audience questions.
What I wanted to touch on was the Middle Aged part of Middle Age Comeback. Particularly that the show grew out of two old friends wanting to work together. Craig had recently returned from the now folded Second City Las Vegas and the day after he moved back the duo had a Sunday night show. A terrible terrible Sunday night show. By all accounts it was 6-7 months before the show was worth seeing and its eventual transformation came about at much the same time that Carlson pulled out of the post divorce overly imbibed funk he was in.
Middle age, as Uhlir and Carlson explained it, is a partially not giving a shit anymore. Having the skill and experience but also ceasing to work with people you don’t like or projects you don’t believe in. An audience question at the end asked whether they do long form slower stuff. Carlson responded that neither of them were calm people, so why bother playing slower characters.
Middle Age Comeback is good for this reason. Because at its heart it’s two friends performing together because they love it and doing it in a way that makes sense to them personally. Their style and energy is authentic.
Their discussion of the shows intertwining with their own lives fits with my own personal view of improv: less theater and more personal meaning making on display.
I’ve heard these lessons before: work on what you love with people you love to work with. Make art the way it makes sense to you to do so. Feed the real you into the fire. All the same, its good to hear it again.
Improv Nerd is 9p on Saturdays at the Skybox at Second City.
Middle Age Comeback is 10:30p on Sundays at iO.
You should be able to get the podcast of the show on Jimmy’s site sometime next week.