YBY ep 250: Improviser Jay Sukow creates laughter and joy!

This week on Yes But Why, we had the opportunity to talk to improviser, Jay Sukow.


Jay Sukow has been performing with and without a script for almost 30 years now. He is a director, writer, actor, and podcaster as well as an award-winning improv performer and instructor. He is the founder of Today Improv, which teaches improv to actors, businesses and everybody else.

Jay also thrives in the corporate arena. He has extensive experience helping businesses enhance their abilities by using improvisational philosophies and exercises. Jay has designed interactive learning sessions for clients such as McDonald’s, Netflix, and Allstate Financial Services.

 Jay trained with, among others, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Del Close. He is a graduate of the training centers of The Second City, The Second City NW, iO Chicago, and ComedySportz Chicago.

Jay currently teaches improv at Second City Hollywood and Westside Comedy Theater. He has previously worked for  the Improv Comedy Copenhagen Theatre, Second City Chicago, iO Chicago and ComedySportz Chicago. Jay has taught at many improv festivals around the world, including the Oslo Impro Festival, Copenhagen International Improv Festival, and Barcelona Improv Festival.

In our conversation, Jay talks about falling in love with improv. We chat about the joys of creating as a group. We talk about using the skills of improv to embrace failure and adjust to change.

Jay and I talk about being improv teachers and the extraordinary opportunity to explore this artform both as a performer within it and as an instructor guiding the journey.  Jay Sukow is a playful and kind gentleman and I was honored to be able to spend time with him. Listen in for great improv theories and many joyful stories.

Support Jay Sukow by taking a class with him through Today Improv.

Jay hosts an online improv show called “10 Minutes With” and it features Jay playing with improvisers from across the globe. You can watch this video series by subscribing to the Today Improv youtube channel!

Jay can also be found doing his own podcast interviews on “Improvcast with Jay and Landon”! Check it out on iTunes!


Yes But Why Podcast is a proud member of the HC Universal Network family of podcasts. Visit us at HCUniversalNetwork.com to join in on the fun.

This episode of Yes But Why podcast is sponsored by audible – get your FREE audiobook download and your 30 day free trial at http://www.audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY.

This episode of Yes But Why is also sponsored by PodcastCadet.com. Go to PodcastCadet.com and put in offer code YBY20 to get 20% off your first consultation!


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(production notes: recorded Skype call via Rodecaster on 1/18/2021)


TRANSCRIPT by Otter.ai

HOST  00:00

Hello, Yes But Why listeners, this is your host, Amy Jordan.   Welcome to Yes But Why episode 250 – my chat with improviser, Jay Sukow.  But first, let’s talk about our sponsors.  Today’s episode is sponsored by audible. Get your FREE audiobook download and your 30 day free trial at audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY.   I’m here to report another parenting win for Audible. I was just recommended a book on dealing with my three year old and when I found out that I could get it on Audible, I practically cried. My eyes are too tired to read anything but kids books. But I really need this advice. So thank goodness for Audible!     Audible is available on most devices. Go now to audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY  to download the app and sign up to get your free audiobook today.   Today’s other sponsor is my company, PodcastCadet.com.   My husband, Chris and I run the company, PodcastCadet.com. We provide advice and production help to any podcaster who needs it! We can give you a little push or we can help you with the production of all of your podcast episodes!   Contact us now at PodcastCadet.com and use code YBY20 to get 20% off the first service or workshop you buy!   This week on Yes But Why, we had the opportunity to talk to Jay Sukow, founder of Today Improv.   Jay Sukow is a director, writer, actor, and podcaster as well as an award-winning improv performer and instructor. Jay hosts an online improv show called “10 Minutes With” and it features Jay playing with improvisers from across the globe.   In our conversation, we chat about how much we love improv and making people laugh. We talk about using the skills of improv to embrace failure and adjust to change (and how much that has helped during the covid shutdown).This was a delightful conversation filled with sage advice and joyful stories!   I now present to you: yes but why episode 250 Improviser Jay Sukow creates laughter and joy! Have fun listening!  I’m Amy Jordan. And this is Yes But Why Podcast. yeah.


Jay Sukow  02:44

When I was in like high school, I was cast as Huck Finn and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I was a freshman. I didn’t think though I was gonna do it any you know, as a career or I want to do it. I just had fun doing it. But I definitely did not think oh, this is what I want to do. And till I started taking improv classes, and I did my first class show, which was a after our third term, we put on a show at the very end. And I remember that first hearing the audience laughed. It wasn’t even laughing for something I said it was just that first laugh and seeing a roomful of people and i and i thought i want to make people laugh. I just remember that thought pretty early on is like, Oh, I like making people laugh. And so finding improv really gave me that outlet. And I said, Oh, this I want to keep doing this. I didn’t know it would turn into a career, but I definitely enjoyed doing it.


HOST  03:54

Didn’t know it didn’t turn into a career, but you liked it enough to stick with it for quite a long time. Where was your first class? Where was this exciting first performance?


Jay Sukow  04:05

Oh, my parents gave me improv classes as a Christmas present one year. And I took classes. I took classes at a place called Second City Northwest, which was the suburban home theater for second city. They had a theater in the suburbs of Chicago as well, the two theaters in in Chicago, the city itself. So I was finishing up my last year at college and I was driving up for a Saturday noon class to take improv. And I loved it. And I love the sense that it was a collective art form and that you created something as a group. I was an athlete as a kid and so I enjoyed the team aspect and I found something that was similar to sport And I just kept taking classes. To me early on, it was really about this group, my classmates became really special. And so if after the third term, they said, we’re going to go take salsa lessons, I would have said sounds good, and never done improv because it was that group of people that I liked hanging out with. So that was how I got started with improv is it was a Christmas present. And the teachers I had were amazing. And they, the class I was in was amazing. And it just, you just took the next class and the next class and again, it wasn’t like I want to do this for a living it was this is like super fun. Oh, we get to do a show for our friends and family. How great.


HOST  05:52

That’s awesome. Where’d you go to college.


Jay Sukow  05:56

I was going to Illinois State University in beautiful normal Illinois, right in the center of the states. And I was driving up to the suburbs of Chicago and rolling Meadows to take my improv class. And it would take like, two or three hours to drive each way. And then I would go back to college, I would come in on a Saturday, sometimes I would stay the night. Sometimes I would just turn around and go drive back to school. But it was it was my last semester. So instead of staying around and partying or or anything like that my party was improv I would go up and and I had so much fun, and then I drive back to school.


HOST  06:36

Now that’s awesome, man. improv is quite the party. Absolutely. Right. Oh, and what do you think? Why do you think your parents got that for you? Like, what is it about that, that they thought you’d like?


Jay Sukow  06:54

I keep thinking about this, because it’s so long ago. I keep thinking, why would they do that? And part of me is, they might have heard an interview about Second City on the radio or saw something about it on TV that made them say, Oh, we think you’d like this. I think that that must have that must have been it. I remember, I had seen a stand up show in Chicago to a place called the funny firm. And before the standups this group came out. And they were called the funny firm players. And they did like improv games. And I liked that too. So maybe I had talked about that to my parents. I just don’t i don’t know what it was. I never got a chance to ask them like, hey, why did you give me classes? So either I said something in passing or they heard something about it. My, you know, I shared a sense of humor with like, my dad and I always had a love of comedy. He would wake me up on Sunday night to watch like Fawlty Towers and my two Ronnie’s the Ernie Kovacs show these are on public broadcasting in Chicago. until Sunday night, you’d wake me up and I’d watch these shows. And I would, I would understand some of it. And then I would laugh watching my dad laugh. And I was like, Oh, I like my dad laughing. And then I would laugh at that. So some of the stuff I didn’t quite understand. But we definitely shared a love of humor. And so that might have also had a hand in it.


HOST  08:30

No. Yeah. You guys shared that. Also, like, I wonder if like your dad was like, oh, man, I wish I could take this class. Oh, I’ll give this to Jay. He’ll like it.


Jay Sukow  08:44

Yeah, I think my dad’s dream was to be like a radio disc jockey. I think he ended up being an ironworker. Sure, but I think he if he could have done anything, it would have been that so I think he did. He did have a sense of like, you know, entertaining people, or any always he was a funny storyteller and joke teller. And I thought maybe Yeah, he thought this might inspire him. This might, you know, give him a hobby or something to stimulate the sense of humor. And so let’s see if you like this, like I had done stand up once and I, I didn’t really it didn’t. It didn’t stick with me. I I appreciate it stand up. I loved watching stand ups. And I thought they were funny, but it wasn’t for me. I didn’t. I didn’t like the feeling of being up there by myself. I like the feeling of what I what really attracted me to improv to is like, oh, let me set this other person up to get the laugh. Like I really dug that. I was like, Oh, I’m gonna get the laugh. I really like playing like in the straight comedic role. I like playing the straight character who sets the other person up. And so that was something in improv that really struck a chord with me because I can make other people look good. And so that to me was always very attractive is let me give you the laugh. Let me set you up to look good. And then I’ll look good as well, because you got the laugh. Yeah.


HOST  10:14

You know, I love improv and in the ways that it is a gala terian you know, I mean, it’s for everybody. It’s not like, you have to go to Juilliard to do improv, right. And, you know, thinking about your dad, and people like him who are like, funny in their lives, but like, just don’t have the ability to have an outlet, where they get to, you know, go do improv classes or something like that. Like, there are so many people, but like, now they do you know what I mean? Like now,



right now,


HOST  10:48

a guy working, you know, a steel worker in Pittsburgh can go take improv classes if he wants to, just to like, you know, shake off some of the rough, you know, work stuff and whatnot, you know, that’s the beauty of it. It’s not just like, oh, and people always say that, you know, when they were first trying to sign up for classes, they’d be like, Well, you know, I mean, like, you don’t want to be a performer. I’m like, No, you don’t have to me, it’s all good. Just come hang out with us. It’s just about doing doing bits. Now.


Jay Sukow  11:21

And that is people. A lot of people when they take improv go, Oh, I used to do this when I was a kid with my friends. I didn’t know it was called improv. Yeah.



Yeah, totally. Totally. Like, yeah.



You know,


HOST  11:40

I teach level one. And that’s my, like, first goal, when I, when I’m teaching a level one class, it’s to get the group to become friends, like, so my first like three classes are just to get them to be friends with each other. Because once they’re friends with each other, then it’s like, much easier to do improv, right? They have a shorthand they know a little bit more about each other. They also feel easy to read one another. So nobody feels bad about like making somebody the villain God, the first few classes where they’re like, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you like, Oh my god, guys. Guess what? We’re all gonna be balanced. At some point. Sometime, you’re gonna be the guy who’s like, yeah, you can’t have the party here. Like, I’m sorry. That’s just, sometimes you got to be the bad guy in the scene. It’s alright. Nobody hates you.


Jay Sukow  12:39

Well, and that’s, I think one of the hardest transition that people make is realizing none of this is personal, against or for you. That’s why we’re doing characters. Because if you keep referring to me by my name in the scene, then I’m going to take things more personally than if it’s like, no, you’re just fulfilling what’s needed in the scene, what’s needed? Do they need someone to come out and be the bad person? Okay, I’ll step up and be that I know, it’s not a reflection on me personally, the same with like, failing. Like the, to be able to embrace failure in general, I think is a huge gift that I’ve gotten from improv and it doesn’t mean you are a failure. It just means you’re okay, failing. And we should be more okay. failing in life.


HOST  13:25

Yeah. Yeah. And plus, most failures aren’t really even failures. They’re just like door different doors to go different places. And that’s both improv and in real life.


Jay Sukow  13:37

Everything I look at failures, like, those become the gifts and if you play that, you know, it’s a jazz philosophy of play the wrong note again, not don’t just play it, like play once, play it many times let the failure become a pattern, and a gift to propel forward. And if you want to do comedy, especially, you got to embrace that.


HOST  13:58

Right? Yeah, I mean, you, you 100% have to, like get into I mean, it’s like when I teach comedy writing to people and they’re like, but why would he make that mistake again? Cuz he’s gonna, cuz that comedy character does. Guess what? That’s making that mistake over and over. Never here. Hold on to your hats. He might never learn a lesson.


Jay Sukow  14:28

As soon as you learn the lesson, it’s over.


HOST  14:31

He’s over. It isn’t to do it right. And, like, relieve yourself the pressure of having to solve a problem. don’t solve it make it worse. Always.


Jay Sukow  14:43

It’s like if there’s a car on fire. You walk into that scene with gasoline, hot dogs, s’mores. The worst thing to do is and what people battle against all the time is we you want In life, we want to make things better, right? We don’t want people to be in pain. We don’t want them to feel bad. If there’s a car tire, you’re going to put it out. But it’s playing the opposite in the scenes, you want to add to it, you want to make things worse. You can do it in a way also, which makes you appear to care about the situation. But then you end up making it worse anyway, that to me is where the fun lies.


HOST  15:25

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. making it worse is the best for sure.


Jay Sukow  15:32

And giving those people who come in level one, to me, it’s such an important level to teach, like the intro to let people know, come in, it’s going to be fine. I love the way you’re talking about it. Like, your job is to make these people become friends. And if you look around an improv class, it’s funny. The like, the first level, especially the first class, you’re like, there’s there’s not a sometimes there’s not a huge percentage of chance that these people would hang out in life, but they have to. And then once they hang out in class, and you go, you’re here to help people be okay, you be okay with yourself and let other people be okay with being themselves. And then magical things happen in those groups? For sure. Yeah, it’s


HOST  16:23

funny we, a few years ago, when I was teaching, there were these, this set of 212 person classes that just like burst forth, all of a sudden, it was like, we had one class, and then they’re like, there’s a ton of people signing up, it doesn’t mean make two classes. So they made these two classes. And they were these two level ones that were just bursting at the seams that were both 12 people each, right. And that those groups were so tight knit, they stayed together through all five of the levels. Like they as soon as they met, they were just like, we are 12 best friends now. And like it was amazing. Like when they graduated, they were all like hugging and crying. And you’re right. These people were like, they never would have met each other. Right? No, because it’s rare that an improv class actually has all actors, right? Yeah. Use your hand full of like, I want to be a performer and like, Oh, yeah, I do this, because it helps me when I’m doing my film acting. Sure. Sure. Sure, sure. A couple of those here and there. But usually, it’s just your average Joe, like, I’m a real estate agent, and I need to be able to talk off the cuff. We had one guy who was a, who was a travel writer, right. And he had a hard time traveling and talking to the people and he had to interview everyone when he went traveling. And he was just like having a tough time with it. And he just took a year of improv and then he was like, I’m good. I’m ready. I can do this. And then he’s back on the road, right? Like what I love it.


Jay Sukow  18:05

I mean, that’s the thing is, most of the people who enroll in an improv class, are not there for any other reason than self improvement. I want to learn how to speak better in my job, I want to learn how to be more social, I want to help overcoming anxiety. I had a bad breakup. Like we hear these I wanted to do something for myself this year, even actors or like I want to improve, they’re all they’re looking for ways to get better as a human. And this through a series of learning to play games, you become a better human being you become more present, you listen better, you you, we have discounted the sense of play that is so important for humans, especially in adults, we have discounted that. Play it the last thing a lot of people’s list, when it’s really the most important thing is that sense of play. And now with what’s happening currently, in this global pandemic, the pandemic that’s going on, you need that positive that laughter that play now more than ever.


HOST  19:12

Yeah, if you’re not like if you don’t have play in your heart, like going through this much, be honest, be much harder. You know, because there’s so many things where I’m all like what happened today? Great added to the bar, like it’s not, you know, like, I’m not, I’m not upset about things, you know, and we were talking earlier about how failures are helpful, man, it’s sure been helpful that I know how to deal with not having enough money to pay all the bills. Well, I figured that Oh, I got that. What Oh, that’s the only skill I have to use it. I’m fine. I got that one. So we’re done.


Jay Sukow  19:54

Right. And you and you also go. Everything changes, like an improv scene. Everything’s gonna change. Yeah. What’s happening now is not going to be the way things are good or bad. It’s always going to change and we’re in a very uncertain time and if anything improv teaches you how to be okay with the uncertain to be okay with the unknown and to look into situation saying, I’m going to be fine. I, this is something that I might learn from. It seems scary right now, but I’m going to get through this like I’ve done my whole life.


HOST  20:29

Yeah, yeah, exactly. So, earlier, you mentioned earlier before we started recording, you mentioned that when you wanted when you were doing improv, you were kind of doing it because it was like, easy to do, but then somehow tumbled into it, making it your lifelong career. How did we get there? Like, we’re, I’m deep in the thick of our improv chat. But like, you are so clearly soaked up in improv, you are an improviser, through and through, how did you go from like, random, fun, z class, to I’m in it to win it? This is me what’s going on?


Jay Sukow  21:16

Interesting. Yeah, I, you know, a lot of people I think, that I came up with and trained with and performed with early on, we all have the same attitude, which is, this is a dead end job, thank goodness, it’s not going anywhere. We get to just play, but there’s no pressure of doing anything. And so a strange thing happened along that way is that there became more opportunities. I started teaching, I started performing, and giving like gift cards for holiday parties. And you’re like, what, I’m getting a $20 gift card. Look at this, and then then assume that somebody said, Hey, I have a, you know, I’m a real estate agent. And we’re having this meeting, and we talk about listening, and some of the skills I’m using in here really help out, can you come teach us a couple of the exercises, that’s like, Okay, and then that turned into, hey, we’re having you know, a sales conference, can you come in and between our speakers and do something and so it just started becoming more acceptable. It’s the corporate world. And the business folks started seeing this and going, Hey, this actually, these skills I’m learning here apply to what we do. And we’re trying to always, you know, be here now is a phrase that kept popping up and it’s in the corporate world. It’s like, well, that’s, you know, moment to moment and staying present. That’s what we’ve been doing improv for years. So we started going, how can we relate this to that world? And then we started facilitating improv workshops. In that way. classes started exploding in popularity, you know, he started having more, more. There were business books about improv. And so businesses were always looking to improve their communication. And the next thing you know, it’s like, wow, I turned this hobby, which started off as into, this is my career for almost 30 years. And it started very slowly. And now, you know, there are people taking improv classes. There are some places where you can take a class at four years old, they offer improv classes, all the way up to you know, retired folks. So, it there’s, there’s people are starting to see it and accepted though. It’s starting to sneak into the Zeitgeist, it’s starting to sneak into the vernacular. When you started seeing, like SNL make, make fun of improv. You’re like, we’ve made it like they’ve heard of it. They’ve started making fun of it. You know, it used to be like, people would say, What’s improv and I go, have you ever seen Saturday Night Live? It’s kind of like that, but we make it up and they didn’t quite get it, then who’s lying came along. And that changed the game and people had a reference point and, and then the next thing you know, it’s like, wow, I’m doing corporate learning. And I’m teaching improv exercises and philosophies to help people become more effective communicators. I’m also doing, you know, improv shows where I come in, and it’s either for a holiday party, or I might use improv games, to create a show in front of a business where we, you know, we talk we address some of their issues using improv games or maybe writing sketches or something. So it’s really gone from there’s no need for this outside of these classrooms or maybe a second city states you know, when I started It was like, I think there were probably 10 jobs and improv that paid and they were all on the second city stage. So if you were not one and that was mostly sketch, it was very little improv on the second city stages. They used it to create material. But definitely, it was not like you can make money doing improv. And then I got hired to work at that comedy sports in Chicago. And I think my first show, I got $3. And I thought I made it, I was like three bucks, man. Awesome. And then these groups started popping up in a group like, you know, mission improbable, they started touring, and you could get paid a living wage, just doing improv games, touring the country. So it went from this is good at second city to create sketch to know it could stand on its own as an art form to all of these exercises can help us become better as professionals. And so that’s where we are now. Now we’re at a point where it’s like, oh, I, I can go into a business. And I can teach them how to be more effective communicators, I can teach them how to give more dynamic presentations. I can teach them how to bring more empathy to their situation. So a lot of things have changed. And with that, improv is grown exponentially. And you have books on the market now using improv philosophies to help with business situations. So it’s a completely different world than it was when I started. And honestly, if it was this way, when I started, I probably wouldn’t call it a damn product, because it’s like, oh, no, there’s too much of a chance of something happening. I didn’t want that when I first started.


HOST  26:41

Oh, man, I mean, are you mostly doing I mean, now, I don’t know what you’re doing. Yeah. But are you mostly doing corporate improv


Jay Sukow  26:48

stuff? Yeah, yeah. Like, in December of this past year, so December of 2020. I did about 12, corporate improv shows, which is crazy, like improv, just straight up improv shows. And then on top of that, did and training like communications workshops. And this is just in one month. So it was because of what’s happened with the pandemic, everything’s gone virtual. And everything’s, you know, I had somebody at a company called Windy City, Fieldhouse reach out to me. And that’s a company I used to do team building work for in Chicago, and they said, Hey, we’re putting, we’re having a new offering, where we want people to choose for their holiday experiences. And we have a magician lined up and we have winetasting. Do you do virtual improv shows? I go, yeah, I’ve been doing virtual improv since March. And then they they ended up booking out a lot of shows. And so we would go into these businesses, you know, virtually, and and it would be like, all right, and we would start playing short form games. And it was it was very awesome. It was wonderful. And I was very lucky to have that. But, you know, this comes on the heels of when marches and talking to everyone. It was like, oh, all of our work stopped within a 24 hour period. Like everybody I knew that did improv of any sort, corporate improv, anything like that. All those communication workshops, they were all canceled because of the pandemic. So you went from like, I don’t know what I’m going to do for work to, wow, this. December is the busiest month I’ve ever had. It was truly unpredictable. But if I didn’t have my improv skills, that I had to remind myself of, like, take a breath, moment to moment, You’re in no immediate danger. If I didn’t have those skills, I would have been much more panicked, I think. Yeah.


HOST  28:58

Yeah, there’s definitely something that to that it can help with anxiety quite a bit for sure. I think that’s why the online virtual improv, like jams and whatnot, even internationally, have really blown up like, there’s just so much of it happening right now. And it’s like wild how it’s become so globally connected.


Jay Sukow  29:23

Yeah. I mean, it’s it to me, the silver lining of the pandemic, is the fact that it’s shrunk this global community for improv. And my friend David Escobedo talks about, it’s now you know, it’s this ecosystem. It’s no longer like improv communities. It’s one big ecosystem of improv. And, you know, like some of the people you’ve had on your podcast, where people that were also taking advantage of this global improv setup. From you know, places like Bangalore, India is exploding with improv talent. Which I don’t know, would have been discovered as quickly. Had there not been this pandemic where then people were scrambling to make connections. And then you find people in India and you find people in, you know, Copenhagen and in, you know, Mexico and all throughout the world. And all you have to do is is turn on your computer, fire up, connect to the modem, and you’ll find it in a workshop or show happening at all hours of the day.


HOST  30:27

Yeah, absolutely. Literally 24 hours a day, you could probably find some improv. I mean, this morning, speaking of Bangalore, I was sitting and listening to their, they were doing just a little chat about how improv has been going for them, like this morning while I was cooking breakfast. So I was like, scrolling through Facebook as I was making eggs. And then I was like, Oh, this is fun. And I just put it up, listen to them chat about how improv has been going for them and what they’ve been doing in there, the fun they have in the show the night before. And I was like, Oh, this is so nice. You know, and it’s like, so great to be connected to all these people and to be like involved in and get to, like, be in on what they’re happy about and what things are going well. And like, you know, sometimes they’re talking about what’s not going well. And I’m fascinated by all the threads that have been, you know, sort of international improv threads about like, what can we do to make this better? What’s our effort to make this better? And I’m like, yeah, guys, we’re solving all the problems.


Jay Sukow  31:31

And it’s, you know, it’s a long time coming, honestly, like, a lot of the situation had been given lip service for years. As a gay, I will make those changes, we’ll do that. But there was no incentive to do it. And now, thankfully, it there are lots of substantial changes being made. And that goes from a comp. And it’s a combination of, unfortunately, some theaters just closing. And there are no gatekeepers anymore. But it also comes I think, from the ones that are staying, staying open, or new ones that are coming on the scene that are making a stance and saying this is something that’s important to us. Inclusion is something that’s important. And not just like, we’re going to get one person of color on our team. It’s like, no, let’s open this up and look at ourselves and go, what do we need to do to change? What do we need? What what are we, we talked about being inclusive, we talked about improv embracing, but then do we really show it? And so it’s taking a look inside and saying, what can we do to make these changes, and now, you have no excuse to not reach out to people, you have no excuse to tune in, and listen to what people have to say. And there are so many of these wonderful panels that have been happening, where it’s like, hey, if you want to learn and change, there’s opportunity, and most of it is free. So you can sit there and learn and change. And that’s the only way that improv is going to thrive is when it changes and grows. And we should get rid of stuff that we don’t need anymore and let go of that which doesn’t serve us and a lot of the old ways. Just don’t serve us right now. And so we can get rid of that. And we can make brand new decisions and make new changes. Because the virtual space is like the wild west where there are no rules, and there are no gatekeepers. And because of that, a lot of great innovation is happening. And I think a lot of growth is happening as well. Mm hmm.


HOST  33:23

I think there’s been a big opening of minds about format and style and whatnot. Like I had done international interviews prior to the pandemic. And, you know, one of the big things that when I was talking to people in Europe, there’d be this like, Oh, well, there’s American improv, and that’s about comedy. But that’s not what we do. And now it’s less so I hear less of disdain for the comedy, and I feel that what is great about it, is that people have been able to play so with so many different kinds of people that they’re able to mix and match. And it doesn’t have to be like, oh, what what are we playing here? Chicago style, or, oh, what is it that we’re doing? Okay, we’re doing long form, oh, we playing certain games from comedy sports, you know, like, it doesn’t have to be these groups or that groups or, oh, this style or that style. It’s like the end there somewhere. It’s like, yeah, this is the format. This is how it works. But I find that the mix between in a show, you know, of like, this one’s a really, you know, longer dramatic scene. Oh, here’s a funny one. Oh, that’s cool. And you get that a lot more with these, you know, global improv shows that you’re seeing.


Jay Sukow  34:50

Totally, and you start looking at those areas and you go, oh, like people in like Asia. Status a lot more than they do in the West. Oh, that’s interesting. And you start opening up and going, how do you play this game? We play it this way. And and also, what’s interesting to me is I go, I hear the phrase Chicago style improv a lot. And I’m always like, at first I thought I knew what they meant. And I’m from Chicago. So I’m like, Oh, I think I know. And it’s so somebody, somebody told me once Oh, it’s fast. Somebody else wants told me it’s a slower, somebody told me it’s relationship, someone said, it’s gay. So there’s so many different definitions of what that style is the people, that you, you now have an opportunity to go, let’s invite these people in and the hideout is doing a great job of this. They’re inviting people and they’ve been doing it for a long time and virtually, is they are inviting people to come play like their sets and say, Hey, come play the show with us or come do this with us and bring your not not just play our stuff, bring your style into the show. And to me, that’s what’s the thrilling part is, you know, I do a series of these 10 minute scenes, and I and I want to do them with people. So they play their style, I don’t want them to play like a style, they think I want to play I it’s a selfish thing for me. I want to experience how they play. And I say anything goes. So I really like trying to play with that person, rather than saying, here’s how we’re going to play.


HOST  36:32

It’s really fascinating to me, you know, when you talk about the way that you play, and the way that you look at improv, you do very much have sort of like, and I don’t mean this in a weird way, but like a low status, place for yourself in it, you’re serving your scene partner, you’re working for them, you know, and you know, I find that when you’re a teacher, you don’t often get the opportunity to do that. Because when you jump into a scene, people are like, Oh, this is the teacher, they know what to do lead us to, you know, and you’re like, No, no, no, no, you guys do whatever. I’m just here to like, add some spice, you know, and they’re like, Oh, no, she’s a spice merchant. That’s the scene that we’re doing now is a great scene. I love it. You make great choices. Teacher, you’re like, No,



it’s not.


HOST  37:21

You know what I mean? So how do you may mean this, like, how are you serving the scene? How are you? You know, helping people out when I’m sure. Especially with your, your series, people must enter into it with you as a high status person. So how is it that you’re able to juggle that?


Jay Sukow  37:45

Well, after each scene, I go, and that’s how it’s done. And then I hang up.



I mean, I did


Jay Sukow  37:58

it, and then I never talked to that person again. I’m like, yeah. I think for me, I’m I’m I’m, and I’m, I believe it. I’m always want people to know what like, especially if I’m teaching I go, this is not the way to do it. I don’t have answers. I’m just going to give you like, sometimes I’ll try to help you to where you’re you. I think you’re trying to go but by no means do i do i have the answers, you know, by no means should you look to me to say that’s how it’s done. You know, this is like a cafeteria, like, take what you can leave the rest. I also tell people, and I believe this is true to nothing I say is original, it’s things I’ve curated and heard other people say that I go, that makes sense to me. So when I share that I I try to keep that in mind. And I always try to stay open. And I always want people to me that the gauge of a good improviser is do they want to play with me again? That’s the big thing is like, I’m always I hope people want to play with me again, that’s, that’s my number one goal as I improvise, like, I hope it’s such a great experience that people want to come back and play again. And I really do mean that. And it’s, it’s something that, you know, you I think you have to, if you’re in that situation, you have to just keep reminding the students or the people who don’t have as much experience or who put you in that higher status role of like, I don’t know anything more than you do. In fact, most of us, we don’t want to know anything when we’re up here. So please don’t think that what we’re doing is the right we have, we have no idea how this is going to turn out. And so the difference between me and other people is not talent. It’s I’ve just got more experience doing this. I’ve just done more scenes probably and I hold on to my scenes. Less dearly, I don’t, I don’t I expect the scenes are going to turn out fine. And I think you get to a point in your improv journey. Sometimes it’s early on where you’re so afraid of what’s like, I want to seem to be so good. I’m so afraid of what’s going to happen that it won’t be good. And I think eventually, you just kind of go into scenes going, Oh, this will be fine. We’re going to be we’re going to be fine. This is going to be a fun scene. And so when you can help people realize, don’t put me on that pedestal of knowing what to do in a scene, because I’m just, I just want to play like you and the two of us are going to figure this out together. And that, to me, is the joy of improv. So sometimes you have to remind people of that. And before, like, before, I do a 10 minute scene with someone online, I just like to say hi. And I like to be like, Hey, you know, is there anything you don’t want to? Like? Is there anything you don’t want to play? You know, some people are like, and I don’t do this, usually. But some people might be like, Oh, I don’t, don’t make me do accents. And like, I don’t want people to do things they don’t want to do the only time I I will have fun with someone is if I know they’re gonna have fun with me. But then I also know they’re going to come back and make me do something even more challenging than I want them to do. So I never want to put people in a position where it’s like, look at this jerk everyone. I always want people to be like, no, I got your back. And I take that litter like I I really mean it. When I say got your back. I mean, like, whatever your idea is, let’s go with it. And and so I try to continue to have that mindset of being open. You know, when something I was told early on, which stuck with me is like, everybody’s idea is better than yours. And I really think that’s a good idea to have is like, Oh my gosh, all these other ideas are so much better. Let me see if I can pile onto their idea rather than pushing my idea forward.





HOST  42:01

That must be nice. I like the idea that you’re able to put people at ease and then they’re like, yeah, let’s just have a fun time with Jay. It’s gonna be a good time.


Jay Sukow  42:12

And then it is and then you know, I mean, that that thing of, let’s let’s go into the scene, relax, and be open to what’s going to happen always. It’s always worked out well for me to be like, Okay, I’m, I’m open for anything. I’m going to have as much fun as I can in this scene. And then when the season’s over, that’s it. Like I don’t want to revisit the scene. You know, I a phrase that I love, and reminding myself of is like, hey, of all the scenes I’ve ever done. That was one of them. Right? And you know, it’s like, there’s so you have so many more scenes left inside of you if you are putting pressure on yourself for every scene to be great, every every line to be a home run funny line. It’s not going to come and my my friend Tony Llewellyn said this phrase, he goes, I release and destroy my need to do a good improv scene. And that’s an awesome phrase.


HOST  43:18

I release and destroy my need to do a good improv scene in


Jay Sukow  43:24

matte gray, where it’s like, don’t just release it, destroy it. It’s like, that’s no longer an option. And once you do that, you’re like, Oh, wow. I it frees me up so much to just get back to playing you know, we didn’t get into an improv class, to make it stressful on ourselves. But the more the more classes you take, or the more you you know, do shows or what have you. Sometimes you lose sight of why you got into improv. And it was because it was fun. That’s the reason you come back is like that was a fun class. And as a level one teacher, you you are, you just set it you’re doing that for people, you’re introducing them to new friends, which has become this fun thing and you’re allowing them to be themselves and it’s like, not only have fun, but bring that weird part of you out because that’s we’re all weird and it’s a good thing and we should celebrate being that I when somebody in an improv scene says this is weird I that I hate that because nothing should be treated as that that’s a lazy response to something is by going like this is the weirdest date I’ve ever been on. It’s like no, don’t make it that make it the most wonderful day you’ve been on make things normal that appear weird. That’s the fun challenge. But when you go to a class or a show, bring that side of you that unique oddball you know, we used to call it the Isle of Misfit, Misfit Toys, US improvisers we never really fit anywhere. We weren’t quite stand ups. You know, we weren’t like like the class clowns. We were kind of the people whispering to the class. Like we were adjacent to the class calm. And then in improv, you find people like you and you find those people who are like, Oh, I also feel that way. And you find that connection with another human being that you might not have found or given them the chance to, you might not have given them the chance to show off who they are. So you could connect with them.


HOST  45:20

Yeah, yeah. When you do improv, and when you walk into an Improv Theater, at least the ones that I’ve had been part of, in my classes Anyway, you know, you want to feel warm, you want to feel protected. You want to feel like this actually, is a safe space. Like, the phrase safe space gets a bad rap. You know, it’s all politicized. But realistically, people can’t be creative, unless they feel comfortable. Right. So I seek to just create an environment in which people feel comfortable, you know, it stinks that there are a lot of theatres that, you know, that’s not their effort, right. Like, even not to talk smack about UCB, God rest their soul. But, but like, you know, a lot of that had a lot to do with, you know, pushing it out to make television or get famous. I mean, like, let’s be clear, from the point of view of myself, who is not a Chicago improviser, and improviser from Austin, Texas, UCB and the idea of getting famous through UCB was like, yeah,



that’s a thing.


HOST  46:36

Right? And now, it’s like, definitely not a thing. And also, like, why would I even what would that even? Like, that’s not even what I would want to go into it now that I’ve done improv, like, I can’t imagine being the kind of person who’d be like, well, I want to work in television. So I’ve got to take this class. So I don’t know. I don’t know.


Jay Sukow  46:57

Well, I mean, I don’t understand. First off, I don’t understand why people don’t want to have a safe space. I’m with you. It leads to being able to create more, and people are like, you know, you’ve heard this phrase to where someone’s like, Don’t censor me, right? Don’t censor. It’s like, you know, who don’t you know, the people who don’t censor themselves. They’re called sociopath. They don’t censor themselves. And we need to create this space, the whole point of improv is, everybody’s welcome. And if there’s a topic we don’t talk about, it’s okay. There’s, there’s so many other topics we can have fun with. That if somebody says, Hey, this thing that you brought up, it triggered me say, Great, well, let’s not do that we’re here to protect each other. And when you say got your back, and then you do the opposite, you’re being a real big hypocrite right there. It’s like, got your back. And then you go on stage and you you’re like, I hate you. And you’re like, that was fun. It’s like, Well, no, it wasn’t fun. And where you go, got your back and go on stage and do something else inappropriate. Like that’s not got your back at all. And so we should be having this safe space for people to be able to create and express themselves. And you should Yes, and if you’re set up to Yes, and something that’s not evil, like don’t set up people to yes and evil. Don’t be like, you should be offended me. It’s like, No, that was super inappropriate. And we did not build the show as an inappropriate show. We build the show as an entertaining show where you’re going to come laugh, and you’re not providing that as you go. So I think we should. it’s incumbent on the leadership in theaters to make it a safe space. And for so many years, there were artistic directors and directors who were who were able to get away with acting like lunatics. Because there was some artistic merit to it. It was seen as like, oh, they’re they’re a genius. Yeah, but they’re also super inappropriate, in a way that sometimes people should have been jailed. You know, these because of what they were doing was like, completely illegal. Yeah. But for some reason, in this world of improv, and in the world of comedy in the world of theater, it’s like, oh, it’s fine, they’re fine. And then they get bounced around from theater to theater, or they go to a different city, and they open a theater under a different name. And it’s like, nobody wants to talk up for years, because the people that were also the gatekeepers, were doing it. So you couldn’t say anything, because you’re like, I won’t get cast, or I’ll be viewed as a troublemaker. And thankfully, people have been brave enough to come forward and actually put their names out there and say, I’m the one who’s saying this. And then that opened the gates for other people to come up and say, yeah, that happened to me as well. But for too long, we did not do none of that was in check. And then, you know, I worked for a theater that’s been around for over 50 years. And for the first probably 50 years or so of its existence. It didn’t have an HR department, a multimillion dollar theater, and you’re like, well, that’s something that needs to change. And then I got when I was in LA I worked for Westside comedy theater. And they were the first theater that made us all take anti harassment workshop. And it was the first time I’d ever taken one. And we were all I know a lot of teachers have been asking for for years. And also situations like how do we handle these situations when it comes up in class, whether it be something that’s sexual in nature, whether it be something where it’s like, I’m dealing with somebody who has a personality issue, whether it is health, I had a student in my class who her throat started swelling up, because she had an allergic reaction in class because somebody had peanuts, like a class or two before. So I’m like, how do I deal with that? So sometimes we’re ill equipped in situations, so it’s good. What’s happening now? is that there are there is a level of accountability that is happening that we haven’t seen before. It’s just, for some reason, moving very slowly at certain places. And that’s, that’s too bad.


HOST  50:56

Yeah, but, but I think, to bring it back to the idea that we are far more connected. And that like David said, it’s an ecosystem. There are people on, like, checking in on that stuff. Now, there are people all over the country who are like, Oh, are there the world? Nevermind the country? Yeah, countries such as, you know, part of the improv world, like, like, they are aware of where the good guys are, what’s happening in different cities, how things work. I mean, also the other lesson to be learned. And every time I bring this up, I feel so cold. But I, I’ve been trying to figure out like, what’s the business model of the theaters that lasted? Because I’d love to figure out what the right way to run a theater is. And if it turns out that all the theaters that shut down were LLCs and all the theaters that lasted were nonprofits,



that’s something to think about.


HOST  51:56

That’s something to think about. You know what I mean? Like,



whoa, how’s that work?


HOST  52:00

You know, oh, you know, so just looking at the ones that opened and closed, like when you see be both New York and then la closed, I was like, okay, there’s a problem. Because it’s not well, a lack of cash that that crowd is like, what’s going on here. So the idea of it is that running theaters is really hard. And we sort of all have to be together to help each other out, to do all the things where it’s like, making sure the wackos stay out. And then also, like, hey, you’re right. Like, the idea of the HR department is amazing. I, I’ve never worked at a theater that had an HR department. But I’ve worked at loss of theaters. You know what I mean?


Jay Sukow  52:45

And I think, and I think one thing that doomed improv theaters, in my opinion, and UCB and i o are part of this is they got too big, like the physical space, they moved into bigger and Second City to they moved into these bigger physical spaces. And I remember they just they made a huge jump. And then it was like, well, you weren’t prepared. In the case of Second City, they made this big jump, but I don’t think they had the amount of features that could handle that jump. So you’re bringing some teachers who didn’t have as much experience, and you needed to be trained more. And so that’s diluting your product a little bit. In the case of IO, they moved into this big giant space, but then they’re in Chicago, and they decided to have a beer garden, which is only good for about two months out of the year, but they had no parking. And then they had all these classrooms, but you then had a hard time filling them because you it was like Krispy Kreme donuts, Krispy Kreme, kind of came out of nowhere. And then they were all over the place. And it was too much. And it used to be here in LA opened a second space, that was huge. But it was also in an area that wasn’t easy to get to. Whereas their first ucbs first space in LA was in a pretty kind of hip area. And it didn’t have space for people to wait inside. So people had to line up outside and humans love lines, and they love lining up in lines and they go We should go there because there’s a line of people, they must know something. And so that’s something I do think that benefited them. And then the other thing, if you want to run a theater is man, if you can have famous people come out of your training center, people in America will go to that training center because they see that and they think it’s a shortcut to get somewhere. So I think, yeah, and then COVID hit which none of these theaters were prepared for, because they never they didn’t make a transition to or to taking advantage of the virtual space that we could have done, but it was always like and can’t be done. It’s like, No, we’ve shown it can be done. It just took a global pandemic, to force people to do it. Whereas were you thinking in terms of what’s next Or were you just thinking in terms of, wow, look at all the people coming into our classes right now we’re doing good. And I don’t think a lot of theater people ever. And I include myself with this. I was never like, let’s go virtual. It was always like, it can’t be done. And you had a bunch of people in improv whose basis and this and saying it can’t be done. And then that’s what happened. Yeah.


HOST  55:23

I mean, it seemed like Well, one of the first things I heard when they started going doing virtual improv was that it’s a totally different animal that it is not the same kind of improv that you’re doing on stage. It has a different vibe. You have to speak differently. You have to give each other more space.



No, no


HOST  55:42

talking over each other. You


Jay Sukow  55:44

know what I mean? So it’s, it’s the greatest in that sense. You can’t you have to slow down, honestly.


HOST  55:51

Yeah. But,


Jay Sukow  55:53

but you know, you know, you know what else right? Well, yeah, but like, look at musical improv. There’s no way you could sing and improvise. Now. Okay. You know, look at long form. Long for improv at second city was like, no, it’s used to write sketch and we teach improv games. And that gets us into comedy and writing sketch and stuff. But improv itself can’t be an art form. Then you had theaters that came along like I Oh, that said, like, No, I think it could be an art form. And then it became an art form, but you always say they have somebody kind of leading that way. And there were attempts made like Amy Gerlach was one of these early e learners a couple years ago, she tried it, but people just again, were weren’t ready. And Kevin reom did a series called improv. It was like over iPhones. And he recorded people and it was like, FaceTime, improv, I think is what it was called. And it was two improvisers on FaceTime. And he recorded it and put it out there. And it was like, okay, but we, we have a tendency of improvisers at times to like, put the brakes on when it’s like, No, we shouldn’t be doing this. And we should be leading the way and we should be going, Okay, here’s something new. And you’re right, it’s not the same, but that’s the exciting part, you’re still use some of the same skills, but it’s like improvising on, you know, for film, you’re not going to have that audience there. But it can still be done. And the fact that it forces people to slow down and not talk over each other. We’ve been trying as teachers to get that for years. So I, I’m excited by it. I’m also excited by the possibility. It’s like, okay, what’s next? What’s the next iteration? Can we fuse this with stage in front of an audience? What about the you know, augmented reality? And what about that space? And what about virtual can we do like, you know, and Roy Ray down in hideout is doing a lot of stuff. He’s looking into the whole, you know, virtual Oculus, all that stuff. And so I think it’s, it’s, I think, it’s, it’s a possibility, and there are people, you know, trying to move forward with this and going No, it’s not a stopgap it’s another way to improvise. And you know, Katie, shoot and Chris meet are doing the improv place, which is the first training center dedicated to online improv exclusively and they’re doing a lot of stuff. They’re over in the UK. And they’re, they’re looking at this like an opportunity. So as improvisers our mindset of looking at things as an opportunity. Now, what do we need to apply that to this virtual space to and go? Yeah, it’s not, don’t try it and stop trying to make it like, what it’s not and embrace the technology and go, ooh, I could do stuff on camera now. Okay, cool. I can move around my space. So I can take this around my house. What if I step off camera? What if I get really close to the camera? What if I get far away? Okay, I can play status using this visual element. So I think it’s a world of opportunity. And for some people, they don’t want to embrace it, and that’s fine. But at the same time, don’t bring the party down for other people who are into it.


HOST  59:00

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You got to ride the train, and we didn’t invent it. This is what’s happening. And we’re just dealing with it. It’s interesting how, you know, the pandemic has opened up a lot of people’s minds to using technology for art, because now art is entirely online. I mean, there’s just no way to do it in person anymore. And so there’s all these like, not starving artists, but starved artists, who are just trying to create something. And like, they just don’t know what to do or how to do it. So they’ve taken to the internet. I can’t tell you I never taught an online writing class in my life. And then all of a sudden, I was teaching, you know, 10 people and our writing class and like, you know, doing comedy sketches through zoom, and it was like, wow, okay, I guess that’s a lot we can do.


Jay Sukow  59:59

But thanks About now, you have a global reach for students, you can teach people all around the world, not just people in Austin, right? So you have an opportunity to affect people. And I think it’s it’s brave. It’s showing that there are so many talented directors, coaches, teachers that aren’t just coming from LA Chicago, New York. They’re coming from all over and Austin’s been one of those like, sleepy underappreciated, improv cities and people are now starting to see Wow, there is a lot of talent coming from all over. So you don’t need to go, oh, I’ve trained in theater x, I’ve trained in this city. You know, Chicago, people get this really wonderful, but earned recognition and unearned validity. Because it’s like, oh, you’re from Chicago, which makes me laugh, it’s like, sure, but that doesn’t necessarily because of that means someone’s a better teacher or performer than someone else. It’s just like, they’re there in a geographic location. That’s it that just happens to be known for improv, but this opportunity now, people from all over the planet, you can teach classes, and it’s like, oh, I have a person from Europe. I have a person from Asia. from South America, I got three people from New York, like you can have a mix of students, which also opens up your experience, it opens up your point of reference, like it’s making these jumps in diversity even go faster, and you start to now connect with people all over the globe that it wasn’t possible to do so financially before this.


HOST  1:01:40

Yeah. And and I knew a handful of people that were doing the traveling and I, I was like, Man, I’m never gonna get to do that traveling like those people. My lifestyle is just not jetsetter. Like, can I just jump on a plane and go for the weekend to Munich like nope. So but now I can totally like you said, I can teach a whole you know, sketch group in Amsterdam, if I want I can have classes in Tokyo. Like, who knows? Or I can have a people from all over taking a class all together. Right? You never know. That’s the wild thing.


Jay Sukow  1:02:22

And so while thinking they might go the folks in Tokyo Miko, Amy, listen, we the pandemics lifted. We you strike a chord with us, we’re bringing you out to teach us in an intensive for a couple days. You tell us when like, there is that possibility as well where people are hearing and they go, Oh, we’re not going to keep hiring the same eight people that are constantly on these circuits teaching improv or sketch or anything like that. It’s like no, no, no, we now have a possibility to bring people in, who are better teachers, and who are less expensive teachers, but they’re better and they’re pushing the envelope with this. And they’re really amplifying people’s voices and letting people find their voice in this situation. So I do think like, you know, in a selfish way, this pandemic has really pushed, you know, the, the silver lining is the fact of where it’s pushing us to go and how it’s pushing us to grow as artists in a situation that we never had faced before.


HOST  1:03:30

So I have one final question for you. You have been teaching improv for many years, you’re deeply ensconced in the world, the community of improv. This sounds great. That sounds like a life we all want to lead. How do we do it? What advice do you have for students who are like, I want to do that? How do I? How do I get involved? How do they do what you do?


Jay Sukow  1:04:00

Think Nike, just do it. Really, just do it. Like, what do you want to do? You want to teach improv? Alright, go find somebody who wants to take an improv class, reach out to friends and family and say, Hey, can I can I teach a zoom class of improv exercises for you? When I wanted to teach on zoom, I reached out to a friend and I go, we and I got eight people in a class and I go, I want to do a beta class. I don’t know how zoom works, where you come in, and I’m going to stumble through this, but I want to I want to learn this technology. So it’s the same thing. Nobody has the right answer. Nobody knows what they’re doing. It’s degrees of confidence and fake confidence or real confidence. It’s the same thing. And so what you need to do is be active, do it like you want to be a performer. Great. put up a show. profile. Do it over zoom. When the pandemic lifts, do it in your backyard, go to a bar that that’s empty on a Monday night and say, can we use that corner of your bar right there and, and bring people in like, it’s all about doing. And that’s one thing I learned in Chicago is is a city known for doing stuff. And then I get to LA. And there’s a lot of waiting because people waiting for a callback, they were waiting for a series, they were doing a lot of waiting for other people to tell them that they’re good, and that they can do it. And you don’t need that permission from anyone. Just do it and get yourself around people who lift you up. It’s easy to get around people who will bring you down. And it’s like, find those people who it’s your tribe, your ensemble, who make you feel valued. And who go, Yeah, that’s great. Let’s do that, like find those people. I look at somebody like, I always reference Adam Sandler. And whether whatever you think of him, he’s living the dream, which is somebody paying him a lot of money to play with his friends, and create with his friends, it doesn’t matter. The content doesn’t matter if you think he’s funny or not. He’s living a life of creating with his friends. And that’s all I want to do. And so in order to get there, you just have to keep doing it. Don’t make the focus, the end. Don’t make it the finish line. The joy is in the journey along the way. Allow yourself to fail, allow yourself to go out there and fall on your face. And then just do it again. But really, just do it. There’s no one that you need permission from and there’s no one to stop you do what you think is good. Do what you think is funny.


HOST  1:06:50

Oh, man, I love asking people’s advice, because it fills me with such like, confidence and new ideas. I’m like, yeah, just do it. It’s amazing. You got to get out there. I mean, I’m fully backing you up. I mean, think about you mentioned it, you can’t be waiting for somebody to put you on their series, you got to do your own stuff. Especially these days, especially. But previous to COVID. casting directors and people who are producers of movies aren’t



just looking


HOST  1:07:22

for somebody who showed up to the audition. They want somebody who’s already got something going, right. It’s like, it’s confidence of dating, when you’re when you’ve already when you already feel like, you know, sort of confident in what’s going on, you’re like, yeah, I’ll get a date or I won’t, you know, if you have that ease of confidence. If you go into an audition, if you set yourself up to do a project, you have that ease of confidence, then that is what’s going to flow you that’s what’s going to interest people. They’re like, Oh, what’s that? You’re already making your own thing. And you’re like, yeah, I mean, I could make meet with you guys again next week. But I’m booked I’m sorry, maybe two weeks from now. And they’re like, what you can’t meet with me. I love it. You’re busy. You know, like, the vibe of it get


Jay Sukow  1:08:08

out there gets you more work. You know, if people would ask me, How do I get on stage at second city and I’d say you know, I get on stage and Second City, go do other projects. Then they hear about you. And they view you as competition. But they also see you’re doing stuff. And that’s how you get a second city stage. It’s not putting all your eggs in the basket open. They asked you it’s like no write your own show. do your own thing. And like you said, when you tell somebody I’m busy, it makes you more attractive. So do do your thing. And people will start hearing about it. Totally.


HOST  1:08:43

Jay, it has been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.


Jay Sukow  1:08:49

Oh, my goodness. Are you kidding me? The pleasure was all mine. I first off, I’m a big fan. And I’ve loved I’ve listened to your episodes. And there are so many great people on there. Some people I had known and then some people I never heard of. But I think what you’re doing is at what you’re doing is really good. Not just for the improv community, but there’s also great lessons for people in life. So thanks for having me on.


HOST  1:09:17

Oh, excuse me, I really appreciate that. Thanks for listening to us. But why podcast? Check out all our episodes on Yes, but why podcast calm or check out all the content on our network at Universal and HC Universal network.com

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