JEFF CUMBERLIN

WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Cedar Rapids, Iowa

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IMPROV? I guess it all started in grade school as self-defense. I was rather short, chubby, and a bit of a smart Alec towards some of the older kids. I was never a person who believed in violence. I didn’t know how to fight, so I resorted to making them laugh. And it worked. I was always an energetic person. So early in high school it was suggested that I use some of that in speech, specifically improv. I did, and found it incredibly fun. From there I continued to college and learned the more formal method of improv. Still to this day I am learning and performing as much as I can.

WHO WERE YOUR ACTING/IMPROV INFLUENCES, ROLE MODELS? I led a rather sheltered life growing up specially in the ways of improv. I had the typical celebrity favorites of course, but really the people who really influenced me were the ones I grew up with. I’d say my biggest role models were my father who taught me to take a risk and dare to go beyond the norm. My high school choir teacher who taught me what it is to be passionate about something, and to chase it.

DETAIL, CHRONOLOGICALLY, YOUR IMPROV RESUME/CAREER? I started in high school through Speech. In college, I was part of the first improv group on campus, which is still going strong today. I later moved to New York and am currently performing regularly at the National Comedy Theater, and of course Sunday Night Improv.

WHAT DO YOU GET OUT OF PERFORMING? Laughter at its purist form. They say it’s the best medicine, and I agree.

WHAT DO YOU GET FROM DOING SUNDAY NIGHT IMPROV?

 A constant reminder of why I love doing what I do.

 DESCRIBE YOUR MOST CHALLENGING IMPROV MOMENT? When I was eleven, I got into an argument with a 13 year old boy from down the street. Towards the end he said something along the lines of, “If you don’t shut up I’m gonna hit you. Get the picture?” I responded with, “Yeah. I get the picture.” And then I mimed taking his picture. It was challenging because he was going to hit me, and rightfully so. Fortunately he thought it was funny and left me a lone. It was then that I realized I was on to something.

WHERE DO YOU HOPE TO GO WITH THIS? I’d like to not only continue to perform but also teach as well.

WORST IMPROV EXPERIENCE? I was doing a family friendly show, were two teams competed against one another. It got very competitive. So much so that one of the players got frustrated and cursed. I have never seen so many people grow so quiet so quickly. It was amazing!

SEE JEFF IN SUNDAY NIGHT IMPROV ON FEBRUARY 19TH!