Harvey Chipkin

WHO WERE YOUR ACTING/IMPROV INFLUENCES, ROLE MODELS?  

 I came to improv pretty late in life – I didn’t even know it existed until my first class. But I became obsessed with it immediately. After a year with my first teacher in New Jersey, Deb Maclean, director of Lunatic Fringe, I took my first classes in New York with Tom Soter – both still improv mainstays.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN? HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IMPROV?   

 I was born on the Lower East Side, but discovered improv in New Jersey when my wife Janet pulled a flyer off a store window for classes I was terrified but within three months I was in a class show. And, God help her,  Janet has seen just about every show I’ve been in for the last 11 years.

WHAT DO YOU GET OUT OF PERFORMING?  

Laughs, sometimes. There is also a therapeutic element – and an addictive element.

DETAIL, CHRONOLOGICALLY, YOUR IMPROV RESUME/CAREER? 

I’ve been with Lunatic Fringe since 2003, performing almost every month.. Otherwise I’ve studied at Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade and Magnet Theater. I’ve also done some corporate improv. And I do SNI regularly.

 WHO WERE YOUR TEACHERS?  

Aside from Deb and Tom , I’ve ’had a lot of teachers – including Armando Diaz, founder of Magnet theater; and I once had Zach Woods as a substitute at UCB. He now has a starring role on The Office.

WHAT DO YOU GET FROM DOING SUNDAY NIGHT IMPROV? IS IT FUN?  

SNI is ridiculous fun. Everybody is so talented and it’s really different to perform with different people all the time. While improv is about knowing your partners, it’s exciting to be in a different group for every show.

DESCRIBE YOUR MOST CHALLENGING IMPROV MOMENT?   

Playing a pregnant 16-year-old Southern girl in a UCB class show.

YOUR MOST REWARDING IMPROV WORK?  

Playing a pregnant 16-year-old Southern girl in a UCB class show.

DONE ANY WORK IN TV? FILMS? SCRIPTED THEATER?

I’ve done one short film that qualified me for IMDB; otherwise a number of amateur videos.

WHERE DO YOU HOPE TO GO WITH THIS?

Mostly to have fun. Would be nice to get more corporate gigs.

WORST IMPROV EXPERIENCE?  

Performing for a Sweet 16 where the girls were seated at round tables and did nothing but chat throughout the show.

SEE HARVEY CHIPKIN IN SUNDAY NIGHT IMPROV ON MARCH 25 AT 7 P.M.!