20 Years of SNI

On Sunday, May 19, Sunday Night Improv will mark 20 years of more-or-less continuous performances with a star-studded show, featuring Larry Bell, Ian Prior, JessAnn Smith, Peggy Geraghty, Tom Carrozza, Chris Griggs, Ken Bropson, and Tom Soter. Also on the bill will be surprise guest stars and a specially made film, 20 Years of Comedy at Sunday Night Improv. In the spirit of that celebration, for our profile this month, we present a collection of comments from past performers of the month. 

Larry Bell “When I’m working with someone good in a scene, I’m not working. I’m just living through the moment. The most important things to me are having a solid scene and having a good time.”

Chris Griggs "Performing improv feeds into other outlets of mine such as stand-up and acting. I've been able to meet and get to know amazing people. Improvisers are usually very cool, quick-minded, and fun to be around. They also usually more team-oriented than some performance artists so that's fun as well. Improv has helped me learn to be in the present more and learn to say yes to life and people more. I've also, I think, learned to be more accepting of others. You learn to embrace what's special and interesting about people when you improvise and I like to think that has had an influence with my regular life."

Ian Prior "I stopped performing improv a decade ago but began again, at Sunday Night Improv, just last month, after attending an improv workshop run by the fabulous Carol Schindler. Tom graciously invited me to do a show and I'm so glad I agreed. It was a delight to be back in the world of "Yes And." My goal in doing SNI is simply to let the old instincts kick in and just have fun. My first time back was my most rewarding improv show in a decade. My most challenging improv moments are always the improvised songs. I am brilliant at them – in the shower."

JessAnnSmith "Every moment onstage is a learning experience and part of the journey to hone my craft and become a better improvisor. My favorite part about improvising is that you are completely unlimited and uncensored, and just like real life, once a moment occurs, it never happens again."

Ken Bropson "In improv you get to use so many emotions that you normally don’t get to in real life. In Friendly’s restaurant they give you a box of three crayons to color with (go with me on this one) and that’s like the average number of emotions you generally use in life, whereas in improv it’s like having the big box of 64 with the sharpener and everything."

Peggy Geraghty "When I first started performing, I often felt like Shelly Duvall in The Shining on stage (yeahnot good).  Because improv is all about listening and keeping your mind open to what unfolds in the moment, focus is pretty essential.  The more I took classes and performed and learned to focus on the immediate nerves, fortunately, became less and less of an issue.  I’ve often found that the biggest challenges reap the biggest rewards." 

Tom Carrozza  “There are more and more improvisers every day and the jam is the best place to stay connected, to meet people, and to stay sharp. Improv is one of those things you’re doing anyway in day-to-day life, so getting good at it is a great challenge. Improv is like lightning.”

Tom Soter "All the improv games involve skills that everyone everywhere uses without even thinking twice: listening, observing, and communicating. You listen to what people tell you; you observe how they say it; and then you communicate your response, either verbally or non-verbally. Everyone goes through this process but only improvisers turn it into an art form."  

SEE THESE EIGHT PERFORMERS – AND MANY SURPRISE GUEST STARS – AT THE SUNDAY NIGHT IMPROV 20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION ON SUNDAY, MAY 19, AT 7 P.M. AT THE SOTER-LEE BLACK BOX THEATER, 236 W. 78TH ST.