The Improv Diaries – part 22 – Chicago and Steve Carrell 

This weeks blog is a tad different from the others as last weeks lesson just consisted of warm up games to get the group feeling more comfortable together as two groups were merged this month. I felt I didn’t learn anything new so this post is instead focused on something relating to improv but not about lessons.

Me in Chicago 2011

Chicago. It’s been one if my favourite places I have visited in the States for a very long time. I originally wanted to go there as Fall out boy were from there and really liked their lyrics of their songs that it inspired me to actually visit the city they spoke so highly about. A bit of a pathetic reason, I admit but this blog is na med after the end lines of two of my favourite lyrics from the band so you can see the sort of influence they can have on me.

Back in 2011, we decided to go to Chicago in the summer for a holiday and loved it so much that we went back again 6 months later for Christmas and new year.

Looking at photos makes me oddly homesick!



There is something about that city – it’s got the buzz like New York but has the beautiful rivers and architecture like London. I fell in love with it, it’s definitely a place I can see myself living in the future as it felt like home when I was there. It also sadly amazed me how well Tony Hawks had depicted the city in its game.

Real Chicago


Chicago in Tony Hawks

This week, I have been reading even more of the book that i introduced you to last week, Theatrical Improvisation: Short Form, Long Form and Sketch -Based Improv by Jeanne Leep. The past few days I have been on a chapter specifically about the improv scene in Chicago and made me fall in love with the city even more. I knew there was improv clubs in the Windy City, as have read stories in things such as Tina Fey’s autobiography, Bossypants but this book took me more into the depths of the comedy scene.

Not only does Chicago have some of the biggest organisations that teach improv such as iO Chicago, The Second City and ComedySportz, it also has a improv comedy festival annually in May. It has also been where many huge comedy actors and personalities have trained such as Tina Fey, Mike Myers, Stephen Colbert, Eugene Levy, Dan Akroyd and John Belushi.

Whilst this blog isn’t really about what I have learnt this week, it to me me is an open letter of love to a city I adore so much.  One of my future ambitions (it has been for a while but it has no prompted me even more) is to eventually move to Chicago and live there for a while to experience working for the media in the USA and also to experience improv in a city that is famously known for it and was one of the players that helped it develop into what it is today. One of the people that graduated from improv in Chicago happens to be one of my favourite actors so felt this post should also be a blog dedicated to him as well.

Case Study: Steve Carrell 

Steve Carrell has been one of my favorite actors for a very long time, the first time i remember seeing him on screen was as the anchorman in Jim Carrey’s Bruce Almighty, however it didnt click as to who he actually was until a lot later on. When i first used to see him on screen it was usually as bit parts such as Uncle Arthur in Bewitched and then bigger things like Anchorman and Little Miss Sunshine.

The more I saw him in things, the more I started to like him as an actor, to me he reminds me of Jim Carrey style characters – always down and out and unlucky ones but eventually gets a happy ending after a struggle. When I first started watching the US office I wasn’t sure of him as Ricky Gervais had done the part so much – however, as the series developed and they started to breach out and write new storylines (the first season was basically a copy of the Office in the UK) i started to really like his character even more as it really developed and was very entertaining to see where it might go.

Over the years Steve Carrell has become such an inspiration to me and will watch pretty much any film if he appears in it as I just really enjoy watching him on screen. He is also apparently meant to be one of the nicest people in Holly wood and comes across very down to earth in interviews.

So this week may of not learnt anything new in the lesson, however, from reading about long form improv it has opened my eyes to even more why I love Chicago and has built up my determination to move there in the future…(onec I find the television companies there as most are in NYC or LA). I learnt alot about long form improv, but will not go into that until I have started learning it or picked up where we left off a few lessons ago. I will leave you with this video of Steve Carrell, when I first started doing improv this is the video i used to promote to friends what i was doing as it makes me laugh everytime.




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