It may be the week of Valentines Day but it is also the week of something fun and with lots of YES – over at Hoopla, The Miller, London Bridge this Wednesday, Ed is hosting a Super Deluxe version of the Yes Land Improv Jam. I caught up with Ed and his tech buddy Julia to find out all about it.
Hello Ed & Julia, tell us all about who you all are and a little bit about yourselves?
ED: My name is Ed, I took a Hoopla Impro course in October 2013, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I now host Yes Land, a fortnightly Jam for Hoopla. Julia volunteered to tech the first show and we’ve hosted the jam together ever since.
JULIA: My name is Julia and I started improvising in May 2014 in Cologne, Germany. No improv schools, no rules, just a bunch of people in someone’s living room trying to figure out this fun art form. I get a kick out of helping out and when I was around when Ed hosted his first “Yes Land” jam, I raised my paw to do the lights. Since then, I’ve been his wing man.
How did the show come about?
ED: Well, Yes Land has been going for over a year and Angela and Steve got in touch with us about hosting an entire evening. It’s so exciting!
Tell us a little bit about the show that are happening this week?
Ed: Yes Land is normally a 45 minute jam split between short form games and two person scenes, all supported by the production value provided by the Julia’s awesome tech skills. The Mega Jam on 13th February is basically going to be that on steroids. We got 3 hours so the plan is: More short form games than you can shake a stick at, as many two person scenes as we can muster, and even some guest groups!
It’s a new year do you guys have any resolutions as a troupe?
ED: Personally, I just want to keep doing what we are doing and providing as many opportunities to improvisers experienced and new as possible.
JULIA: Yes, so do I. The jam grows more and more popular but numbers are still comfortably low so everyone gets their chunk of stage time. If we can create a fun and safe space for everyone who joins us for Yes Land, I’ll be very happy.
What improv styles do you want to see more of this year and why?
ED: I want to see more positivity and agreement (I know that basically translates to “yes and”, but bear with me). I’ve been seeing a lot of game and premise, which are great, but I love to see agreement in scenes. Off the chain agreement. Crazy agreement. Way back to basics agreement. I remember seeing a twoprov with David Reed and Paul Foxcroft which was just agreement with each other and it was divine. More of that please.
JULIA: I’d love to see all kinds of styles. Sounds hippy-dippy but it’s true: The ones that I enjoy make me happy, the ones I get tired of I analyse in my head and do the moves with them in real-time (thinking how I would have responded, and the ones I straight-out don’t like I try to understand, satisfying my scientist’s brain. That said, if someone can tell me a coherent, fun story with some kickass characters, I’m their fan and I want to see much more of that.
What festivals are you guys planning on heading to this year?
Yes Land is a Hoopla show, so we’ll be sticking to that.
It’s the month of looooovveeeee so what things do you love about improv and why?
ED: I love the fact that it is for everyone. I spent so long thinking that improv was something that I wasn’t worthy of doing, that it was something that happened to other people. The realisation that I could do it too was a wonderful moment. I want to offer that to as many people as possible.
JULIA: I also like the fact that everyone can do it, everyone can improvise with anyone and experience levels don’t matter: A first-time improviser can play with a veteran – that’s actually a pretty cool show. But also two brand new improvisers can have a wonderful scene/time on stage. Additionally, none of the things we do on stage matter and players can create the world they roam in. That means, it can feel like a fun real-life simulator, a time machine or a live video game.
What advice would you give for people thinking about starting an improv troupe themselves?
ED: Commit. To the team, to the craft and to your character.
JULIA: …and to rehearsal schedules. I know I might sound like the lamest person in the room but it actually helps. If nothing else, it means the group hangs out together once a week and grows together as a team.
What is the best thing about a night at Yes Land for the audience?
ED: I think the best thing about a night at Yes Land is that, no matter your experience level, you get the chance to perform on the Hoopla stage with the full production value and support that we can provide. Plus its fucking fun.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
@YesLandImprov on Facebook and Twitter.
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
It’s fucking fun!
QUICK FIRE ROUND
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
ED: For me, Sweetbread. AKA Brains. It was delicious, but then I found out what it was and my brain did a record-scratch.
JULIA: My aunt’s minced meat-filled goose. It was good but something was wrong with shoving a pig into a bird.
If you could trade lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?
ED: Kevin Feige. Then I would schedule a bunch of Marvel movies that include the Netflix characters.
JULIA: My old friend Maddi Stubbe. We have lost touch a bit because we became completely different people and I think trading lives for a day would bring us closer together again.
If you could paint anything what would you paint?
ED: I would repaint my walls.They could do with freshening up.
JULIA: I would paint my front door back to red. The landlord painted it black a while ago. Before that it was crimson red. I want that swagger back!
What is the most delightful word you can think of?
ED: Parabula. Not sure what it means. I think it’s latin.
JULIA: Röööhrenklöten! (from the Northern German sketch comedy “Stenkelfeld”)
ED: Don’t Let Me Down by The Beatles. Breaks my heart every time.
JULIA: I recently got an ear worm from “Everyday Normal Guy 2” and it might be my favourite song at the minute. But “Don’t Stop Me Now” from Queen is my all-time favourite.
Who is your comedy hero and why?
ED: There are many of them, but I love Eddie Izzard. that’s a good start.
JULIA: I also have too many to name just one. But if I had to, I’d say Australian comedian Will Anderson because of his good-natured attitude in his razor-sharp standup.
What is your favourite movie quote?
ED: Ash’s monologue on the xenomorph as a “perfect organism” in Alien give me chills just thinking of it.
JULIA: “Und da verstummte das Mädchenpensionat und musste Pipi!” (Absolute Giganten, German movie)
Who is your favourite cartoon character and why?
ED: Homer Simpson. Especially pre-HD when they didn’t have to compete with Family Guy. My favourite Simpsons episode is either the one where Marge is cast in Streetcar Named Desire. Or Treehouse of Horror III.
JULIA: Magica De Spell – She’s a terrible, selfish person and a thief, but things become much more interesting whenever she shows up in Duckburg.