FROM Emma Allen
The rise of improv and the mainstreaming of ‘yes, and’ When a Press Play producer pitches a story idea that doesn’t make the cut, the staff jokingly says, “yes and.” The phrase, of course, comes from improv. In improv comedy, when someone throws an idea at you, no matter how bad, during a scene, you’re supposed to just go with it say, “yes and.” The fact that this is known outside the world of comedy clubs tells you how mainstream improv has become. The key organization behind that ubiquity is the improv empire known as the Upright Citizens Brigade, which holds classes in New York and LA and attracts tens of thousands of students a year, raking in millions of dollars. UCB has also promoted the idea of improv as self-improvement: something for everyone, not just wannabe actors. But it has also been criticized for a corporate and even cult-like environment.
Industry insights and lessons learned from memorable guests We have interesting guests on The Business, and sometimes our conversations are too long to fit into one show. This week we give you stories that were too good to leave on the cutting room floor, including some sharp insights on making it in the industry from David Mandel, David Simon, Shawn Levy and Matt Reeves.
In 'Speechless,' Scott Silveri combines comedy, family & disability Scott Silveri has written and produced sitcoms for more than 20 years. In all that time, he never encountered a TV family that looked anything like the one he grew up in -- with a mom, a dad...and a brother with cerebral palsy. He changed that with his show Speechless on ABC. Silveri tells us about looking to his own past for stories, and why he was determined to make a family comedy and not just a "disability show."
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part I) Lincoln in the Bardo dramatizes a grieving President Lincoln as he visits the grave of his beloved son Willie, who died at age eleven. In the novel, the buried dead believe they're not dead -- "they're sick and refer to their coffins as "sick boxes."
Accusations of lying fly between James Comey and White House During his testimony Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey accused President Trump and other White House officials of lying when they said the FBI was in disarray and its staff had lost confidence in him. President Trump’s lawyer said Comey was wrong -- that the president never asked for his loyalty, and never asked him to back off the investigation into former NSA director Michael Flynn.