Will Hines is and forever will be a vital part of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. He is a man that dedicated a lot of his time and passion to help foster and develop young talent through the UCB Training Center. He is also arguably one of the best improvisers, writers, and directors at the theater.
I want to publicly thank Will Hines (because it makes him feel uncomfortable) and let him know how much of a positive influence he has been on my life. He single handily kept me interested in pursuing my dream at this theater when I started taking classes. I was lucky to have studied under Betsy Stover, Charlie Sanders and Charlie Todd for 101-301. But anyone that is taking classes at the UCB Theater knows that 401 is a difficult and important class, and I was lucky enough to study under Will. He was humble and supportive. The greatest thing about Will’s teaching style is that it seemed that he had this undeniable empathy towards his students. He would often admit and commiserate with his students about how hard some aspects of learning this art were. He would start sentences with “I am not great at this but…” or “I know it’s weird to do this…” or “It took me a while to understand this…”. That is why he will forever be one of the best. He not only was willing to connect with his students, he made them feel comfortable and confident enough to do their best work because he took away a lot of the mystery. He had an uncanny ability to draw the best out of every student. It was fascinating.
I was then lucky enough to have him for my next class which was one of the first 12 week 501’s the school offered. It was stacked with great individuals and Will made us feel invincible. He pushed people as performers and was so honest without seeming superior. He was always quick to admit if something he suggested was wrong and was respected for it.
After the first time I auditioned for a Harold Team, I did not get a call back. I knew I didn’t have good enough audition scenes to move on, but was still bummed. A couple of days after teams were announced Will reached out to me and asked if I wanted to be an actor in a Sketch 301 show. I was elated. After the first rehearsal, I noticed that Chris Gethard was teaching a class after not teaching one for over a year. I emailed Will and told him that I felt bad because I was thinking about taking this class but it conflicted with the 301 rehearsals. He wrote me back in less than 2 minutes and told me he would find a replacement and to make sure I do anything I can to be first in signing up for the class. I remember him aggressively wanting me to take the class. Chris Gethard’s 504 class forever changed my life. But I would have never signed up if Will Hines wasn’t adamant about me taking it. As an improv student, Will Hines was my Andy Pettitte and Chris Gethard was my Mariano Rivera. Baseball.
Throughout my time on Harold Night, Will was always present and available to talk. He was always honest with me and I respected that.
We got to travel the country in an RV together, when we did The Chris Gethard Show’s cross country trip. Sure we got naked and tried to swim in the ice cold Rio Grande among other stupid shit. But the coolest moment was 4:00am in the middle of New Mexico. It was Will’s turn to drive and I volunteered to be co-pilot for the night. We talked and listen to our favorite music for hours. He told me the story of the Gin Blossom’s guitarist Doug Hopkins and I played a bunch of Floyd. He talked about his love of Abby Road and I talked about my love of Rubber Soul. We blasted and sang both albums, on what seemed an endless road to nowhere, while everyone else slept.
A couple of years later, Will asked me to run a practice session so he could audit me, and shortly after hired me to be a teacher at the UCB Theater. I can’t thank him enough for that. It will forever be an honor and privilege to teach at the UCB Training Center.
I also had the joy of playing with Will for almost 9 months regularly with The Stepfathers. Any scene I ever did with him was pure joy. The joy stemmed from a combination of knowing I was doing a scene with an improviser that I loved and knowing I was doing a scene with an improviser that would not judge or be thrown by any of the moves that I made. Improvising with Will is similar to experiencing Sleep No More. I felt like I was in a safe yet unpredictable environment where I could go wherever I wanted and do whatever I wanted and I was guaranteed to discover something interesting and fun. It doesn’t matter what you throw at Will Hines, he will say YES. Real hard. I want to be that type of improviser. I want my scene partner to feel free to do whatever they want to do, because I will support and love whatever it is.
Will Hines also took over directing duties for a show Dru Johnston and I wrote about Billy Joel. Our first director, Dan Klein, was amazing but he had to move to LA, so we thought we’d go out on a limb and ask if Will had free time to take over directing our show. A 30 minute sketch show about Billy Joel. He not only agreed, he directed us for free, was passionate, available and brilliant with his suggestions. He made key moves in sketch positioning and forced us to write better jokes. Sketches From an Italian Restaurant would not be what it is without Will Hines.
Will Hines getting a standing ovation at the last Stepfathers show will go down as the Top 5 coolest moments I have experienced at the UCB Theater. I was just filled with so much joy to see people love and appreciate this man as much as I do.
I love Will Hines. Like, the fucking dude is the best, ya know? I just would not be where I am in my life without this guy. I feel lucky and blessed to know him.
Will, fuck you.
Forever your friend,
Inspired by sketch archivist Damian Chadwick, I have compiled a list of every sketch I put up at Maude Night over the last six years. I included the Casts and Directors to the best of my recollection. I listed the runners individually, cause heck, I still wrote them. Except for Gramp’s “Tax…
It still blows my mind that Jesse Acini, Damian Chadwick, and Rory Panagotopulos were on a sketch team for so long together. These guys consistently brought in solid sketches month after month and worked hard to polish them every week of rehearsal. They did this for years. I am beyond lucky to have worked with these funny bastards.
Episode 6: Matt McGorry
The Need to Fail is back with an informative interview with Matt McGorry (Orange is the New Black).
Check it out: http://theneedtofail.libsyn.com/webpage
Thanks Matt! And thanks to James Leggero for producing!
Person stalking me, responds to Wilfredo (I think). If you see him call the police. #serious
Hi guys, sorry I wasn’t more specific before, I’ve been running around. Here come the full story (quickly):
In 2004 or so I met this person briefly after an improv show I had in Caracas, he immediately started emailing me and going to shows I had all around town. As a performer I, of course, promote my shows so anyone can find me anytime. At first it seemed normal, I even replied some emails he had sent me, no different than other people who had sent me emails, the improv show I was in was pretty big in my city (400 people venue sold out three times a week six to nine months every year for several years) and I was receiving a lot of fan mails and friend requests online I had decided that it would be good karma to respond to everyone and at least say thank you and remember their names. This was no different than many other emails… for a while.
Later, near the time in which I decided to come to NY, this person contacting me and showing up in places had become a problem. He seemed to need more time and attention, to come to every show and to ask me things like “Do you have a car here?” and “can I get a ride?” he would also consistently ask me out on drinks or ask me to talk aside after my shows, he’d wait alone for a long time as I was picking up my wardrobe or getting out of make up, etc. I was directing a weekend play, acting in a matinee musical and doing my improv shows late at night at the time and he would show up a LOT. He came to shows and expect me to address him afterwards every time. He would mumble nonsense and ask me out over and over despite my repetitive rejections and literally telling him he needed to stop coming to so many shows because, frankly, I was starting to freak out. He would also send me an overwhelming amount of emails on a daily bases, so many I had to close my old email account.
The first time I told him to stop I felt like a dick, you know “Oh there’s a fan, I’m no one really but here I am telling him to go away instead of being thankful, I’m a pretentious crap” so I was nice for a long time, more than I was comfortable for, but I finally got the point I had to say something, over and over again… At first it felt like he thought ALSO “she’s a dick, I can’t believe it” and I felt guilty but he wasn’t stopping, he did MORE and it was too much.
I finally moved to NYC and he kept contacting me, at first very angry that I had moved and calling me a traitor. Thankfully it slowed down a LOT and I lost contact with him but two years ago I started receiving emails from him again. All is if it had never stopped and his anger got worse. I think he might have thought we had a back and forth relationship and me not answering was the same as answering. He found me on Facebook. He would open profiles, email me something really hateful and scary, threats (as if we’ve had a love relationship for years and now i was in bad terms) and then close the profiles, I blocked I don’t know how many of his profiles and changed my name and security options on my Facebook account. Based on some of his emails I have reasons to believe he came to NY in 2010 or 2011 and I was terrified. I got a pepper spray and warned the Theatre and the police. I never saw him but he made it sound as if he was here.
I remembered we had a friend in common, maybe… but that was enough,I have a friend who’s brother might have gone to college with this stalker. So I emailed him and said “I don’t know if you keep in touch with this person but tell him I am contacting the authorities and he must stop.” The friend denied any contact with him but the guy stopped. Until last week.
He emailed me at my YouTube account. There are some comments on my videos that are from him. He emailed me about 10 times now and said, amongst other things, that he is good now and that he is not “like John Lennon’s crazy killer” in another email he said he wasn’t going to kill me. Then… he referenced not killing me again.
I am not sure where this person is right now, I don’t know if he’s in Finland, Venezuela, NY or China. I only know that every time it seems he goes away he comes back saying scarier and scarier things. Mentioning he’s not gonna kill me has put me on the edge and that’s why I need your guys’ eyes.
I’m gathering all the emails from him and filing with the police again, probably a restraining order to serve him would be enough but restraining orders are served only if he approaches me and most of the contact is online through different profiles. Sneaky/tricky.
This person is psychotic and this has not stopped and seem to only have gotten worse. The contact is fewer but really intense and the things he says are very scary.
If you see him report him please. I believe this person to be very dangerous. Thank you guys
In this week’s episode, Christian Capozzoli (Bucky), Chelsea Clarke (The Curfew), & Don Fanelli (The Stepfathers) join Abra to create a world where getting on a boss’ dick isn’t sexual, Yo-Yo Ma performs at Yankees games, & Notre Dame Judi Dench is incorrect.
I want someone to please tally how many times Don says “what the fuck” in this episode. It makes me laugh so much. I love Don. I love Christian. I love Chelsea.
This was a blast to do. Check it out!