Brian Shortall has performed and taught improvisation and comedy writing for over ten years. He has performed at iO and iOWest with Armando and Cog. He toured with The Second City everywhere from Peoria, Illinois to Bosnia, and was a resident cast member of The Second City Las Vegas. He currently performs with Ithamar Enriquez in Delicious Moments at iOWest He writes, produces and voices characters for the Current TV animated show, SuperNews!. Brian’s T.V. and film credits include, In Treatment, Miss Congeniality 2, Punk’d as well as numerous commercials for everything from Miller Lite to Microsoft.
(MG) Principato-Young Management, Joel Zadack – 310-274-2970
1. Where are you originally from and what was the improv scene like there?
Chicago. It was dead.
2. What made you want to start doing improv?
A friend of mine from film school said I was funny. I said thanks. A couple days later she gave me brochures from iO and Second City. I was scared so it took me about six months, but then I called and signed up for classes.
3. What stumbling blocks did you have to overcome when you first started studying improv?
I broke all the time. I still haven’t quite overcome that. I often watch scenes that I’m in as an audience member as well as a performer. Don’t do that, kids.
4. How long have you been doing improv?
5. What’s your favorite part about improvising?
I like that you can’t describe it afterward. You can’t recreate it; it doesn’t do it justice. It’s fleeting.
6. What is one of your best memories on stage at iOWest?
I liked dropping the n-bomb in a show. I think it was Cog or Armando. It was the right amount of funny and offensive for me. The moment called for it and it didn’t seem forced. Again, see the answer for question #5.
7. What’s some advice you would give to someone that’s starting out?
Never try to be funny in a scene. And no rule that you learn is absolute. (Including this one)
8. Who is someone you really look up to in the improv world and why?
Jason Pardo. He has unshakable commitment.
9. Other than your own, what is your favorite show at iOWest?
Dasariski is the best improv show at iO West or anywhere else. They are magic.*
10. How do you use improv in your professional life?
I’m extremely shy, so I very often approach daily interactions as improv scenes wherein I think, “I just have to play myself here”. I wish I were kidding.
11. If you could sum up iO in one sentence, what would that be?
iO is like the Friar’s Club, but for funny people.