How else to celebrate July 4th than without a true American hero?
This is Billy Merritt.
Billy has been at UCB since the beginning. In fact, he took UCB classes before UCB was even a theater. When it was simply workshops in New York taught only by Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts, Matt Besser and Amy Poehler. Billy still teaches regularly at UCBLA till this day. He’s very well-known for being a great teacher through UCB and Billy Merritt Improv Workshops, and is on an amazing team called The Smokes.
In our interview, he talks about how UCB essentially brought long-form improv to New York, indie shows, why Amy Poehler is amazing (a great story about her forgetting her lines on stage, and how she decided to deal with that), several great Amy Poehler stories, improv fanaticism, A LOT about the history of improv in New York, IO opening a theater in Times Square back in the day, where LA improv will be in 10 years, the territoriality of improv theaters, the difference between Whose Line? and improv in LA, where UCB was when in first started versus where it is now —- “but i think i remember on the teaching syllabus, it was “teaching improv guerrilla techniques,” “guerrilla techniques” was literally written on the pamphlet. Now we have a college accredited curriculum,” people who make a huge commute in order to take UCB classes, Besser, how UCB was never trying to grow—-it just did—they made it because there was a necessity to make it and all of the growth just comes from the same necessity, the tenacity of Bangarang!’s rehearsing ethic, how Billy joined a team simply because their name was “Iditarod Stuart,” and, I’ll leave it on this, “…and i have a guarantee that if you put together a group, a harold team, and you call yourselves ‘The Reach Arounds,’ i will coach you for free, for one year. But, you have to wear t-shirts that say ‘The Reach Arounds'” (with a serious as the living-day look on his face).
It’s a great interview.
I interviewed Billy for about an hour-and-a-half. I’ll probably use about 3-4 minutes of his interview in my film, if that much.
If you would like to see the immense amount of great material that won’t make the cut, out of my 25 sit-down, formal interviews, a donation of at least $25 will you get you that (the copy of the film does not only include the movie, but TONS of dvd ‘A’ footage extras as well—interviews and performance/other footage as well). For $50, you will get that, PLUS I will come film 30 minutes of whatever you need filmed within 5-7 miles of Miracle Mile.
At the least, hey, check out the trailer. If you think it’s cool, maybe share on your Facebook wall.