This is another of The Fearless Fools. There are still a couple left in the box. We’ll finish these off before we stretch into the new month of stuff.
Name: Craig Snider
Hometown: Volga, WV
What’s your life like outside of comedy?
I spend most of my time either reading, writing, watching television, or quietly ruminating on life’s mysteries, or as a friend of mine calls his process, “have a Big Think.”
How did you get started in Improv/Comedy?
My friend and mentor, Steve Goff told me he was going to start doing improv workshops, and asked if I’d help. I had always loved Whose Line, so I was eager to assist. After several of his workshops were a success, he said he had been approached to put together a team, and asked if I’d help with auditions. I later learned I had made the team.
What was your first workshop or show like?
Our first Fools show left a huge impression on me. I have never been a performer, unless you count class clown, but being on stage, essentially playing make-believe was like nothing I had ever done before. I get nervous if I’m doing a play, or if I have to speak in front of people, but not when I’m doing improv. I have never had any problem making a fool of myself. It was an experience I’ll never forget, and probably many others won’t either, for good or bad.
In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?
As Steve Goff helped us learn the art of improv, he brought us a DVD called, “Trust us…,” which was a documentary about TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi, two improvisers who have a two-man, 60 minute improv show. They create an entire comedic drama, complete with characters they each take turns playing, and by the end, you never second-guess the reality they’ve created. It is a brilliant combination of acting and improv that had our whole team captivated. We still refer to that video often, and have even created improv warm-ups we call a “TJ and Dave.”
What’s the best part about what you do?
I get to be a kid again. I always played make-believe, and there were always strange characters and voices in my head when I was young. Possible psychosis, or future skill? Either way, all through my life, I spent most of my time trying to entertain myself or others by being silly. As we grow up, it becomes harder and harder to find venues for that type of outlet without being shut up in a rubber room. With improv, I get to do that again. It is a liberating and cathartic experience.
What’s the hardest part?
For me personally, it has being trying to deconstruct improv from an artistic standpoint, how to improve and make my game better. I can’t afford to go to Second-City, or have one of the fantastic teachers from Unplanned Comedy or Steel-City Improv come down. At least not until my one man show about the bubonic plague takes off. So, in the meantime, I find myself just trying to be a cosmic improv sponge, and I hope the universe will send me the knowledge I need.
What’s (almost) always funny?
As far as improv is concerned, it is when the performers are completely invested in the reality they’ve created, and they aren’t TRYING to be funny. That is the surest way to kill an improv scene. It is hard to just let go of the comedic instincts that tell you to go for the punchline. It is a very zen experience to just trust in your scene partner and see where you end up.
Advice for someone who might want to do Improv?
It is absolutely vital to get some kind of guidance. Go see other teams perform and talk to them afterward about their process. Take a class, and join a group. Just jump in and say, yes.
Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?
Depends on the context. Hanging out at the bar? Rip off. House party? Rip off. Seeing a comedy show? Recommended. Monday morning staff meeting? Absolutely essential.
Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one)?
Personally, I think if Santa Claus would stop feeding his unicorns high octane fiber, we would have less methane, and global warming wouldn’t be an issue.
If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?
Why do you always look like you are staring into the sun?
Is prison really as bad at they say or is that just the media?
I think prisoners are just misunderstood, and need a big hug. And an improv show.
How good is your spelling?
Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers?
If you want to save money, don’t spend any. If you want to save time, stop doing other stuff.
Have you ever been to Ohio?