Making an album 

Yes, I’ll date myself and call it an album (at least I’m not calling it an 8-track). Recording an album is one of the most exciting and challenging things I’ve ever done.  I’d put it up there with pregnancy and giving birth, and that’s saying something.  Like being pregnant, it takes longer than you think it will. Like giving birth, it can be difficult, but so worth the finished product.

First of all, writing songs for public consumption feels to me like reading my diary out loud in front of a group of…

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Big Improv Love 

I just got back from Femprovisor Fest in San Fransisco, an all female improv festival.  Going to improv festivals is kind of like going to camp; I always talk too much, stay up too late, want to do everything and see every show, make new friends, reconnect with old friends, and come home exhausted!

I taught two workshops, one with my good friend, Shulie Cowen on musical improv for actors.  I did another on what I do on Whose Line, which is being a Musical Director (or MD) for improv.  I had such talented…

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On being an author 

I wrote a book last year!  I can't believe I can say that!

I actually co-wrote it, with Bob Baker, and it's called "The Improv Comedy Musician: The Ultimate Guide to Playing Music with an Improv Group".  It's about how to do the kind of playing I do on Whose Line, live with your own improv group. 

Although I've been playing for improv for a long time, since my days at The Second City and The Annoyance (both in Chicago), I never thought I could write about it.  So much of it is intuitive to me, and feels…

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What am I doing now? 

- I'm excited that Whose Line got picked up for another year!  We'll start taping some time after the new year. yay!   

- I've just launched my new book, "The Improv Comedy Musician: The Ultimate Guide to Playing Music with an Improv Group". It's about what I do on Whose Line and in live shows. I co-wrote it with my pal Bob Baker, and we've even sold copies on Amazon in Great Britain, so I'm an international author!

- I attended a screening of "After Auschwitz", a lovely documentary film by Jon Kean.  I was…

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I am grateful 

Laura Hall October 6 at 11:04pm ·

This week I feel like a working musician, and I'm loving it. 

On Tuesday, my friend Tera Hendrickson and I recorded a track that got a placement on the tv show Gotham! Our friend Drew Powell is a regular on the show, but that's not how we got the placement. Tera did some amazing singing in French, and I got to play cafe style piano & accordion. Oo la la!     

Wednesday night I went to a screening of After Auschwitz, which I was honored to have written the music for…

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Whose Line Live is going back to London! 

Wow, I've got a big summer ahead of me. First and foremost is a run of Whose Line Live at the London Palladium!  We played in London last year, but it was sort of a last minute booking, so there was very little advance PR possible.  And we were still selling out by the end of the run.  The audiences were wildly enthusiastic and the reviews were great, so we're going back, with shows from June 9-19.

The cast will be a combination from the American & British shows. Our host, Clive Anderson, is like a rock…

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Whose Line is it Anyway: The Longest Running Gig Ever 

Whose Line Is it Anyway has been not only the best gig I've ever had, but also the longest running, and in all sorts of different variations.  First we did 8 years of the TV show for ABC. Then I went out on the road with Drew Carey and the Improv Allstars for several years doing live shows all around the US and Canada, and even a USO tour in the Middle East. Then the TV show came back on the CW network, and we're in our third year with Aisha Tyler as our new host.
   
Now we're going to London this summer to…

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Why do I love being a Sweet Potato? 

 

I've been blessed to have made my living as a musician since I was in my early 20's.  I've done everything, including accompanying dance classes, piano bar, music for kids, wedding bands, original bands, writing and playing musicals, improv live and on television, and film scoring.  I wouldn't change a thing I've done. Even the bad gigs have taught me something, even if it's "I don't want to do that again".

But this band, oh, it's my true love.  My favorite thing is that I get to write whatever I want…

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Getting Suggestions for Improv 

Suggestions for Taking Suggestions

Taking suggestions from the audience is an important part of improv performance.  Try to really connect with your audience and let them know that their suggestions are important and essential to the show. Ask them to give intelligent, thought provoking suggestions. They might not, but it can’t hurt.  And remember, if they think you’re not really taking their suggestions, they will turn against you.

Try to get suggestions that are specific.  If you want a location, and they…

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Back on the set of Whose Line is it Anyway 

It was the craziest deja vu going back to tape a new round of Whose Line episodes after almost 9 years off. Everything was the same but different. For one thing, we shot in the same studio. The stage was the exact same layout, just different colors. A lot of the producers, crew, etc. came back. And of course the three main improvisors are back; Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie and Wayne Brady.

Plus, Linda Taylor is with me again to do the music (I wouldn't have done it without her). Even though we hadn't worked…

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Whose Line FAQs 

Can you send me the sheet music/MP3 file for the Hoe Down (or Irish Drinking Song)?
This is the question people ask me the most. I’m sorry, but all the music on Whose Line is the property of the show, and they’ve chosen not to publish it, so it’s not available in any form.    

However, I have created a 2 cd set, Improv Karaoke,Vol. 1which has tracks in different styles (including one similar to the Hoe Down) designed to be used for song improv.  It also has demos, tips and pointers to help you get started.…

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How to be a musician in an improv group 

HOW TO BE A MUSICIAN IN AN IMPROV GROUP

I was interviewed last year by someone doing his master's thesis about being a musician in the context of an improv group. It was so interesting to talk with him in an analytical way about something I've learned in such an intuitive way.

One of the questions he asked was one that people often ask, “How do you learn to be an improv musician?” I don't really have a set answer for that. It's such a niche within a niche, so all I can tell you is how I learned to do it.

So…

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On the Road with Drew Carey and the Improv Allstars 

During the time we were making Whose Line, and continuing after, various groups from the show toured doing live shows. I mostly toured with Drew Carey and the Improv Allstars.  In 2002 we did a USO tour of airforce bases in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Oman.  In 2005 we hit the road for a 10 week, 60 city tour, playing all sorts of venues and traveling in every vehicle imaginable.  We even had a show cancel because Hurricane Katrina flattened the auditorium. 

We also played in Las Vegas for Super…

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Starting out on Whose Line is it Anyway 

Whose Line has been the most amazing gig for me.  We started out doing six hybrid episodes, shot in America but with the British host.  We ended up doing 216 episodes over eight seasons with Drew Carey as the host.  It was the most fun, intense, crazy job I’ve ever had.


I got the audition

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Mar8

Music Improv Workshop

Unexpected Productions, 1428 Post Alley, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA 98101

Rick & I are thrilled to be going back to UP for more improv play!  Come join us for this fun workshop.

$125

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