FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 9/4/2012
For more information, including interviews with Tim Mason,
contact Tim Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-486-
ROCKHURST HIGH SCHOOL GRAD TIM MASON:
FROM KC TO THE SECOND CITY AND BACK AGAIN
This year's KC Improv Festival will feature dozens of
performers who dream of making it big in comedy. For
many, the goal is performing on the Mainstage of the
Second City, Chicago's "temple of satire" for the last half-
century, and a breeding ground for stars of Saturday Night
Live, movies and hit TV shows. And more than one KC-born
improviser has already made it big—Jason Sudeikis, who's
performed at KCiF since the festival came back in 2007, is
taking the year off to make a movie.
This year, Rockhurst High School graduate Tim Mason
returns Friday and Saturday, September 14-15, to play with
his trio, Don Tremendous, at the Off Center Theatre in
Crown Center. He, Tom Flannigan and Andy St. Clair
performed together on the Second City Mainstage—now,
they'll ditch their scripts and make things up.
We asked Tim about his KC roots and what to expect from
How'd you get your start in improv? What made you think,
"Hey, I wanna do that?"
I got started in improv because some friends of mine and I
went to see ComedySportz. I think maybe I had seen some
of the old BBC Whose Line Is it Anyway Shows but this was
the first time I ever saw it live. We kept going back and
every time we did, we'd yell out stupider and stupider
suggestions until finally one of the performers, Trish
Berrong [also KCiF Marketing Director], suggested we join
the High School League. We did and then Trish broke off to
form Lighten Up and took me and a couple friends with her
and invited us to join the actual cast--so my Senior Year of
High School, I was actually performing on weekend nights
for paying customers. From then on, I was hooked.
What made Chicago seem like a good idea?
Chicago. Well, I went to college in Milwaukee and I had
always heard that Chicago was the home of improvisation.
So a couple times I took some friends down and watched
some of the amazing improv that Chicago has to offer. To
be honest, after college, I had the idea that I was going to
be a classically trained theater actor and got a job in
summer stock for one season doing Shakespeare. After
three months of that, I decided that was a HUGE mistake
and I moved to Chicago to do what I really loved in the city
that loves improv.
What did you love most about being at The Second City?
What were the coolest experiences you had?
Performing at Second City was amazing. It's like being a
part of a huge club that happens to include some of the
greatest comedians of the past 50 years. The coolest
experience was definitely performing in the 50th
anniversary extravaganza--all the alumni who came back
and we all just hung out backstage during the show--it was
truly amazing. My favorite moment during it was talking to
David Steinberg about his role in getting the Smothers'
Brothers kicked off TV while waiting to go on to do our
parts. So Cool.
What's it like to perform scripted shows vs. improvised
At Second City we are doing the same sketch show eight
times a week for a whole year and, frankly, it gets incredibly
boring. People are still laughing at what you're doing, but,
in my head, I'd be making lists of what I need to get at the
grocery store. The improv sets are freeing and really a nice
place for the creativity to flow again.
What can we expect from Don Tremendous?
With Don Tremendous you can expect some grounded
scenes - played, if not to the top of our intelligence, at
least close to the top of our intelligence. Andy and Tom are
honestly two of the smartest improvisors I know. We don't
always do smart things, but at least we have the capacity to
know what the smart choice is and then choose to be
You performed in the KC Improv Festival the first year it
came back...what's it gonna be like performing in your
You know what? I used to get stressed out performing in
KC. All the friends, family and people I haven't seen in years
coming to watch what I do--but, now, honestly, having
seen the amazing improv scene that Kansas City has
created, it makes me super proud and honored to come
back and perform--but, even better, to see all the great
improv that the Kansas City folks do. I love it.
Next? Don't know. The thing a lot of people do after leaving
Second City is to move to either NY or LA--but I have no
desire to do that. In fact, I have a huge desire NOT to do
that. My wife and I love Chicago and we made the decision
to make a living in the town we love. And, to be honest,
since so many of my friends and peers have been leaving
town, I've found it way easier to book roles in Chicago.
Commercials, Voice Over work and even some of the TV
shows filmed in Chicago--way easier to book when the
pool gets smaller. I hate to say it, but as more folks leave
Chicago, the better my career goes. I should probably keep
that a secret, but I'm super happy and I find it the ultimate
irony. On a related note: if you are a thirty something goofy
looking white guy who's funny and thinking of moving to
Chicago...don't do it. There is nothing for you here.
The 12th Kansas City Improv Festival features two
weekends of performances, parties and classes featuring
the funniest acts from Kansas City and far beyond.
Everything—every character, scene and song—is created on
the spot based on the suggestions you give to
the performers. Along with Don Tremendous, festival
headliners include top-rated LA podcasters, SuperEgo with
Paul F. Tompkins and Colin Hanks, and improv festival
favorites BASSPROV (Chicago) and Twinprov (Oklahoma).
For the first time, we're happy to announce 15 percent of
all proceeds benefit Gilda's Club, which provides a free
support community for adults and children diagnosed with
cancer, along with their families and caring friends. Named
for Gilda Radner—an improviser best known as one of
Saturday Night Live's original "Not Ready for Prime Time
Players"—it's a cause close to all of our hearts.
KCIF is presented by local favorites, the KC Improv
Company. Tickets range in price from $6-$20 and are
available at http://kcimprovfestival.com, where you'll also
find breaking news
about shows and classes taught by guest artists.
The KC Improv Company puts on shows and classes at the
Kick Comedy Theater in Westport every week, and has
performed at comedy festivals in New York, Chicago, and
around the country. Their actor-comedians also perform
the Kick Comedy show monthly at the world-famous
Improv Comedy Club in Zona Rosa, and at dozens of private
events every year.
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