Mike King

Mike King, owner, actor, emcee and janitor.

Yesterday I had the great privilege of sitting down with Village Theatre’s own Mike King.

He’s one of VT’s founders, owners, and tallest red heads at the theatre.

Over a pot of tea, we talked about life, love, and what it means to be an improviser.

Below is a transcript of our conversation.

 

 

 

Jacquie Turner (JT): First off, thank you, Mike, for taking time with me, I really appreciate it.

Mike King (MK): No problem! This tea is delicious, by the way.

JT: Thank you! So, tell me a bit about yourself.

MK: I am one of the owners of VT, a Main Stage actor, emcee, and janitor.

JT: When did you start doing improv?

MK: A LONG time ago… 1998.

JT: Why do you do improv?

MK: It is a great art form that is not recognized nearly enough. Comedy is the soul of life. I like “making the funny” with friends, and really, what else would I be doing with my time?

JT: That’s a good question! What else do you do with your time?

MK: I work.

JT: Haha… ha (awkward pause). OK. So what do you do for work?

MK: Among other things, I’m the in-game host of the FIRST PLACE ATLANTA HAWKS

JT: No reason to yell, Mike…

MK: You’re right, you’re right. I’m just excited that the Hawks are kicking ass!

JT: Speaking of kicking ass, you’re an awesome teacher! Do you remember that you taught my Level 1 improv class, way back in 2011?

MK: Yeah! I do! That was back at VT 1.0 — underneath the old Lenny’s. Man, we’ve come a long way.

Village Theatre OG’s.

JT: What first got you into improv, all the way back in 1988?

MK: Honestly, a friend said I was funny and should try it… I went to a few shows and was so scared for the actors and also on the edge of my seat wanting to see what would happen next.

JT: What’s your favorite thing about improv?

MK: That it’s not rehearsed. Every show is totally new.

JT: And what about your least favorite thing about improv?

MK: The “Yuk Yuk.” I HATE HATE HATE when people play at things. The “Yuk Yuk” to me is Fozzie Bear comedy. It works for Fozzie the bear because he is a muppet, he’s one of a lot of over the top characters doing unbelievable gags. When live improvisers do it, it’s the equivalent of watching a sitcom knowing the only reason it’s remotely funny is because of the laugh track.

I like really grounded improv that is based in emotion and beliefs, that makes you sit at the edge of your seat saying “What the hell is going to happen next,” and then the fun and funny (game of the scene) happens right in front of you… you don’t see it coming and it blows you away.

JT: That’s really beautiful, Mike.

MK: Aww shit, I didn’t mean to make you cry.

JT: It’s ok, it’s ok (wipes away tear)… Why don’t you tell me your scariest experience doing improv?

MK: Oh man. Scariest thing was doing a scene for a sold out audience and not getting one single laugh… not even a sympathy clap… for what felt like 3 hours when it was only 3 minutes.

JT: Damn. That’s harsh. Even for someone like you who’s been doing improv since 1978.

MK: Yeah.

JT: Let’s close this interview out with a word of advice to beginning improvisers. Mike, you were my very first improv teacher. What’s your advice to someone starting out now?

MK: Do what scares you the most and walk off in to the darkness.

 

 

 

 

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