Black History Month (Year 3) | Day 7 | Phil LaMarr
Phil LaMarr is a graduate of Yale University where he
founded the improv comedy group, Purple Crayon. In 1989, he became a
member of the award winning sketch comedy group, The Groundlings. LaMarr
also studied improv at The Secondy City and at the Improv Olympic.
Through his connections within his improv network, he was able to start a
film career—-his first movie being “It’s Pat”, in 1994. He has also appeared in a plethora of tv shows before it started his voice acting career—such as “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, “Hanging with Mr. Cooper”, “MADtv”, “Living Single”, and more. He’s even had a role in the popular cult classic Tarantino Film, “Pulp Fiction”.
the meat of his work is within the cartoon and video-game industry.
Name a cartoon right now, go ahead. Did you do it? Yeah, he’s been in
that. LaMarr has led an impressive voice acting career, his most notable
roles being Jack (Samurai Jack), Static Shock (Static Shock), Hermes Conrad (Futurama), Wilt (Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends), Green Lantern (Justice League).
LaMarr is set to reprise his role as Samurai Jack for the show’s fifth and final season, this March.
One of the most weirdly inspiring experiences I ever had as an actor was during a “groundlings show” (read: late-night drunk show) in college. I was a sophomore, we were doing Julius Caesar, and the audience was entirely composed of thoroughly wasted students heckling their friends onstage. The groundlings show was a longstanding tradition, despised by some but beloved by many.
So, Caesar had recently been stabbed (which was met with a mixture of “YEAH! STAB HIM!” and “Noooooo don’t hurt Joe!”). We’d arrived at the funeral scene, and I was onstage as a citizen/crowd person. Our Antony was played by this incredible young woman - she was from Kentucky, white-blond, a diver, under five feet tall, and fiery as hell. She got up to give the Friends, romans, countrymen… speech. As had been occurring throughout the show, the crowd was going wild. She waited, firmly and silently. They quieted down in anticipation, and she began, pausing with commanding silence every time the crowd got going, until it was time to stir them - these drunk college kids - into a revolutionary fervor. By the end of her speech, the entire, wasted audience was on its feet shouting “AVENGE CAESAR, DOWN WITH BRUTUS!”
And I was onstage feeling utterly insignificant as a crowd person, because she had incited an actual mob and I had somehow become an oddly well-informed bystander to the real action unfolding.
The Shakespeare Code - Behind the Scenes (Part 2) Excerpts from Benjamin Cook’s set report from DWM #382
Back on set, Freema is briefing David Tennant on the scene in which they first see Shakespeare. “All the way through your, ‘He’s a genius’ speech,” she says, “I’ll be clapping like an idiot, okay?”
“I remember learning ‘clapping like an idiot’ at drama school,” David joshes.
Third assistant Sarah positions Upper Boat’s groundling extras around the two leads. “After Freema shouts ‘author’,” says Sarah, “you’re all going to start shouting ‘author’, and you in the red hat - what’s your name? Hugh? You’ll start shouting ‘Shakespeare’, okay?”
Multiple takes follow. On the third, Freema gets confused, and calls for ‘Shakespeare’ instead of ‘author’. The man in the red hat looks crestfallen. “I’m so sorry,” gasps Freema, “I got carried away! I was caught up in the whole moment. Also, I did a cheesy grin when he came out, didn’t I? Oh that’s awful. I’m just so excited to see Shakespeare!”
During the next take, David’s eye-line goes askance.
“Where am I supposed to look, then? I was put off,” he insists, “by some very vigorous acting from Dean on stage.”
“I ran out of breath,” Dean [Lennox Kelly - playing Shakespeare] laughs. “I got a bit light-headed!”
“You almost fainted again,” says David, rolling his eyes. “You big girl!”
“I’m a genius,” shrugs Dean. “Geniuses shouldn’t stand upright for more than five minutes at a time. I blame the writer.”
“Whatever he was going to imagine or say was nothing you could imagine or think of. … He could do any voice, play any character, make his face look different without makeup. He was king of the Groundlings.” - Jon Lovitz
The one thing I could do was voices and impersonations and weird characters, and there was really no call for that, except on Saturday Night Live. - Phil Hartman
Happy 68th Birthday, Philip Edward “Phil” Hartman!
RACHAEL SOGLIN is ecstatic to be back with StarKid! In 2007, she graduated with a BFA in theatre performance from the University of Michigan. Since then, she has appeared in regional and national commercials, CWTV’s 90210, Showtime’s United States of Tara, and StarKid’s TWISTED and Trail To Oregon. Training includes “Cherubs”, The Groundlings (LA), UCB (LA) and The Second City Training Center (Chicago). She’d like to thank Stewart Talent and her family for their support
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Delving is one of the dean popular activities on Lake Travis. People break cover by use of their kids or their fishing buddies and fish for hours inpouring the lovely blue-green waters. This lake is famous for bass fishing (although there are infallible regulations in obligation of limits, etc.). There are many rental and outfitting agencies which can rent they the necessary fishing equipment.
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I remember being upset because I was finally legal to drink in Canada, and I decided to throw that all away and move to America, where I had to wait another two years. I came here to do improv and to try to join the Groundlings.
Tonight I realized something that might be kind of obvious and already recognized by most, but it only just dawned on me so bear with me. I was thinking about what media is the closest comparison to Critical Role and other RPG streams, and then I realized…they’re most like Shakespearean plays, as they were performed back when they were written.
Things true about both Critical Role and traditionally-performed Shakespearean plays: 1. They’re live.
2. They feature big, epic stories with scenes, monologues (think of Vax talking to the Raven Queen), romances, tragedy, humor, fight scenes, plot twists, ridiculous situations, and important figures (though they might come from humble backgrounds, but every d&d game ends up having its party deal with world-changing events and huge public figures).
3. As they’re performed, they simultaneously feature commentary on what’s happening. It is believed by many scholars that the groundlings, the common folk audience members who stood for the whole show, often shouted things at the stage in response to what was happening, and even that the actors possibly responded. On Critical Role, the people commenting on the show are the same ones performing it.
4. They’re long. Shakespearean shows were 3-6 hours long. Most media now is about two hours, including Shakespearean shows (since they are heavily cut down. It’s very rare to see a performance of a full Shakespearean play). The belief is that audiences will get bored, and for the most part that’s true, as you can see with reviews of any movie that runs longer than two and a half hours. People will ALWAYS comment that it’s too long. TV shows don’t run longer than an hour and a half even when they’re online and so don’t have to worry about schedules or commercials. Online videos run even shorter. What other modern medium except RPG streaming is 4-5 hours long, with people watching it that entire time?
5. They rely on the audience’s imagination. It’s almost certain that Shakespearean shows used only the most minimal of set pieces, and it’s believe by many that they used minimal costuming as well. You didn’t need that stuff; it was assumed the audience could imagine those things for themselves. As we see from Critical Role fan artists, that’s very true.
6. Language is key. If you’re ever read a Shakespearean script, you’ll know how minimal the blocking and stage directions are. There’s a reason the stage direction “exit, pursued by bear” is so famous; it’s one of the only stage directions actually written in the script. Shakespearean scripts did not contain these things in part because no one thought anyone would ever want to read the scripts. Plays stayed within theater companies/troupes, who taught new recruits the blocking they always used for their plays. It was passed down orally and so did not need to be written down. Another reason scholars think blocking was not written down is because it was just not seen as being very important. With any Shakespearean play, the power is in the words. They create the scene, reveal the characters, etc. On Critical Role, while the facial expressions and gestures made by the cast are certainly important, I don’t think anyone would disagree that audio is the heart of the show. I regularly listen to the show at work, and do not have the video pulled up, but I can still understand 99% of what happens because the show is so based on speech, sound effects, and music. Mercer’s power is in his language.
So yeah, those are just some random dumb thoughts.