This past summer, one of Philadelphia’s longest-running short-form improv groups, The N Crowd, held auditions in search of a fresh crop o’ cast members. But no one wants to hear opinions from a bunch of green-ass newbies who don’t know what they’re doing yet, so we decided to check in with them after their first six months. Here they are reflecting on what it’s been like being part of the group so far.
Bert Archer: “[Cast member] Jessica Snow probably doesn’t know this story, but I was one of her “pillars” in a show in 2008. As soon as the game started, I made it my job to try and throw her off. Every time she tapped me for a suggestion I gave her a vulgar phrase, and it didn’t phase her at all. She killed it. I not only fell in love with her…but with improv as well. A year later I would do my first-ever improv performance in front of a crowd…with Jess Snow. It’s going to be great to see what her and I, and the rest of the Crowd, can do.”
Alison Zeidman: “I auditioned for The N Crowd because Corey Holland (who’s now on the team with me, and also my duo partner in Steve Rogers is Dead) told me he thought I should. I didn’t have any short form experience, and I didn’t even know they were casting new members until Corey told me about it. After my audition, I think I texted him something like, ‘Bahahahhahahahahahahha well that was terrible. I guess short form’s not for me.’ Then I got a callback. And now I’m on the team. I’m having a great time and learning a ton from everyone, so I hope they don’t consider casting me a mistake. Because now we’re like family, and I don’t want to be the unimpressive middle child of The N Crowd. I’m already the unimpressive middle child in my biological family.”
Corey Holland: “Being on The N Crowd has given me the chance to perform short form improv for audiences that many times have never been exposed to improv before. I also perform with indie teams Malone and Steve Rogers is Dead, both of which are long form teams. Some seem to think you have to choose a preference of which you like better, or which IS better, but performers should stay open minded. Experience and practice all styles to better yourself on stage. Every member of The N Crowd is immensely talented and involved in at least a baker’s dozen other things, but still has time to put on a weekly comedy show every Friday night. Consistently awesome shows are rare…like holographic card rare. More people should come see The N Crowd. We have T-shirts.”
Steve Grande: “What I have enjoyed most about being in The N Crowd, aside from the awesome cast members and the atmosphere, is the fact that we get to perform to sold out non-improviser crowds on a weekly basis. I know that a lot of other shows don’t have that opportunity, and as a person who produces comedy shows in New Jersey, I feel like this is a scenario that we all strive to obtain. Over the past six months, I have seen first-hand the hard work and dedication that its members have put into this troupe in order to have that reputation. I am extremely happy and humbled to be a member of a group that has been a cornerstone of the Philly comedy scene for the past 8 years.”
Matt Lamson: “I was so excited when I first got on The N Crowd because I prefer short form improv, whereas long form seems to be more prevalent in Philly. At first, I was a bit humbled and felt almost anxious being around these seasoned players, but everyone on the team is super chill and we’ve become fast friends. I’ve had so many awesome opportunities with The N Crowd like playing in the Philadelphia Improv Festival, at Pottstown’s Steel River Playhouse, and next week I’m traveling to North Carolina [for the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival]. I can’t wait to see see where we go as a team.”
You can see The N Crowd this and every Friday at The Actor’s Center (257 N. 3rd Street) at 8pm. Tickets are $12 in advance; $15 at the door.