41 - R.I.P French Guy with a Cigarette

June 15, 2015

There's a handful of characters that every improviser knows.  Stock characters that we fall back on in scenes.  This week Adam and Rob, put a bullet in the brain of 10 well known hack, trope characters and discuss how to make your characters more nuanced and idiosyncratic. Let us know what character you see all the time in your city @thebacklinepod on Twitter and/or Facebook.


43 - Hosting

June 24, 2015

This week, Rob and Adam delve into hosting: interacting with the audience, common pitfalls for newer improvisers, and basing your style on the tone of the show.  Also listener suggestions of broad characters we never need to see again.


44 - Advertise

June 30, 2015

No matter how good you are or how funny your show - finding an audience to fill the theatre will always be a struggle.  Partly because it's all made-up, we can't guarantee the final product.  A show that consistently kills night after night, can (and most often will) bomb the night a theatre critic attends.  Comedy doesn't work without people there.  In this episode, Rob and Adam talk strategy of how to get people out to your show, and keep them coming back.  Shout-outs to Katie Burns, Kurt Firla, Bonspiel, and Gary Rideout.


45 - Warm-Ups

July 7, 2015

Before every class or show, improvisers dedicate their time, energy, and focus to a series of activities that are supposed to improve their performance. But do they actually work?  Rob and Adam discuss the nature of warm-ups, how to use them effectively in rehearsal, and what to avoid when preparing before a big show. Also listener questions, updates on shows in Ottawa and Vancouver, and awards!


48 - Handshakes

July 29, 2015

Improv is a social artform.  That means as you progress it also becomes a social business.  This week Adam and Rob discuss the artform of social networking and how it applies to the world of improv.  Enjoy!


49 - Group Mind

August 12, 2015

This week Rob and Adam mind-meld to discuss their mystical, psychedelic, group mind encounters.  From working better together as a team to factors that prevent teams from synergizing, The Backline investigates shared mental models of all kinds!  Check out Planet Money: How Much Does a Cow Way and The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki.  Or follow us on Twitter/Facebook @thebacklinepod for links!


50 - Dynamic

August 19, 2015

This week we delve deep into what drives a scene: the dynamic. Rob and Adam investigate the differences between dynamic and relationship, how to keep your scenes in the now, and an easy way to figure out what your scene is about.  Also Adam loves coffee; Rob hates coffee. Enjoy!


18 - Women in Comedy (R)

August 20, 2015

This week Rob Norman does his best impression of Ira Glass!  It’s an entire episode dedicated to the stories of funny women across North America: Stacey Hallal (Portland), Stacey McGunnigle (Los Angeles), Jan Caruana (Toronto), Ashley Botting (Toronto), Susan Messing (Chicago), and Kristie Gunter (Toronto).   Music design by Steve Cruickshank and the Brunswick Project.  Special musical thanks to Anne Douris.  With music from Stella Ella Ola, and Token.


54 - Characters, Consistency, and Change

September 23, 2015

This week, Rob and Adam discuss characters, consistency, and change. When should your character change their emotion or energy? When should you reinvest? How is a shortform character different than longform?


55 - Five Ways to Make Object Work Fun

September 30, 2015

Ugh, object work. The dreaded chore that every improviser must endure. No one wants to mime when there's stories to explore and jokes to make!  This week, Rob and Adam discuss problems with object work and offer five solutions to make your non-verbal offers dangerous, fun, and inspirational.