nate dern

is the artistic director of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, a sociology PhD candidate at Columbia University, and the owner/operator of NOJL Films.

nate dern

Been listening to Slothrust since I found out about them from their recent appearance on The Chris Gethard Show. Power trio from the mold of The Thermals but maybe about bit more sinister and bluesy at times. Their song “Crockpot” is on heavy rotation for me at the moment. 

(Source: Spotify)

I’m a big Malcolm Gladwell fan and that’s what inspired me to write this list piece for Funny Or Die called 8 Upcoming Malcolm Gladwell Titles.
Artwork by Nate Maggio. Thanks to Dan Abramson and Zack Poitras from Funny Or Die. Also, thanks to Miranda Erokan for helping me to brainstorm these. 

I’m a big Malcolm Gladwell fan and that’s what inspired me to write this list piece for Funny Or Die called 8 Upcoming Malcolm Gladwell Titles.

Artwork by Nate Maggio. Thanks to Dan Abramson and Zack Poitras from Funny Or Die. Also, thanks to Miranda Erokan for helping me to brainstorm these. 

The Eternal Return Of The Mustache

I was recently in a web video for Harry’s along with the beautiful baritone Jim Santangeli, directed by Tom Scharpling. Harry’s is a razor company from one of the co-founders of Warby Parker. In the video, I speak to my reflection (played by Jim) and agonize over shaving my mustache:

What interests me most about this video is that years ago I created two videos by myself that see me in strikingly similar roles. 

Five years ago in 2008 while living in England I made a video for a Schick YouTube contest in which I have a mustache and argue with my reflection about shaving it. Titled “The Temptation Of The Mustache”, I somehow did not win the contest: 

Is that accent I chose for my mustache version of myself offensive? Probably.

And even before this in the summer of 2007, I made a music video to a song I made about the tragedy of shaving a beard, with the possible silver lining of keeping a mustache. The only two words to this song are “beard” and “mustache”:

I’d apologize for some of those notes I don’t hit, but don’t you think it is braver when someone who doesn’t have a good voice sings? I do.

I guess I am just doomed to keep making videos like this for the rest of my life. At least I can take comfort in having found my calling.

improvdoc:

Thanks to thecomicscomic for the write up!:

“On The Cusp, Off The Cuff,” a documentary film about improv comedians in NYC and the UCB
Watch the entire 55-minute film, plus bonus footage, online.
Featuring Allie Kokesh, J.D. Amato, John Trowbridge, Riley Soloner and Sasheer Zamata, where they were at in 2011.

improvdoc:

Thanks to thecomicscomic for the write up!:

“On The Cusp, Off The Cuff,” a documentary film about improv comedians in NYC and the UCB

Watch the entire 55-minute film, plus bonus footage, online.

Featuring Allie Kokesh, J.D. Amato, John Trowbridge, Riley Soloner and Sasheer Zamata, where they were at in 2011.

improvdoc:

Official trailer of On The Cusp, Off The Cuff - a documentary about people who do improv comedy in New York City. 

Full film available on YouTube for a limited time! Check it out here

improvdoc:

FULL FILM NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE FOR VIEWING!!!

For a limited time, On The Cusp, Off The Cuff is available for viewing on YouTube! 

It has been quite a journey! I started filming this project in January of 2011. I filmed over 60 hours of footage - improv shows, practices, team hangouts, one-on-one interviews. After I had all the footage it started to take shape into the film that you can watch now - from 60 hours down to 55 minutes (note to would-be documentarians: go ahead and make a outline first and then go get that footage, rather than letting the footage speak to you).

Thanks to everyone who agreed to be a part of the film, but especially thank you to the film’s five stars: Riley Soloner, Sasheer Zamata, John Trowbridge, J.D. Amato, and Allie Kokesh. These folks let me interview them repeatedly, bother them at intimate moments with sticking a camera in their face when they probably just wanted to be left alone, and were just generally incredibly helpful from start to finish. 

And thank you again to all of the Kickstarter donors who allowed me to make this film! 

I wrote some redneck jokes in the style of Jeff Foxworthy!

If…

* You live in the southeastern United States, specifically in a state that was once a part of the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War (1861 - 1865)

* Your household income places you in the bottommost socio-economic bracket; this includes, according to the 2012 US Census, the 16% of the U.S. population living in conditions sufficient to qualify as “poverty” and in particular the 1.5 million US households living in so-called “extreme poverty”, or less than $2 per day before government benefits

* The highest education degree or certificate that you have achieved is high school or below; professional or vocational certificates do not invalidate this condition and might actually further denote redneck status in the US

* Your skin tone is both white (caucasian) and prone to “sunburn”, a type of burn that results from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the Earth’s sun

* You wear shirts that expose your neck in such a way as to leave it vulnerable to sunburn (see above); for example, individuals who commonly wear turtlenecks would generally not meet this condition

* You speak a dialect of American English which falls under the umbrella of what is colloquially referred to as a “southern accent”, which includes features such as the phonetic collusion of [ɛ] and [ɪ] before nasal consonants, rendering words like pen and pin to be pronounced the same

* You or someone you are directly related to was featured in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), a non-fiction book about the living conditions of white sharecropper families

* You put your new television set on top of a broken television set rather than removing said no longer functioning television set and placing your new television set on, for example, a wooden media console from Ikea or another piece of furniture more typically thought of as appropriate for holding television sets according to standard US conventions; in fact, owning any piece of furniture from Ikea would most likely preclude one from belonging to the subset ‘redneck’, which doesn’t make sense given Ikea’s general affordability; just chalk it up to the messiness of social demarcation, I guess. Anyway, if that applies to you, then…

 

…you might be a redneck!

Questions my mom asked me the last time she visited me in New York City

This weekend is UCB’s 15th annual Del Close Marathon - a weekend of improv comedy across seven stages in New York City!
As artistic director, one of the biggest things that I do at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre is plan our annual Del Close Marathon. This is the second time I’ve had the honor of doing it, and I’m especially proud of this year’s marathon.
We had over 1000 teams submit from all around the world, the most we have ever had. This improv comedy thing must be catching on.
From Friday at 4pm until Sunday at midnight, we have improv comedy happening non-stop across seven stages, with special performances from UCB alumni and friends, like Nick Kroll, Horatio Sanz, Ellie Kemper, Bobby Moynihan, Mike Birbiglia, Zack Woods, and the founders of the UCB Theatre Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, and Ian Roberts. Check out the full schedule here: 
http://delclosemarathon.com/dcm15/
You can get a wristband for $30 to check out all of the shows, or you can buy a ticket just to see some of our premium shows at our satellite stages at the SVA and FIT Theatres. For example, we’ve got Michael Cera (Arrested Development) doing a scene with Amy Poehler during Gravid Water, a show that pairs actors and improvisers together. Get a ticket for that show here. 
A special thank you to John Frusciante, Alex Sidtis, Lynne Arkin, and Herson Castillo, my UCB admin colleagues, without whom DCM would not be possible. And thanks in advance to Pat Baer, Alex Adan, Phil Del Costello, Chuck Dauble, Rachael Mason, Claire Gilbertsen, and all of the theatre techs, managers, bartenders, interns, and volunteers who will be down in the trenches this weekend making everything happen. 
If you are in New York City, I highly recommend stopping on by and checking out DCM. It is a very special thing and I’m beyond grateful to be a part of it. 

This weekend is UCB’s 15th annual Del Close Marathon - a weekend of improv comedy across seven stages in New York City!

As artistic director, one of the biggest things that I do at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre is plan our annual Del Close Marathon. This is the second time I’ve had the honor of doing it, and I’m especially proud of this year’s marathon.

We had over 1000 teams submit from all around the world, the most we have ever had. This improv comedy thing must be catching on.

From Friday at 4pm until Sunday at midnight, we have improv comedy happening non-stop across seven stages, with special performances from UCB alumni and friends, like Nick Kroll, Horatio Sanz, Ellie Kemper, Bobby Moynihan, Mike Birbiglia, Zack Woods, and the founders of the UCB Theatre Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, and Ian Roberts. Check out the full schedule here: 

http://delclosemarathon.com/dcm15/

You can get a wristband for $30 to check out all of the shows, or you can buy a ticket just to see some of our premium shows at our satellite stages at the SVA and FIT Theatres. For example, we’ve got Michael Cera (Arrested Development) doing a scene with Amy Poehler during Gravid Water, a show that pairs actors and improvisers together. Get a ticket for that show here

A special thank you to John Frusciante, Alex Sidtis, Lynne Arkin, and Herson Castillo, my UCB admin colleagues, without whom DCM would not be possible. And thanks in advance to Pat Baer, Alex Adan, Phil Del Costello, Chuck Dauble, Rachael Mason, Claire Gilbertsen, and all of the theatre techs, managers, bartenders, interns, and volunteers who will be down in the trenches this weekend making everything happen. 

If you are in New York City, I highly recommend stopping on by and checking out DCM. It is a very special thing and I’m beyond grateful to be a part of it. 

Stand-up set I did at UCBeast’s Gentrify last week! Thanks to Gentrify for having me and to Ian Stroud for taping!

Cartoons led me to believe that encountering quicksand would be a more daily worry than it actually has been…

image

I just finished reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, a subtley sci-fi coming of age novel (spoilers below). It was made into a 2010 film starring Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan, and Keira Knightley, which I saw a couple years back. 

If you’ve heard anything about it, what you’ve probably heard is the shocking twist which gives this otherwise relatable childhood to adolescent to young adult story its sci-fi edge.

But what separates the film from the novel is how this shocking twist is made known. In the film, there is an M. Night type reveal. In the novel, this reveal moment never really happens.

The hidden-from-children-truth is a slow burn reveal, bits and pieces here and there over the years, that come into focus gradually. More like inching back from an impressionist painting at a painstakingly slow pace until the paint blobs become a recognizable landscape whole, rather than like flipping a canvas over and seeing everything that had been hidden all at once. 

How this hidden-from-children-truth becomes revealed I think is really the most impressive part of the book, rather than the content of the shocking twist itself. It feels like Ishiguro captured something hard to capture about how these truths actually become known. To use a silly example, in films and TV shows, I feel like there is a moment when a child is told that Santa isn’t real, whereas the reality is more like you start to see cracks in the story you’ve been told, and you doubt it partially in some parts in your brain but hold onto the desire to believe it to be true in others, until one day you realize that at some point you stopped believing in that story. I think the same thing is true though for the more important hidden-from-children-truths out there too though. Such as, you know, that quicksand isn’t actually around every corner, which is really something that my Saturday morning cartoons led me to believe was the case. 

 

improvdoc:

My improv documentary On The Cusp, Off The Cuff has been made an official selection of the 2013 Manhattan Film Festival! 
The screening will take place June 24th, 6:00PM, at the Quad Cinema.
Buy a ticket here: 
http://www.screenbooker.com/view-events/365
Thanks to everyone for all of the support during the multi-year process that making this film has been! I am genuinely excited to share this film with all of you. After the premier at the MFF, the film will be available in some format to a wider audience - stay tuned!
Love,
nate

improvdoc:

My improv documentary On The Cusp, Off The Cuff has been made an official selection of the 2013 Manhattan Film Festival! 

The screening will take place June 24th, 6:00PM, at the Quad Cinema.

Buy a ticket here: 

http://www.screenbooker.com/view-events/365

Thanks to everyone for all of the support during the multi-year process that making this film has been! I am genuinely excited to share this film with all of you. After the premier at the MFF, the film will be available in some format to a wider audience - stay tuned!

Love,

nate