The Improv Café & Lewis Spevack: Creativity In Action
There’s a natural synergy that happens when people create together, from writing in a notebook to collaborating in a writing class. That’s exactly what improv-comedian Lewis Spevack and his class of grown-ups do every night in his new New York City restaurant, The Comedy Café, which they use as a classroom. With improv classes ranging from 10 to 40 minutes long, plus four-hour lectures, they have the ability to create an environment where anything can happen—a living performance with audience participation and elements of theater and drama.
A sense of humor and a knack for knowing when to giggle are keys to their professional success, as well as fostering a sense of teamwork, collaboration, and ownership. “A lot of the work I’ve been doing in the theater now is looking at what doesn’t happen with students in classes,” Spevack tells Insider.
“You can teach to people, but it’s not as effective as working within that classroom environment and working as an ensemble. That’s a big part of what happens here and being here is the thing that I miss most—there’s a feeling you get if you work with people that you’re not in a classroom,” says comedian Jenna Janesh, a former Time Square hostess and lead improv player.
“If you’re a classroom person, then [in a classroom environment] you have the ability to model behavior. If you can model, in the kind of environment that exists, that can give you a pretty good feel of what you want to do for yourself,” says Cooper LeBroyer, a improviser who used to play in the Groundlings improv group before working with Spevack.
Members of The Comedy Café on a night
The Improv Café is all about connecting with each other and it’s great to work with people who are so connected. On a night I was teaching, one of the things I did was have all the children come in first, and I picked the first student to come to me and to go first and to talk to. The teacher was up in the front and I said, ‘That’s HIs first student.’ He was in front on the stage, and at the beginning he was quite pouty and annoyed, like, ‘Why is she up here?’ He came up and he said, ‘Look, she’s my mom, and that’s all she is.’ And then we all became very close.
Just because you work together in The Comedy Café doesn’t mean you’re the same person you are on your own, the kids will learn from each other—they’ll learn from the teacher and they’ll learn from the partner (school, class, job, person, whatever), and they’ll have each other’s back. And they’ll learn what it’s like to be around people who can offer advice and wisdom in a way that only a small group of people can do. You’ll see it among the participants from 8 to 40. Everyone who’s out on stage will be a completely different person, but at the end of the night, everything will still be the same.
When performing in a group of people who are devoted to the cause, the new knowledge you gain, the way they speak, their energy, all those things are absorbed. All the people that are part of our ensemble are affected in some way, and we share that side of us. The group that you’re in, how you work with each other, the type of person you become will be the same and be the best, and we’ll make different choices based on the differences.
Join in on The Comedy Café at The Comedy Café for improv, improv classes, social events, and public speaker workshops. The next improv class begins on Tuesday, February 3 at 6:30 p.m. and runs through April 19. Tickets and class info are available at http://www.thecomedycafe.co….