Life Lessons from Movies

The Improv

In Documentary, Movies on April 22, 2014 at 10:10 PM

The Improv: 50 Years Behind the Brick Wall (2013) is an EPIX documentary narrated by Adam Sandler about the stand-up comedy stage founded in 1963 by producer Budd Friedman and actress Silver Saunders in New York City, and later in Los Angeles in 1975, that launched the career of a number of successful comics, including Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Pryor, Jay Leno, Larry David, Lewis Black, Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Judd Apatow and Jimmy Fallon.

Life Lesson:

If you want to succeed in a field, you have to endure long hours of hard work for no or low pay while you hone the necessary skills.

Movie Scene:

Jay Leno: “I used to sleep in the alley around the corner. I remember waking up and I would see Dyke’s Lumber Yard across the street. I didn’t have any place to live. […] And I thought, ‘oh, really, is this my life now? Is this what show business is? Sleeping in an alley?’ But just to get on at The Improv, it was worth it.”

Judd Apatow: “The person that I, you know, inspired me in a lot of ways was Larry Miller because Larry Miller had this incredible polished act. He could do two and a half hours. […] He would say, ‘you know how I do that? I write. I write all day. Most comedians are at the mall. I write.'”

Jerry Seinfeld: “Why are there not more giant comedians breaking more than once every 13 god-damned years? ‘Cause they don’t put the work in. That’s why. They have a million others things they can do. And that’s a handicap.”

Jimmy Fallon: “I would work Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursdays, whatever I could do. And you would get a check for $8.25 per set.”

Ray Romano: “I remember Leno saying, it takes six years to really find out who you are on stage.”


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