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Ryan KarelsComic Performer
- Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Known for:
- Representing North Dakota in HuffPo’s “United States of Comedy”.
About Ryan KarelsYou are the star of Radio Rogue (one of the most-talked about new shows among in-the-knows) at world famous Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre — how did it come to this?
- Unknown for:
- Appearing in a Castrol Motor Oil commercial wearing a mullet.
I moved to New York the day after graduating, and this is the alternative reality of how my life could have panned out. I come from a place (North Dakota) where Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and those type of ideologues court listeners who maybe won’t notice the hypocrisy. The great irony of course, is if that if the medium did not exist, and their listeners met them in the street, they would be instantly distrusted.
Up until a couple of years ago, I’d return for a few weeks each year to harvest sugar beets. When you’re driving a tractor at 2½ mph for 12 hours, there is nothing else to do but listen to radio. So I’m having as much fun as I can talking about all the things I want to, without trying to change any minds or becoming “a satirical counterpoint.”
Where do you see Radio Rogue going, and how interactive is it at this stage?
The question is: when and how do we open Pandora’s Box? Tomorrow, Episode 1 of an accompanying podcast, The Paradox Express, becomes available on iTunes, so if you’re a fan of late-night coast-to-coast radio dipped in downtown, experimental theatre (Karels is an alumni of Les Freres Corbusier), you ought to look for that.
You teach improvised comedy at UCB and Williamstown, M.A. — tell us your take on the form and which facets of it you feel are particular to New York? The simple answer to that is 70 people in my class at Williamstown all want to be actors, whereas at UCB, my students just want to learn improvised comedy. In the ten years since I started out, I’ve come to view it in the same vein as I consider the early stages of the Group Theatre and Meisner Technique. It is exciting to see that trend leap into television, and, as a training ground, UCB is a great place to hone your skills while fostering healthy competition, and ultimately giving momentum to that movement.
Do you harbor goals as a teacher mutually exclusive to those as a performer?
I am keen to make science more of an enjoyable learning experience by using humor as an intervention strategy, and to this end I’m preparing a proposal and looking for an established education researcher to test how humor predisposes people to listen.
Radio Rogue is next showing at UCB Theatre on Wednesday, July 6 & 13 at 9:30 PM.Favorite Quote"Happy wife, happy life."– Mrs. Ryan Karels