This week on the pod we’ve got legendary improv instructor and founder of the Magnet Theater Armando Diaz!
Armando talks to us about his improv journey from Chicago to New York, where he became the Johnny Appleseed of New York improv theaters—from UCB in its earliest days, to the PIT, and finally to founding the Magnet (where your intrepid hosts Ellen and Dennis trained and flourished)!
Sure, this is a must-listen for improv philosophy and improv history nerds, but we’ve also got a lot to chew on for everyone else—including ruminations on what it means to come into your own and become an adult. Folks, this is a good one. But don’t take our word for it—listen now!
Armando is widely regarded as one of the best improv teachers in New York City and beyond. His list of teaching credits is a long one: the ImprovOlympic Theater, Victory Gardens Theater, The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, NYU and Michael Howard Studios. He has trained dozens of actors who have performed or written for Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Mad TV, and The Daily Show.
A Chicago native, Armando studied improv under Del Close at the ImprovOlympic, Mick Napier at the Annoyance, and graduated from the Second City Conservatory. He performed in and helped create one of the most popular improvised longforms in Chicago, "The Armando Diaz Experience...." For the last decade, "the Armando" has been performed weekly in Chicago, and is now taught and performed in many other cities including Los Angeles and New York.
In addition to writing and producing short films, Armando wrote sketches for the show Upright Citizens Brigade on Comedy Central, and has performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.