Join hosts Ellen Matthews and Dennis Pacheco, two NYC improvisers, as they interview artists, authors, scientists, gamers, actors, therapists, and loads of other fascinating people on their journey toward perfection.
This week on the pod we talk “Perfect” Parenting with our friends Mike and Tayler Westervelt!
The Westervelts invite us into their world over a glass of wine (because, according to them, it’s been a DAY). They tell us about raising their two “adorable terrorists” and how they went from warming their daughter’s bath towel to being satisfied with Goldfish crackers for dinner.
We also discuss parenting culture on social media, learn about generational differences in parenting philosophies, and try to guess what Mike and Tayler’s daughters will complain about in therapy when they’re adults.
Parents and nonparents alike will love this authentic, vulnerable, and fun conversation!
Tayler Westervelt was born and raised in the Southwest but has been living on the east coast for the past 11 years. Tayler recently moved to San Francisco with her husband and their two young daughters. She is a professional stay-at-home mom and was never in the pursuit of perfectness until she had her babies.
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.
This week we have science writer Luis Enrique Sandoval Del Prado. Luis recounts the story of how a college drama department production of Beauty and the Beast helped him defeat the demon of negative self talk, and we talk more generally about creative expression and how it can help us manage stress.
All that, PLUS Ellen and Dennis do a science quiz Luis wrote about plants! How did we do? How many will you get right? Stick around and find out! (Watch out for the tomato question—everybody’s getting it wrong!)
Luis is a writer for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. He writes stories about the research and the scientists at the research institute. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Genomics from Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied the genetics of virus infection. He loves theater, improv, Hans Zimmer, being a nerd, making people laugh, frapps, and helping others.
Folks, this week we present our lovely chat with the wonderful Adam Wade. Adam is a 20-time Moth Story Slam winner (18 StorySLAM victories and 2 GrandSLAM Championships). He has toured across North America with The Moth Main Stage, and his stories have appeared on The Moth Radio Hour and The Moth Podcast. He’s also a Storytelling Instructor at the Magnet Theater.
We talk with Adam about the importance of making a connection with your audience–whether that’s 100,000 people in an opera house or five friends at a party. We also discuss the efficacy of consistent meditation, learning to appreciate the people who love you, and the value of being yourself.
This episode we break down our second season, guest by guest and episode by episode, and try to see if we managed to take any lessons away.
Join us (Ellen and Dennis, natch) as we wax nostalgic about a truly fun and rewarding sophomore season. We made friends. We influenced people. We talked about tightening up the intro (and we never did). Dennis offered his half-baked theory about the two types of perfect. Ellen dropped some Aristotle, as she does.
Personally? I think this is a great jumping on point for new listeners!
This week we talk to the wonderful Malcolm Pradia, M.S.W., L.I.C.S.W.
Malcolm is a licensed independent clinical social worker offering outpatient psychotherapy in Western Massachusetts. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member and clinical supervisor to graduate social work students. Malcolm’s clinical practice and teaching focuses on the importance of connection and the healing power of relationships.
Malcolm provides us with some free therapy (score!), and helps us to name our behaviors without judging them. He also leads us through a discussion on embracing vulnerability in order to be our most authentic selves. Finally, he connects the systemic view of “perfectionism” to white supremacy, and how our rejection of this system can be an act of social justice.
You can find Malcolm on Instagram @pradia2040 and @haveyoutalkedtomalcolm.
Malcolm is a licensed independent clinical social worker offering outpatient psychotherapy in Western Massachusetts. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member and clinical supervisor to graduate social work students. Malcolm's clinical practice and teaching focuses on the importance of connection and the healing power of relationships.
This week we talk to Ian Chillag, creator and host of the hilarious and beautiful podcast Everything is Alive. Ian talks with us about some of the defense mechanisms we use to protect ourselves and seeing the kindness behind harsh criticism (aka the vanity of niceness). He also gives us a peek into an audio project he’s working on (a post-apocalyptic public radio pledge drive) and tells us his favorite kinds of podcasts to listen to and make. This was a fun one!
Listen and subscribe to Everything is Alive on the Radiotopia network.
You can find Ian on Instagram and Twitter @ianchillag.
Ian Chillag is a writer and producer working in print, audio, video, and other media. He created the podcast Everything is Alive. His work can be found in McSweeney's Quarterly, the New York Times, NPR, A Public Space, and other places.
Folks, we’re not going to lie to you — this week’s guest is a GET. We welcome the wonderful Geri Cole to the PoP Pod studios! Geri is a four-time Emmy award winner (!!!), podcast host, and writer on the beloved children’s series Sesame Street (um…ever heard of it??).
We talk about writing for Cookie Monster vs. writing for Big Bird, the Dos and Don’ts of collaborating with your partner (see: The Perfect Couple’s Guide), and we land on the perfect definition of perfectionism.
We’re back, and boy have we got a corker for you this week! The Perfectionists sit down with Dennis’s old mentor — New York Times bestselling cartoonist and teacher at the School of Visual Arts, Nick Bertozzi! They talk about learning to stay true to yourself as a professional artist, unlearning the habit of people pleasing, projecting your dang voice in the classroom and on the stage, and most importantly assertiveness (when do you have it, when do you not, and how can you learn it?).
Nick’s upcoming graphic novel is called BOMB! (based on a YA novel by Steve Sheinkin) and it’s about how the Soviets stole the secrets of the Manhattan Project to create their own atomic bomb. It’ll be out in Winter of 2023 from Roaring Brook Press.
This week the Perfectionists (Ellen and Dennis) talk to stand-up comedian, filmmaker, producer, podcaster, actor, director, and New Yorker cartoonist Victor Varnado (who, he assures us, also wrote all the good parts of the bible).
Our friend Victor is not only a multitalented, cross-medium, cross-platform artist and comedian, he’s also a successful entrepreneur/businessman who empowers others to do the same. A big theme of our conversation was finding ways to work on things you’re truly passionate about and inspired by.
Victor is the host of at least two podcasts: Six Unseemly Questions and Arts Academy. His next podcast is called Wiki Listen. So after you wiki listen to this, go wiki listen to those!