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 improviser, storyteller, and writer Rob Penty talks perfectionism and how it’s really about minimizing risk. Then, Rob and the Perfectionists somehow do a “sober drunk history” on psychological experiments. If you’re looking for a fun convo about hypochondria, OCD, Catholicism, and mindfulness meditation, you’ve come to the right place. Folks, if this one don’t have it, you don’t want it!
You can find Rob performing monthly on The Little Big Show at the Magnet Theater. Read his writing at www.actuallyitsrobpentydotorg.com. Rob’s ebook was designed by Carly Monardo and laid out by Nick Jaramillo.
What was it all about? Dennis and Ellen take a fond look back at Season 1 episode by episode and prepare to come roaring back in just three little weeks for an even bigger Season 2. Join us, won’t you?
This week the wonderful Amanda Rothman joins Ellen and Dennis to talk drama therapy, our need to take care of others (including, sometimes, our therapists), and how shame is a driving force behind perfectionism. They also go off on a tangent about The Matrix for … way? … too long? Is this officially a kung fu movie review podcast now? Maybe!
Actor, improviser, and founder of Rubbish Comedy Collective Xave Padin joins the Perfectionists (Ellen and Dennis) to talk about the gift (and curse) of word-perfect script memorization and what it took to create a new comedy collective founded on equity, representation, and integrity. All that, plus Xave gives Ellen and Dennis the gift of a brand new podcast intro.
You can find out more about Xave and Rubbish Comedy Collective at rubbishcomedy.com.
Xavier (he/him) is an actor, improviser, teacher, character performer, and overall comedy loving producer born in the boogie-down Bronx. He has trained as an actor at USC and Mesiner studios in New York, as a comedian at The DC Improv, WITDC, Magnet, and UCB, and as a human being in Puerto Rico, Washington, DC, and South Carolina.
In NYC, Xavier has performed improv, characters, and sketch comedy regularly since 2016 for the UCB Theatre and the Magnet Theater. During the day he dons a tie (top button unbuttoned, of course) in Corporate Communications for the fed. But at night, the magic happens when he gets to work with brilliant teams of creatives — bringing cultural exploration and comedic ideas to life in a classroom and in front of an audience.
Xavier began his pursuit of passion in comedy while in SC in 2009 and, later in DC, he became a house performer and popular teacher with the Washington Improv Theater. He’s since gone on to teach and coach thousands of amateur and professional performers in classes or corporate settings up and down the east coast. Xavier has produced shows and festivals in DC, Jersey and New York since 2010 and loves the absurd and authentic life moments that comedy creates for audiences, students and performers alike.
Xave genuinely loves the people he gets to perform with like family. They include his Latinx improv team CHUCHO, his sketch comedy mates in The Executives (at Magnet) and The Bonus Features (at UCB) and his silly pals in the Chicago-created, NYC-refined storytelling/improv show “The Armando Diaz Experience,” on Saturday’s at the Magnet Theater. It goes without saying, but he’ll say it anyway, Xave loves Rubbish Comedy.
Xavier is also really into pro and amateur wrestling, BJJ, and movies — watching them, analyzing them in an academic sense, and even performing in them! He is currently represented by CESD.
The Perfectionists (Ellen and Dennis) get their very first live-in-the-studio guest, and what a get she is! Robyn Chapman is the editor of American Cult, a comics anthology about religious cults in America. She talks with Dennis and Ellen about the importance of self-compassion and how Kristin Neff’s book Self-Compassion helped her get through a particularly hard time. Then they discuss cults throughout American history and determine once and for all whether or not improv counts as a cult. (The answer may surprise you!)
Robyn Chapman is an editor, a publisher, and (sometimes) a cartoonist. She is the proprietor of Paper Rocket Minicomics and has had many different jobs in comics. She spent five years at The Center for Cartoon Studies, initially as their first fellow and later as a faculty member. For a time, she worked at Brooklyn’s best comic shop, Desert Island. She is the editor of the nonfiction comics anthology American Cult, which she co-published with Silver Sprocket in 2021. Currently, she is an editor at First Second.
Abby Russell is a content producer in the video game industry. The perfectionists (Ellen and Dennis, natch) have a delightful chat with Abby about Twitch streaming, comedy writing, and the high stakes (low stakes) world of improv.
You can find Find Abby on Twitch, Twitter, and Instagram. Her handle is @ybbaaabby on all the things.
Health writer and wonderful human Hannah Chase gabs with the perfectionists (aka Ellen and Dennis) about being a perfect patient, advocating for yourself, and people pleasing–and we learn what a mustache does for your resting neutral face.
Check out our Instagram for more fun with mustaches and wigs! @pursuitofperfectness
You can find Hannah’s writing at hannahchase.medium.com where she mostly writes about chronic illness.