If you’re on the Chicago comedy scene you’re hip to the Chicago Improv Festival. In its 14th year, the event features performers both local and international at a variety of Chicago venues. Rance Rizzutto, a teacher, photographe and ten year comedy veteran, is one of many Chicago performers taking part in the yearly comedy ritual. Below, he talks to Our Town.
Our Town What’s your favorite part about performing in the festival?
Rance Rizzutto I love that a city already so full of improv can get a fresh dose from outside sources. It is refreshing to see the small nuances in the playing styles of teams from across the world.
OT Who are your influences?
RR Late 80’s SNL, Dana Carvey era; Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Seinfeld, the show and the man; and Monty Python. I like a good mix of honest reality, physicality, and absurdity.
OT Your fiancée, Deanna Moffitt is also in comedy. What’s that like?
RR Improv is all about embracing and accepting another person’s ideas. It really helps when both people in a relationship understand that. Plus we have fun in general because we’re immersed in the playful nature that surrounds improv.
OT What’s your worst onstage moment?
RR I haven’t really had any horror stories that I haven’t just rolled with. Most recently I was hosting a show with middle school students in the audience. I made a comment about how Rebecca Black was awful. You would have thought I slapped their grandmothers. I got them back on my side, but I had to work for it. Rebecca Black is awful, right?
OT Best comedy advice?
RR Think as little as possible. By that I mean if you’re thinking about what you’re going to say that means you’re listening to the voice in your head and not the one in your scene partner’s mouth. You’re going to miss something. Make a character choice then listen and listen hard.
OT What can we expect from your work in the festival this year?
RR I’m lucky enough to perform with people I not only love playing with, but watching perform. I’m a bit of a mischievous performer and when I hear the one thing get said that doesn’t seem like it belongs I pounce on it and make sure it is an important part of the world we’re creating on stage. As an added bonus, I’ll be performing with the Istanbulimpro group from Istanbul, Turkey. I performed with them on my brief overnight stay in Istanbul and it was a fantastic moment in my life.
This year Rizutto performs with Chaos Theory on Thursday 4/28 at 10:30 p.m. at the Playground Theater, Deltones on Friday 4/29 at 8 p.m. at iO Chicago and Istanbulimpro at 9 p.m. on Saturday 4/30 at the Playground Theater. For more information on CIF visit www.chicagoimprovfestival.org
A freelance writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum, when not writing, supports herself as a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago's Story Studio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She’s kind of looking forward to it actually. IMPORTANT: the official Our Town site doesn't support comments. Join in the conversation by followingOur Town on Facebook and Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez