Ep 5 – The Darker Side of Comedy | Mark Beltzman

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Comedy. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. Original IO member and Second City comedy alum Mark Beltzman chats with Natalie about working with talents like John Candy, Bill Murray, Jerry Seinfeld and more. Mark opens up about the personal struggles felt by so many outstanding talents like Chris Farley and Del Close, and the degree to which drugs have played a role in comedy. Natalie also shares how Whitney Cummings played a role in Amy Schumer’s success!

You can listen to this episode of The Gray Escape with Natalie Gray below, download it from the link beneath the player, or listen and Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

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Below, Mark Beltzman and Natalie, John Candy and Chris Farley, and the books spoken about or referenced by Mark during the podcast.
Comedy star Mark Beltzman and Natalie Gray on The Gray Escape with Natalie GrayComedy legends John Candy and Chris Farley

Yes, And - Second City - a book about using comedy in the workplace  A book about comedy legend Chris Farley  A book about Del Close, legendary guru of improv and comedy  Guru - My Days with Del Close, legendary teacher of improv and comedy  the success principles - the only book referenced not about comedy

Courtesy of Mark’s facebook page:

Mark Beltzman has been acting, writing, and directing since 1981. He was a founding member of Improv Olympic in Chicago and of the legendary group, Barons Barracudas. Mark has worked and directed at the famed Second City in Chicago. He directed many improvisational and theatrical productions at Second City in Chicago and Los Angeles, including the Second City Alumni Jam. He was also instructor/director at The Second City Training Center, Improv Olympic West and the Upfront Comedy Showcase. His generosity of spirit and love for the art has influenced many young performers who continue to value him as a source of creativity and inspiration through personal contact and theater workshops. He continues to be a requested advisor, director and acting coach to some of the hottest young talent in the business.

Mark’s passion as a highly creative person and seasoned ensemble performer is to continue to create a body of work that reflects his level of integrity and commitment to quality. It is critical to him that the concepts of “working together as a group” and “making each other look good” are an integral part of any ensemble work. He encourages cast and crew to remove obstacles and to elevate the text to be the most important aspect of the creative process.

Mark has also acquired a great deal of knowledge about the creative process of producing, writing and directing while performing in such notable productions as: Mo Money, Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer, Speed 2, Star Maps, Lovely and Amazing, and Employee of the Month, Factory, Seinfeld, Rosanne, Norm, Curb Your Enthusiasm, According to Jim, Cold Case, House, True Jackson VP, The Young and the Restless, and Pretty Little Liars.

“Improvisation allows us to free up our minds and get out of our heads, and prepares us for the creative challenges we experience as actors, writers and especially directors”…Mark Beltzman

Mark’s ability to create “something from nothing” is exemplified in the outreach program he created in 2006, called “New Choice.” Mark and a crew of established industry professionals go into the inner city and teach improvisational and filmmaking skills to the youth. New Choice is now a 501 (c) 3 not for profit, and continues to expand.

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Natalie Gray is an artist and comedienne who had an extraordinary experience in 2012 that inspired her to research alternative topics and theories, including sound healing, quantum physics, and the idea that we are living in a Holographic Universe. For Natalie's art and comedy please visit http://nataliegray.com

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