Cool Dad Podcast Episode 6: Goodrich Gevaart!

Stoked to share the newest episode of The Cool Dad Podcast, which features an interview with Chicago comedian Goodrich Gevaart. Goodrich is one of the most likable and funny comics in Chicago, and is a producer of a ton of great things including the show Freak Happening (which takes place at SAKI record store in Chicago), the Arguments and Grievances Podcast, and The Comedy Exposition (a wonderful annual DIY standup festival). He tells us about his dad, who is real punk rock and very cool, and then–GET THIS–we surprised him by bringing his REAL DAD* into the studio!

*Katie McVay, one of Goodrich’s good friends and another great comic who spearheaded The Comedy Exposition of 2014 in Chicago.

Got Your Back

My first true encounter with The Skinny Improv was in a standup comedy competition called The Deadpan Comedy Festival, which took place in October of 2007. In 2006 my high school’s broadcast journalism class ran a story about the local improv theatre’s comedy contest. I only learned that this competition existed once it had already passed and I was watching the finished news story. I had performed standup exactly one time before—around eight months prior, at a speech and debate tournament in Joplin, Missouri, which allowed bastardized speech/debate events, such as “Group Improv” or “Original Standup Comedy,” which were not sanctioned by the National Forensic League and were therefore uncommonly found at tournaments—and I already had the itch. I decided I would be competing next year, and patiently waited for the following fall.

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Venice 2

This is my second day in Venice in my series of Italy Stories.

I awoke in Venice in just the same state that I had fallen asleep: nearly naked and sweaty. Kay and I left our hostel that morning in search of a nearby cafe to have breakfast and coffee.

We found a quaint cafe with outdoor seating in the shade. While we ate and drank we discussed the meanest things we’ve ever said or thought. Admittedly, this conversation seemed rather cruel and dark to be had by two adorable people drinking adorable cappuccinos first thing in the morning. But still we discussed the wickedest collection of words our minds had ever conceived, and we were all smiles. Continue reading

Comedy Shows 8/8-8/10

After narrowly defeating my own team in a strange improvised joke competition called SPIKED PUNCH, which takes place every Friday night at midnight at Comedy Sportz Chicago, I won my place in the semi-finals round. That competition takes place TONIGHT, and is at MIDNIGHT.

If you’d like more info, check out the link below! It’ll be fun, weird, and probably slightly offensive.

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Cool Dad Podcast Episode 4: Lara Beitz

A new episode of The Cool Dad Podcast is up on SoundCloud and on iTunes! This episode features Lara Beitz, a producer of Hoo HA Comedy in Chicago, IL. This episode is very different, and a little heavier, than our other episodes, but it is still great and still features (somehow) a visit from her HER REAL DAD!*

*hilarious comedian Mike Lebovitz, one of the Comedians You Should Know, and champion of going to faraway comedy festivals.


This story follows Florence 2/Pisa in my collection of Italy Stories.

Mark Twain on the alkaki desert in Roughing It:

“The sun beats down with dead, blistering, relentless malignity; the perspiration is welling from every pore in man and beast, but scarily a sign of it finds its way to the surface…”

That’s how I felt about Venice.

Stepping out of the train from Florence, and on to the sizzling concrete and stone landscape, which composes Venice’s walkable portions, was the first of many regrettably hot situations to be experienced over the next two days.

Kay purchased a sun-hat in Rome, but had left it somewhere since then, and so to protect her face from the freckle-inducing sun she was using a map held above her head as a substitute. The hard, flat ground seemed to absorb heat as well as reflect it back at us, so any sliver of shaded space was bumped up to “shelter” status. Small areas of shade would have to do until we could locate our hostel, which was incredibly difficult to find within the watery maze that is Venice, Italy. There are no places for cars to drive or bikes to ride, because the streets are too small and bridges made with stairways are too frequent, so identifying major streets is difficult, and understanding whether the alley or cranny you’re walking through is indeed the same one you’re looking at on your map is near impossible. The only other way to travel is by boating through the waterways, which weave through the city in a manner so random it almost seems deliberately confusing. But we were boatless, and so we navigated, poorly, by foot. I felt like I was a child again, desperately wandering through the Water Temple from Ocarina of Time, and our map was a lazily written Nintendo Power Magazine. Except I really didn’t have access to the map, because it was Kay’s hat at the moment, and so she mostly led the way.

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Cool Dad Podcast Episode 3 w/ Megan Gailey!


When I started doing comedy in Chicago, Megan Gailey was one of the comedians I looked up to the most. Now she lives and performs in New York City, but we were lucky to snag her for a little bit for a conversation while she was in town for the Comedy Exposition of 2014. As always, we discussed her dad and then surprised her by bring her ACTUAL REAL LIFE DAD into the studio. This was a hilarious episode and I hope you give it a listen.

[featuring Chicago comic Tommy McNamara]

Florence 2 and Pisa

This story follows Florence 1 & Cinque Terre in my series of Italy Stories.


The train ride from Florence to Pisa is a short ride, and the town of Pisa is a small one. There isn’t much to do in Pisa outside of taking a gander at Italy’s most famous architectural mistake, so we only planned on spending a couple hours there. The train station is on the south side of Pisa, and the Leaning Tower is on the north side, but we did not realize this at first, for the mounted public map had both locations scratched off, so that the symbols could no longer be seen nor could the words be read. I imagine this act of inconveniencing tourists was either performed by embittered locals, who are reasonably annoyed by the throngs of travelers who invade their underwhelming town, clogging their would-be boring, empty streets, just to see a well-preserved error in construction—or it’s a collective weathering, caused over time by a series of scratches and scrapes from coins and keys, by traveling turds from all over the world.

Anyway, it didn’t take us long to figure out that we were standing at one scratched-away landmark and needed to walk to the other scratched-away landmark, so we got a move on. The walk through town and across the River Arno wasn’t terribly exciting nor extraordinarily pretty. It was pleasant enough, but just not very interesting—it’s the cheese pizza of towns.

A thing in Pisa

A thing in Pisa

The most popular thing to do in Pisa, apparently, is to have your friends and family snap a photo of you at an angle where it looks like you’re propping up the distant tower, as if to suggest that if it weren’t for you and your strength, the tower would suddenly and finally be trounced by the power of gravity and crush a few dozen people, who are doing the exact same thing you are—like a subsidiary Atlas, but with a fanny pack and a shit-eating grin.

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