I first met Heather at Upright Citizens Brigade, I’d seen her around a few times doing the Last Day of School show. Then one day I saw her in a cage match where all the performers where doing improv as a celebrity doing improv. She was playing as Bjork and dressed as the Icelandic singer when she attended the academy awards in her swan dress. Campbells performance as the quirky singer was inspired, as a comedian and student of improv I looked up to her. I knew someday amazing things would happen for her – like being invited to join as the newest member of Drew Carey’s Improv-a-ganza. And I’m sure bigger things are in store for her in the future.
If she looks familiar, you may have seen her on MADtv or in this Viral video from Improv Everywhere
7 Questions with Heather Campbell:
1) Real quick, Tell us your improv/comedy history:
I started improvising all the way back in 1994 or 95 in Chicago, at Improv Olympic. The owner of the theatre saw me doing the Improv Jam (a sort of open-mic for improvisers) and told me about the whole program at iO. Took some classes, was on a couple of teams, and was fortunate enough to work with Del Close before he died in his final show, Spoo. A little later, I did The Mee-Ow show at Northwestern, which is half-improv, half-sketch and gave me a real great foundation for everything that followed. I moved out to LA and worked at The Groundlings, Ultimate Improv, iOWest, the Comedy Dojo, and was subsequently cast in Boom Chicago in Amsterdam. When I got back from Holland, I did The Sunday Company at Groundlings, Armando at iOWest, and joined UCB. Started doing a weekly show there, Last Day of School, and then was asked by aspiring producer Michael Busch to be a part of The Midnight Show, which is my sketch group/family.
Here’s Heather in what she says is her favorite Sketch from the Midnight Show
2) How did you first end up meeting Drew Carey?
Same guy that asked me to do The Midnight Show, Michael Busch, told me that his manager was looking for improvisors for an upcoming pilot. I really owe a lot to Busch, truth be told. I had just won The X-Ecution, which was like a cross-theater American Idol for improvisers, so they let me have an audition. The first time I met Drew was in the lobby at Second City, waiting to be called in to do some games with them for my slot.
3) You did both Boom Chicago, UCB and a bunch of other improv theaters/troupes. What do you think were the most influential on your style of improv and comedy?
Improv schools each give you a tool -- it's your job to keep them on your belt and at the ready during a scene. There's no one tool that's better than another; you just use the right tool for the right job. Like, The Groundlings gives you a hammer, and it's great for hitting people over the head with an idea, but it's not right for a scene that requires something subtle. For that, you use an iO tool. And when you're doing straight-man work, and need to keep tightening the screws of the scene, nothing beats UCB.
4) growing up who were your comedy idols (or non comedic idols)?
I really admire James Cameron.
5) does anything intimidate you?
Yes. Nudity during improv. It hasn't happened yet, but the show films in Vegas, so ...
6) What's your favorite game on the Drew Show?
I think it's called Styles. I love genres a lot, and switching from science fiction to Shakespeare is fun times, man.
7) Who is your favorite improviser to play off of?
All of them. I'm not kidding. I've had a blast working with each of the guys, and couldn't pick a favorite.
Look for Heather Campell on Drew Carey's IMPROV-A-GANZA premier April 11th on the Game Show Network! Plus every weekday at 8pm!
Sam Proof is an LA based writer/director, founder of podpocalypse.com and executive producer of SamProof.tv. You may know him as Raz from Tim and Eric, or from his popular youtube channel or stickam show.
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