Jessie McPhee has been improvising with Rapid Fire Theatre since 2006. He performs in RFT’s weekly shows and is an instructor in Rapid Fire’s public workshops. Jessie has also performed in improv festivals all over the world such as Munich, Chicago, Atlanta and Winnipeg!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE:
TV SHOWS: Breaking Bad, The IT Crowd, The Simpsons, The Kids in the Hall
MOVIES: Pulp Fiction, There Will Be Blood, Dumb and Dumber
ACTORS: I don’t really have any favorite actors, but if I had to choose one, Adam Sandler for sure.
VIDEO GAMES: NHL games, God of War games
AUTHORS: I’ll read anything! ANYTHING!
MUSIC: I’ll listen to anything! ANYTHING!
WEBSITES: thingsfittingperfectlyintothings.tumblr.com, do yourself a favour and check it out.
FOOD: I’m really into food mods or combining foods with other foods. You know, like a cheeseburger with a chicken burger. You know right? Right? Am I a monster?
PLACES TO EAT IN EDMONTON: All Happy Family, The Burger Joint, The Next Act
HOW YOU GET INVOLVED WITH RAPID FIRE?
I got involved with Rapid Fire through high school. I remember hearing an announcement for improv team auditions, and I just thought “I could do that.” I made it onto the team and we competed in the Nosebowl and the Canadian Improv Games and I was invited to audition for RFT.
WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL IMPROV SCENE?
The most important key to a successful improv scene is to have fun. When you’re having fun on stage the audience picks up on that, and they start to have fun as well. And to make a scene great, you only have to be doing three things, which I’m stealing from Bill Tierney, those three things are: be present, be playful, and be confident.
WHAT ARE SOME TIPS YOU CAN OFFER AUDIENCE MEMBERS ABOUT GIVING SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVISERS?
We don’t want “gynecologist.” We’re never going to take gynecologist. You may think you want to see a scene about a gynecologist but you really don’t. Lately I’ve really been into taking a location with an adjective attached to it like “a cool basement” or “a scary kitchen.” Who knows what could happen in a scary kitchen!
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SHORT FORM VS. LONG FORM AND VICE VERSA?
I like short form and long form for a lot of different reasons. I guess the thing I like most about short form is that the stakes of the show are really on us as improvisers. We’re trying to on-up each other with our improv skills to impress the audience doing harder and harder games. In long form the stakes are really on the characters we’ve created and the situations we put them in. The thing I love about long form is that I have the time to build something really mind-blowing for the audience, and at the end of a set we’ve made this finished piece that we can be really proud of.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR IMPROV STYLE?
I would say I’m a story-driven improviser. I like to narrate and drive the story.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ON STAGE?
At the Winnipeg Improv Festival this past November Julian Faid and I took off all our clothes in a scene. I don’t think I’ll ever do that again, but I’m glad I can cross it off my bucket list.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A DAY JOB?
I work at The Brick. So, if you ever need a futon…
HOW DOES IMPROV COME IN HANDY IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE?
One of the first skills you learn in improv is to say “yes.” You’ll be amazed at where life can take you just by saying “yes” to the opportunities that come your way.