I met Jim Sherwin on a cold, cold or hot night or day in New York City at an indeterminate hour after Harold night or someone’s class show or something. Alex French (who will eventually get his own entry in the twoprov project books) and I were heading home on the 1 train like we used to do quite often before we both won the lottery and now have each taken on a driver—Jean-Luc and Cristobol, respectively—and we ran into Jim. Alex and Jim are on Level Seven Detective together.
A quality I’ve always valued in a person is the ability to get quickly acquainted. I liked Jim from the start because our conversation was instantly breezy. He has a similar demeanor onstage—open and easygoing. If you’re actually an asshole weirdo in real life Jim, kudos on your ability to hide your true self!
I’m a huge fan of The Smitts but oddly enough, a show where I remember Jim particularly killing it was when he stepped in and performed with Shark Tank at Parkside Lounge. I don’t have the specifics in my brain (I’m a human, not a robot guys) … but there was a definitely a point during that show where I thought to myself, “Wow, he’s doing great. I don’t know if I’d be able to cameo with a team I’ve never played with and be as comfortable and funny.” Because everything comes back to me.
Venue/Host: Scrambled Legs: Monday Buffet at Triple Crown (every Monday at 7:15 p.m.). This will be my second time performing at this show and both times were super fun. Scrambled Legs—great energy, great vibes. Also: SL’s Randy Reiman will be making an appearance later on in the project.
Ok, you guys. I can admit this now because the show’s over … but I was nervous. I was nervous I’d get out there and go blank (I do have a tendency to do that). And with only two people onstage, I wanted to make sure Jim felt like I was there for him. I was doing Pilates breathing on the subway to try and calm myself but then I remembered that I don’t do Pilates and shoving trail mix into my mouth does not count as breathing anyway. Yikes.
So, warming up with two people is weird. If anyone has any warmup suggestions, I’m all ears. Jim and I did a few that he learned from Christian Capozzoli and we also did “What’s on My Busted Tee,” which I like because I’m 5. Aaaand after a very fun set from Arson (Mark Dowling & Brentt Harshman), it was showtime.
The moment I knew this was gonna be breezy? First scene, you guys. Jim initiated as someone in a Newark, NJ Duane Reade looking for a pregnancy test. I made myself a religious pharmacist and told him I would take him to find the test. I walked off the stage and for a second, I was like… ugh, maybe he’ll think this is weird and annoying. But he followed me right on out into the audience. (I was taking him to my church, btw, which is where the rest of the scene took place).
I know… walking out into the audience isn’t that weird or anything. But I’ll never forget the night a young Brian Urreta and I saw Dave Bluvband do it during an Iron Ruckus show. The lightbulb went on. Holy shit, we can DO THAT. We can do anything! We’re KINGS! Well, that was Brian’s awakening. I was still thinking about my bangs at that point. Now, it’s just symbolic. It’s the gauge we still use when we want to surprise ourselves. Are we still walking out into the audience? Yes? Ok, then we’re still trying shit out. Sorry for bringing Brian up again. Brian, get out of here.
Back to me and Jim! It was such a win to lock down the trust right up top like that. I jumped and he jumped, too. This certainly wasn’t mine or Jim’s first rodeo—we’ve both been doing improv for a bit. But fear can make you do funny things sometimes. His support at that moment—basically the first moment of the show—just banished all the nerves for me. After that, I was like “Oh shit, it’s so on.” And it was.
Other fun things that happened: The montage took place in the same world, which I love. Seeds for connections were planted and a lot of them ended up playing out later. That Duane Reade in the first scene? Its parking lot turned out to be the epicenter of all debauchery going on in that town (teen pregnancy, drugs, listening to Justin Bieber etc). We referenced it throughout and I eventually played the mayor of Newark. Also: we played a bunch of different characters per scene and you know what that does for me. Jim played a bunch of angry cops in one. Swoon.
This show felt like my first twoprov show, because I had never played with Jim before. We’ve never even had a class together. It was such a great time and Jim is a fantastic partner. Zero judgment, total support, funny as hell.
And to boot? When we said goodbye, he said “I have a really early morning,” which is how most gentleman end their encounters with me. It felt so comfortable. I am Jim Sherwin fan. Big.
Tonight at 11 p.m. at the Sleepy Time Comedy Show at Triple Crown. My guest? Hal Phillips! We’re called Chrissie & Hal because we were just born that way.
Sorry this was so long.