improv comedy

Hey, Dion—What’s Your Connection to Jimmy Fallon?

By Heather E. Schwartz

Dion Flynn appears August 30 at Proctors in his one-man show, “The Only Brown Kid in the Trailer Park.” He’s also famous for his impressions of President Barack Obama on “The Tonight Show” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” Dion and Jimmy met years ago right here in Albany. They formed a friendship, then lost touch for several more years. Once Jimmy made it big, Dion was reluctant to contact him. Dion vowed to wait until he had something to give back, something to offer as a fellow artist. Here’s how he knew the right time had finally arrived.

Flynn & Radnor from "How I Met Your Mother"

Flynn & Radnor from "How I Met Your Mother"

I had training from NYU and working professionally on stage and T.V. But it wasn’t until I had some personal balance that I was called forward. 

It happened when my school friend, Josh Radnor, told me he was going to appear on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” “Should I say, ‘Hi’ to Jimmy from you?” he asked in a text. Josh was the star of “How I Met Your Mother.” Though I’d lost touch with Jimmy, Josh and I were in almost-daily contact. 

I was in the cafeteria of the Veteran's Hospital in NYC, eating lunch after the last of my therapy sessions when a voice inside said to me: “Ask (Josh) if you can go with him.” 

Clockwise: Jimmy Fallon, Bob Saget, Dion Flynn, Dave Coulier

Clockwise: Jimmy Fallon, Bob Saget, Dion Flynn, Dave Coulier

By this point, a number of my demons were sorted. I was learning that expecting love from an audience or for a performance was not an adequate plan for meeting one’s human needs. The audience is too phantasmal, too far away, not personal enough to really exchange the love I needed to be exchanging in this life: Love for others. Love (or at least esteem) for myself. And love between me and some greater Force. 

When all of these were in place and I no longer thought my deeper needs ought to be met in showbiz, by showbiz, then I was ready to make my approach. And the great Force couldn’t have made it any easier for me to get in there. 

Jimmy Fallon, Dion Flynn on set of "The Tonight Show"

Jimmy Fallon, Dion Flynn on set of "The Tonight Show"

I received my inner command and texted Josh back: “Can I go with you as part of your entourage?” He answered, “Sure.” And Jimmy and I were reunited backstage. Jimmy hugged me up, made a fuss, asked where I’d been.

When the time is right, you can't stop the Force and when the time is wrong you can’t force it anyway. I’d spent years waxing down my surfboard, and it was finally time to ride.

MopCo Presents: Dion Flynn "The Only Brown Kid in the Trailer Park

THIS SUNDAY, August 30th @ 7pm, GE Theater at Proctors!


Take a Master Improv Class from Dion Flynn:

After his show on Sunday, he will be staying to teach an improv class on Monday evening!

You may have heard that our friend Dion Flynn, who plays Obama on the Tonight Show, is doing his one-man-show at Proctors on Aug. 30. We are so excited to announce that he is doing a workshop at Mopco on Monday Aug. 31st from 7-9. 

Dion is amazing. He may be the best improviser we have ever seen, or at least is right up there with the best, no kidding. And he is an incredibly insightful teacher.


Meet the author

Heather E. Schwartz has always had a passion for writing, grew up to make a career of it, and was surprised when she struggled to write this bio. In addition to writing, she loves laughing, improvising, and dreaming up crazy ideas. 

The Skinny on… Laci Lee

Mopco cast member since 2014

What was your favorite toy as a child?

I had a Birthday Barbie that I was obsessed with for years. I wouldn’t let anyone play with her and she had her own stand. 

What’s your favorite local restaurant?

It used to be Mingle, in Albany, but they closed so now it’s New World Bistro

Would you rather travel to the moon or the bottom of the sea?

To the moon, better peripheral vision. 

What’s your motto?

I don’t know if I have one, but I have a Pinterest board of quotes and sayings and here’s one I like: “I’m a simple woman, I like handsome bearded brunette men and breakfast food.”

Come Make Up Songs!

Admit it. You were skeptical when you read that class description for Mopco’s “Sing Your Butt Off! Summer Music Class.”

Beginners learning to improvise songs? you scoffed, inwardly. Impossible!

Nevertheless intrigued, you wanted to know more. You wanted to know what happens in the class. How this is possible.

So I went ahead and asked for you. Here’s what Mopco Musical Director Mark S. Meritt explained.

 1. The class covers aspects of melody, harmony, working with an accompanist, and basic song structure. The building blocks, really, for creating a song.

2. Students who’ve improvised before can use their improv skills to create lyrics (otherwise known as just plain words). The only difference here is the words are set to music. 

3. Students who haven’t improvised before will still be able to do this because the entire process is broken down into simple steps.

And suddenly, learning to improvise songs sounds like an attainable goal, after all.



Man, we are bussssyyyyyyy at Mopco Headquarters


Here we go!!!


Be Brave!

By Heather Schwartz

Does the thought of taking an improv class both intrigue you and scare you to death? If so, you’re not alone, especially if you don’t think of yourself as a performer. Let’s face it: In an improv class, you’ll be doing stuff—i.e. performing—in front of at least a few other people. It’s not the kind of thing everyone is naturally inclined to jump into.

Surprisingly, though, respected, talented, well-loved professional performers often experience those same feelings that might hold anyone back. Judy Dench lives in fear as a performer, according to The Stage. And E! Online reports Adele has a nervous habit of tossing her cookies before shows.

Why do tormented souls continue performing when it creates so much stress? That’s a question to be explored further in another post. The simple answer is this: Performing creates positive feelings, too. There’s a payoff. And it’s so amazing it’s worth working through some anxiety to get it.