I love improv. I love comedy. I love talk shows. I love sketch comedy. When I was introduced to This Live Show with Nate Foster, combining the best from late night talk shows with the joy of a tight, high-energy sketch show, I knew I had to find out more! This Live Show with Nate Foster, created by Tamsi New and Jay Malsky, has a host, co-host, audience participation, topical humor, character sketches and absurdist comedy. It truly is a mash-up of Jimmy Fallon and SNL.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was always a big fan of Robin Williams when I was growing up. I remember buying his comedy album, and listening to it at night in my room. I don't know if that is what inspired me, per se, but he was definitely an influence. I knew I wanted to perform when I was in middle school. I would go to the play readings for whatever plays the theatre program was going to do that season and would read the characters in these wacky voices, like imitating characters from the Simpsons for some reason. But I never actually did any of the plays. Then in high school I started acting, and I pretty much knew.
2. After touring with Hampstead Stage Company, you came back to New York and began studying at The PIT. Out of all the improv places in NYC, why did you choose to study at The PIT? I really didn't know much about the improv scene in NYC. My girlfriend had started taking classes there. She's also an actress, and so, I don't know. It wasn't exactly an informed decision. I just ended up getting lucky and making a sort of arbitrary choice that paid off for me.
3. Now you are the host of the monthly series This Live Show with Nate Foster, created by you, Jay Malsky, and Tamsi New, which combines the best from late night talk shows with the joy of a tight, high-energy sketch show. How did you decide to come up with this format for your series? Well the three of us had all performed in a faux SNL show at the PIT--a class that was offered that let's writing students experience what a week at SNL would be like. I did the weekend update segment. During the process we all lamented that there wasn't anything really like this out there. Tamsi and Jay then went off and crafted the show, and came to me and asked me to host it. But it was really their brainchild. The idea was that, sure we could do a mock SNL, but incorporating elements of late-night television makes it a lot more interactive for the audience I think.
4. If you could choose 3 dream guests to have on This Live Show, who would you choose? So we don't actually have guests on the show...yet. That's something we discussed earlier in the process, but for right now it's really just the writers, performers, me, and our house band Rebecca Vigil and the Vigilante. I think it'd be great to have someone come and sit down for an interview, play some silly game, and get a chance to perform in sketches with the cast.
5. From your "Meet The Creators" video, it looks like the three of you have a lot of fun together. What pranks have you played on each other during the show or in creating each show? Haha. Sometimes it is so hectic during the process that we barely see each other, believe it or not! They're working with the actors on sketches, I'm working with the writers and then we come together toward the end. I think if I pulled some sort of prank on one of them, I may get killed.
6. What is the craziest thing to happen so far during this show? Well we've only had three so far, so nothing too far off the walls has happened in terms of sets falling over or anything. I always feel like I'm forced to eat things in the show. In October I was force-fed pumpkin puree, and this past month I had to eat a bunch of jellied cranberry sauce. But most of the craziness comes from the audience bits, because we usually have contestants from the audience come up and play a little game, and their responses can be unpredictable.
7. What challenges do you face with so much audience interaction? What pleasure do you get from interacting with the audience? I love incorporating the audience. I think the show is more of an experience than a typical show where you sit and watch a bunch of people perform a bunch of sketches. We use them. We ask them to interact. Rebecca, the band leader, does an improvised musical number in the middle of the show where she pretty much exclusively plays off the audience. They love it. Sure you run the risk of losing a little control over the tightness of the show, but I think what you gain from it is so much better. The audience is part of the show.
8. As a boy from Westbrook, ME, how does the reality of living out your dream in NYC compare to what you thought it would be like? If you could do it all over again, would you? Well, it's expensive. I could've stayed in Maine and bought a house. And who knew Maine was that beautiful?! But I feel like I need to be where everything is happening. I love it here. Anytime I leave the city, I eventually feel like I need to get back here. There's so much culture, and there's so much life.
9. I've heard you've been living in purgatory between performing and serving desserts. It's such a hard place to be. Have you ever thought of just giving up and going straight to hell? How do you keep yourself going so you end up in heaven? Haha, sure I've thought, hey what would happen if I go get a "real" job and wouldn't have to worry about security or instability. But I know I would be unhappy and regret it later on. I'm doing what I love. Sure, I'd like to do what I love and get paid a lot more for it, but I've still got a pretty good life compared to three quarters of the planet, so I feel lucky.
10. With the holiday season upon us, what's your favorite way to spend the holidays in NYC? Leave NYC. No, it's nice here, but there are so many places you have to avoid during the holidays, it's just nice to get away while the rest of the world comes to visit.
An actor, improvisor, and stand-up comedian, Nate was born in Westbrook, ME during a heat wave, resulting in an enlarged cranium and the ability to sprint like a Kenyan. Not long after his birth, he completed his BFA in Performing Arts at Adelphi University in NY. He then toured with Hampstead Stage Company, performing at schools across the Atlantic US, before returning to New York to try his hand at waiting tables. It was here that he began studying Improv at the PIT. It is in this awkward purgatory--torn between his love of taking dessert orders and his need to perform--that we currently find him.