Long story short, the nickname “Zippy” comes from a character I played in a 2nd grade talent show. It was my first acting experience, and wouldn’t you know it- the name stuck!
It doesn’t matter- I’ll answer to any of the three!
I was able to parlay my love of acting into a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the California Institute of the Arts, where I was privileged to get a mix of both classical and experimental theatre training from some of the top instructors in the country. They also had great Halloween parties.
I got a job.
I took standup comedy classes over at Mi’s Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica, California. I enjoyed being a part of Westside’s community, and it led me to go through their improv training. I was lucky enough to be a regular performer, both as part of a house team (Ghost Party Orchestra), and as a member of their flagship improv show, Mission IMPROVable (as Agent Hammertime).
Yup. I guess it’s kind of my thing.
Well, Mission IMPROVable is sort of like that, but since a TV audience watching an 8pm show at home is a lot different than a live audience coming to watch a 10pm show at a comedy theater, the energy at Mission IMPROVable is unmatched. Plus, I think our games are better. But I’m biased.
Ghost party Orchestra’s form of improv is known as longform. Basically, you put a group of performers on stage, someone in the audience yells out a word, and you do a full show of interconnected scenes based off of that one word. It can get pretty crazy.
Sketch comedy! There wasn’t a lot of it going on when I first got there, so some friends & I decided, “Why not us?” I co-created, co-wrote, co-produced, and co-performed in two regularly-running sketch shows while I was there: Kaufman & Kaufman Presents, and The Get Buck Variety Riot.
If you’re ever in Los Angeles, I highly recommend you give them a visit. Sadly, you won’t find me there these days, as I moved to the East Coast.
Well you know the phrase “When opportunity knocks, you…” Wait. What is the rest of that phrase? I mean, I know it’s got something to do with answering a door…or is the whole phrase just, “When opportunity knocks?” And what if you have a doorbell?
…But I digress.
I had been an L.A. kid all my life, but at some point, I knew that I had to see what the East Coast was all about. Thankfully, a short stint as a creative writer over at WWE allowed me to move east and experience new things like weather (it snows here!), public transportation that doesn’t stink, and East Coast food (Oh, the food!).
That’s the one.
Quite well! After WWE, I took a chance and explored an avenue I’ve always been interested in: Voice acting. To date, some of the clients I’ve worked with have been MTV, and the University of Louisville.
I enjoy watching sports (especially the Lakers, Dodgers, UCLA, and Raiders), bowling, karaoke, and chocolate chip cookies (no nuts!).
For more information about this and other episodes head over to mikelenzvoice.com.