Zack Stovall – Sketchpad Producer

All month long we’ve been talking to Sketchpad Comedy people. One of those people, that we love so dear, is Zack Stovall.

I’ve known Zack since I began comedy back in 2011. His physical humor and ability to act a damn fool for laughs caught my attention early on. I always wanted to do comedy with Zack, but soon after I began, he seemed to disappear. There was a hole in my heart. Then, when he came to me about doing Sketchpad, my heart was complete again. I couldn’t wait to get him on the show and play make-believe with him.

Here’s the interview with Zack about his Sketchpad Comedy experience:

12190078_822912554820_2816602143659401927_nQ: How did you hear about sketchpad?

I heard about SketchPad from, duh, Jason Flamm. Jason and I knew each other a little bit from when I had done improv and stand up when he was just getting started. I ran into him at a show and while I was catching up with him, he mentioned this sketch project he was working on.

Q: What drove you to check it out?

I’d gotten into this weird secluded rut where I was just writing material or articles and drawing cartoons; just collecting work by myself without having to bounce anything off a breathing audience. I had done improv, and I did/still do stand up, but it wasn’t with the frequency I needed and, even when I had, it felt like something was missing from it. I had had a few sketch ideas rolling around in my thinkhole, and was needing a stage to get them out.

Q: How was your first experience?

My first experience was great, albeit kind of daunting. I specifically remember Chris Melton, Josh Evans, and Nathan Maul having this conversation that was so technical (hammering out the details of a sketch can be like building something from IKEA, only there are just words instead of cheap fake wood) yet so fast-paced and hilarious I remember thinking It’s going to be a year or so before I can hang with these pros. But not only were they super helpful with honing and reshaping my sketches, but they were very encouraging with the ideas I was presenting.

The whole team made me feel like I didn’t just belong in the room, but that I needed to be there pitching in.12307369_809492679173027_6340501621442361325_o

Later I found out that that’s almost the whole point of Sketchpad: you bring in the idea you’ve had, and the producers and other writers and actors help you make it happen.

My sketches did really well that night, specifically an idea I’d had about pitching a funeral home like a monster truck rally, calling “Putting the FUN in Funeral Director.” That was an idea I’d written for a magazine, but it didn’t read on the page. And it’s something I could probably have done in a stand up set, but breaking into a character role like that is something wouldn’t have even thought to do prior to Sketchpad.

Q: Why did you accept the role as producer?

I did a few more Sketchpads and really loved the freedom and the community it fostered. It was independent (you have an idea, you do the idea) but also something you could lean on (you have the idea, you work the idea out with others, you do the idea even better than you’d imagined). So being more involved with that was obviously something I wanted to do.

Personally (selfishly?) I also feel like my comedy insights, timing, ideas are all made better by hearing from other people and their own projects within Sketchpad.

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that character work is a strength of mine. But applying these odd tics and traits that make sense in a scene (e.g Motivational Speaker Matt Foley crashes through a table while explaining his passionate dedication to a drug-addled child) doesn’t make nearly as much sense in a vacuum (e.g. a large man is overcome by gravity and a table pays the price); hearing ideas about the construction of a sketch, whittling it down to the anatomy of a joke, it gets to the point of what comedy is and you’re able to build off that.

My writing is better, my stand up is way better, and even my cartoons feel like they’re doing better. Sketchpad helps clear all the neurons and synapses that are clogged with other things and creates a broadband for creativity, not just with sketches.

(Watch his 30 second web series: Zack and Baggy: A Workplace Buddy Comedy!)

Q: What long term plans do you have in comedy? With sketchpad?

My long-term plans in comedy involve doing character-based stand up shows in the most exotic locales around the world for exorbitant sums of money. $500,000 for a show on a pontoon boat in an erupting volcano. $750,000 for Madison Square Garden, but in the middle of an actual Knicks game, dangling above mid-court. $2,500,000 to do the Comedy Cellar of St. Peter’s Basilica.

12309826_809493389172956_4981852344437903407_oI am all about that paper, and frankly, that paper is all about me.

In reality, I’m just focusing on producing good comedy. I was able to do some shows in New York a few weeks ago, in front of different audiences, and they all went well. I’m contributing to STL Sketchpads as a producer, writer, and actor, and am helping put together plans to help grow the community here through workshops, classes and Sketchpad Comedy Presents… shows.

Like I said, Sketchpad helps clear your entire head for every creative endeavor you’ve got. Focusing on myself and my plans or focusing on Sketchpad aren’t mutually exclusive. I recommend it to my stand up and improv and writer friends all the time. It’s great!

Zack wrote an article for splitsider recently – you can read that here >>read Zack’s Splitsider article<<

He also releases his art through Twitter. Follow @ZStovall


For more great interviews from Sketchpad Comedy producers check out Angela Smith, Nathan Maul and Erica Lee.

If you’re curious about what this whole Sketchpad thing is about – Sign up for our email list

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