Basic at The Groundlings – Part 6 (The “Starting My Second Time Through” Chapter)

Thursday, August 16th, 2012
The cartoon version of my idea of Kevin Berntson

This is sort of how I picture Kevin (minus the handing out ribbons part). This isn’t necessarily what he looks like, just kind of the idea of him.
(Photo Credit:

Last time, I left off saying that my new teacher was Kevin.

From the moment I walked in the room, I knew it was going to be a great semester. Kevin had been a sub for Jordan once, and I remembered him being phenomenal.

Kevin is one is the most genuinely nice people I’ve met in Los Angeles. He seems to be from another world. He’s too nice and fun-loving for this one.

Kevin is extra not-LA. He’s like this old-timey ball of energy from the 1920s. Even though he’s not an old guy, he has this old-timey feel, see.

I think if you’ve ever had Kevin, you have a “Kevin impersonation.” Ask any one of us who’ve had him to do our impersonation. We’ll try to help you get an idea of him.

Kevin has these rays of energy that shoot from his eyes and his jazz hands. (I don’t know that I’ve ever actually seen him do jazz hands, but I do them in my Kevin impersonation.) He’s kind of like this superhero that teaches improv. No matter how incredibly nice he is, he can be terrifying.

(I’m sure that when a superhero is saving you from a burning building – no matter how kind and nice he is, and how much he is there to help you – his energy and intensity can still scare the living daylights out of you. (Kevin has laser eyes!))

Kevin will keep you on your toes without putting you down. Depending on the type of person you are (ex. me), you may have a bit of a breakdown at some point. (What’s life without breakdowns though, right?)

He pushes you as hard as he can to make you better. He notices every single thing – and calls you out for each one of them. It’s all done from a loving place, though. Kevin seems to truly care about every student he has. He wants to see every student be the best improviser she or he can be.

Kevin and his somewhat scary (but awesome) superhero-ness Credit: DC Comics

Kevin and his somewhat scary (but awesome) superhero-ness Credit: DC Comics

After all the months away from improv, I regressed back to the high schooler who had no idea what she was doing. (Granted, there wasn’t much regressing to be done, considering that’s how I ended my time in Jordan’s class.) When the midterm rolled around, I expected Kevin to rip me a new one.

(Dramatic pause.) He didn’t.

I hurried in the room and breathed out, as I sat in the chair across from him. I looked up at him, leaning forward with scared, attentive eyes.

He said I was fun to watch onstage.

What universe am I in right now?

And he said he thought I had great acting chops.

Boom, baby!

He had his notes for me, for sure. Mainly, confidence. (Sound familiar? Like, oh, I don’t know – the same note I got from Jordan? Oh boy.)

As our super short conversation was winding to a close, he said, “Sometimes people psych themselves out in the second half after a strong midterm evaluation, but I’m sure that won’t happen to you.”


It’s funny ’cause it’s probable.

Did it happen? Find out more next time.

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