IMPROVISER + SKETCH COMIC RON PEDERSON ON JOINING + LEAVING MADTV (MF GALAXY 153)

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Ron Pederson. I never worked with him but we crossed paths a bunch of times in Edmonton’s sketch comedy, improv, and theatre community, and then one day I up and turn on my TV and boom! There he is on MadTV, which for me was the funniest US sketch show ever made.

I shouldn’t’ve been so surprised he’d hit the big time. Other Edmontonians had made it big, including Michael J. Fox, Jill Hennessy from Law & Order, Bruce McCulloch from Kids in the Hall, and Nathan Fillion from Firefly. And Edmonton was and is English-speaking Canada’s leading theatre and sketch-improv city.

Still, to see a kid I knew on MadTV was exciting, and Ron was great. Plus I’d seen him kill in the gonzo science fiction musical comedy Road to Uranus by Dana Anderson and Cathleen Rootsaert. And he’d been a mainstay in the longform improv community with shows such as Die-Nasty!, and worked all across Canada with major outfits such as the Citadel in Edmonton, the Stratford Festival, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Tarragon, and more. So why not MadTV, huh?

But after three seasons, Ron left MadTV, and for plenty of people, by which I mean me, that raised the question, “What the hell? After you get on a show like freaking MadTV, why would you ever leave?”

Well, I decided to ask him.

In today’s MF GALAXY, Ron Pederson discusses:

  • How he started in the Edmonton theatre and improv communities, and which local luminary gave him his life-altering first big break
  • How improv is invaluable for performing artists and for plain-old being alive
  • The gonzo experiment of performing in an improv competition between two teams… completely by himself as both teams and the judge
  • Why acting onstage is so much more satisfying than acting onscreen, and
  • What he loved about working on what he calls one of the greatest sketch shows ever produced, and why he left it forever

We spoke by Skype on November 11, 2014.

To hear the nearly half an hour of patrons-only bonus content from my conversation with Ron Pederson, visit mfgalaxy.org to click on the Patreon link to become a sponsor for a dollar or more per week.

By funding MF GALAXY, you get access to all extended editions of the show including this one with Ron Pederson discussing:

  • His performance at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival of the science fiction musical comedy Road to Uranus with writers Cathleen Rootsaert and Dana Anderson
  • The mindset required to earn a living as a stage actor
  • How he got cast the audition for MadTV and how he nailed it
  • What it takes to survive and thrive on a sketch comedy TV series, and the surprising reason why he left it all behind

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