We ask Nate DuFort and Adam Peacock, two Detroit good ol' boys who moved to Chicago to make their place at The Second City, about their personal paths, the differences between the DET and CHI improv scenes, and what they're up to now.
(Spoiler - the call is coming from inside the neighbor's house...)
Where are you from?
AP: I'm from Allen Park, Michigan.
ND: Plymouth, Michigan.
AP: AP from the AP, baby. So, it makes sense that I pretty much base all of my characters on Juggalos, that style of person. Does that sound terrible?
ND: Of course it does (laughing). And I think Plymouth has influenced me in that it’s a balance of blue collar and culture which definitely gave birth to my aesthetic and work ethic. I’m either giving Plymouth or myself too much credit there for sure.
Where did you work/perform in Detroit?
ND: We both came up in the Second City Detroit training center system when it was downtown.
AP: Then I was your stage manager with you and Timmy (Tim Robinson) on Tour Co.
ND: That’s right. I feel awful, but we tortured you. We were awful. Great company though – Tim Robinson, Jaime Moyer, Quintin Hicks, PJ Jacokes, Brett Guennel toured with us, Tiffany Jones.
AP: Yup and then the Ant.
ND: Planet Ant was like home to both of us.
AP: The Home Team, we did the original comedies there.
ND: How many of those did you do?
AP: I don’t know, five or six.
ND: That sounds high. You’re definitely exaggerating.
AP: I don’t know. Does it really sound exaggerated?
ND: (laughs) and then I ran the film fest. It’s so important to have a home base like that and I imagine that’s how a lot of people feel about Go now.
AP: It’s gone now, but Improv Inferno was big for a lot of us. The Damnation Game and Eye Candy with PJ, Chris, Timmy and Tim McKendrick.
What took you to Chicago?
ND: I was running Second City Novi and then when the partnership at Second City and the Novi venue was ending I was hired in Chicago to produce so I made the jump.
AP: For me, Second City closed and I didn't really know what else to do here in Detroit you know and I wanted to try it out of Chicago because they were supposed to be the best. And so I wanted to go up there and see if I can hang with those guys and Timmy and Sam were out there, you were out there – a bunch of people. So I went.
What did you do in Chicago?
ND: You go first.
AP: Yeah, I did a handful of ships for Second City, I understudied Timmy on the Mainstage for what like six months?
AP: After that I joined Blue Co (one of the Second City’s Touring Companies) , did a lot of the shows in the UP Theatre, Theatricals and improv shows and then did a six week run at Wooly Mammoth in D.C.
ND: And my story was that I was the Producer of Second City’s Theatricals division and the Producing Director of the Touring Companies and some weeks was producing up to 105 performances weekly. That’s a lot of comedy. Some of the cooler things I did was produce the show we did with Lyric Opera with Renee Fleming and Sir Patrick Stewart and then led the producing team for the Second City partnership in the collaboration with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. I was really lucky to have been on those shows and work with that amazing talent.
ND: Fair enough.
What are some major differences between the Detroit and Chicago improv scenes?
AP: This one's really tough to answer.
ND: For sure. Well, even though the Detroit scene has grown significantly since we've been here it still seems like it's one big family. And it’s a family that you’re part of forever. I know that even now when I walk into a theater in this scene it feels like I’m going to see my favorite people in the world.
AP: Totally. I think the biggest thing and correct me if I'm wrong, but like there's more opportunity in Chicago because of the industry.
ND: Yeah I think that's a huge difference. If you hustle you can make a career in Chicago just playing and teaching.
AP: In Detroit that’s less true, but the difference is everyone here (in Detroit) does it for love.
ND: Exactly. That’s huge. And there’s less pressure here because of who might be in the audience that can hire you for this gig or that gig so it doesn’t seem like you’re auditioning all of the time.
Do you have any advice for Detroit improvisers looking to move to NY, LA, or Chicago?
ND: My advice is really that Detroiters are everywhere. The best advice for people who want to move out of the city is to reach out to the people that have done it before you. When I visit Los Angeles those are always the first people I reach out to – old castmates, directors, teachers, people I look up to…and so far every single person I've ever reached out to has been so giving so accommodating. I just recommend making sure you have a strong base of people and don’t forget that building a career takes years. There’s nothing that will kill you faster than expecting things to happen overnight.
AP: Yeah, you know it's a pretty tight knit community so I wouldn't be afraid to reach out to anybody and just ask them for some advice. I mean, reach out to one of us for sure and we’ll happily share all of our failures.
What projects are you working on now?
AP: We have the podcast My Neighbors Are Dead.
ND: Adam interviews side characters from horror films with some of our favorite improvisors.
AP: TJ (TJ & Dave’s TJ Jagodowski), Katie (SNL’s Katie Rich), Tim Ryder (MST3K), Brendan Dowling, Asher Perlman, Blaine Swen (Improvised Shakespeare Co.).
ND: Susan Messing and Rachael Mason, so many great players. Jaime Moyer.
AP: Totally. And then I’m just focusing more on writing solo sketch material.
ND: And I have another podcast called Midstream and a few more coming out this summer.