Kristen Howell is an elementary art teacher, born and raised in Columbus. She attended Miami University and received her Master of Education from Ashland University.
At Miami she was a member of the improv troupe Tower Players for three years. After college, she studied improv with George Caleodis for over four years. She was a member of Stir It Up, which merged with other performers to become Out of Our Heads. She was also in The Marys, Columbus's first all female troupe. In 2005, she coached Easily Amused for a year, and in 2007, she joined EA as a performing member. While with The Marys and Easily Amused, she was fortunate to be coached by the incomparable Chris Lane. Kristen has participated in countless workshops with notable teachers and theaters, including Improv Olympic and Second City.
Mike Weaver is a writer, certified professional coach, improv performer and teacher, and a pastor at All Saints Lutheran Church in Worthington, Ohio. Luther Seminary called him an "Improv Artist in the Pulpit."
He has received training in improvisation from The Upright Citizens Brigade in New York, Bay Area Theater Sports in San Francisco, and Cinublue Productions in Columbus, Ohio among many others. In addition to performing with Easily Amused, Mike has been a main stage performer with The Black Box Improv Theater in Dayton, Ohio, is a member of the Fugacious Four, an improv troupe in the Midwest, and teaches long-form improv to experienced improvisers. He is also an contributing consultant and former member of the board of the Applied Improvisation Network.
He currently teaches improv with Make A Scene Improv in Columbus
Every time someone asks, "How did you get started?" or "How long have you been performing together?" we look at each other, straining to remember the dates and details. So, more for our own benefit than anyone else’s, here is our story…
The year was 2004. The fabulous, creative Carolyn Harding had a company called Cinublue, which consisted of a series of basic improv classes taught by Carolyn herself. Daniel Hill was part of the first group of Cinublue students. He had to take time off before completing the series, and rejoined the classes with the second group of students, which included Mike. Upon graduation, the group decided to form a troupe and call themselves Easily Amused. They started performing at the Hey Hey Bar & Grill about twice a month.
In January 2005, as a young inexperienced troupe, Easily Amused was looking for a coach. A new troupe member suggested Kristen for the job. Kristen had been doing improv since college, and at that time was performing with a short-form troupe called Out of Our Heads. EA met with Kristen, and it felt like a good fit. Kristen became EA's first coach. Around the same time, Kristen was asked to join The Marys, which consisted of that first group of Cinublue students with whom Daniel had started classes. They were at the Hey Hey doing long-form improv, which was Kristen's passion, and so she left Out of Our Heads to join The Marys, Columbus's first all female troupe.
Over the course of the next year the cast of Easily Amused, like that of most troupes, evolved. In December 2005 they parted ways with Kristen in order to broaden their horizons with a new coach, Kristen's former instructor and Out of Our Heads cast-mate George Caleodis. Kristen continued to perform with The Marys until they dissolved in 2006. In January of 2007, after more cast changes, Easily Amused asked Kristen to return as a performing member of the troupe. She ecstatically agreed.
Soon after, Easily Amused found a new coach in Chris Lane of Madlab, who was also an instructor with Cinublue. The troupe continued to perform at the Hey Hey, but was looking for a new venue. By 2008, they found Espresso Yourself Music Cafe, and the performers were experienced enough to coach themselves.
Cast changes continued. In September 2009, Mike, Daniel, and Kristen once again found themselves looking for additional performers. They decided to meet at Champs to discuss their next move. They were frustrated that they could never find time to practice, and tired of the roller coaster ride of an evolving cast. After nearly an hour of discussion, they pretty much decided to call it quits. Doing a good show with only three people who never had time to practice was just too difficult. But then someone said, "What have we got to lose?"
So Mike, Daniel, and Kristen forgot about the stressful stuff, skipped practice, simply showed up once a month, and tried to have fun. There were some rough shows at first, but every improvisor has them. They eventually adjusted to having three performers, doing scene-based games and “short long-form.” By 2011, Daniel had moved away to start his own business, but drove to Columbus when he could to perform. Mike and Kristen learned that they could pull off an hour show with just the two of them if needed.
In September 2011, Espresso Yourself closed, and we, Mike and Kristen, struggled to find a new venue that felt right. In 2012 Easily Amused became a limited liability company. EA also began performing in Improv Wars at the Funny Bone, then at Studio 35, then at the Big Room Bar. We have been fortunate to be invited to perform with some great troupes and develop some of our own shows at the Garden Theater. Since 2016, we have been frequent performers in Deuces Wild, peformed monthly at Madlab. In January of 2017, we both became part of the Make A Scene Players, who perform regularly at Madlab Theater. Of course, we continue to perform as the duo Easily Amused.
Mike and Kristen were interviewed for Andy Batt's podcast on July 23, 2016. Listen to it here.