Profile

TS TOM SOTER: A LIFE

Choose one: Tom Soter (1) is seen every week as the host of the satirical Weak Previews movie review show, reviewing movies that were never made; (2) has been an improv teacher since 1987; (3) has been an editor at Habitat magazine, since 1982; (4) is the author of two books, Bond and Beyond: 007 and Other Special Agents and Investigating Couples: An Analysis of The Thin Man, The Avengers, and The X-Files ; (5) is six-foot-seven and built like Hulk Hogan.

TS interviews Raymond Burr

If you chose No. 5, then you obviously have never seen Sunday Night Improv, the long-running comedy jam at the Soter/Lee Blackbox Theater of which Soter is the producer, emcee, and most regular performer. As for Choices 1-4, they're all true ? which means that Tom Soter leads a very busy life.

The five-foot-nine, spectacled comic was born on October 23, 1956 in New York City. 

TS interviews Raymond Burr

He began improvising 12 years later when he and his friends and family made audio tape "radio shows" without scripts (the first was called The Lethal Camera; later programs included Planet of the Nuns and West that Wasn't.) He soon began appearing in

 improvised Super-8 action movies, created by pal Christian

 Doherty (the most bizarre was You Made Me Hate Myself). By 1981, he was producing a cable TV access comedy show called Videosyncracies. 

Author, author: Soter's second book.Soter's second book.

In the meantime, he was also pursuing a career as as a writer. In 1978, fresh out of Columbia University, he worked as an editor at Firehouse, a monthly publication for firefighters. By 1982, he had begun his long association with Habitat, which is about cooperative living, not hamsters.

Over the years, he has also written for New York Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Muscle Media, V, Video, Video Times, View, Shoot, The New York Observer, Diversion, Starlog, Scarlet Street, Southwest Spirit, Britain's Empire: The Movie Magazine, Movieline, The Dial, Nostalgia, INTV Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, World Screen News, and The New York Times, among others.

In 1981, he began his long love affair with improvisation. He saw a performance of New York's Chicago City Limits and was soon taking classes with CCL founder George Todisco, as well as David Regal, Linda Gelman, Chris Oyen, Bill McLaughlin, and Carol Schindler of CCL, and Del Close of Second City.

In 1984, he started performing with his own successful improv group, the New York Improv Squad at night spots around New York, including The Original Improvisation and Folk City. He also co-founded the improv troupe Improv DaDa, which won first place in Freestyle Repertory Theatre's 1991 city-wide improv competition.

Mob scene: N.Y.  Improv Squad at 1985 Festival of Street Entertainers. N.Y. Improv Squad at 1985 Festival of Street Entertainers.

He started teaching improvisation in 1987. His graduates include most of the Chainsaw Boys, former Chicago City Limits cast members Larry Bell and Sean Conroy, Gotham City Improv's David Storck, Beth Littleford of TV's The Daily Show, and Denny Siegel of TV's Whose Line is it Anyway? 

Jamming, 1995: Soter, with cast members, at the HomeGrown Theater.

Soter, with SNI cast members, 1995.

Five years later, he took over the long-running improv jam, which he rechristened Sunday Night Improv. "I love teaching and I love the jam," he said recently. "I guess I love keeping busy. I hope I can continue doing this until they carry me away."

Biography: Resume

TOM SOTER:
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS


TS interviews Raymond BurrTS interviews Raymond Burr

Writing/Editing
4/82 - Present
MANAGING EDITOR, CONSULTING EDITOR, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Habitat Magazine

6/78 - 6/81
ASSISTANT EDITOR, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Firehouse Magazine

6/78 - Present
FREELANCE WRITER
Entertainment Weekly, Diversion, Empire, Video, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health,
Video Times, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times Syndicate, many more


2002
BOOK AUTHOR
INVESTIGATING COUPLES
An analysis of The Thin Man, The Avengers, and The X-Files

Bond and Beyond: first book.Soter's first book.

1992
BOOK AUTHOR
BOND & BEYOND: 007 AND OTHER SPECIAL AGENTS
Book about the James Bond movies and their offshoots.

Improv/Performance
1987 - Present
IMPROV TEACHER
Teach beginning, intermediate, advanced,
and performance level classes in improv comedy.

1992 - Present
EMCEE/PRODUCER/PERFORMER
SUNDAY NIGHT IMPROV
Host. producer, director of weekly improv comedy jam
at the 78th Street Theater Lab, 236 West 78th Street
SoteratHGSoter at Sunday Night Improv.

1990 - Present
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR, VARIOUS INDUSTRIALS
Directed, created/co-wrote industrials
for Sixteen Magazine, Green Forest Environmental Group, others

1984 - 1986
PERFORMER, DIRECTOR, N.Y. IMPROV SQUAD
Improv troupe that performed at clubs such as The Improvisation and Folk City and in Central Park for a year. Chosen to be in the Village Voice Festival of Street Entertainers.

1982 - 1984
PRODUCER, WRITER, PERFORMER, VIDEOSYNCRACIES
Created, wrote, produced cable TV comedy show.

 

Kelly Stevenson