I’m inspired by Margot Leitman.
I was immersed in intensive improv classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade, yet secretly hoping for a storytelling class, when I spotted Storytelling and Solo Work 101 in spring 2011. The class was taught by comedian Margot Leitman whose credits include Moth Grandslam Champion, regular appearances on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” and at the UCB a long running solo show and two storytelling shows. I enrolled immediately.
I liked Margot from the start. Though she was statuesque, drop dead gorgeous and decades younger, she made this “sexy-generian” feel right at home when she said the music she liked was from my era including my own Arkansas home boy Levon Helm! Over eight weeks, Leitman helped us mine our own experiences for stories, then refine one six-minute true story to tell live in a class show. She encouraged us to sample story in print, online, and storytelling shows such as RISK! True Tales, Boldly Told and Stripped Stories, Margot’s long running show with Giulia Rozzi.
The first day, I threw out all preconceived story ideas and inhibitions. Over the weeks of this 101 class, 201 and private master classes, Margot inspired in me not only two show worthy stories, but also a common theme drawn from my own life and enough additional rough story ideas to form a set. (Watch for this around Christmas!)
I’m not alone. Leitman’s students go on to publish stories, develop one-person shows, win Moth Storyslams and GrandSlams and be featured on the Moth Podcast.
Margot is humble about her storytelling path. When asked her storytelling route, she simply says, “…standup, then started a storytelling show, then started getting booked on storytelling shows, then started teaching, then started doing the Moth” as if her road to storytelling success is a stroll through Central Park.
It just might be that easy for the hysterically funny Margot. Listen to Leitman’s Moth Grandslam winning story or her frightening food experience on This American Wife and you know you’ve found story gold! Seal Press saw her shine and published Gawky: Tales of an Extra Long Awkward Phase, an Amazon bestseller and feature in LA Magazine’s Reading List. Reviews of Gawky read like a who’s who of women in comedy: Laraine Newman, Kristen Schaal, Sara Benincasa, Rachel Dratch.
Margot, you sure know how to spin life into gold!