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We Hate Movies: An Improv Podcast

Alumni Chris Cabin, Andrew Jupin, Stephen Sajdak, and Eric Szyszka have been watching movies, and humorously criticizing them, since their days at Purchase.

Purchase Humor: We Hate Movies

 

Chris Cabin ’05
(dramatic writing)

Andrew Jupin ’06
(cinema studies)

Stephen Sajdak ’06
(creative writing)

Eric Szyszka ’06
(cinema studies)


With improv, it’s a combination of listening and not trying to be funny. —Kristen Wiig


Tune into any We Hate Movies podcast and a genuine sense of camaraderie and familiarity quickly emerges. It’s natural, since Chris Cabin, Andrew Jupin, Stephen Sajdak, and Eric Szyszka have been watching movies, and humorously criticizing them, since their days at Purchase.

“We would get together in our dorm and watch bad Charles Bronson movies and just make fun of them out loud,” Jupin recalls.

We Hate Movies is a weekly podcast that lambastes, mostly without exception, “bad” movies that are at least ten years old. Since 2010, the group has released more than 260 episodes, and last spring Sideshow Network added We Hate Movies to its roster of podcasts.

The opportunity resulted in a wide-ranging interview with legendary comedian Gilbert Gottfried.

Szyszka, Sajdak, and Jupin with comedian Gilbert Gottfried (second from left)Szyszka, Sajdak, and Jupin with comedian Gilbert Gottfried (second from left)
The Early Years and Private Cabin


We Hate Movies is an offshoot of Private Cabin, a comedy collective whose members all met at Purchase and who describe themselves as “comedians, writers, critics, and guys who thought watching movies as a college education wasn’t a waste of money.”

They’ve produced Web series, short videos, and live, staged comedy shows, and their work has been featured on Cracked.com and FunnyorDie.com.

Along with Justin J. Case ’05 (dramatic writing), Adam Schulmerich ’05 (dramatic writing), and Sean Weiner ’05 (cinema studies), the group began writing together and performing shows on campus in the Humanities Theatre in 2005 and 2006.

Jupin got his start after he took a comedic role in a one-act-play festival put on by the dramatic-writing program. He was hooked.

Sajdak had always been drawn to humor. “I used it as a way of not being so terribly awkward and unconvincing as a person,” he says. An outburst of laughter follows before he adds, “It’s always been a crutch, and so it worked out for me.”

Improv

Jupin and Sajdak both trained at New York City’s Upright Citizens Brigade and the Magnet Theater, groups renowned for developing improvisational comedy. In addition to working with Jupin, Sajdak formed an improv group called Swartzlander, which performs monthly in Brooklyn and at theatres and festivals along the East Coast.

Their improvisational training is put to use whether they’re live on stage or recording a podcast in their living rooms. “It’s still all about listening to what other people are saying and expounding on a point someone made or building on the seed of a joke someone planted,” Jupin explains.

Szyszka doesn’t do improv, but has worked full time in television since he graduated. He’s currently at the cable network Showtime in operations and movie acquisition.

Jupin is a film programmer at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY, and an adjunct lecturer in Purchase’s School of Film and Media Studies, and Sajdak works in print production at Marvel Comics.

A writer, editor, and critic, Cabin is currently an associate editor at Collider.com and on the staff of SlantMagazine.com.

A Serious Second Job

Even though they all hold “day jobs,” they treat We Hate Movies as a second job, not as a hobby. That seriousness has resulted in a steadily increasing listenership.

“It’s grown quite a bit from where it started. We’re lucky,” Jupin says. Without missing a beat, Sajdak adds, “It started with my mom, and Andrew’s mom. Eric’s mom wasn’t on board and Chris doesn’t speak to his mother.”

Film Venture


Private Cabin ventured into the feature-film world in 2014 with We Are Strangers, an entirely improvised film about old relationships ending and new ones beginning. It was an official selection of the New Filmmakers New York 2014 festival and premiered at Anthology Film Archives. The group’s second feature is in postproduction.

The members have been in talks about television projects, but nothing has materialized yet. For now, they’d like to take We Hate Movies on the road, do more live shows, and keep expanding what they’re doing. 


 

Purchase Humor is a series of profiles featuring alumni whose craft was nurtured at Purchase. Originally published in PURCHASE magazine (Fall/Winter 2015) and updated for the website Fall 2016.