Quality is everything for actor-comedian Tim Baltz


Last semester I was given the opportunity to interview the actor-comedian Tim Baltz. You may recognize him from such shows as “Drunk History,” “Veep” and “Parks and Recreation.” Even if you aren’t familiar with him or his work, he is definitely someone worth knowing. Tim Baltz is one of the stars of the show “Bajillion Dollar Propertie$” and the co-creator/star of the show “Shrink,” both of which were previously streaming on Seeso.

Seeso was a comedy streaming platform owned by NBC with a lot of original programing and archived televsion shows. Many of the shows have found new homes in places like VRV.com.

Sadly, this isn’t true for Tim Baltz’s improv-based shows “Bajillion Dollar Propertie$,” a fake reality show about an LA real estate agency, and “Shrink,” a show about a man just out of medical school with no residency and half a million in debt who decides to start giving free therapy sessions.

When I sat down with Tim we talked a lot about his show “Shrink,” which he co-created with Ted Tremper and which has technically been in development since before 2012. He told me about its journey from a web series to where it is today. They originally filmed ten “sessions” with different improvisers only with the intention of releasing it as a web series until they realized that, with some tweaking, it could be made into a pilot; which is exactly what they did. The pilot was then bought in 2014 but nothing was done with it, and from then until 2017 they had been trying to buy it back. When they finally did, they sold it to Seeso and the first season was made.

We then started talking about his roots in comedy and how doing improv in Chicago’s Second City shaped him as a comedian; he told me that “quality is the most important thing” for him and he attributed that, in part, to his start in Chicago. Chicago, was “cut off from the coasts” and most comedians from there wouldn’t get big unless they got on SNL, which only a few did. Because of this, many comedians like Tim Baltz didn’t worry about catering their comedy only to those who could advance their career and were instead able to focus on the quality of their comedy, which has stuck with Tim to this day. In talking about improv, Tim told me that he cares about “what helps a scene, and if that’s me being quiet then I’ll do that,” showing that his concern is with the scene and not himself. This focus on quality of comedy also has made him appreciate reality and emotion in conjunction with comedy and how they can work together. This definitely can be found in “Shrink” because, although it is very funny, it also has a lot of heart to it. On editing the show, he told me “it was a lot of fun to look at the show on a granular level” and “cutting something really funny for something with more emotion because the emotion will make a joke later in the episode even funnier.”

This focus on quality of comedy also has made him appreciate reality and emotion in conjunction with comedy and how they can work together.

I also asked Tim about his specific comedy and how he likes to think of it. He told me that he doesn’t think about it because if he “starts to think about it [he’s] afraid it’ll get [him] in [his] head.” Another reason Baltz is not interested in defining his comedy is that he wants to be a comedic jack of trades. He was taught to mirror Bruce Lee’s training: Bruce Lee would study all forms of martial arts so he could avoid being a master of any one defined style, but he could be the master of his own style. Tim Baltz likes to try on all kinds of different comedic hats so as to master his own style of humor. This method worked well for Bruce Lee and it seems to be working well for Tim Baltz. Something Tim does enjoy doing is thinking about what interests him about comedy and why. For instance, he realized at some point in his career that he finds salesmen funny and that many of his characters were salesmen. He was able to attribute that to his father, who was an actor, eventually owned a small picture framing business and, in Tim’s words, was a “terrible salesman.” Tim was then able to apply that memory to his comedy.

We finished the interview by talking about any advice he could give to young people, performers or otherwise. He stressed the importance of being a nice person, which in most industries can make a difference. Always working to improve yourself, much like Bruce Lee, is important. When it comes to creating, he said “do something that makes you laugh and, even if no one finds it funny, at least you’re having fun.” You can, and should, check out episodes of “Shrink” and “Bajillion Dollar Propertie$” on YouTube. If you like what you see, which I’m sure you will, please tweet about it with the hashtags #SaveShrink and #Buyjillion to show networks that you want more of these shows. Once you become familiar with Tim Baltz and his work, hit me up on Facebook so we can talk about this lovely man who I thank so much for allowing me to sit down and speak with him.


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