Anthony Veneziale, also known by his stage name ‘Two-Touch’, is the conceiver and co-creator of the improvisational hip-hop comedy musical group Freestyle Love Supreme, as well as the FLS Academy. He has been performing and teaching improv for more than 20 years and is a leader in the field of musical improvisation. Anthony has used these techniques for endeavors with names such as Tommy Kail, Lin Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, and numerous others. He co-founded Speechless Inc, an “an improv thinking company that helps humans create, collaborate, and find their authentic voice”. For several years Anthony has worked with, and been involved in studies by, Dr. Charles Limb out of UCSF Sandler Center, who is renowned for his research on brain activity during musical improvisation. Anthony was most recently seen on Broadway in the limited run of Freestyle Love Supreme, and has appeared on TV in Sex and the City, All My Children, Looking, Bartlett, and the Hulu documentary We Are Freestlye Love Supreme, which documents the groups 15 year history.
Never once did Anthony think he could make a living out of doing improv. But, he says, “I loved it so much that I continued to do it until people paid me for it”. During our conversation, Anthony reiterates how interested he is in the affects improvising has on people’s brains. This is evident in his creation of and work with the companies Speechless Inc., and Freestyle Love Academy. Even more so, he is interested in the affects improv can have on a community. In their classes at FLS Academy, they work to create an environment where people feel authentically themselves, where they are seen and recognized as their authentic selves, and are then able to encourage others to do the same. Improv has proved to be “a fabulous tool to help people do that”. Anthony also shares more on the work he has been a part of with Dr. Charles Limb, who uses an fMRI machine to create 3D models of the brain, and identify when subjects are in a “flow state”. For some, this flow state is a “runner’s high” while running, and for others, improv is the key.
In this episode, we talk about:
- The parts of the brain associated with a “flow state”
- Discovering hip hop music when he was 10 years old
- Auditioning for his college improv troupe
- How he got his stage name, Two Touch
- The mission and work of Freestyle Love Supreme Academy, and Speechless Inc.
- How isolation during COVID affects our brains
- Alan and Anthony play an improv game called Convergence
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