My first improv


Today I went to my first serious improv class. It was actually a three hour "improv diagnostic" led by Asaf Ronen and sponsored by The Tribe in Boston. I hope to spend this upcoming summer in Chicago immersed in improv, and this workshop really wet my appetite.

In my high school and college career doing musicals and plays, I'd done some improv-ish warmups, but never anything as saturated as today's fun. We got to throw daggers and swords at each other, do bad celebrity impersonations and laugh a lot. I'm hooked and can't wait to do more. How many times in life do you get to take a bite out of a little girl's favorite kitty without going to jail?

Having been in standup for almost four years, I've witnessed the fanatical anti-improv attitude of a lot of standup comics, and not all without reason. You want a non-geographical location? How about my foot in your ass? But as with most extremes, it doesn't really help to believe so strongly in them. I just want the improv to expand my performance repetoire.

Over the years, I've done some standup at improv shows, and the improv people always come up and tell me how they admire standups so much because they'd never have the courage to go out there alone and just talk to people. Well, they're courage ain't too shabby either. In the workshop, I started a scene with another man by saying, "You are a great donut maker," and because I said that, he had to be it. How tight is that?? Never in the middle of a standup set have I had to become a donut maker.

The one thing Asaf said that really stood out to me is this: improv comes down to choice and commitment. Once you choose something, you're committed to it. I like it.