All the Best Things in Our Short and Precious Lives

Last weekend The New Movement participated in Fun Fun Fun Fest, and it was all the things that we are.
There was the admirable amount of hustle: we were represented in 6 different shows on the comedy stage! The winsomeness, rawness, courage: this could be illustrated by innumerable images of our infinitely silly old-timey western costumes, Mikey DoDo slathered in whip cream and making sweet love to the air, or Christrew.biz pacing the Anarchy wrestling ring. The simple revelry and coolness: I will not lie to you, I love that we get to walk around with an “artist” wristband that, however superficially, affirms my suspicion that we’re all in the exact same genus as Slayer.
However, beyond all this, is what we most are, in the core of our being.

Something that is, to me, nearly ineffable and unmistakably divine.
If I try to express this moment, this quality of our community I fall short of words. Love. That is the only one I really have for it.
You see, when we gather there is a freeing of energy like a force of nature. We are so intent on joy, so passionate about each other, so willing to envelop the moment and risk our full selves in the support and celebration of each other.
It just gushes out and there are moments of playfulness that define the word itself.
In the fields of auditorium shores we exploded in dances, games, acrobatics, purelove.

Oh I get it, you think I’m being overly effusive. Here are some other, better spoken, friends on the topic —

Cris Skelton wrote: In short, The New Movement is one of the best things that’s ever happened on this Earth. I’m ecstatic and humbled to be a part of it. Thanks for this weekend, guys. I will remember it forever.

Rob Gagnon wrote: The people involved in The New Movement have changed my life, I’m happier, I’m more consistently funny in ways that make me proud, I’m performing more and more on bigger stages, depression stays out of the way more often, I don’t worry about being cool, I enjoy spending time with people as much as I enjoy spending time alone… so much of my pride and accomplishments stem from this group of people.

Lisa Friedrich wrote: this weekend served as a reminder of all things accomplished by truth, beauty, freedom and love. the support and love i’ve seen first to ninth hand is incredible.

Chadwick Smith wrote: Maybe even the best weekend ever. But those moments during the M83 show with The New Movement just doing our thing and getting everyone invovled was pure magic and love. UBH all around.

I wish I could get Hafiz to Coach Improv.

This one poem reminds me of the moment when people get on stage and make eye contact with each other at the tipy-top of a scene. Each asks the other for guidance and trust with that look. If only we could use our eyes to give instead of request.

With That Moon Language

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in this world is dying to hear?

-Hafiz


All I Really Need to Know about Improv I Learned in Middle School, and then subsequently forgot before I started really doing improv

The first time I took a class with Tami Nelson feels like an age ago, but I still remember exactly how it felt to walk in that door, what shoes she was wearing, and how she asked me if I had any prior experience doing improv. I replied that although I’d seen some good shows at the UCB theater the last few years, my experience learning improv had taken place in Middle School. If a Thirty four year-old comes into a class and mentions that they used to do a lot of improv ten years ago their experience seems reasonable, a twenty four year old saying the same thing looks silly-dumb. It is incredibly easy to imagine someone being dismissive or even sarcastic about that, but of course, Tami was neither.

From age 11 to 13 I took an improv class for an hour every weekday at school. I also performed street comedy at Renaissance Festivals eight hours a day every weekend November-October, April-May, and rehearsed February-March.

There are some things that I learned back in my Tween years. 


Improv as a Rennie

Few folks know much about what it means to be a paid performer at a Rennisance Festival. Lots of people make weird assumptions. This is understandable. So, Ima tell you about my experience at Cavalier Days Pleasure Faire when I was a kid. Our cast, which was about 30 performers, rehearsed for six hour days Saturday and Sunday for five weeks before the start of the show run. There is no script for a Rennisance Festival. Your characters are your own invention and are not derived from anything written. We are strictly aiming to be comedians and not historical reenactors. All those things are important to know up front.

The day is spent: warming up with shortform games (I used to know over 45: I kinda wish I still had that list), practicing dialect with a coach, learning historically appropriate background, working on status, working on physical comedy, crafting your lazzi & bits, and work shopping your character. We also learn, toward the end of the rehearsal schedule, specifically how to interact with an audience. Most Renaissance Festivals are shit. A good one will have actors that are rarely ever talking to each other, but are interacting directly with the audience constantly.

The show itself is a grueling schedule that goes basically like this:

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Call at 8:00

Cast warm up at 8:30

9:00 opening ceremony/sketch

10:00 wander around and entertain people who are suspicious of you- stay in character despite the fact that the whole thing is one long heckler interaction

12:00 be in a parade

12:45 sketchprov

1:00 acting funny while eating publicly

1:30 make up something big and funny to do that a crowd of people will stand around and watch

2:30 be in a show

3:30 try to pee while wearing pantaloons

3:45 walk around entertaining people then end up being hit on as the patrons are becoming increasingly drunk

4:30 on a stage doing something stupid somewhere

5:00 sing publicly while trying to get laughs

5:30 fight off drunks in character

6:00 ending day sketch

6:30 attempt to peal sweaty or rain drenched velvet and crap off your body –eat or get drunk- and then prepare to sleep in a tent so you can wake up in the morning and do it again.

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I know Renfairs are something of a cultural punch line and not a lot of people’s cup of tea; however, it deserves some respect as a place to witness an almost masochistic dedication to performing and getting a laugh.

Improv as a Fairy
I also worked at the Texas Rennisance Festival for ten years, which was like what I described above, but different. At TRF I played a fantasy character and did children’s entertainment. That is a different scene. Have you ever continuously smiled and taken pictures with masses of kids for several hours straight? I used to do that for money.

Yet, there is a tremendous freedom in being a character that is undeniably not realistic or meant to be human. I think everybody who has ever been a monster on stage knows this pleasure. But, can I tell you that it is infinitely more blissful when you do that all day long?

The joy is in being completely outrageous and illogical, while performing, for hours on end. The discipline is in understanding that you can never break character. The big reveal is realizing that “believable” is a synonym for “entertaining”; if you want to suspend someone’s disbelief the only real pathway is in captivating them. Man, I miss the performance muscles I’d built up from having to be captivating for not minutes, but hours.

Improv as a Middle Schooler
I lucked out getting to have a theater teacher in middle school who was a frustrated improviser. She was hilarious, enchanting, and irreverent. Her parents had guilted her into leaving Chicago, coming back home, and getting certified to teach public school. So Connie taught kids how to make up scenes semi-improvisationaly and a bunch of short-form.

Homework is good for us. Both the Renfair and Connie used to give lots of assignments in journals. I kept a stage journal for both faire & class and that encouraged me to think about tools for stagework. My favorite assignment was to sit in a public place and observe fully someone as though they were a character you would play on stage. We would first note their mannerisms, posture, clothes, age, and voice (if it was possible to hear them talk) and then to imagine their mental state and how their thinking might differ from yours. That was good practice.

I remember some of the things I thought were funny when I was in middle school. I thought a character named “The Kinky Sheep” and his pantheon was hilarious. I thought re-writing songs from musicals to make them about a man who had a paper sack for a head was rip-roaring. I thought troll dolls were inherently funny. I thought that the lady who worked the baked potato stand was amusing. I am a funnier person now. Basically, more than anything else, that is just because I am older and as a result I have more life under me. That translates into more understanding of the complexities of human interaction. Depth of experience is where the funny lives. Also, the Kinky Sheep was totally hilarious.

Part Two, Timing

George Kubler wrote a book called The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things. I read part of it in graduate school. When I read a book, I generally remember an idea from the book. Not normally the “main idea” but an idea that resonates with me. I think the idea that I remember from this book goes very roughly something like this: new innovation or art can only be made at an exact moment when culture has prepared the groundwork for it.

Artists are people who see the next logical void and fill it with something unexpected, but what they make can not be totally unexpected or it would fail. And here is the part where I become less totally sure where my own thoughts start and Kubler’s argument ends, but, it would have really sucked to be Picasso in the sixteenth century. Just like it would have blown to be Bill Gates in 1900 or really any other moment besides the one he ended up in. Because not all starting places are equal. What if you had it in you to invent the microchip but no one had electricity? Being before your time isn’t idyllic, it’s tragic really. Not as tragic as being after your time though; Raphael could be born today, and presuming that his talents were fixed or innate (granted this is not a forgone conclusion), he would have little to contribute to our society and certainly no cultural or social clout 1.

So, Timing. I was watching videos of dancers for the last post and it got me to thinking how sad it is that the time to be that type of dancer, at that level of appreciation, is over.

 

And that got me thinking about my conviction that we New Movementers are explicitly in the right place at the right time. All of us. We have this fresh new art form in front of us and it is begging us to refine it, complete it, exploit it! Milo is fond of saying that what we are doing with improv at this moment is Jazz, but Rock and Roll hasn’t even been invented yet. What will comedy Rock and Roll look like everybody?! Where will it come from? How infectious and revolutionary might it be? I think you know what I’m getting at here: invent the future brothers and sisters! We are on the fringe of the improv world, but we are also on the cusp of what comedy can become. This game, well it’s ours to lose.

People learning improv need to learn forms. Why? Because every artist learns life drawing, though no artist will ever be famous for being an expert at life drawing. Because athletes must run drills and sprints and stretch, though no highlight reel ever shows a good set of sit-ups. We have to learn the classics in order to sharpen our skills and be able to conceptualize how structure works. But look, I think this is a big point, ultimately we are here to invent, not interpret. We are meant not to ask permission for “can you have a show where ___ happens” but to create the kind of shows that get copied everywhere else. Now is the time. Like anything in improv it is about making a bold choice and making sure to bear hug what you have. We could be a form factory over here! We have no need to have groups that modify this or that; the next step is radical stuff, the next step is unique dreams and whims being catered to – because the world already has a few Harold troupes.

Predictability, along with fear, is the mind-killer.
Now, on to the other kind of timing. I was in that long class with Joe Bill last week which I am raving up and down about right now. My favorite note from that class was one that was given over and over again: “Slower and more Intense.” Joe Bill contends that comedy’s root is the breaking of tension. This implies of course the desperate need to create, feed, and grow tension. Tension is a delicious fruit. It holds within itself anxiety and desire, breaking tension therefore creates relief and satisfaction. Boom! Laughs. I have written a lot already about making there be an impact to your choices in a scene. And about giving your scenes legs, so that they can be longer and languish, through strategic offers. However, here I am just talking about pure time and feeling. Silence, umm delicious. Eye contact, juicy. Taking a moment to clearly process the feeling that you are having in a scene, rather than immediately just describing it, delectable.

While watching shows last week I realized really clearly that in a scene there is a big difference between saying “We’ve known each other for two years Stephanie, so I know when you’re being sarcastic,” and acting like I’ve actually known someone for a while and understand their mannerisms. “Calling it out”, whether it’s the game or the details of a relationship, is no good because it kills the tension. There is no point in playing the game anymore if the unspoken tension of the repeating pattern (game) is broken. Likewise, there is no point in watching the relationship of Stephanie’s good friends reacting to her sarcasm if they’re talking about her being sarcastic, instead of being affected by her penchant for sarcasm. Simply put: show don’t tell.

“Showing” in great improv means shutting up, trusting, and building a little tension. Building that tension is hard because what the audience feels the improvisers will have to feel first; if you want them to feel horror, enchantment, tension, or uncertainty there will have to be a seed of that in how you feel. We want to speed up to make the tension we feel go away, but we have to slow down so that the audience has something meaty to sink their teeth into. Well, luckly, we’ve got all the time in the world.

Show 1 footnote

  1.  because film has murdered oil painting

Overflow!

I tried, I really tried. I tried to find an image that would facilitate this analogy poetically. I looked up Kenosis. I typed in pitchers and refilling and replenishing and so on… but hey, what works- works.

Creativity is like a toilet.

Water goes in as it goes out. The apparatus doesn’t work if it is dry or overflowing. There is equilibrium to a crapper.

We are like that:  information, inspiration, experience, teaching, and watching all go in. Creation comes out. If you don’t re-fill yourself you can’t improvise, or create any thought-product of value. However, try to take in too much too quickly and you’ll overflow all over the floor (messy).

I suppose the other analogy that works for this is that of being fed and evacuating; gross! Though I do (and I believe I am not alone in this) often think to myself “I am improv constipated” or “I would like to go dookie all these thoughts or emotions out on stage.” Sorry.

New Movementers, I have been on a journey and my pitcher is overflowing. I had the wonderful opportunity to take an intensive, all day everyday, improv class this past week and I am brimming with ideas right now. Please pardon the mess, and I will at least do you the courtesy of avoiding bullet points.

Gratify yourself.

Messy thought cluster number one is about dancing with yourself. Fred Astaire dances with a coat rack in the movie “Royal Wedding.” It is like similar moments in certain Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly movies where they are accompanied in a dance by the invisible or inanimate; the point of these sequences is to illustrate the virtuosity of the dancer. If Astaire can dance with a coat rack, and make the rack look elegant and graceful, then his art is put in full relief. You see, a male dancer traditionally has the job of making his partner look stunning; all the flourishes, most of the sequins, and the majority of the visual attention belong to the woman dancing. Astaire and Kelly, therefore, show off most effectively when they dance without a woman sharing focus.

So, what does it mean when something that is done traditionally with a partner, something that is almost inexorably about the fact that one does it with a partner, like dance, is separated from the roles of support and collaboration that normally dictate its shape?  Well, I think about that and improv all the time.

There have been times when I have looked at one of my improv heroes and thought “she could be improvising with a coat rack and I’d still watch her all night.” There have been periods where all I wanted for myself was to be able to handle a scene, with absolutely anyone, and trust myself to make them look like Ginger Rodgers even if they behaved more like a wooden poll.

Then, there are times where that idea is silly to me. I want to dance, not appear to dance. I want to collaborate, not perform by myself – with someone else – on stage.

The word for the night is equilibrium. Balance.

A talented improviser is not co-dependant on stage. But he is also never unaffected, pursuing his own joke at the expense of the scene, or lacking in emotional commitment to what is happening in the moment. A good improviser handles her own perspective while being absolutely paranoid and moved by offers of her scene partner.

Joe Bill is an astonishing teacher. When you get a chance, learn from him.

I have taken two workshops and now an intensive from the dude. He always reminds me to, like a mother on an air plane puts on her oxygen mask first and then assists her daughter, cover my own ass first. Just like in a relationship, you best care for your fellow improvisers by first caring for yourself, so that you have strength left over to give and don’t become depleted.

The practical application is at least two fold. One, Joe had us work on “solo-starts.” That process was complex, but for myself I’ve boiled down the lesson (for now) to “don’t worry about your scene partner’s response before they get there.” I can’t tell you how many choices I haven’t made out of the fear that I couldn’t communicate my ideal path for a scene. “If I start this scene in a café in Paris in 1874 and I’m scandalized by the Impressionism exhibit I’ve just visited then my scene partner will be lost… I’d better have another scene in an office.” That is the mind killer.

If I start this scene with strength — Bewildered and overwhelmed (those are the emotions I would “get” from the idea of the exhibit) — With a character shape and a voice that is informed by what delighted me about the original idea – Well, I am going to have a good scene. It couldn’t matter less if that scene takes place in 1874. My scene partner will delight in my strength and my ability to interact with them through a character; she will not spend the whole scene trying to parse my initiating line. I can trust her and I can trust me. Mechanically, that choice looks like me attacking the stage, sitting down, and talking before anyone even gets there. I don’t have to wait quietly for a scene partner to arrive before the scene starts. She will get there, and when she does the scene will take off from where it already is.

Two, Tami always praises people for giving themselves gifts. You will come on licking your arm because you love the taste of blood and are gross and Tami will give the note “you gave yourself this wonderful gift with the gross-out blood liking- Sweet!” Somehow I always feel guilty giving myself gifts though. I end up feeling like “Oh, well shouldn’t I have given my scene partner a gift?” Guess what everybody! Giving your scene partner the opportunity to do a scene with a gross-out blood/puss/booger licker is a giant gift for them! I want to do that scene right now! I don’t want to be in the scene where we look at each other for twenty seconds, while we try to figure out if either of us likes anything in the scene. Nope, I want to watch you lick your arm and I want to freak out (with joy, disgust, or arousal? I don’t know yet!?)

The most selfish thing I could do in a scene is come on as a silly Victorian girl, or an insecure dictator, or horny – but, I am also realizing that this is probably the most generous thing I could do as well. So don’t dance with yourself, but do give yourself a big present, of emotion and perspective, every time you get on stage!  /advice

( Spoiler: Part Two is about Timing)

You are Perfect.

Asking for what you want is hard.

It wasn’t when we were kids. Back then we all said

I want you to be my best friend   or   I want a Tonka Firetruck with the silver hubcaps   or   I want to be a mermaid      Without hesitation.

But then one day we didn’t turn into a mermaid     or we got sox and greenstamps for Christmas     or our best friend broke our little heart.   Then we started getting scared of saying what we want.

Maybe someone even taught us to hate what we wanted: to fear our own power and desire. It almost doesn’t even matter what it was. Somebody said you could never get into film school, that ballerinas ruin their bones, or too many kids want to be marine biologists. Maybe someone tried to convince you to be a pharmacist or an ESL teacher or a lawyer when you had no passion or proclivity for any of those professions. Maybe no one encouraged you at all. It was never about jobs though was it? It was about desire, and the question of whether desperately loving and wanting things is good or bad. Maybe you got taught it was bad to some extent.

Your “hobbies” got derided and everything you wanted seemed to be in spite of the world. Your dreams turned slowly into secrets. Even if somehow you had the strength to take people or ideas that challenged your needs with a grain of salt, one day the insidious thing happened.

The worst thing.

The call is coming from inside the house! The voice is coming from inside your head. And the voice says No. The voice says keep it a secret, because then you may never have the things you most deeply want, but at least you won’t have tried and failed.

And I say: Mr. Quiet ‘No’ Voice, 

 In this song I say “shylapie approves” – you should substitute your own nickname for yourself.


Ask for what you want. Want more. Be in love with your own want.

Then bring that to the stage, ‘cause that’s the show I need to see and the show I burn to be in.

You are Perfect.

Ideas on “Frames” from RUMNEY

Dan Rumney sent in his ideas on “Frames” and they are given below for your reading pleasure! For your greatest reading pleasure, don’t forget the English accent.

 

 

Hey Shyla,

I just read your blog post on frames; it got me thinking and, since you solicited email responses, I thought I would respond.

While I know that no article constitutes a complete survey of a topic, I noted that there was an implied assumption that artistic endeavours have some kind of intrinsic value that should be recognizable by all. The performance of Joshua Bell was, presumably, very good, but as a person who is no great fan of violin virtuosity, I was left unmoved. In addition, I am a *great* fan of Mozart, but I know there are many music lovers who can’t abide him. Indeed, Eric put up some comments about 19th century music that ruffled a few feathers.

I guess my point is that the capacity for an individual to enjoy art is bound up with both external framing (as you covered in your post) and internal framing, built on experience and education. If the internal frame is broad enough, it may lead to ‘appreciation’, which I think differs from enjoyment. Appreciation can complement and heighten enjoyment, but it can also exist on its own.

I think this extends to long-form improv. I think it’s an art-form that can be the victim of its own success when played to a mass audience. Truly great improv can be indistinguishable from sketch comedy and an uninitiated audience may be unable to appreciate what they’re seeing and so miss out on levels of enjoyment. As you mention in your article, there is no televisual platform for long-form improv; I would submit that this is because the best improv would look just like a sitcom, with the added risk that some episodes might suck (i’m not saying that improv must look like sitcoms to be considered the best… just that flawless improv ends up looking scripted).

That said, the canon of Christopher Guest would be a counter to that. Spinal TapWaiting for GuffmanA Mighty Wind and other such, highly improvised films, do show that there is an audience for this… but i do wonder how many people appreciated quite what they were seeing.

Anyway… that’s all a bit of waffle; I hope you found it interesting/engaging/distracting/mercifully short. I really enjoyed your post and this isn’t really a point or counterpoint. But, as someone who clearly has a joy of improv and thinks about it a lot, I wanted to share my thoughts on the matter.

take care

dan x

Pythonists & Sellerists

The flowers of improv are numerous and impressive. Daffodils, dandelions, man-eating snapdragons: there are a great variety of different types of unscripted shows and projects.

Form sometimes takes over function: if you know a lot about the rules of a given form, the clockwork for scenes is pretty determined.

Here I mean knowing information like “we always do an old-timey movie wherein the guy has to get the gal” fundamentally changes the progression of a show. Anything with the tagline “an improvised …fill in the blank” is improv, but not the kind of improv in which “anything can happen”—because the performers know, going in, that certain things must happen for that show to succeed. So, setting aside genreprov, improvised musicals, ect. and going only into the territory of “anything can happen” there are two main types of shows that emerge.

But, over here with the improv tea roses and lilies (common but oh so beautiful!), the distinction in type of show does not come from the structure of the suggestion or its absence. I have seen shows with monologues, organic openings, chants, audience games, single words, and geographic locations where the ensuing shows were much the same as eachother. The suggestion is a starting place. Some groups are better at mining suggestions and creating cohesive through-lines, while some find the thread of the piece from information that emerges during the scenes instead of before them. The character of these types of shows aren’t radically different based on if you start with a game or from scratch. Therefore, I think the meaty difference in performance types/group identity is a conflict between two basic schools.

Intellect vs. Emotions. Individual Liberty vs. Societal Harmony. Line vs. Color. Tradition vs. Innovation. Poussinists vs. Rubenists.  To the great debates of the ages (where all potential answers are intricately entwined with each other like yin&yang) let us add the school of Python vs. the school of Sellers.

The School of Python: Premise. Sketch. UCB. The Mighty Boosh. Comedia del Arte. Punchlines. Payoffs. Big Reveals. The Three Stooges. Grounding the Absurd. 10 scenes/half an hour. Adam McKay.The State. The Simpsons. First teenage HJ behind the school. Sides hurt. “Girl, You Should Have Been There!”

The School of Sellers: Development. Cinema. SCRAM. The Office(American). As You Like It. Connections. Change. Character Arc. Charley Chapman. Absurding the Grounded. 1 scene/hour. Jud Appatow. Juno. Arrested Development. Wedding night love-making. Mind Reels. “I want to tell you the whole story, ‘cause I still can’t believe it wasn’t scripted. Ok, so there is this guy…”

Like any Yin & Yang topic, I feel myself pulled one way & then the other. The best Sellerist shows make you belive in improv as an art. The worst leave you bored. The best Pythonist shows make you laugh so hard you think you’ve transcended time and place. The worst make you confused. But why not have your Cake and Eat it Too?

Frames II: We Are Made of People

Kimya Dawson song sings this song about why she is a musician: Tell someone you miss them, tell someone you need them, tell someone you wish you could be with them all the time. Sounds silly but it’s not a game, making music makes me sane. I sing away my pain and everything turns out okay. I’m not talking fame and glory, ’cause that’s a different story: this story is about how truth and love can save the day.

We are a movement of humble grandeur wherein we all find, and give, what we need to make us sane.      Because, let’s be real here, creative people need art to survive.  Sometimes I think about all the brilliant comedians who really needed to make laughter happen in the world, and how they probably wouldn’t have made it through life without it.

I visited the UCB theater in New York in 2002. It was the first time I saw an improv venue. I felt like a hummingbird. I was filled up with desire and passion all at once, like a hidden place inside me had been awakened. There was a free hilarious show, and well known comedians in an intimate space, and all the other scintillating things CJ mentions in his account of his first improv experience, but I was floored by what came next. Horatio Sans came out with a bucket and he said “You know, put a buck in the bucket if you’ve got it. It’s Sunday. And for all the people here, well this is what we do on Sunday. This is our home and our place of freedom and inspiration. This is our Church.” That felt very right.

My dream for Improv isn’t that we all get on TV.

I know some of us are film makers, and I hope films are made. Some of us are MCs, and I hope their voices reach a wide audience. Some of us are skillful actors, and I pray that stages worthy of that talent and large appreciative audiences wait in their future. But for us all, I hope that we Always have a place where we thrive. I hope we create spaces where needs are met and lives are changed (corny as that may sound, it is real). We are called the New Movement for a reason.

We live in a moment where people are aching for amusement that applies to them.

People want to watch or be involved with things that are real, raw, and local.   Local means that your community is more fascinating if it has performers, musicians, artists, and comedians in it.  Local in the sense that going to see people in your town express themselves is part of an engaged life, while watching something on a screen that supports Budweisertm, Exxontm, and MickyD’stm is boring.

I hope we always grow. We’ll be a movement that catches like wildfire in the minds of the passionate and needy. We are made of people; and we are framed by how we educate people about our intentions. We aren’t here just to make you giggle, and this isn’t the chuckle shack with a two drink minimum. We are building an audience for local comedy, art, music, and dance, the same way that Starbucks taught the country to drink espresso. Comedy is addictive, delightful, powerful, and sneaky in a way other art forms only wish they could be. People get seduced by laughs. I can’t wait for creative sacred spaces to infest every city. I want everybody in the United States to have a friend in an improv troupe. A nationwide understanding of life altering concepts like Collaboration, Yes&, Heightening, Trust, and Bravery will flourish. We’ll all be the better for it.

(ps: Dan Rumney sent me some thoughts on these things & I will be including them in an upcoming post. Hey reader, there’s still time for *you* to send me your ideas, thoughts, or questions for the future of improv!)