Improve Without the “E”

Best.  Winter.  Ever.  It’s 65 out and I’m sitting on my porch in a wife-beater (a grey one, I’m classy).  The Comedy Studio made me their Comic-in-residence for March, which means I open all 28 shows this month.  After seven performances, I feel like I’m starting to see more results.

As the month started, Boston felt like a prison.  I’ve been going to New York ever other week or so since July, and I miss it immensely.  I can get onstage starting at 4pm in New York.  Virtually nothing starts before 8pm in Boston.  Also, I can’t work because my bartending shifts go from 5pm to 1am, so it doesn’t make sense to schedule me.  My tax return will be the income for the month.

To keep from going insane I’ve been taking more improv classes.  One Saturday and one Sunday.  New York has made me mentally tougher onstage and more professional in my delivery, but improv has made me more relaxed.  I’m an over-thinker who does way more planning than necessary.  In stand-up, when something had happened that forced me to deviate from my planned routine, I used to start freaking out internally, the audience would sense it, and I’d lose control.  Improv always scared me more than stand-up, because with stand-up I can know the range of funny I should be.  Improv you just don’t know.  You can look like a real idiot.  But that’s the beauty.  It’s made me more okay with looking like a real idiot.  And being relatively confident I can come back from it.

The thing I dislike about comics who are improvisers turned stand-ups, is there’s often very few jokes, and they exagerate facial expressions relative to the subject matter.  It’s something you do as a character in improv, so they bring that skill to joke-telling.  Chappelle’s obviously awesome, and I love how he’s very low-key as himself giving the set-up, but his sketches/characters are very expressive.  A lot of improvisers make their set-ups overly expressive, and it’s almost condescending.  Like the audience is a child that barely speaks English, and as a group they wouldn’t understand the information unless it’s stated slowly and expressively.

Anyway.  I’ve completely digressed from whatever I was talking about and am tired of typing now.  I’ll be making a bunch of posts this month, about Comic-in-residence, the Great American Comedy Festival audition, and some experiences in New York I haven’t written about.  Stay tuned!  …I guess it’s been a while since I’ve actually written, soooo…slowly return to being tuned!


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