I’m finally in NY again for the first time since March, to take the Intensive Level 1 improv class at Upright Citizen’s Brigade (UCB). The class goes from 11am-6pm Monday-Friday with a one hour lunch break, and a grad show on Sunday. Here’s what the last few days have been like: I’ve been sick since Friday, skipped out on a couple comedy things in Boston to try to rest and regain my strength, left my house at 5AM Monday morning instead of late Sunday night to try to get a little extra sleep, and tried to get on the 6 AM Mega Bus, but they don’t sell tickets before 7 AM. Then I catch the 6:30 AM Fung Wah bus scheduled to arrive at 10 AM. It arrives at 11 AM. On the way there, I procure two seats to sleep my decrepid immune system in. Twenty minutes into the trip–as soon as I fall asleep–an Asian man awakens me and takes the seat next to me because his back-of-the-bus seat didn’t recline. I had to wait in a long line to get my subway card and arrived half-an-hour late to my improv class–at which point one of my new classmates informed me my fly was down. It’s been a great day other than that.
I’m enjoying improv more and more, and it seems like a lot of the comics I’d like to emulate have significant improv experience. After one day of the UCB classes, I’d say the most helpful class I’ve ever had still happenned at Improv Asylum, specifically because of Patty Barrett–a wonderful improviser in Boston. Level 1 people have no clue how to do improv. Patty is the only instructor I’ve ever had who, as early as the first line of a scene, would say, “Stop. Don’t do [unhelpful thing]. Do [helpful thing].” Too many of these classes let people do horrible scenes for two long minutes, then give 12 overwhelming and confusing reasons why it was unfunny, and we all get bored and learn less because level 1 people have no clue how to do improv. Basically, there wouldn’t be 12 wrong descisions to list off if these instructions would just stop the scene when the foundation proved terrible. UCB has been decent, but it pales in comparison to that Asylum class (granted, it is only day one).
I’ll have more for you guys soon! Or not. But hopefully so!