Tag Archives: improv

Mile 536: Improv Achievement Unlocked

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“[scat singing]”
–Louis Armstrong, “Heebie Jeebies”

Miles since last time: 100
Total miles: 536

On Saturday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m., at the intimate Oklahoma Shakespeare on Paseo, my Level I improv class did our first ever improv showcase as Iron Turkey.

Stolen from the OKC Improv Facebook page

Stolen from the OKC Improv Facebook page

Since I’ve never had to get myself ready for a comedy show before, I sort of IMPROVISED. (See what I did there?) During the afternoon, I listened to the Comedy Bang Bang and Improv4Humans podcasts, and I popped in The Lonely Island’s Incredibad on my drive to the venue–because why not?

I don’t know if the podcasts and music helped or not, but my thinking was that I needed to surround myself with comedy so that some of it might soak in…or something. I was pretty nervous, okay? I’m not saying my thought process is logical, but it felt right at the time.

I’d love to give you a blow-by-blow of the whole evening, but the truth is, I remember very little about anything I said or did during the twenty-five minutes of our showcase–and not just because I’m posting this a week late.

Stolen from the OKC Improv Facebook page

Stolen from the OKC Improv Facebook page

It’s kind of weird, actually. I remember awesome and funny things the rest of Iron Turkey did. There was definitely a sexually harassing gorilla in Madagascar, a unicorn war with bats, skydiving mastodon hunters, and a lot more. I know I was there–there is photographic evidence–but did I do anything? Probably?

I think this is called improv amnesia. It’s totally a thing…maybe…

I pretty much just remember the evening as a big blur of fun and some tasty pizza afterward at Sauced on Paseo with a few good friends. (Seriously–it was freaking delicious pizza. I highly recommend it.)

So, I suppose the next question is–did I accomplish what I set out to do when I decided to sign up for improv?

Stolen from the OKC Improv Facebook page

Stolen from the OKC Improv Facebook page

As for what I learned or what I got out of the last eight weeks, I think it’s hard to say in any sort of simple way. It’s kind of like weight loss that way. Most change is small and slow. You may not notice it because you don’t see yourself. You just have to do what you want, trust yourself, and keep moving forward.

I suppose I feel different. Maybe? I don’t really know. The filters are still there, but you can’t expect them to disappear in two months. As to whether it’s helped my writing or made me a more active participator, only time will tell. I do feel even more motivated to keep going.

Now that I think about it, I think that’s what I really got out of this introductory experience: motivation. Motivation to make funny things with great people. Motivation to keep trying to entertain people. Motivation to strive for more creativity. Motivation to spend more time with the people who make me laugh. Motivation to get over it and just do my thing.

Stolen from the OKC Facebook page

Stolen from the OKC Facebook page

I’m glad and grateful that I took a chance on something that I’ve been thinking about and wanting to do for a long time. I’m also grateful that no one told me I was wrong for it or looked at me like I was crazy (except for that one guy that I’m not even friends with, gah), and I’m unbelievably lucky that I got to experience it with six awesome people and a great instructor. Most of all, I’m super stoked that I get to keep doing it.

I’m leveling up. LEVEL II, BABY.

Gosh. For a blog post about a comedy thing, this got a wee bit sappy.

IRON TURKEY.

[gobble noises]

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Mile 230: A Conversation With Myself

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“I’m looking for some back and forth with you.
Are you feeling the same as I do now and now and then?”
–Foo Fighters, “Back and Forth”

Miles Last Week: 50
Total Miles: 230

Now that I’m about halfway through Level 1 improv, I think it’s time I checked in with myself about how it’s going. The talk was longer than anticipated…


Hi, Amanda.

Hey.

I know you’re excited about The Walking Dead coming back today, but I’m going to need you to focus and answer a few questions.

Okay. But Better Call Saul starts tonight, too, so I can’t make any promises.

Fair enough.

So, whatcha wanna talk about?

Improv.

Yay!

So I take it that means it’s going well?

Yeah, I mean, I laugh a lot. It’s really fun, and I’m definitely learning a lot. I’m not super great at it, but I always look forward to it every week.

That’s great–but you decided to join for a lot of reasons. How’s the rest of it working out? Are you using improv skills elsewhere? Are you participating more? Are you feeling more creative/funny?

Um…

Uh oh.

What’s that supposed to mean? You asked a lot of questions in a row. I was just trying to decide which one to answer first.

Sure you were.

Whatever, Amanda.

"Talk to Yourself Hat" by Kate Hartman Source

“Talk to Yourself Hat” by Kate Hartman
Source

Let’s just take them one at a time. Are you using improv skills elsewhere?

Well, I’m writing this blog post. That’s kind of improv-y.

You’ve been thinking about this since yesterday. That’s not at all improv-y.

Oh. Good point.

I know.

Well, no need to get cocky about it.

Just answer the question.

You’re mean.

No, I’m not. I’ve just learned that I need to be firm with you.

You are me.

I know. I’m not proud of it, either.

You’re doing that mean thing, again.

Okay, next question. Are you participating–without being prodded?

Um…

Good lord.

Hey, now. I’m participating. I’m just still working on the whole “prodding” thing. It’s only been four weeks. Changing behavior takes time.

I suppose that’s understandable.

I know.

Don’t do that.

What? You can, but I can’t?

Pretty much.

You’re the worst.

I’m you.

I’m aware.

Still, come on. You can jump out there. I know you want to.

I know. But the other people in my class are so creative/funny/quick. It’s slightly intimidating. I might screw up.

There are no wrong moves in improv. It’s one of the rules and everything.

I know, but…

Are you so arrogant that you think you are the one person who can mess up improv?

Ouch.

Besides, it’s not like you are a stranger to trying something and failing. Do I need to remind you about the Planking Challenge of 2013? Or the NaNoWriMo disaster?

You bastard. How dare you.

Life’s hard. Get a helmet. And jump out there–literally. It’ll probably be more entertaining that way.

I’m working on it. And you’re still mean.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. Are you feeling more creative/funny?

Um…

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Well…

What’s the problem?

I wouldn’t say there’s a problem, per se. I just think I tend to go to the most obvious thing and not necessarily the most creative. I’m still working on that, too.

Well, just say something creative/funny right now.

Eek…

You did it, didn’t you? That squeak thing you do when you don’t know what to do?

No. Shut up.

You were expressly told to work on not doing that.

I know. I am, but–

But changing behavior takes time. I know.

You’re sympathy is overwhelming.

As for the “obvious” thing, sometimes you just have to say the obvious thing to get it out of your head and then you build off of that. Plus, sometimes the thing that’s obvious to you isn’t obvious to everyone else.

Fair point.

I know.

Not again.

Anyway, I can see that we’ve made progress but that there’s still some progress to make. It’s okay, though. We can do it.

Did you just say something moderately encouraging? It’s like I don’t know you anymore.

I’ll be ignoring that.

You would.

You would know.

Mature.

Look who’s talking.

Whatever. We’re agreed, anyhow. We’ll keep working. We’ve got this.

Yeah. You’re not so bad.

You’re still mean.

Ignoring that.


That wasn’t so bad, I suppose. It’s good to check in with yourself every now and then. I have some things to work on, and I’m going to. It’ll be good. It’ll be fine. I think.

Mile 111: Baby’s First Improv Class

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“I said, ‘Yep, what a concept.
I could use a little fuel myself,
And we could all use a little chaaaange.’”
–Smash Mouth, “All-Star”

Miles since last time: 85
Total miles: 111

Yesterday, I attended my first Level 1 class at the OKC Improv. In a word, I’d say it was…

GREAT.

Actually, I’m gonna need two words because “fun” should also definitely be thrown in there.

I could use several more adjectives, but I’d just be taking them out of the thesaurus entries for both fun and great, so those’ll work.

I mean, I wasn’t great–that would be awfully presumptuous of me to say (not to mention incorrect)–but I’m just starting out, okay? There’s obviously room to grow. A lot of very open, spacious room in which I may flail around without any idea of what I’m doing. Surely that flailing will eventually become slightly more intentional. Eventually.

Luckily, the other six people in my class are all funny and creative, and my teacher is the founder of the OKC Improv, so I feel like I’m in good hands and I’m not intimidated at all.

*cue uncomfortable laughter* Source

*cue uncomfortable laughter*
Source

Okay, maybe a little intimidated, but I’m doing what any normal person would do: shoving it down and pretending it doesn’t exist. It’s totally fine.

Since signing up for classes, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to get out of improv–you know, besides “be funny” and “think on my feet.” Those seem kind of obvious.

Anywayz (look, an inappropriate z–I’m being edgy!), here are some of the things I hope to learn:

  1. Become a better/stronger/faster writer.
  2. Go with an idea without talking myself out of it.
  3. In fact, let’s work on those filters as a whole.
  4. Also, maybe come up with some ideas.
  5. Jump in without being prodded.
  6. Be more present. (Ugh. I usually hate it when people say things like that–it has an air of pretension, but that’s my own word prejudice–but it’s still true. I want to be more present.)
  7. Work with fun, creative people and do fun, creative things that will hopefully encourage some form of laughter or generally pleasant feelings in all of us and others.
  8. Get more involved with comedy. I like it. It’s fun.

I may only be one class in, and I may have sweat through my cardigan during that one class (it’s gross but true), but I have to say that I’m pretty excited about this whole improv thing.

And yes, it’s a wee bit intimidating. Fortunately, the Ravenclaw in me is pretty much saying, “Yay for learning new things from knowledgeable people!” so I’m trying to embrace that.

I’m already looking forward to next Saturday.