Friday, December 16, 2011
Okay, clearly it is not December 16th. I have gotten way behind. To my fan: rest assured, I am planning on catching up and continuing to post most everyday. So, I’m going to write as if these days are in order, but I’ll just write about a day from the last two weeks and say that it happened the day I’m talking about. Okay? Okay? Fine. Fine.
My first improv show was seven years ago. I had just joined The Skinny Improv. The show was at Evangel University, a local Christian college. Basically, the only rule of The Skinny is to be clean. It’s kind of the branding of the group, anyone can come, older people, kids, dates, and the hope is that all can enjoy it without being offended, or being worried that the person that you’re bringing is offended. So, sex, race, religion, drugs, are not things you’ll see at a show. I think the style forces the performers to be really creative and not rely on the easiness of shock. The group had a bunch of great improvisers when I joined that I really admired. I remember just wanting to not screw things up. The show started out well, I was feeling loose and having fun. At one point I was off stage watching Chris and Mike do a scene, where, somehow, they began looking for Sammy Davis Jr’s glass eye (don’t ask, improv scenes are hard to explain). They mentioned that they were going to look in a trunk in an attic. As a good supporting improviser I stepped out to play the role of Sammy Davis Jr’s glass eye.
When they opened the trunk, I jumped out and said the only other thing I knew about Sammy Davis Jr:
“I’m Sammy Davi Jr’s eyeball, I’m black and I’m Jewish.”
Immediately, a couple of the improvisers stepped in front and yelled, “Scene! Scene!” While the others joined the Christian, white, audience in blankly staring at me. I stood there thinking, “What? He was.”
In my defense, there are only three interesting things about Sammy Davis Jr. One, he was a member of the Rat Pack. Two, he had a glass eye. Three, he was both African American and Jewish. In the defense of the audience, I mentioned race and religion in one sentence, and they were a race and religion that I was not a part of.
Tonight, I had my first improv show in Springfield for a long, long time. I was concerned about whether it would be the same. It was for a Christmas party for a local copier business. It started with muzak coming through the ceiling speakers, and people walking in and out, but it ended up being a good show. The UCB style is so understated, which doesn’t work as well with inebriated copier salesmen, so I tried to find a happy medium. Mostly, I just am in love with long form improv now, so doing short form will just take a little while for me to get used to. The good news is that I did not say anything remotely awkward.
I also spent time at Coffee Ethic today, Springfield’s version of the Beautiful Starbucks. I’m going to be honest here, but it is not the epicenter of beauty that the Beautiful Starbucks is, but I like it just as much. Also, I’m generally anti-corporation, so I love me some locally owned coffee shops, and Coffee Ethic is one of my favorites anywhere. Also, my favorite thing in the world is running into people I know and getting into conversations, which happens a lot more here than in the expanse of LA. Tom, the owner told me about a bocce ball league at a local micro brewery, which excites me a lot. It’s not until the spring, but I don’t have much right now.