My foray into improv comedy at the Tampa Bay Comic Con has been quite the unexpected detour. I enjoyed it so much that I joined a couple of meetups to scratch the itch. And it was so much fun that I knew kids would love it – so I started teaching at our homeschool co-op.
Years back I used to watch Whole Line Is it Anyway and not once did it cross my mind that I could do that too. It’s bizarre looking back at the passive mindset I had. At some point, I lost curiosity. It returned after I became a parent and spent time with my kids as they marvelled over flowers and insects. Being present led me to appreciate their curiosity – and regain it myself.
I tried improv on a whim at the TBCC. I hadn’t watched any WLIIA in years and I felt a distinct sense of fear about trying it – so I made myself do it. And thus I discovered something that was a lot of fun and freeing. Having been a bored wise-ass for most of my life it was like finding something that felt natural. Being silly and having fun while getting the buzz of flying by the seat of your pants suits me to a T.
His book is about finding the juxtaposition of What You’re Really Good At and What You Really Like To Do. Some people might call it ‘The Zone’ or ‘Bliss’ or something else. The main thing is that you know it when it happens.
That’s how I feel during improv (and also when writing & thumbnailing comics). It just makes sense.
I get it; I do it; I enjoy it. Time flies and in the end I’m happy and energized.
Teaching kids has been interesting too. I didn’t realize that standing in a circle requires direction and training. When adults stand in a circle, it looks like a circle and everyone is evenly spaced. I had to coach the kids on putting their knowledge of circles to use!
But teaching kids is a lot of fun. They’ve got energy up the wazoo and being silly for most is second nature. Their enthusiasm is infectious. And man – when they enjoy something they Don’t Want To Stop. We could play Bang! every single class and they wouldn’t get bored.
It’s interesting also to see how some enjoy being more in control. Certain games have one person who’s a director calling the shots (literally, in the case of Bang!). I get a lot of requests to be the director versus just playing in the game. It’s been fun so far – and class planning is a blast The hardest part is that there are SO many fun games. Choosing what to do for the next class is an enjoyable predicament.
And what I most like about Improv is how it relates to life. Being present, trying without the fear of failure, working together. These are all skills that carry over to daily life. Here’s a fantastic TEDx talk that explains this: