Chaos Attraction

Improv 301, 2.0, Week 3: Never Blame Your Audience

2016-05-27, 6:21 p.m.

Previous week here.

Before I begin covering this week: I went to Harold Night the night before, and one guy started out the show by asking for this suggestion: "Tell me something you like about yourself." The room became DEAD SILENT, then awkward laughter broke out. He was all, "I was trying to come up with something positive and it backfired!" Eventually someone said they liked their eyebrows.

If you want to know about the state of the world, the psyches of humans or at least comedians....that says it all, doesn't it?

Anyway, on to class this week, which focused on monologues and getting ideas, because we are having so very many problems in this arena. (I don't think we did that in the last class....?) We started up by doing lists of five things.

Lecture notes:
* His friend Jeff is always playing patterns all the time, like in the car. Try to play bits in your head.
* He makes lists on stage of ways he can hit the pattern. Especially the back line--come up with at least 2 hits per scene.

For practice, we did pitches about how "I am a (specific grounded person) doing (this unusual thing) because (x)" plus 2 hits on the pattern. No backstory. IF you make us laugh, you probably have a good one. Pitch like it's SNL. Always generate patterns in this format.

The ideas the groups came up with were these:
* Movie theater usher snaps and goes Batman on patrons.
* Speech therapist interrogates clients cop-style because that cured his problems. Flashlight on the face, stuff like that.
* Ours: Amish electronics salesman rebelling during rumspringa. Tries to explain a hoverboard by comparing it to horses and iPhone as a candle.
Brian's only critique for all three were that both people should know each other.

We had someone do a monologue--a guy saying he tends to have bad relationships with birds, he got attacked by a bird who attacks people at the same spot, called his friend in to watch others getting attacked.
Another monologue: this girl sensed weakness in her new biology teacher and only in his class acted like a heinous bitch and she didn't even know why she was doing it. When he mentioned doing primal screams with his wife, she stomped out of class screaming that she was offended. Later on she ended up being a teacher IN THE SAME SCHOOL, WITH HIM, and she had to apologize and make up.

Brian listens to unusual things--this is where we have the weak link.
Listen to things really carefully.
Break it down into a 2 word thing that makes you laugh.
Turn it into an I am statement.
"This reminds me of this and this" is where he gets lists.

He assigned us all topics from those monologues that we had to come up with ideas for:

Smelling weakness: grandparent picks on grandkid. Doing a pattern to be mean doesn't work, audience will be on board if you do something bad out of love.
Bad relationship with birds: pirate without a parrot because his dad loved the parrot more than him. Using a kitten instead. Hard to heighten after a while. Focus down to one weird item than continually naming new ones ("museum of the unusual", says Court)
(Ours) Stalker bird: like ravens/crows. Get stalked for 30 years after throwing a rock as a kid. President is getting stalked by a bird even when he moves away, etc. Revenge plot.

Then we moved on to group scenes:

Group scenes: all you have to do is accept the offer.
Have a good location.
Present tense story.
Commit to the world you set up.
Repeatable moments kind of help you fence things in.
Don't ask questions.
Edit by running in front, not tagging from behind.
Needed more detailed monologues.

Then we practiced some group scenes. Topics were:
* 70's bad construction techniques
* Saving your things and the things like it (I initiated this--stuff like saving my backpack when I had to slam on the breaks, then the backpack hugs me.)
* Making up cuss words ("that scene was over at "fuck fuck... Story of my life, guys."
I did a monologue on how I was annoyed at the overuse of the word "fawesome" in the book The Last Days.
* A bunch of people going on about how everything is cool.
* Eating dog cookies turn you doggie ("You always want to end when someone shits.")

We finished the night by doing a half Harold.
Monologue A: lady walking two large dogs and talking about how it was a workout for her lunch lady arms.
Monologue B: I forget what this was, something involving large arms and Popeye.
Monologue C: me breaking Lili with too much water play last summer.

Scene A: using everyday things to do a workout.
Scene B: dogs in jail, only had 2 hits before someone edited the first time, and then on the second round the guy actually just threw up his hands and quit.
Scene C: I was in this one. Apparently the girl who initiated was trying to do a "lunch lady bod" workout by lifting lemons, I thought her idea was working out with unusual on round 2 I suggested (as her personal trainer) working out by walking zoo animals. Oy.
Group scene: I avoided being in this one, it was about eating spinach and the health effects.

Someone made a crack about how it was Brian's bad word suggestion that caused the scenes to suck, and he said, "Never blame your audience."

Seriously, it's week three and everyone is just sucking rancid donkey balls. I hate to say that because everyone is nice and some people are really fun at it, but...It's just so very, very bad.

Well, at least Jam is going better. Scenes I was in:
(a) playing a cranky mom at 7 a.m. letting her kid get beaten up by his annoying sibling (these things happen)
(b) Playing a doctor in a slo-mo boringly acted British soap opera, attempting to help a guy give birth to a snake.

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