Chaos Attraction

Improv Jam #1

2015-06-18, 4:15 p.m.

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Man, going back to work has sucked this week. You would think this being an "in the middle between major things" sort of week, it would be quiet. But nooooooo, Monday was insane and Thursday was draining and busy and Friday is going to be one of those "half the office is out so everything will blow up and phones all day" days.. I swear, coming back to work after being out for a week makes me feel like I started losing immunity because it seems even harder to be back after getting out. Ugh. I am feeling pretty wasted.

Anyway, despite being wasted, this was my first Thursday free since....I don't know, March? December? So I went over to the Spot to (a) see Cage Match, and (b) participate in Improv Jam #1.

For the record: Cage Match is two improv teams competing against each other--the previous time I saw this show is mentioned over here. Since the winning Nip Pals retired after ten wins, there were some open slots. One team (featuring one member of Nip Pals) was called the Comedy Exchange, I...forget the name of the other one at the moment, but they won last week and again this week. It was a very hard tossup as to who would win, but in the end I had to give the nod to the second team because they had one guy who was just both amazingly deadpan and consistently was calling people out on their shit during the scenes.

For example, their first scene involved two people who forgot to buy the kids Christmas gifts. So the first kid gets a lamp, and the second kid (the guy I'm referring to) was all, "I see where this is going, I will take a gift card as a rain check." Later this guy was in a scene in which he worked in a sex toy store and everyone was returning the toys because they weren't what they expected. His reactions were so deadpan and "What did you THINK it was?" and "Nope, now you can keep it," or "I'll take it back, I just won't give you any money." That guy is a treasure. And also bears a strong resemblance to Joss Whedon--plus he was wearing a Serenity shirt to boot. So they got the win.

As for Improv Jam: what this is is a free thing where people put their names in a hat and they "randomly" (which is to say, I sorta wonder about how random this was when two very experience people performed on every team....either they put their names in three times or there's some favoritism going on?) assign people to teams and they do improv with each other. This mixes up both noobs like myself and the pros that are in the regular shows.

Now, I don't get stage fright. I'm not really bragging about this, it's just that I've screwed up enough times onstage growing up (seriously, I lost so many parts of ballet costumes....) that to me it's no big deal. Eh, if you fuck up, you get a laugh, there's no whopping consequences to that.* But...I was a little apprehensive about being onstage with the "pros." I was remembering what some of my classmates in Improv 101 were saying about being onstage with say, our instructor. Well, he wasn't there that night, but other folks I've seen were.

I should probably mention one fellow in particular...I'm gonna call him the Walking Cartoon because he pretty much is. He's one of those amazing physical comedian dudes. This guy is in a ton of shows and was emceeing Cage Match...and this one...despite being in both shows. And I couldn't help but notice that this dude was literally on every team, in pretty much every scene. I wasn't sure what to make of that. I guess coming out of Improv 101 I'm used to "okay, two people come out and anyone in the back can add in, then the next two who haven't done a scene yet go, repeat." The first team up pretty much did that for like five times, but the other two teams didn't really play out that way.

* Though I suppose nowadays if anyone's recording and putting it online, there might be now. Argh. I shouldn't have thought about this.

I went up in the second group (out of three) and was kind of surprised that it wasn't a case of people moving in and out so that everyone got a shot. I did a monologue about how I broke my leg as a kid and my parents didn't figure it out for hours until they took me out for ice cream and I was too busy screaming and crying to eat it or want it. (Moral of the story: if your kid is screaming for hours, there's something wrong!), so that was a yay. The guy who went after me was telling a story about his wife being pregnant--I forget exactly what all was in the story, but it was triggering jokes out of us on stage about say, drone delivery, and I was up there trying to think of some way to do a scene about say, a Drone of the Day Club maybe delivering a baby or something. (Seriously, drones are the new storks!) But eventually things just kind of ended up being two long scenes, where the Walking Cartoon was doing some big role in them.

The last scene was him and another guy being sumo wrestlers in the world's slowest wrestling match. Two girls jumped in as translators to their action, but I was just kinda watching and thinking out that drone idea thing. Then the guy next to me tapped me on the back and stepped out. To which I was all, "huh, is that another technique or something that we can tap people in?", but took the hint and stepped up to do news commentary on the world's longest wrestling match. "Four hours later and they are still playing pattycake...no, seriously, they're doing that." So hey, at least I did something on stage, and the guy thanked me afterwards. Very nice of him.

Anyway, so that's how my first Improv Jam went. I'll probably make it to at least one more, maybe two (depends if I decide to leave for the 4th of July weekend the night before or not...uh, if Mom wants me to, I should say) before my class starts on Thursdays.


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