You never forget your first

The first improv show I did was after one class. If that implies I am some sort of prodigy that is far from the truth. Like everyone else, I had to work at the craft of it before I was any good. I do know that referring to the craft of improv is pretentious but I don’t care.

So how did I go from zero experience to doing a show? Completely randomly. I was directing a sketch show and one of the actresses in it was in an improv soap opera. Being a supportive person, I went to see it.

The program was a newspaper, with articles about what happened in the previous shows, including a political cartoon about the town’s mayor who was hated, but kept being reelected.

Weirdly, the image of mayor looked remarkably like me. The producer asked me if I would appear in the season finale as the Mayor. I said yes but I didn’t think it would actually happen.

One week before the last show, I got a phone call asking me to come to an improv class. The next night was the show. Not a lot of prep time but feeling brave or perhaps foolish, I agreed. I can’t remember anything about the class but I do remember the show.

I made a prepared speech and periodically used paper slips, which is when the audience writes random lines of dialogue for the cast to use during the show. I got some laughs and it was far less traumatic than I thought I might be.

After that, I was hooked. I’ve spoken before about falling in love with improv, but this was my metaphorical first kiss. And you never forget your first.

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