For a long time now, I’ve been wanting to take improv classes. But living in a small mountain town it wasn’t really a reality. So, in this autumn of new adventures, I’ve decided to put my money where my mouth is or was or however that saying goes and take one.
I signed up for a 101 class at BATS here in San Francisco. Sweet, awesome, cool….until all of a sudden it’s the first day of class and I’m filled with a massive bout of first-day-of-school panic a la “what the eff am I doing, I’m the shy kid with a lisp who hates being put on the spot” and so on until I eventually dragged my-nerdy-ass-self to class. As adults, we rarely put ourselves out there in that uncomfortable, “hi, hey, I’m new to this” situation. We avoid experiences where failure is eminent and try to limit our exposure to floundering in front of others. Enter improv. It’s all about failing, saying stupid shit that you didn’t mean to say and subjecting yourself to suffering the awkwardness of flailing, floundering and fucking up big time in front of total strangers. But, it’s kind of liberating to publicly suck at something…because ulitmately, you realize, that it doesn’t matter and then you succeed because failing isn’t as bad as you thought or some yoda, Tony Robbins shit like that. Om.
Anyway, improv is my new favorite hobby. I’m not aiming to be some theater kid or land my big break on SNL but it’s cheaper than therapy and you laugh a hell of a lot more. Every class is a random mix of kid’s-birthday-party-esque games ( freeze tag, charades, word games and silliness minus pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey) and group therapy (standing in a circle discussing “Now, what did we learn from that exercise? And how did that make us feel?….go ahead Johnny we’re all listening”. Wait, I’m not doing it justice. But three hours of playing like a kid and laughing out loud (none of this LOL shit but real old fashion laughter) at yourself and others is kind of awesome and who doesn’t need more of that in their lives?
PS. When you move to a big bad city filled with crazy-ass-up-in-your-shit-mother-effers it’s nice to know there are some strangers worth knowing.
PPS. sorry for swearing.