For the best part of a year I’ve been attending an improvised comedy workshop. Tonight is our second show and to put it in the words of the little girl in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation I am ‘shitting rocks’. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Five minutes before I ‘perform’, be that in a band, playing acoustic, giving a speech, improv, whatever, I take myself away for five minutes to make sure the Fear isn’t going to rise. This stems from a gig I did for a friend where I ended up puking before we were due onstage. Since then it’s become a ritual to go and hide for five minutes in the toilet. Earlier today it was best described by my partner in crime Jocasta as my ‘Eminem bit’.
That aside though, improv has done a lot for me. I’m not quite so overwhelmed or scared by groups of people or looking like a dick because every week for two hours I do my best to make people laugh by looking like a dick. It’s only when you manage to knock that self-conscious feeling aside that you can happily act like a dick and I think people appreciate that.
I’ve also met some awesome people, it’s a strange mix that turn up for the workshop but it feels like we are all going somewhere (but this is a topic I’ve spoken about before). The important thing to remember is that I trust these guys now, they sort of get me (as much as human beings can ever begin to understand each other) and we have a laugh (often at each others expense).
Improv will also forever be associated with my friend Danny, who I lost in November of last year. He dragged me to that first session without telling me anything about it, including the fact we had ten weeks before our first show, I will never forgive him for that, but that’s the reason I still turn up week after week, to show that there was more to it than just wanting to spend time with him, I was learning a lot more about what I was capable of, what I was comfortable with and it’s made me all the better for the experience.
I think every once in a while it’s good to throw yourself into a metaphorical ice bath like that.