Question

So I’m reading your blog entry on what homos dwell in what hood and I think you’re partially right.  I’m a middle management gay in Hells Kitchen, but I’m only mildly cunty and only at work or when dealing with someone in the real estate business.  Also, I believe Mr. Sondheim lives in Midtown East (like Turtle Bay-ish) which is technically above Grammercy.  I only know this because I used to live in that neighborhood and I’m pretty sure he and I were the only two homos there.  Except for when he had one locked in his dungeon.  I think he was next-door neighbors w/ Katherine Hepburn.  If we meet, remind me to do my impression of Katherine Hepburn starting a car.

 

Anyways, I gather from some of your blog posts that you are an improver of some sort?  And perhaps you teach as well?  I just started level III and it’s kicking my ass.  I feel remarkably exhausted and unfunny at the end of each class (I’ve only had 2 so far).  This is a change from the previous classes I took where I always left feeling some sort of “performance high”.  Ugh…it’s just not as fun.  And it’s not the teacher’s fault.  I like him and everything he says makes sense.  He’s supportive and everything.  While I understand that no two classes are alike, I’m wondering if this is  common.  I’m not sure that you can speak to it, but I don’t have any friends that have done this kind of stuff.

 And if you know nothing of improv and I’m confusing you w/ another blog, please feel free to direct some Hells Kitchen-esque cuntiness at me. 

 Thanks,

 Timmy

Hey Timmy,

First things first.  Thanks so much for writing in.  I love getting letters from fans, frienemies, and ass wipes.  You seem like a nice guy.  Sweet and genuine.

Okay, on to your letter:

I’m a middle management gay in Hells Kitchen, but I’m only mildly cunty and only at work or when dealing with someone in the real estate business.

Ha.  Right.  And I’m getting pregnant this year, after I learn to levitate.  I don’t believe you.  Gays are cunty with each other in crowds.  Fact.  It’s very rare that I go to a Gay bar that has zero snark.  The Metropolitan can be cunt free, but usually that’s in the day times, during the BBQ parties, before everyone gets wasted.  Cunty is a language we speak to each other.  Generally it works like this: two or three gays group together and then snark all over pop culture, politics, or other gays across the room.  Are you sure you haven’t participated in this phenomenon?

Also, I believe Mr. Sondheim lives in Midtown East (like Turtle Bay-ish) which is technically above Grammercy.

Thanks for fixing the set up of my joke.  Jerk. 🙂

If we meet, remind me to do my impression of Katherine Hepburn starting a car.

Or playing checkers, or threading a needle while chatting with someone – this could be an entire web series.  Funny idea.  I wonder if you can change it to M. J. Fox?  Everyone has a Kate Hepburn impression, is my only concern.  Not that that should stop you.

I just started level III and it’s kicking my ass.  I feel remarkably exhausted and unfunny at the end of each class…  I’m wondering if this is  common. 

Yes, darling.  This is as common as say, Old Navy, or HPV.  Extremely common.

Level three is a crucial point in the development of an improviser.  Most of the schools take level three (of five, usually) as an opportunity to challenge the students to see improv as more than ‘fun.’  They’re most likely starting to try to get you to train your brain to recognize games or patterns that emerge in scenes.  When I teach I challenge my students to step outside the scene for a brief brief moment when the scene gets its first big laugh.  I want the kids to say to themselves, hey, what happened that got that big hearty laugh?  How can I heighten that?  How can I repeat the pattern?  How can I make the funny ‘problem’ worse instead of fixing it and breaking the pattern?

Level three is frequently amazing and fun, but it certainly puts students in their heads.  Don’t worry about that exhausted feeling.  It’s just you training your brain to exploit spontaneous funny patterns or ‘games.’  And it’s work.  And you can do it.  Trust this:  eventually your brain ‘gets it’ on a reflexive, instinctive level, and you find the joy again.  You just have to push through it and get there.  Sometimes students can stay in their heads for years, but most people have an uncomfortable six months or so.

I encourage you to start thinking of class work as just that.  Work.  If you’re to be an  improviser (don’t say improver, we don’t do that in New York) you should be a great one.  I say that selfishly – I want there to be more gays out there elevating the art form.

I’ll also take the opportunity here to encourage you to join a practice group, or form one with people you like and respect from your classes.  It’s an opportunity to get shows and rehearsals in there that you’re just doing for fun.  That way you won’t feel shortchanged when you’re exhausted from class.   Also, you develop relationships with like minded, bright, funny, talented people.

 I hope I run into you somewhere down the line.  I love seeing brave homos entering the straight white male driven comedy industry.  Please consider me open and available if you have any more questions.

And hey.  Consider taking my musical improv class.

Jerk.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s