I was just watching a documentary series on the history of comedy. It came up randomly but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the first episode. I learned a lot about comedy in that one sitting. Some of the comedians I had heard of before, but never did I know about their mark and impact on helping make comedy what it is today. When I think of a good comedy show, I think of someone speaking truths to matters that have occurred in their personal lives; generalizations about a group of people and their culture and finally challenging the status quo or systemic issues.
This year I have explored comedy as a potential way for me to grow as an artist. It came out of experiences I had last year in two plays with the former Huguenot Community Players, now the River City Community Players. The roles I had were comedic in nature and I got a lot of laughs that I was never truly expecting. Early in 2017 I began trying to figure out how to grow and learn about comedy more. I researched it and saw the opportunity to take Improv classes as an option. I remembered growing up I liked doing Improv because I didn’t have to worry about remembering too much. I registered for the preview class that was offered to get a feel for what the class would be. As I expected I enjoyed the class, and I was ready to sign up. I think I didn’t even wait much after that preview class, before I signed up.
Taking the first level of class was exhilarating. I had possibly some of the most fun I have had in such a long time. I was even enjoying my classmates and going to the free shows that were offered because I was taking classes. When we had our firs class showcase I was nervous and don’t feel like I did a great job, but that wasn’t the feedback that I received from both my teacher and family who came to support.
When I realized I wanted to continue with taking Improv classes, I applied to be an Intern and signed up for the second level. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards to be an intern at the time, but I didn’t let that discourage me. I pressed on and began again on the next level. I had to miss the very first class because I was on set for a film I was working on. The second class I was there and found out that most of my classmates from before were in this class with me. We automatically were ecstatic because we knew each other’s energy and how we played together from before. This class was loads of fun for me because a lot of it was focused on connecting with our emotions and building a relationship with our scene partner. While I didn’t always connect initially what my partner may have been doing in the scene, as the scene progressed I caught it and did my best to heighten to situation. From our showcase with this group, we came up with a lasting team name, and a tight bond, and a true sense of camaraderie.
Next up was the level 3 Improv class. We already had a rhythm of taking the class on Sunday from 1-3pm, so we just knew we would take the same class. Then to our surprise, we found out that a Sunday, 1-3pm, class was not being offered. We scrambled for a bit to figure out what to do. One of our classmates who was an intern asked about what to do and someone suggested we reach out to the person who creates the class schedule or the person who is over top of the classes. We did just that and di an email blast and many of us sent a personal email the importance of having the Sunday class. Not long after our email campaign we got word that we would get to have a class on Sunday from 1-3pm. We all immediately registered and were ecstatic to be reunited.
Needless to say that we did not have the smoothest experience because attendance was a struggle all the way around for a multitude of reasons. We even adjusted the class time several times to try to accommodate everyone. We did make it to the end of the class and to the showcase. We truly have a lot to reflect on with the experience of that class. I am truly optimistic of what the fourth level class will be, as long as we all get to take the class together.
Once this series of classes is done with this Improv Theater, I am going to try to find a Comedy House in DC to take both Improv and Stand Up Comedy classes with. I would also be interested in taking a Sketch Comedy class, but I have to do some research in understanding what it is all about.