Never Think

by Stephanie

Continuing on my journey through the art of improv comedy, I’m realizing what habits I am going to need to break if I want to be any good at this: censorship and cynicism. Yes, friends, you read that correctly: I am going to try to tone down my cynicism. Let me explain.

I have a very active imagination. In my head, it’s not uncommon for me to do all sorts of crazy things. I dance and sing (loudly). I swear (a lot). I win Oscars (tons). I party with Johnny Depp. But I don’t do those things OUT LOUD. Since these things are not conducive to everyday life, I censor myself. All day, every day, I maintain a constant and automatic filter keeping my life in my head drastically separate from my real life activity. But these things are completely conducive to improv comedy and the quicker I remove the filter, the better I will become.
In addition to that, I am hyper cynical. My first reaction to a situation is often a blend of ridicule and criticism designed to locate flaws and exploit them for obvious laughter. It has served me well in social circles. It is my given role and I am happy to fill it. But in improv, specifically working with a team it is damaging to a scene to play the cynic’s card and point out all the things that are insane or implausible about it.
The instincts of a good improv performer are counterintuitive to me, and it frustrates me in the best possible way. I want to be better, to grow as an artist; that will never happen if I don’t force myself to break bad habits. I can see also, as a writer, how damaging these behaviors are because sometimes it is difficult for me not to censor my thoughts and just produce. It’s that sort of creative withholding that has kept many of my projects from ever taking off. So, here’s to breaking bad habits!
In other news, I had to rap in class tonight. It was not pretty.