One Down

by stephancox

Well, I went and did it. I completed one of the items on my Shit That Scares Me list. Last Saturday, I performed a 25-minute improv “grad show” with my group from the Upright Citizens Brigade, the place where I’ve been taking classes for the last eight weeks. And how did it go? It went… fine. Did I burn up the world with my improvisational comedic genius? I did not. Did I have some relatively funny moments? I think so, yes. I guess you’d have to ask someone who was there, and since I didn’t invite anyone I know to the show (on purpose!), I can’t say for sure. But I did get some unsolicited “great job”s afterwards from people who were in the audience, so there’s that.

Because improv is a group effort, one of your tasks as an improviser, as we learned in class, is to make your fellow improvisers look good. This actually works to the advantage of someone like me, since it helps take the focus off of myself (Note: Most fearful people are total narcissists. You can quote me on that). Therefore I can say that if the show was a success, it was in large part due to having classmates who were funny, talented, and a joy to perform with.

I could give you a blow-by-blow recap of the performance, which included a scene in which I solicited a nun for sex, and another in which I voluntarily had my foot amputated, but that’s not the purpose of this exercise. The purpose was to face my fear, and I did. I looked my fear right in the eye, and to the best of my ability, I stared that motherf*cker down, yo. Because, lemme tell you, over the course of the last eight weeks, I had to fight the urge at least once per class to bolt out the door and never come back. You do some embarrassing shit in improv class, and you just have to go with it. So I stuck it out. And then I performed. I went and got up onstage with no script, for 25 minutes, and I didn’t die. Yay, me.

I promised a grade for each of the STSM activities I complete, so: For the performance itself, I’d give myself a solid B. But for sheer perseverance, I’m gonna go ahead and give myself an A.

If you’re keeping score at home, the next item on the list is the marathon, which is only a couple weeks out. So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go for a run.

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