Dear Would-Be Improv Comedians,
I recently attended a so-called improvised performance by a troupe at a local comedy club. I will not name names as I do not wish to overly shame the parties guilty of ruining what had otherwise been a very fun night. However, I’m sure that as the article goes on the perpetrators will know well and good to whom I’m talking, and in what ways they have offended me personally, and in what ways they are ruining the art of improvisation itself.
Myself and a few of my colleagues were looking for a way to blow off some proverbial steam after a tough day at the office and one suggested that we all attend an improv performance he claimed featured some of the city’s “hottest talent.” We rushed to the theatre, toting cans of Red Bull with vodka pre-mixed from the flask in my desk, anxious to get prime seats for what should have been a night to remember with fondness.
I would be loathe to imply that the comedy club itself was in any way at fault for the debacle that was that evening. The courteous staff was prompt and friendly with supplying us with rounds of tequila, Jagerbombs, and Frozen Pomeraspleberrytinis. We were having an excellent time prior to the show starting.
It wasn’t long into the show before the performers exposed themselves as the deadbeat hacks I now know them to be. Immediately after the perfunctory introductions of the cast, the ringleader of this circus of disappointment stepped forward and asked for an object with which they would begin the first scene. This was the moment I’d been waiting for; knowing well that the art of improvisation relies on useful audience generated suggestions, I’d spent the earlier part of the evening brainstorming some top quality objects, locations, and relationships with which to aide these improvisers in their craft. After the request for an object had scarce left the lips of the performer on stage, I called out in my loudest voice, “DILDO!”
What do you imagine happened after I delivered the clever suggestion of a dildo, an object of obvious value to any comedic scene? Did they leap in joy, anticipating what was sure to be a priceless scene, and reach down to high-five me, the man who made it so? No. They ignored it. Worse than that, they gave each other these wretched looks, seeming to imply that they were so much better than a dildo. After an awkward moment some craven fool from the back of the room shouted out “bicycle” and off they went to do a tedious scene that never seemed to end. What comedic potential they saw in a bicycle is simply beyond me. I can imagine any number of delightful ends to which a dildo could be used.
When this abysmal bicycle scene finally did reach its conclusion I readied my next suggestion. I wasn’t going to allow one bad scene to ruin my good time. Being such a generous soul, I assumed that they must have merely misheard my previous suggestion, a mistake I would not allow them to make again. The very second the request for a location was put forward, long before anyone else in the room could ruin the next scene with a location of bicycle-like banality, I called out, “YOUR MOM’S ROOM.”
Well, I thought, this one was obviously a winner. You had only listen to the laughter of my comrades to understand the comedic value of setting the next scene in “your mom’s room.” And yet again I was let down. This time the reaction from the cast was even more upsetting. One of the idiots cracked some lame joke at which the insipid sycophantic fools in the audience seemed to take inordinate delight. Then they took some other suggestion—the baggage claim at an airport or something equally inane and pedestrian.
At this point you can understand how irate I was getting. Twice I had called my suggestion out long before any other was forthcoming and twice the so-called improvisers on stage had waited out for something less daring. I had always thought the whole basis underlying the art of improvisation was to say “Yes and…” to offers from their partners on stage and suggestions from the audience. Well if these fools had been true improvisers they would have said “Yes and” to your mom’s room. A true improviser always says yes to your mom’s room.
After suffering through a second dreadful scene I was prepared to give them one final chance to redeem themselves—and this time I would not be denied. I admit I was a bit hasty in calling out my next suggestion, but you must understand how frustrated I’d become at the direction the evening was going. Whether it was an object, a relationship, or a location they were asking for, I cannot rightly say. All I know is that as soon as the performer had uttered the words “for the next scene we need a—” I shouted at the top of my voice for masturbation.
The performer gave me another one of his stupid looks. So again I called out, “Masturbation!” Another performer folded his arms and shook his head. I look around at the around at the audience, at this point put half to sleep by the lackluster performance, and screamed “We all want to see masturbation!”
And this is the point at which I lost not only my faith in the comedy community, but also my faith in humanity in general. Some droopy eyed dolt at the next table had the audacity to turn to me and say, “Hey, shut up man, we’re trying to enjoy the show.” TRYING to enjoy the show? You shouldn’t have to TRY to enjoy a night of improvisation! And if the performers had used my hilarious suggestions in their scenes instead of using them to mock me, the audience would not have had to TRY so hard to enjoy the show.
All I wanted to see was a simple scene involving several grown up people miming sexual self-gratification on stage. Is that so much to ask?
To all you would-be improvisers out there; don’t drag the down art form by not accepting what are obviously brilliant suggestions. You have alienated one audience member already. If you continue to scoff at the comedic value of dildos, your mom’s room, masturbation, cockrings, vibrators, bestiality, lube, anal-beads, fisting, tampons, adult-diapers, incest, and dirty Sanchez’s you will rapidly find yourself short on audiences.
With that said I’m off for a night out that I’m sure will help clear away this unpalatable experience from my memory. I’m going somewhere that I know that my constant verbal feedback will be adequately appreciated; a different comedy club featuring an evening of stand-up comedians.