I work at an improv club three nights a week waiting tables. The last short form piece they do every night involves asking a person from the audience to come on stage and walk the actors through the day they just experienced. The actors then improvise what that person’s dream may be that night (supposing that what happens during the day affects your dreams at night).
There are a couple different types of people who raise their hand to go up on stage – these are them:
1) Drunk People -These are usually the easiest to make fun of, but also the most awkward to watch on stage. They usually attempt a joke or two that fall flat, try to find a place on stage where there is no light, and sometimes leave too early or stay up too long. Sometimes they can’t remember what happened to them that day – that makes for a boring improv. Usually they just stand on stage and brag about how much and how long they’ve been drinking. There is a sense of machismo involved in getting on stage while drunk. Even women have it. Drunk people get on stage purely to prove they are not as drunk as they are. It is their own way of attempting to prove to themselves that they are not alcoholics. Because if they can get on stage and entertain an audience, then they aren’t an alcoholic, they’re just a fun drunk. My favorite drunk (or drynk as Ben prefers to say) to ever get on stage was a guy who came to the improv club with his wife. He first “accidentally” implied that he and his wife had had crazy sex earlier that day, then when asked if he could give a few adjectives to describe his wife he could only come up with one: “attractive.” After a healthy two minute pause he came up with his second adjective: “nice.” Bitch needs to divorce that man.
2) People who think they could be comedians – These people are the worst to watch on stage. They always start by covering their eyes and saying something like: “Wow, how do you guys see?” or “Ahhh, I’m blinded.” or “I’m a big tool with nothing original to say.” Then they proceed to attempt a back and forth with the improv comedian that is interviewing them that feels uncomfortable because it is not a good context for equality of performers, joke about their friends in a “mean” way and then cover up by saying: “I’m just joking,” then they masturbate on stage and lick up their excess semen; the whole time laughing at their hilarious joke. As much as I hate these people, I love watching them fail. It proves to me that not anyone can be a comedian – that it is a very difficult job – and that I’m fucking hysterical. Because if I masturbated on stage and licked it up, it’d be hilarious.
3) Person whose grandmother died earlier that day – What the fuck, lady? She started out the questioning by saying: “I got up at 4am today because I found out my grandmother died.” This is a fucking comedy club! The improvians did a good job dealing with the tragedy, but I had self combusted in awkward guilt. Why did she get on stage? Who thinks it is appropriate to discuss their grandma’s recent death on a comedy stage and then ask people to make fun of it? That selfish bitch. She continued the story of her day with everything relating back to her mother’s mother’s untimely passing away. I hate her.
I’m known for having little to no tact, and not understanding the socially appropriate time to talk about the socially appropriate thing, but this crosses a line I’m unwilling to step near. I love self-aggrandizement, self-deprecation, self-masochism, and pretty much anything that involves myself, but self-pitying is disgusting. My biggest pet-peeve (besides people who talk about their pet-peeves) is people who fish for compliments.
This is mostly because I am so often confused for one of them. Here is the difference. People who fish for compliments use self-deprecation as a form of self-aggrandizement. For example: “I’m so ugly.” or “I can’t believe I’m so dumb.” or “I’m really bad at volleyball.” Each of these sentences is meant to be responded to with a statement of opposition: For example: “No, you’re not.” I refuse to do this. I respond with: “That sucks.” or “Man, you don’t think very highly of yourself.” or “Cool! Pizza?” How I differ from these people is that I use self-aggrandizement as a form of self-deprecation. For example: “Have you seen my sexy line of chest hair?” or “There is a hardly a woman who can resist the charms of my cock.” or “I’m very smart and funny.” People only desire to respond to these statements with more insults – which is fine with me. Because I’m not selfish. I’m comfortable enough with myself that I will allow others to insult me instead of demanding that they pity me.
I would not go on stage and tell an audience that my grandmother died earlier that day – unless it wasn’t true.
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I once did a stand-up gig where the woman going before me told the audience she was performing on the advice of her life-coach to deal with the double-mastectomy she had a month earlier.
She wasn’t very funny. Her cancer jokes were decent, though.
I remember. I was there. It was similarly awkward.
but don’t you realize that you both are nothing more than products of the moment that Woody Allen’s “life coach” proscribed irreverent humor as a way to fight off the depression related to shit luck and bad Jewish genetic inheritance? How is that different than getting onstage to deal with cancer and death? Answer: those people were women.
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