It’s tough prepping for your first gig. The travel, making sure to wake up on time, and eating a proper and healthy breakfast to have you in the right mindset. There’s a myriad of factors at play. Any misstep can throw off the entire thing. I wake up at 6 AM, give or take a few hours. (It was actually 3 AM, you can never be too ready.) I jump out of bed, some say to train, others say because I have to urinate very badly. Then I plop myself down on the couch to watch episode 5 of Donald Glover’s new tv show Swarm, because nothing is more motivational than watching a show about stan culture and serial killers. Now it’s 10:30AM or so, or 4AM depending on who you ask. I’m hungry but I resist. I want to get my intermittent fasting on. I am suffering, but it’s for the craft. An hour later, I’m definitely going to eat a cold slice of pizza and then cook it halfway thru after realizing that air fryers exist in the year of our lord, 2023. By now it’s surely noon, so I continue to watch Swarm because I want to have accomplished something and it’s only 7 episodes.
Let’s fast forward. Let’s just assume I finished the season of Swarm. I did. Let’s also assume my tummy is feeling disgusting from eating greasy pizza for breakfast. It was. This is the life of a comic though. We’re always honing our craft and sharpening, fine-tuning, those comedic muscles and this is all part of the ritual. Back to the training montage though. I knew I knew for the past few days, I’d been running low in the floss department. Somehow, I’m 32 and unable to use conventional floss rope so I need the picks. I also struggle to hold silverware correctly. Just call me an idiot savant. I hustle, I’m running against the clock to fit in the visit to Walgreens. I mean, I’ve had a really busy morning thus far, so I’m really crunched for time. I rush there, some say I sprinted, and others say I casually strolled. You decide. I get the floss, I get some mouthwash, and then it hits me. I see it. A glow encompasses it. It’s the Slim Jims. I think to myself, “Hank, your stomach is already feeling bad. You definitely need to add to the pressure with this beef tube of hooves and kneecaps.” I buy that Slim Jim. I scarf it down on my walk back to the apartment. I am feeling gross, I am feeling worse, and I know that’s all part of the process.
I fast forward again. I wrangle my wife, I say, “We gotta go, I gotta get there a half hour early. This is my first improv show. I’m performing for a crowd of 50+ people! I can’t be late.” We go. I arrive about 20 minutes late and that’s fine because I want to be cool. Cool people do not get on things early. Cool people do not plan out concise subway routes and backup plans if they don’t work out. Cool people leave with more than enough time to be there on time and then somehow make choices that delay them even further and they feel like an asshole when they show up and they’re one of the last people to arrive. But no one knows that I’m feeling like a dickhead and that I’m sorry and all that, they just think I’m cool as hell. Which is what matters.
I could write about the show itself, but why ruin the mystery of the whole experience? If you were there, you saw it, if you weren’t, then live in ignorance and despair forever. Improvidence Rhode Island Beef brought the house down. Unsure of what that last sentence entirely means? Your fault, your loss. Did I regret that I played a character that was at best child molester adjacent? Yes. Yes, I did. Did it get laughs? Sure. So, I guess it all comes out in the wash. I agree that I don’t think it is a good tenet to utilize in improv, but at the same time, I do have a reputation to upload. What can I say? I like to speak now and be fearless. Yes, now I’m just ham-fisting Taylor Swift album titles into my sentences. When I start doing that, I think that means we’ve reached our conclusion. The next level of improv begins tonight. Can’t wait to feel like I’m awful all over again and have a couple of moments of validation that keep me going. Even my own wife said I was funnier and better than she expected. I’ll take it! So it goes.