I’m Terrified of this Improv Show

For the first time in recent memory I’m scared of doing an improv show.

This is not me. Yet.

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

Tomorrow night (Thursday, 10 pm @ The Hideout) I’ll be doing “Bueller, Bueller?” The format couldn’t be more simple: I’ll do a 15-minute show with a stranger from the audience who’s never done improv before.

I pitched this idea in hopes of beefing up my “unconditional enthusiastic support” muscles. I figured that if I can make a reasonably entertaining, coherent improv show out of nothing but me, a couple of chairs, and an improv acolyte, I’ll be in good shape.

Still, I’m terrified. And here’s why:

1. What if nobody volunteers?
This is a big fear, especially because it’s 10 pm show that is sometimes poorly attended by the general public. And of course I can’t force anyone onstage. My backup plan right now is if absolutely no one joins me, I’ll drag Mia up onstage and we’ll do 15 minutes of Mandinka.

2. What if I make the person cry?
Not literally cry. Even I’m not likely to drive someone to tears. But what if I make them cry on the inside by not making them feel comfortable and well supported?

3. What if I break character a bunch?
I’m pretty good about not breaking character onstage—though I do have tendency to do a slight wink at the audience, i.e., “I get it. I’m making this shit up.” But to do this with a complete newbie would likely be confusing, or even worse, could be seen as undercutting them. That’s a big no-no.

To attempt to avoid any of these horrible outcomes my plan is as simple as the format itself:

1. Give him or her a ton of endowments and offers.

2.Whatever he or she says and does is the perfect thing to say and do. 

Come see me give this wacko experiment a shot (along with two other fantastic shows; one about teachers and another featuring Jessica Arjet). It’s free! And as always, my performance calendar can be found in the menu above!

1 Comment

  1. Ryan Austin on June 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Man, I’m so excited by this idea. I wish I would have thought of it because I’d LOVE to try this. I’m also bummed I won’t make it out to see it. I think you’ll do great. Just take your time explaining it up front and making the audience feel very comfortable with you. THEN ask for a volunteer and get to know them a bit before you start the set. Put them at ease. Super excited about this.

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