why I like comedians (part 2)

Still pretty into comedians.

This is a quicky entry, but I wanted to jot down some quotes I loved from Amy Poehler's book Yes Please. When I read books written by people who have done a lot of comedy writing and improv, I nod along almost as much as when I read books about dance and dancers. Particularly when they talk about how to work together and get a job done onstage.

The type of dancing I like to perform, participate in, and make for me, for The Dark Side Student Troupe, and when I co-create with Audra for Lavish embodies a lot of the same principles. This kind work requires trust, teamwork and awareness of the other people in the space, through the development and rehearsal process, and onstage.

"Improvisation is like the military. You leave no man behind. It’s your job to make your partner look good and if you are afraid to look stupid you should probably go home. Improvisation was about not being cool. Nobody stood outside of improv theaters in tiny leather jackets smoking cigarettes. Being “clever” wasn’t rewarded. It was about being in the moment and listening and not being afraid."

  • Make your partner look good.
  • It's not about looking cool.
  • Being clever isn't rewarded.
  • Be in the moment.
  • Listen.
  • Don't be afraid.

To me, this mindset contributes enormously to my looking at a group of soloists performing together onstage, and a team that is greater than the sum of its parts. I'm way into the latter.

I will eventually get around to the part about cleverness not being rewarded, because I think that is very important too.

Lastly, if at all you can, dance (or write, or act, or sing) with people who make you feel like this--

"Sometimes Tina is like a very talented bungee-jumping expert. All it takes is for Tina to softly say, 'We can do this, right?' and I suddenly feel like I can jump off a bridge."

And now I'm outtie.


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