Improv. Why?

9 05 2010

That question is one I’ve found myself asking a lot the past couple of days.

Before we go any further, just so you know: I’m not retiring from improv.  I’m not even close to thinking about quitting this art that I’ve loved for the past 11 years of my life.  So if you’re hoping that this is going to be a big Lou Gehrig moment, I suggest you stop reading and do something else, like building a birdhouse.  Seriously, I don’t see enough of those small architectural wonders.

Back to the question at hand; Why in the world, for the past decade, have I spent my time studying, watching, performing, and loving this art form?

This question formed after reading Molly Buckley’s blog entry on her improv experience (Found here, on her brilliant website).  She posits that to her, the stage is her church, improv her religion.  Some may call it an extreme statement, but after seeing her perform for the past couple of years, I’d say it’s right on the money.  Molly rocks it out every time she performs.  So does everyone who’s a part of Made of BEES.

But why?  Why do I feel the compulsion to get up on the stage, perform for the masses, and bring smiles to faces?  Why am I not content to sit back, relax, and let the thousands of other performers through this great world do the entertaining for me?

Life would be so much simpler if I just threw in the towel, proclaimed “I’m done.”, and never worried about setting foot on the stage again.  There would be time to do normal things, like watch TV and go to bars and debate the merits of my favorite NFL team’s draft picks.  I could even try to breach the dating scene.  It’d be jarring at first to keep my focus on the beautiful girl in front of me than the dozens of potential characters that always frequent the restaurants, bars and bowling alleys.  But eventually that temptation would fade, and I’d be a simpler person.  A normal person.  A saner person.

So the question remains.  Why?  Why have I devoted 11 years of my life to studying, seeing, and performing improv?  After some soul-searching, I think I’ve found some answers:

  • Improv accepts.
  • It encourages.
  • It emboldens.
  • It always says “Yes”.
  • Improv never calls in the middle of the week, telling me that things just aren’t working out.
  • It never sends me an email, saying that I’m not qualified enough to be a part of it.
  • Improv shows me where I shine brightest.
  • It shows me my weaknesses, and then strengthens them.
  • Improv doesn’t discriminate.  It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, how much money you make.  All it cares about is you perform to the best of your ability.
  • It teaches me how to trust.
  • It proves it’s all right to be vulnerable.
  • Improv brings people together.
  • Improv helps me become the person I want to be.

There are more answers.  I just haven’t found them yet.

To Molly, improv is her church.  To me, it’s a mentor.  It develops me.  It pulls me out of my shell, telling me it’s all right to be who I am.  I can succeed, or I can fail.  Whatever happens, improv will be there for me the next day, and the day after that.  It doesn’t discard me.  It needs me as much as I need it.

There’s no telling how long this mutual need will last.  Maybe I’ll wake up one morning and find myself lacking the desire to get on stage.  Maybe the time will come when I have a career and a wife and a mortgage and I’ll have to put it aside.  Maybe I’ll finally take the advice of some of my more practical friends, and “grow up”.

But until then, I’m here.  In the present.  And presently, I’m about improv, and all the hope and joy and love that comes with it.

Yes and.

-ZA





The Night Before MoB’s Christmas.

24 12 2009

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and through the Bees’ house,

They were enjoying the night, and no, they weren’t soused.

Their spirits were filled with holiday cheer,

Knowing that Santa would soon be here.

Aaron stayed up to catch the big man,

While Zach checked the Bees’ page, wanting more fans.

And Molly wore her Snuggie. Stacey had one too,

They ate Christmas cookies; the frosting was blue.

When from the front door, there came such a knocking.

They all went quiet, their watches tick-tocking.

The door burst open, and who should appear

But Ryan, who moved to the west this year!

They leapt from their places, each from their seating,

To give Mr. Hansinger a holiday greeting.

He looked around, curious, a query on his mind,

“Where is Jenni?” he wondered, “She wasn’t far behind.”

At that moment, Jenni came into the scene,

Followed by Santa, who wasn’t looking so keen.

“Guys!” hollered Jenni, “Something’s wrong with Saint Nick!”

Aaron agreed, “He does look a little sick.”

“Santa, what’s wrong?” Molly inquired,

“Your breathing is shallow, your skin is perspired.”

“Oh, child!” Santa bellowed, shaking his head,

“It’s food poisoning, and I must get to bed.

“But there are  toys left to give,  smiles to be had;

I can’t go on, though, I feel so bad!”

Stacey stood up, threw her Snuggie to the ground.

“No Christmas for children?  Not while I’m around!”

The Bees looked at each other, they knew what had to be done.

It was now up to them to ensure holiday fun.

Laying up Santa onto the couch,

They rallyed together, not one a slouch.

 Ryan and Aaron were the men in the back,

Organizing the presents in Santa’s sack.

Zach and Molly kept the reindeer at bay,

Assuring them Santa would be okay.

Stacey and Jenni got in the front, both took the reins,

While Aaron hollered out, “Stacey driving? Are you insane?!”

But there was no time to argue, for in a quick minute,

Santa’s sleigh was airborne, with the Bees in it.

Around the world they flew, gifts handed out.

The kids were so happy, they all danced about.

Soon, the night was done, the Bees were a-twitter,

And when they returned to their house, their hearts went a-flitter.

For standing in the living room, in the early morn,

Was none other than last name Michaels, first name Lorne.

“Santa told me what you did,” Lorne droned in his voice;

“Very impressive, and I’ve made a choice:

“I want you all to be part of Saturday Night Live.”

The Bees’ mouths dropped open; Molly yelled, “High Five!”

They celebrated that day, with rolls and nog made from eggs,

While Ryan danced, using many Stanky Legs.

The moral of the story, friends, is to keep close sight,

One day you may find us yelling, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”

-ZA





Welcome to Atlanta. Bienvenido a Atlanta.

21 09 2009

The BEES (well, 3/4 of them) got in Aaron’s Blazer, no not the jacket, and drove a gazillion hours, or 7, to Atlanta, Georgia for the 6th Annual Black Box Improv Festival.

Here is a short 3-4 minute video recapping adventures.

Enjoy.

-MB.





Chicken Sandwich Supremacy

27 03 2009

Today I went to Chick-Fil-A and basked in all its glory. As I slowly devoured that delicious combo #1 (w/ no pickles) I couldn’t help but to recognize all of the reasons why I love that place. Those reasons I can’t help but to share.

1- Service – Smiles from ear to ear behind every register as if they each worked for Bill Gates himself. The joy they seem to have for working in fast food makes you want to hug them upon concluding your order. And who is that kind, elderly person hanging around? It’s as though Chick-Fil-A has their very own host for their dining room! A person designated to serve as the party liason to this fried chicken gala. Hugs to that person as well. And yes, ma’am/sir, my meal was enjoyable.

2 – Food – Few places can take the exact same product and divide it into more combos than Chick-Fil-A. McDonald’s, you’re a wannabe when it comes to the chicken sandwich. “But what about the calories?” Pipe down health nuts! This meal is worth every blood clot that could come of it. This fried slice of heaven comes with an accompaniment of waffle fries and an assortment of sauces. Have you even tried them?! Buttermilk Ranch, Buffalo, and BBQ chickfilacomplete my combo meal. Dress it up with those and you can pretty much take this thing to prom.

3 – Special Thanks – I want to end this post with a special thanks to the person who took charge in making my fresh squeezed lemonade. Just water, pure cane sugar, and fresh squeezed lemons – that’s what they claim… and I believe them! So thanks to you, Captain Lemonizer. Job well done.

-RTH





Bits N’ Clips.

24 03 2009

Hey guys. We’re working on getting some show clips online for your entertainment and enjoyment. YouTube has been not liking our high quality videos and so they are taking a while to upload… but here are two fun clips for you! 🙂

The Worst State Fair Prize Ever

A Present Unlike Any Other.

Enjoy 🙂





Forget the FACTS. Episode 2.

4 02 2009

Forget the FACTS w/ Ryan & Molly

February 3rd, 2009





Ah, gracias para la "fresh bull," Señora Palin.

27 01 2009

2009. WOW. I think 2009 is, so far, promising to be an innovative year. With the inauguration of the first African-American president, the rise and fall of gas prices, citizens becoming more fiscally responsible, the conversion to all-digital television, and with the invention of the new Chipotle iPhone application, Americans are constantly thinking FORWARD. How can we work together to IMPROVE our lives? How can we improve the lives of others? Ah, it really makes one feel all warm and gooey inside. [It also makes me wanna snack on an orange glazed cinnamon roll].

Truthfully, it is my feeling that the best way to find out what people are thinking is to survey them. Right? Well, I guess that all depends on WHAT you are surveying and whether or not that survey is worth my time, your time, our time, time in general.

WELL, according to a recent survey, Sarah Palin was considered to be the most desired person Americans would want to live next door to. (Side NOTE: REALLY? You mean to tell me that money was actually put into the campaign of surveying people about this ridiculous question. WHO CARES? Seriously. Is this on the for realz?) Back to the subject at hand. Honestly, I think these results are interesting. Sure, she’s “cute,” “charming,” and “pitbull-like,” but let us consider for a moment what it would REALLY be like to have Sarah Palin as your neighbor.

Shes not crazy, shes a maverick!

She's not crazy, she's a maverick!

(These are not ranked in any sort of particular order. It’s simply a list of things I think might happen.) 

1. Hockey parties. Who doesn’t love a night over at the Palin’s with her Todd in the kitchen making stir fry and the rugrats running around the house while Piper judges them. Meanwhile, the neighbs are sitting in the family room discussing the Canes and how they are just like the Mighty Ducks. Be cautious however about getting too excited, you never know when someone might go into labor. 

2. Fresh bull. This is sort of a double entendre, if you will. Sare (my new nickname for Madame Palin) will not only grill the fresh bull/moose/bison/porpous etc. that she shot that day, but she will also dish out fresh bull…sh*t. You know, buttering you up. Like how she ate that entire fruitcake you made her when she moved onto your street. How she got her new suit at the local thrift store. That new haircut you got, just FABULOUS *wink*. Oh, and she can’t see you changing in your bedroom from her living room. We know this is a lie, because Sare sees all. She is the all-seeing and omniscient Sare. 

3. Innovative nicknames. The fact that she named her own kids names such as Trig, Track, Willow, Lawn, etc… we know she will absolutely be innovative in her naming of you and yours. 

++++

Well, no matter what, you know Sare would be a loyal neighbor. Always participating in neighborhood watch meetings, block parties, and social gatherings. And let’s be honest, she’d be a better gubernatorial neighbor than Mr. Rod Blagojevich.

All for now.