- Four people or fewer
- All single
- All childless
- All swear they will never get married and have children
I say this after my third attempt to put together a rehearsal schedule for the seven-person troupe I’m in. (Hint: It rhymes with Rantrum.) We almooooost had it: A social-life-obliterating series of Friday rehearsals.
Stupid people and their stupid relationships.
Over the years, I’ve seen more good improvisers lost to spouses and kids and…and lives. It’s heartbreaking, really. So it’s no surprise the majority of the improv universe is run by four categories of people:
- Improvisers who’ve never been married
- Improvisers whose spouses are OK, really, with them spending a lot of nights out
- Improvisers married to or sleeping with other improvisers
- Divorced improvisers
The first question friends who haven’t seen me in a while ask: “So, are you doing any of that improv stuff these days?” After I answer, they invariably say, “How do you do all that?”
Easy. No husband. No kids. (And honestly, I can’t remember the last time I went out on more than one date with a guy who wasn’t an improviser. So…yeah.)
So why bring this up? Because I think it has a lot to do with why small-market improv troupes never get as good as Chicago/NY/LA groups. In those cities, there are plenty of people who either want to—or actually do—make their livings performing and teaching. They arrange their lives around improv.
Here, we fit improv into our lives. Which means a weekly rehearsal feels like a lot. And monthly shows are the average. And many casts are comprised in large part of people with five or fewer years’ experience, while the most experienced improvisers ultimately play the fewest shows.
Because of this, we don’t have a community of elders who teach the classes you have to take and perform the shows where everyone goes to see how it’s done. We don’t have the TJs and Daves, the Susan Messings, the Beer Shark Mice of the world.
It’s not just about talent. It’s about life choices.
Maybe I'll put out a want-ad for the perfect troupe.