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by Darren Held

Yesterday I mentioned that I have some improv pet peeves. It’s true. I know I seem sweet and mild-mannered, but that’s just my blogging alter ego. Like Clark Kent, for example. If, you know, Superman wrote blogs.

Ahem. Anyway, I do have some pet peeves, which I mentioned in this post, cleverly titled, Improv Pet Peeves. So you can check out the list there, but today I’ma talk about one of my all-time biggest improv pet peeves…

People who expect me to be funny all the time, simply because I do improv. “Wow, you teach improv? You must be hilarious! Say something funny.”

Are you fucking kidding me? I just found out you work in a bakery, but I didn’t demand a muffin. Jeez. Boundaries, people.

I get that many people don’t understand that improv, unlike standup, is NOT about going for the joke. But even if it were (or if I did standup), demanding something funny is rude and perhaps not the best way to elicit a humorous rejoinder. I’m not funny on demand. Throw in some cash, and I’ll see what I can do.

There’s also this pressure to be the life of the party when people know you do improv. I’m not that kind of funny. I’m not a girl who can walk into a room and it suddenly lightens up and people start laughing, unless maybe I have toilet paper stuck to my shoe. I’m not, strictly speaking, entertainment (pictures of me 1/2 asleep with Batgirl dolls on me notwithstanding). That’s why it’s easier for me to party with other improvisors – we just play with each other, rather than relying on one person to be “on” for everyone else.

Also, we drink. A lot. That helps.

Look, I have the best job in the world, and I love that people think doing improv is cool. I’m happy to work at being a good role model by listening well and remembering things and accepting information and being in the moment, to the best of my ability on any given day. Just please don’t ask me to “say something funny.” Unless you have a muffin for me. I think that’s fair.

By Sonnjea Blackwell

Darren Held
About Darren Held
Darren is the CEO and Creative Director of Held2gether, Improv for LIfe. He has been teaching and performing improv for 15 years, and has performed with H2g, the Groundlings, UCB and Second City. He loves Moto, red wine, and Madonna.

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