The UCB Improv 101 Graduation Spectacular!

April 24th, 2012 by | Tags:

Sunday was my first time ever performing on stage as I ended my Improv 101 class at the Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center. Ultimately, I think I did decent for a first-timer in an entry class and luckily it was filmed. After hours upon hours of figuring out editing software and almost getting it right, I’ve uploaded the 45 minutes of show into four segments.

The class was of 16 students. One dropped out and one sadly had a family emergency, so we were split into two groups of seven. The plan is to get a suggestion from the audience, do a monologue, do a handful of skits based on the ideas of that monologue, do another monologue and so on. Of the nine skits my group did, I’m in five, plus I did a monologue at one point. I’ll do some commentary on my stuff after the fold.

Pre-show: With a few minutes before starting, we were tasked with coming up with a name for our team. “Get Your Life, Boo!” came from a skit we did during our last class where I played a pizza delivery guy who kept having to make repeated trips to this one house due to their inability to ever be content with the pizza I give them. During this exhausted trip, it led to the people in the house repeatedly yelling, “Get your life, boo!” while I — both as a character and the guy playing the character — had no idea what the fuck that even meant.

Getting on stage: Once we make it on stage, the people from left to right are Cintrella, Monica, me, Susan, Jordan, Elena and Dani. Naturally, I’m the one wearing the Chikara t-shirt with the Fantastic Four-based logo because what else do you expect from me? Note that 44 seconds in: YES!

Susan’s monologue: I apologize for this. You have to understand that at this point, I’m scared out of my mind. So I’m in-between fright and the pressure to think of some kind of potential scene to pull out of this story. In the end, I look creepy as all hell and just a little bit mentally challenged.

NFL video scene: Again, nervous as hell. I go in there with the opening idea of there being something incriminating in the closet that I stumbled upon. I hadn’t thought any farther than that. When Elena mentioned the golf clubs, that made me think of sports and that gave me an out. Once I got through that, the ice was broken and I felt a lot better.

Model shoot scene: In class, we had only been working on skits with more than two people for a couple weeks, so having a bunch of people on stage was kind of dangerous. The concept of the skit worked great and I liked how it escalated, but there reaches a point where everyone’s too busy talking over each other and it loses itself without a good final punchline. I took a gamble with my walk-on because if they ignored me, I’d look like a jerk and if Tim (our instructor, hanging in the control booth) decided not to end the scene yet, I’d be screwed. Luckily, I felt it worked. Just now, I noticed Dani’s brilliant delayed reaction all the way on the right there.

Magazine scene: If you look closely, Susan kind of hand-picked me for this skit. I don’t know if it’s because she and I have great chemistry in class, the fact that we hung out and got coffee prior to the show or because I look like a dad who owns a lot of porn. Either way, Cintrella’s walk-on moved it into a better direction than whatever I had planned.

My monologue: I wish my story could have gone longer, but I ran out of gas. If you’re interested, the guy I was talking about is that weird dude dancing in this Beastie Boys video. Yeah, man. I got connections.

After being in three scenes and a monologue, I thought it was due time for me to just sit it out and not be a scene hog. Besides, mining my own story for gags felt wrong.

Snuff scene: No, Gavin. It’s okay. We already have a chair.

Dani’s monologue: Nothing to add other than that I’ve completely mellowed down over my jitters from earlier. Very at ease.

Gerbil scene: Gonna be honest with you. The thought going through my mind during most of this bit? “Is there any way I can walk on and work this into a felching joke?” Probably for the better that I didn’t. Then again, maybe that should be my train of thought in every scene. And weddings.

Senor Druglord scene: Ha, sorry about that, Jordan. Yeah, one of the rules of improv is that you’re supposed to be agreeable towards pretty much everything, so I probably shouldn’t have nixed his chair entrance. At the same time, I had no idea how I was going to work this idea in with him sitting. With the monologue, I heard “drug lord” and “pet cat” and that inspired the idea of a Bond villain as someone’s neighbor. The audio doesn’t pick up most of the whispering, but at one point Cintrella tells Jordan to be careful because I can smell his fear, hence the fart joke. I had a sixth sense feeling that the lights were about to go out, so I went full-out Nicholas Cage as Fu Manchu to end it.

Cintrella’s monologue: Heh. Yeah, she wasn’t actually supposed to do this. It was supposed to be one last scene to go with the last monologue. Cintrella’s a maverick like that.

Cindy Lou Who in Hell scene: I… I don’t know what the fuck. Dani carried this one and I was just along for the ride. The fact that the short girl was playing Satan while the tall, hairy guy is Cindy Lou Who is funny on its own, though. Only now do I notice how I completely drop any semblance of a little girl voice about halfway in.

I guess I don’t have much to personally comment on with the second set for obvious reasons. The folks there from left to right after entrance are Sam, Kailee, Kristen, Risa, Rod, Zack and Sonal. The software I used to cut this up went wonky and got rid of the ending of the skit from the third part. That wine skit ended with Zack and Rod tossing their glasses away, making a conscious decision to give up wine and give sobriety a chance out of bitterness.

Also, 13:01 into that last part? YES!

I had a complete blast with the classes, the show and the friendships I’ve made. I’m already set for Improv 201, starting next Wednesday with the show for that taking place at the end of June. Let’s see where this takes me.

One more thing. These girls? They were wearing regular shirts before the show started.


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2 comments to “The UCB Improv 101 Graduation Spectacular!”

  1. You did a great job. I really enjoyed it. All of you looked like you had fun working together. That walk on at the end was perfect. Evil barbecue was excellent. Bravo sir.

  2. This is hilarious and also heart-wrenching, because you’re living my dream. I would love to do this. Wrestling/comic/video game fan does awesome at improv. That was pretty much my high-school dream life. Great job!

    also susan is kinda hot