Saturday, June 5, 2010

Conor - Improv

This is Conor O'Brien, and this will be on the first and last day I post on sundays. After this week I will be trading Robert Langellier for his Friday slot, which will make things work out smoother for both of us. Seeing as how this is my only sunday post, I thought it would be fitting to write about something that has been a part of my life every sunday for the past 5 years of my life: The Easily Amused Improv troupe. That blows my mind to just type, or say out loud. I've been in the troupe for 5 years. Longer than high school. Let me back up.

I'm the baby of my family, the youngest of four. I always idolized my older brother and sisters and their friends. My entire life I've been hanging out with the big kids, looking up to them and never really feeling like I belonged amongst them but trying my best to keep up. My sister Betsy was in the Easily Amused Improv troupe that her friend Matt Grant started, but I couldn't tell you anything about that entity, because my sister Betsy refused to let any member of the family come and see a show. Years after Betsy has left the group I'm in 8th grade, and I get invited by Janell Magnusson, who I'm working backstage on a Muni show with, to audition for the troupe. I audition, I make it.
When I joined the troupe, everybody else seemed like giants to me. These people were not the kind of people I could ever hope to be. They were witty, nice, cool, friendly, and hilarious. They were perfect. It took me a long time to feel like I was a part of the group. It didn't feel right, I couldn't comprehend being one of them. Everyone was extremely welcoming to me, and before I knew it I was being carted around after practice with the older members, taken to dinners, movies, and houses. I became friends with some, and good friends with others, and I loved it. I would look forward to every Sunday, just so I could go and have a good time with everyone.
Two years go by and my friends come and go. New members join, and old members leave. Watching new members go through what I went through is always interesting. It's always satisfying when you finally notice that the new kid isn't the new kid anymore. It takes weeks, months even, but eventually everyone gets absorbed into the family. That's what I've always felt about improv. It's a family. I may not know everything there is to know about Ben Shane, and I may not know next to anything about Kevin Tkach, but they're a part of us. It doesn't make a difference if I see you every day or if I only see you at improv. I have a certain understanding of who you are, thanks to the 2 hours we spend together weekly.

I've been the leader of the troupe for three years now. I don't know how I've done. I think we're funny still. Being leader has been much different than being a member. Sometimes I don't feel like I'm in control, and sometimes I don't feel like I'm one of the guys, but I've still had fun, even if I was handed some extra stress. I hope I haven't killed it. We've added new traditions, and we've lost old ones. We do skits now, and we have sleepovers. We have a bit of a problem finding young blood right now. We haven't had as many shows as I would have wanted us to have, and that's my fault. Pretty much all of that is my fault, but I think it can survive. In January we had a show that over 100 people came to. I had a hand in that, too. I'm not Dane Gaydos and I'm not Mike Watts and I'm not Matt Grant, but I think I love improv as much as any of those guys did. I really do. For 5 years now it's been the highlight of my week. It's going to be weird not having that in my life anymore. I'll miss it.

Sorry if that wasn't interesting to anyone not in improv. I'll make things better next week.


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