Friday, November 30, 2007

Every day on my way to and from work I pass this Petco with part of the "Supplies & Fish" sign burnt out. It's been like that for months, but it's still funny to me.

I heard somewhere that men tend to use wordplay humor more than women. Then again, women supposedly have wider vocabularies than men. Who knows. I like words. And puns. God help me, I like puns. I like that puns are both smart and dumb. No matter how smart a pun is, it's also kind of dumb, and vice versa.

I like when words get messed with in signs. A fast food restaurant across the street from my high school had a sign that read, "Looking for Openers and Closers" and someone took the "C" off. It's even better when it's unintentional, as if the universe has made a Freudian slip. I remember seeing a half burnt-out sign for a Ponderosa Steakhouse that just said, "PONDER." I tried writing that image into a bad short story in a college creative writing class, but it came off more pretentious than funny.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

This is my roommate, Young. We're both in Diplomat Motel and Whirled News Tonight.

Recently, after a bad show (It happens sometimes, it's improv), I caught Young reading this book. '14,000 Things to be Happy About.'

Young: An ex-girlfriend gave it to me a long time ago.
Me: Does it work?
Young: No. I think she gave it to me to piss me off.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The other group I perform with regularly is Whirled News Tonight, also at iO, only upstairs in the Del Close Theater, rather than downstairs in the Cabaret.

Tonight we participated in a showcase at iO. These happen from time to time. Sometimes they're for agents, sometimes talent scouts for Saturday Night Live or whatever. Tonight's show was set up for a handful of groups to tape a professional video of their shows to help promote to colleges.

Steve: I wonder if people in the audience think this is one of the really big showcases.
Glynn: Like, "I heard the President of Show Business is here!"

Four groups performed. Whirled News, Improvised Shakespeare (pictured) and two musical groups, one scripted, one improvised. The casts mostly kept to themselves backstage.

Some of us debated whether we should try to do a cleaner show than usual ("PG-13? TV14?"), while the scripted show went over its running order. "Don't forget, it's 'Nip and Tuck' THEN 'Cockblockers'."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I don't make a living as a performer. Like most improvisers, I make next to nothing doing it.

During the day I write funny trivia questions for an on-line quiz show. I look up facts. I form them into questions. I add jokes.

Our office is stuffed with eccentric trinkets and strange atmospheric touches. Cluttered with them, to be honest. Lately we've been trying to get rid of some of the junk, clear things out.

Here is a giant set of teeth and some old computer monitors that no one's sure how to properly dispose of.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Often, when I mention to someone that I have to go to an improv rehearsal, because it sounds like an oxymoron, I get the half-joking question, "How do you rehearse improv?"

I usually answer with something along the lines of it being like basketball practice. You run drills and exercises, workout key muscles and try to focus your teamwork. My Dad's a college basketball coach, so that's probably why I use that simile.

The simpler answer to the question of how you rehearse improv, in Chicago anyway, is "Once a week. Usually at a park district building. For about two hours, minus a short break in the middle and a certain amount of bullshitting time up front."

My iO Harold team, Diplomat Motel (one of two groups I perform with regularly), does Mondays at Gill Park.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

"All we need to get started is a suggestion of anything at all."