Improv and Hiking, It’s Not Just for Adults Without Driver’s Licenses

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Improv and Hiking, It’s Not Just for Adults Without Driver’s Licenses

Guest Post today from Sally Perkins

“The first thing you realize when you go hiking is that it’s a mistake. We’re not walking anywhere in particular. There’s not at the end of the trail, a bar or pub or cheese fries, it’s just walking”. Jim Gaffigan, the comedian most famous for his laziness and food jokes, has turned to an anti-hiking mantra – “I’m an adult, I have a driver’s license”. But what if you’re on a date and she suggests going for a hike? Well here’s how you can combine your love of comedy with your date’s love for the great outdoors.

Improv Games for Your Hike

What better way to show your charming and funny side, then taking part in some improv games on your hike. It’ll distract your date from realizing you’re sweating profusely, and distract you from the fact that you've chosen to go on a hiking date

·        The Hitch Hiker: Pretend to be a hitch hiker, hiking a ride. One of you can be the hitch hiker with a particular character tick or emotion which the other, the driver, then takes over. Since you’ll be outdoors, you can even use props from the hike or draw from your environment.

·        The Blind Date Show: This is a very typical improv game, but could be great for a first date. Each of you can create a persona and take turns asking questions of your date to figure out what the persona is.

·        Human Props: One of you can use the other as a prop to act out a situation. Since you’re outdoors, maybe try a situation such as being stranded in the woods, camping, or escaping a bear.

·        Two Realities: Each of you creates your own world with a location, character, and time. Without telling each other, establish your worlds and try to guess what they are. Once you figure it out, add elements of each world together to create a cohesive story.  

What to Bring

Since it’s a date, you should probably be prepared. According to Jim Gaffigan, everyone these days seems to be dressed up as if there could be an impromptu hike at a moment’s notice. But if this isn’t you, it’s important you dress for the part. Wear moisture-wicker clothing to help you stay cool so that you aren’t slick with sweat when you initiate the cuddle sesh. You may also want to bring snacks or a picnic to play out the date. Your snack basket can also be a great source of props for any improv exercises or games. You will seem like a romantic, and you’ll have more material to work with.

With these tools and activities, you won’t even notice you’re on a hike, and your date will be wooed by your comedic performance. Hiking doesn’t have to be just for people that don’t have driver’s licenses. 

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What's It's Like To Be In Love . . . With Improv

Today's guest blogger is Meggan Johnson Hyde. Meggan is a Sacramento improviser and main-stage performer at Blacktop Comedy. You can see Meggan in Your F@#$%! Up Relationship, Squeaky Clean: Family Friendly Comedy, and the upcoming Teen Slasher

I remember the first time I met you, Improv. It truly was love at first sight. While I'm typically somewhat of a wallflower when I'm surrounded by unfamiliar faces, you were so warm and welcoming that I found myself jumping right into the conversation.
"Hi! My name is Meggan, and I like to do this!"


I flirted with you during some warm-up games, casually noticing how everyone around you was having such a great time. But then, you took to the stage and that's when I knew my life would never be the same. You had the cool factor of the jock with the accessibility of the student council president. I sat back and watched you in action for a while, completely in awe of how supportive and encouraging you were. Finally, though my heart was racing, I shot my shaky hand up in the air and asked to join you onstage. Suddenly, there we were. Together. Laughing and having the best time of our lives. It all came together so easily. I was in love, and I wanted to shout it from the mountain tops!
I found myself wanting to be with you all the time. I never missed an opportunity to be with you onstage. I took all the classes and workshops that I could, so as to get to know you better. I read books and listened to podcasts by people who had known you for decades. The more I learned about you, the more I found wonderful and new aspects about you to be discovered. Over the next few months I did everything I could to fill my brain with all the knowledge about you that would fit.


That's when it happened. Everything had seemed so easy in the beginning. Every time we were together we would laugh and play, and it had all seemed so effortless. But suddenly, things were . . . awkward. Now, any time we got together all I could think about was every single thing I was doing wrong. I could barely even talk to you anymore. Standing onstage together, I was completely frozen.


That was a defining moment for us. It would have been so easy for me to walk away, right then and there - to write you off as being too complicated and just call it quits. But I couldn't let you go. I confided in a good friend/mentor, one who had known you for a very long time. He told me that what I was going through was totally normal. In fact, it happens a lot. He called it a valley, and he encouraged me to keep trudging through it. Because eventually, I'd find myself at the top of another mountain with you. My friend also warned me that there would be other valleys. And he was right. Because every good relationship has mountains and valleys. And you, my Beloved Improv, are worth every one.

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Stop Being Polite

Today's guest blogger is Garrett Bank. Garrett is a Sacramento improviser and main-stage performer at Blacktop Comedy. His past performances include KAPOW, Teen Slasher, and F@#$%! Up Relationship.

In my short time studying improv there is always the inevitable conversation, “Hey why did you sit on the side the whole show?” And this always leads to an inevitable answer, “I felt like I was hopping out too much. I wanted someone else to have a turn.” While this might not always be the answer, at one point or another someone you are on a team with is going to say something along the lines of, “I was just making sure everyone gets a turn.” This is where the epidemic of politeness in improv spawns.

Now making sure everyone gets to play and have fun during a show is a noble effort but has a lot of flawed logic. Say you come up with a scene start idea while on the sidelines and you are about to run on and start the greatest improv scene of your career. When suddenly you remember you were in the last three scenes and the person next to you hasn’t been in any. So you put that idea aside and what for your fellow improviser to hop in. My advice to the reader who has ever had this thought while on stage; GET OFF THE SIDELINES AND START THAT SCENE! If you do, not only do you create a scene that people (who possibly haven’t hopped out yet) can join in on but you have put aside self judgment and acted on instinct. I understand you want to be nice to your fellow improvisers but not participating because someone else is not participating just creates two people not participating. Also, when did improv become a game where we kept score? Do we go backstage and count up how many scenes we were in and flaunt in front of everyone? Let me give you the quick answer: No. We get out on stage a lot because we want to play or we want to support what our other improvisers are trying to create. Improv is truly one of the only team based sports that is not about competition.

Now if you are still concerned about the person on the sideline who still won’t hop into a scene, when you get that next scene start invite them out with you. Everybody wins! You no longer have to feel bad about playing a lot (but you shouldn’t anyway). In summary, the intention of being polite is a great idea but ultimately can be self-destructive to you and your fellow team mates. Play and join scenes as much as you want and have a great time.

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F'ed up Relationship has been going steady for six months now. Catch it tomorrow @ 9pm. Admission by donation :) #tbt #improvcomedy #blacktopcomedy #btcrocklin #feduprelationship #goingsteady #curtaincall #badromance #summerloving #improv #cast http://ift.tt/2b2yTnJ

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You Will Be Supported

Today's guest blogger is Aeriel. 

I started crying before I started typing which seems like a pretty typical reaction of me. I don’t think I used to embrace crying as much as I do now, but here I am -- crying and glad I am. I feel so invigorated, thrilled, uplifted even to be a part of such a wonderful team and community in which support is a main foundation. Finding improv, more specifically, finding Blacktop Comedy theater has been an absolutely transformative experience for my life, well-being, and ultimately -- my soul.

Where to begin -- as I realize my blogging experience is more of a confession, here we go. I moved across the country, seemingly on a whim and began a new gray and drab job at ye olde government office. I will peep the bright and bubbly fellow Gordon Sharp for recognizing the light in me at the time and encouraging me to come to shows at Blacktop Comedy. Whether it be his shameless self-promoting that played a factor, or honestly the divine timing of the universe, I attended a couple of shows, short form then referred to as Shorties, and the box office hit - Teen Slasher -- I was hooked. I got my roommate and friends involved, I loved this place! I was so amazed! I had volunteered for a couple of the short form shows when it called for it, and I loved shouting out my suggestions (still do!), but I never had the thought, that could be me up there! I think I owe a lot to my good pal, Gordon, for HEAVILY encouraging the level one intro to improv class until one fateful summer, I took it.

I had been going to shows for a couple months and after a recent breakup and a BRAND new change in scenery, I was in my mind, ready to let go and do something for ME. I also give so many props to watching the amazing Blacktop performers for inspiring, and even more specifically -- the hosts I saw, Betsaida Lebron and Paul Burke, ALL of which I have grown to get to know and love as my own family. <3 Anyways, taking the class quite literally changed my life. (crying again per usual :P ) Are emoticons chill in a blog post? Haha.

I finished the course with excitement and still a lot of nervousness, but grateful that I did something for ME! I still see some of my fellow graduates in the weekly playgrounds - you know who you are! After the course graduation, I continued to volunteer with Blacktop and ultimately tried out to be a part of the team. I had no theater experience prior and honestly not a whole lot of confidence in myself at that point, but I did it anyways. I was ecstatic to hear that Blacktop wanted me to be a part of their performer cast after auditions. I didn’t know what it meant for my life at the moment, I just knew it was a place I wanted to be.

BOY WAS I RIGHT. Haha. In all seriousness though -- as serious as a blog post can get, it quite literally change the trajectory of my life, or better yet, was destined to be the trajectory of my life.

The summer of 2014, only two years ago, I know -- because I tweet everything, was the start of a new life. Now, I’m not saying since finding improv, more specifically Blacktop Comedy (‘cause there is a difference), made my life peaches and cream; No, I’m saying my sense of self and how I react to LIFE (this almost unmistakable force I once felt victim to) is completely different.

Often people hear the rules/guidelines of Improv and think it sounds like a cult… and yeah, they’re not entirely wrong! If it’s a cult, I’m drinking the kool-aid, making the kool-aid and endorsing the fXXX out of it! I live this Kool-aid. (product placement) OH YEAH!

It’s not something I was able to integrate ENTIRELY into my life right away, but the longer I have lived, the more I have been able to understand life by “rules” of improv. Rules is a stupid word because no one likes rules, how about supportive guidelines?

These supportive guidelines, “yes and”, “support others”, “take care of yourself”, “be in the moment”, sound so broad and out of context, but they can truthfully be placed into any situation you may be faced with in life. I think with all of that in mind, the best lesson I have learned -- trust yourself. I think the ultimate lesson for me was, confidence. Trusting myself, helped others trust and support me, and to create a beautiful scene! Whether it be an improv scene of jumping on a jet ski with my true love or another scene of playing violin for a concert of one OR better yet, LIFE IN REAL LIFE ITSELF -- taking risks and trusting that I (CAPITAL I) will be okay, was the most valuable lesson I could EVER learn.

I will be okay, you will be okay, we will all be okay. What a comforting thought. Even when it feels like we won’t, or we judge/question what is OKAY or what is not, knowing, someone out there is ready to support us, is so beautiful. Ultimately, it all ties back to everything! Full circle --  another recurring theme of improv in general! The universe will support you when you are in the right intentions (right intentions may be subjective, but I think as humans we can gather what that means for us individually.) Whether it be the wonderful, talented, beautiful improvisers of Blacktop Comedy, or wherever -- know that the Universe has your best interest in mind and that you will be supported.

That magnanimous (I didn’t even have to use a thesaurus for that feeling) support that I get from my Blacktop Community is something I wish everyone could find for themselves and I KNOW it’s out there. I know I said the best lesson was finding my confidence/sense of self, but with that comes finding your joy. Whatever that means for you, performing on stage, creating with friends, hanging out with kittens, whatever that means - is where you are supposed to be. Joy and love is not something to “capture” or “strive for” (in my opinion), but rather a state of BEING. Be love. Be joy. Be the person, the human person, that is capable of these transformative and influential states of being that reverberates to others.

I hope that my journey in finding my joy is helpful to others in finding theirs as well. I think that’s the ultimate sense of self, JOY (LOVE). We all deserve this greatness and can share with others. I thank sincerely the people of Blacktop and Paul and Betsaida, for bringing me such a beautiful realization and it is only my hope that I can pass this on to others on their own personal journey. I love you all, I don’t know you all, but I know I love you. (crying again, out of love) ~~ <3

-Aeriel

Twitter: @hellasc

Snapchat: Scaeriel

Today's guest blogger is Aeriel. A regular performer on the stage at Blacktop Comedy, she also co-hosts a local Sacramento podcast, Dave's Vape Pen

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