Christina is “O-Town Fierce” and we love her! Catch her THIS SATURDAY at The Comedy Loft, 8:15 p.m.
*See event details below.
LIFE LESSONS IMPROV STYLE!
By Christina Miller
Why should you, or I—or anyone do improv comedy? Because there are a ton of life lessons that improv teaches. There are more obvious ones like improving your public speaking skills with improv. I definitely grow less nervous and afraid to perform or speak in front of people every time I do improv. But here are two less obvious life lessons that have had a big impact on me.
My introduction to improv was on a work trip to Amsterdam in 2005. As a team-building activity, we all went to see an improv show. During the show, I leaned over to my friend and colleague Linda and said, “I can see myself doing this. I would love to do this.” She nodded and agreed.
I still remember that first show and how in awe I was of the performers. I never thought of myself as funny, but I loved the spontaneity of the interactions and thought maybe I could do that. I also loved how I felt watching the improvisers and wanted to make people feel that same way. Little did I know it would take me over 12 years to start to make that dream happen and learn how to do comedy improv.
Which is life lesson #1: don’t give up on your dreams because you haven’t gotten around to making them happen yet. Dreams don’t have to die because you can’t make them happen at this moment. Tuck them away for the day you can make the dream happen. No, holding on to your dreams until you can make it happen isn’t a life lesson specific to improv, but my improv journey really made that rule clear to me. This is great because I have several other dreams tucked away in my brain that I’ll make happen when the time is right.
Life lesson #2 is also not specific to improv, but my improv journey is how I learned this lesson—everything can change in a moment. Late summer 2017, I see that Chris Bodily is offering an improv class through Weber State’s Continuing Education program. I had seen on Chris’s social media posts that he did improv, but I’d never been to one of his shows. I liked his art and I thought, “this might be my chance to try improv.” I signed up for his class which was an 8-week course on the Introduction of Improv. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Chris was a great instructor. His class was on long-form improv, and I admit I was completely in over my head, especially since Matt Tse, Eric Holmes, and Kelsy Thompson were also in the class. Little did I know my intro class was with these experienced and regularly performing improvisers. I learned a lot in the class but not enough to start performing.
Chris encouraged me to watch shows at the Comedy Loft, where he performed with the troupe Sasquatch Cowboy. It took me a moment, but I found the time and courage to take the monthly workshop offered at the time at the Comedy Loft and then stay to watch Sasquatch Cowboy. Matt was at that first show and paid for me to watch because he wanted to encourage me to be there.
I started to regularly attend the Sasquatch Cowboy shows and would go to the monthly workshops. I wanted more. I still didn’t know how I was ever going to learn enough and get the chance to perform. Then everything changed in a moment!
In February of 2018, Matt started a beginner improv class every Tuesday. Matt also invited Jordan Sanders to join, so Jordan and I spent the next few months learning improv basics. Stephen St. Peter and Rachel Washington would join us at some of these classes and we all learned to perform together. In May 2018, Matt thought I had learned enough to finally be on stage in front of an audience and invited me to perform with Déjà Vu. By July Déjà Vu had become O-Town Throwdown, and I was performing regularly at the Comedy Loft. Now, I was rough in those first improv shows and that’s part of the learning process. But what I did experience was as soon as I made the steps to make my improv dream happen, everything changed and within 6 months I was performing.
If you’d like to learn improv and experience the power of how improv can change your life, the Comedy Loft offers weekly free workshops on Saturdays at 7 pm. And stick around for Cleaver Endeavors improv comedy show at 8:15 pm where you’ll get to watch some of Ogden’s incredible improvisers!
Comedy Loft is located above Ziegfeld Theater at
3934 Washington Blvd
Ogden, Utah 84403
Christina Miller is a local improviser performing regularly with the Ogden Comedy Loft. She’s also a writer and photographer. Christina loves all things Ogden, and you'll see her supporting many Ogden art and community events. Christina also helps run PoetFlow and has been a part of PoetFlow family since the first gathering in September 2015. Follow Christina at www.instagram.com/crellim or at her blog www.crellim.com