Welcome to a new feature to The Phoenix Remix – every week we have an Improv Monday but if you are new to improv / want to give it a try / or just interested in why people do it and what it can do for you as a person there is no real channel for that. Improv may be a comedy art form and may be something that you think people do just for comedy but there are many reasons as to why people train in the art form apart from this. When I was training in Newcastle and also when I train in London I meet a variety or people that did it for many different reasons. One of the first questions I love to ask people I meet through lessons is why did you decide to do improv?
I have many diffferent responses to this question and each of them always fascinate me – you obviously get the predictable ones, an actor wanting to learn to develop their skills, a comedian to develop their on the spot wit etc but I have also had answers such as to gain confidence when teaching children, to know what games I could introduce to my patients to make them feel at ease, its a break away from the intense job i do as a career, to make friends etc etc The list goes on and on but they really open my eyes as to how much the art form can actually do for a person.
Now you are probably reading this and wondering why or even how I got into improv. You probably just think that i just jumped into it because i write a comedy site – well no, not really. I grew up watvhing Whose Line is It Anyway and remember it being on TV on the early hours when I was getting ready for the school day – i had to be up extra early as I went to a childminders before primary school because my mum used to work long days. I remember thinking of it as being silly and funny but at the age of 8 or 9 you just think of it as funny you dont really think of it for what it actually is.
Jump to 2013 and I started to do volunteer comedy editing for ComComedy (the guys who now run Next Up Comedy) I was given a whole bunch of footage to edit and one of the first acts I edited after Tape Face, Margarat Cho, Jessica Forteskew was a five piece troupe The Noise Next Door. Before watching their ten minute interview I sat there and watched their hour Fringe Show first. I was in hysterics – it made me laugh so much – these five wacky guys with colorful ties and a guitar opened my eyes to a world I had completely forgotten existed. I went and saw them the same year in November at the St James Theatre and dragged my friend along. I remember laughing so much that my ribs actually hurt. These guys were my new heros and they absolutely fascinated me. I remember at the end of the show they hung around the bar and I was nervous as hell but still went up to talk to one of the Toms about ComComedy and I think I thanked them for making me laugh…
Jump forward to late 2015, I had just started writing a little comedy blog called The Phoenix Remix and I had no idea what my plans were for it and what i wanted to do with it.I had just been offered a job in Newcastle in TV that was an oppurtunity I couldnt miss out on and took the oportunity to move 300 miles away from home. I had no family or friends up north and lived on my own. Whilst the people I worked with were lovely and really made me feel at home and at settle into the North really easily, away from the workplace I had no friends and would spend a lot of time on my own – on the weekends travelling around the North East with music blasting in my ears.
I wanted to do something in my spare time to meet people – i had no interest in dancing as knew i would get bored, then thought of Improv. i was debating about starting in London as I would watch the Noise Next Door Youtube channel a lot to make me laugh on greay dull days and they always made me laugh no matter how many times I watched the same video. The problem was I was commuting 4 hours a day so was completley shattered – i was so shocked to find courses and signed up – To make friends, make a feature for my blog and see what happens. Two years later I am still doing it, met some of my closest friends and enjoying laugh.
So on a weekly basis I am going to delve into different areas of how Improv has changed my life. Everyone has a different story and we will interview other improvisers about their experiences. I suppose the message of this first one was that Improv did a lot of things to change me – the first one i suppose it what it has done to this site. Before starting it as a feature it was just writing about things I liked that was happening in the stand up comedy world. This site has now become like a baby to me and the fact that it is now growin so much in size and is starting to make it known within the Improv community could of never of happened i suppose if I hadnt left Sky and had noone i knew around me!.