I really love teaching improv. There, I said it. I really do.
And nothing reinforces this more than when I talk to other people who are also teaching improv.
In the last week, I have had six (!) lengthy conversations with other improv teachers – David Razowsky, Bill Arnett, Kim Greene Hiller, Pat Finn, Dee Ryan and Justin Franzen.
With Razowsky and Dee in particular, we spent more than two hours discussing all aspects of improv, including the history of Viola Spolin and Second City and more, and the conversation got so deep into the weeds of improv that we could have taught a college-level course on it right there at the restaurant. Austin Tichenor, Dee’s husband, who was also at dinner with us, said later he wished he had his recording equipment to turn it into one of his podcasts.
In all of these conversations, I’ve found that when I am talking to other improv teachers about our experience teaching improv, my voice gets more confident and my body gets more animated. I come to life. I have opinions and share my experience and learn from theirs.
When the conversation is over, I feel a performance high. I am inspired and, dare I sat it, passionate about teaching improv. In fact, I’m more passionate about teaching improv than I am about performing it. I am a weirdo in that way.
This is pretty shocking to me, considering that when I first started doing improv 36 years ago, I was only interested in becoming famous and I had zero interest in becoming a teacher.
It’s hard to articulate what I love about teaching improv so much, but I just do. I love taking a group of people — it doesn’t matter if it’s a group of 40 corporate salespeople or a group of advanced improvisers in a one-day workshop – and helping them create something from nothing.
And more importantly, I love to watch the bond that they form, even though it might only last for a couple of hours.
Improv is something that constantly evolves and changes, and I love that, too. But most of all, I love to keep learning about improv and to keep striving to get better and better at it.