A few months ago a friend of mine mentioned that he was taking an improv comedy class and was enjoying it more than he expected to. Looking at my quarantine-stricken calendar, I figured “what the fuck, might as well try it too”. Internally, this represented a leap of faith for me as a prior version of myself would ridicule “theater kids”, “band kids”, “art kids”, or any other kind of kid brave enough to express themself in front of others. Long story short, I ended up loving it and hope to continue doing improv comedy for the foreseeable future. Here’s why.

Improv taught me life skills

Improv taught me to be flexible. Sometimes I find myself preparing what to say before I even enter a conversation, anticipating what the other person might say back to me, and what I might reply with. Improv basically taught me to cut that shit out. I get so much more out of conversations when I understand what the other person is saying and where they are coming from. This is an absolutely necessary mindset in improv. You don’t know where your scene partner is going to take the scene, but the best laughs come from when you go with it.

Improv taught me to be a team player. As the oldest child in my family, at times I felt like the prodigal son growing up. I had parents that celebrated my achievements which boosted my self esteem but at times made me feel like competing, achieving, and winning were part of the natural order of my life. At improv, there are no winners. There are no losers. It’s a true team experience where only collaboration and mutual understanding can make the audience – and the performers – laugh.

For more on improv and life skills, I would highly recommend this video.

I met a bunch of other cool people

Also enrolled in the improv class were people who weren’t afraid to try something new, enjoyed being silly, and who also wanted to meet other people. Improv required opening myself up and being vulnerable. Doing this repeatedly around the same group built a level of trust that is hard to come by in the “real world”. By the end of the class I felt like I could really connect with my classmates. We still keep in touch and a group is continuing on doing improv together.

Improv was just plain old fun

The most important thing for me was that improv was just plain old fun. I laughed. I played. I was happy.

Sometimes I can get caught up in the heaviness of life. I feel like I need to find my purpose in life, what I’m doing with it, who I’m doing it with. The answers to these questions can take a lifetime to become clear but I’m impatient… I want to know now! I want to know if I’m doing life right or if I’m fucking it all up!

In improv class, I can let go. I don’t need to worry about whether I’m winning or losing at life, making the right choices, spending my time in the right way. All I need to do is laugh. And it makes me think… maybe life is just supposed to be fucking fun.

Anyway, improv rocks. Would recommend.