January 29, 2006

My Professional Improv Debut

Roughly a dozen years ago, I sat in a show at SAK comedy lab in Orlando, FL as a junior in high school and I thought to myself, “I will be doing this one day.” The thought was not so much a life ambition, just acknowledgement that my sense of humor and penchant for smart ass remarks would almost certainly lead me here.

Several years later, I started a comedy improv team at Taylor University (Upland, IN) called the Rice Pilaf Players. We sort of trained ourselves, but eventually found a rhythm and became quite successful. The group has continued to this day. I later started improv teams at Gordon College (Wenham, MA), First Baptist Church of Orlando, and finally at the high school where I now teach (Orlando, FL).

When I first moved down here, I checked out SAK, but picked the far less reputable Lost & Found Club (Longwood, FL), which crumbled soon after my departure. (a coincidence…? Probably.) It was a lousy little show, and sometimes degraded into hostile barprov (improv at a bar, where the only reason people notice you is because microphones make you the loudest one in the room). But I learned a ton.

Once I got to the school where teach now, I met two students Chris Dinger and Benji Hurlburt. They were rising up through the ranks of SAK and always encouraged me to join the fun over there.

I signed up my teenage improv minions in the High School League at SAK, and while there for a high school show, Dave Russel (The director of SAK -see photo at left) asked me if I’d be interested in hosting shows. Well, I was.

My first show went pretty well. I had a very supportive cast made up of:

Chris Dinger my ex-student

Richard Paul - an old chum from my Lost & Found days

John (my school’s High School League instructor)

Francisco The night I showed to SAK those many years ago (4) and played with the LabRats, it was the Fran-man's first night too.

Mark Baratelli New to me in real life, but I'd been to his blog and new he was funny.

Charles Frierman -
Who I’ve performed with before at a private gig

It was my first night, and there was only one person I hadn’t either work-shopped or performed with before. It could not have been more comfortable.

And it’s official…. I’m a HOST! I’m even listed as such on the SAK website! Click on my name, go ahead. There’s nothing there yet, but you can click on it! When I know my regular show schedule I'll post it here.


James Currie said...

Congrats, Dan! I'm excited for this dream come true. You're a natural for this kind of thing. You should get paid millions for it. Keep us posted on how things go.

By the way, I've been meaning to tell you that you've got very cute kids and an adorable wife. How did you get so lucky?

Chris Dinger said...

This is great. This is just great. What? You want some balloons too?