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.