During the year I spent21 Aug 2001
During the year I spent at Boston University, I was a member of an improvised comedy troupe, along with my friend Aaron.
My shining moment was during the game that is set around a dinner party. Each guest has a mysterious quirk, which the host has to guess. If you’ve ever seen “Whose Line Is It Anyway”, you know the one I mean.
My quirk was that I was a fish out of water. I spent the entire game pretending like I was dunking my head in the toilet to breathe. It got really big laughs, but ..
I always felt like a cheat, though, because really, I’m not that funny. Witty, yes – clever? absolutely.. but not funny in that spontaneous, quirky “oh ferris bueller is there anything you can’t do” way. When you get right down to it, I’m probably about as poorly cut out for improv comedy as you can get.
But I’ll never forget staring at the carpet of the stage, hunched over an imaginary toilet, gasping for imaginary breaths of toiletwater. Not because I think of it as my “shining moment” or anything – but just because that sort of memory tends to stick out in your mind, after the more mundane memories start fading away. Really, the “shining moment” comment was supposed to be in a slightly sardonic, self-deprecating sense. Did you catch that? I suppose in retrospect I could have put “shining moment” in quotes, like it is in this paragraph, but I thought that might have been too over-the-top. After all, there’s such a thing as being too sardonic – and besides, when people put things in quotes like that, I imagine the narrator accenting that phrase sharply and making those little air quotes with their fingers, and that really gets on my nerves – especially when people do it all the time.
Getting back to my trip down memory lane:
I never performed in our actual grand finale show. I think it was because I had been recovering from my bad ankle sprain, and had missed a number of practices. But, on a subconscious (okay, conscious) level it probably had more to do with my insecurities and fear of doing something silly like pretending I was a fish breathing in an imaginary toilet in front of hundreds of people, rather than just a handful of friends, which I thought was plenty as it was.
I ended up being a ticket-taker at the show. How lame is that? I should have performed. Even if I had completely blanked on stage, I could have pretended I was a fish out of water. People seem to get a real kick out of that.