An interview with a local new-ish Austin improviser: Mr. Anonymous

 

A little about our interviewee:

Mr. Anonymous is a Salesman (of amazing products of course) for his day job and travels the country quite often. But we’re not really here to talk about his day job. We want to know more about how improv has impacted his life and we hope to have a chuckle or two reading this blog. Mr. Anonymous has completed 3 classes with Merlin Works and is currently taking his fourth to learn a bit more about long form improv with the intention to be in the next Improv 601 graduation show next year. Mr. Anonymous may or may not be a stand up comedian in training as well – and we are pleased to share that he has a lovely wife and two beautiful daughters who put up with his secrets.

We sat down with Mr. Anonymous in a seedy Austin watering hole (go figure – he didn’t want to be seen with us) and had some fun albeit secretive Q&A.

1. What would your friends/family members say about improv? 

They’d say that I seem to be happy doing it.

2. Have you noticed a change in yourself/your work after taking improv classes?

I want to give you a long answer here, so bear with me.

I subscribe to a philosophy called the 13 Permanent Domains of Human Concerns.  In a nutshell, it states that all people alive today must care for 13 domains in their lives.  These domains are permanent and unavoidable by all people living in the Western world today.  They are:  Body, Play, Sociability, Family, Work, Education, Career, Money, Membership, World, Dignity, Situation, & Spirituality.  This philosophy doesn’t tell you how to take care of each domain, or how much to care for each domain, that’s up for the individual to determine.  Well, I’d determined that I didn’t have enough Play in my life.  I also had an urge to get into comedy.  So, I signed up for improv.  What does this have to do with the question?  I’ve been pretty good at my job for a long time now.  Improv hasn’t helped me get better at it, skill wise.  HOWEVER, I’ve historically gotten in bad or unproductive moods about my job.  I’d complain, wallow, etc.  Since I’ve started improv, I’ve noticed an overall elevation in mood and how I “move” in the world.  I feel better about life, and therefore I feel better about my job, ergo I’m more eager to do my job.  Dare I say I’m enjoying it more now than ever before!  I believe this is directly from addressing my lack of Play.  So, Improv has made my life better.  Which has improved my work.  Make sense?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, this is the first time I’ve actually articulated it.

3. What is your favorite scene or practice memory?  

There was a scene you in 301 where two of us were running a bar and we were talking about our fathers.  I don’t remember the specifics but I remember thinking that scene was awesome.  It had the right balance of funny & touching.  I’ve thought about that scene a number of times since then.

4. What is one example of a scene that you thought for sure was going nowhere and ended up being liquid/comedy gold?

In our 301 Showcase, we had to do it in half the time, and half the time, and again in half the time.  I felt the scene wasn’t that great at first but when we had to do it faster and faster it became really good.

5. What has been the main thing that surprised you about taking improv classes?

Just how much fun it is.  And also how it has a therapeutic aspect, for me anyway.

6. Would you recommend improv to EVERYONE? Or do you think there may be some people that are better off not taking it (trick question?)?

I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.  I would only recommend it to people that have an interest in performing in some way.  It’s not for everyone.

7. Do you have any tattoos? What and why?  (even better if they are improv related – I’m thinking about it…)

No.  I don’t have any tattoos.  I’m just not into them.  I don’t even really like them on other people.  But it’s their choice, obviously, and a lot of people love them.  I acknowledge that.  I think some people go really overboard with them.  But to each his own.

8. Would you recommend taking an improv class solo or with friends?

I took it solo and made new friends.

9. What’s your favorite color?

I have no idea.  I like to wear blue shirts.

10. Would you consider yourself a smart ass?

Definitely

–Erin Wike

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