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Still funny after all these years

October 22, 2011

Last night I saw Jet City Improv for the first time since 2005 or so. They were as good as ever.

As explained in an excellent Seattle Times article on JCI cast member Kyle Kizzier, improv is truly a team activity. Most of the humor comes from interactions between actors, and thus is hard to capture in print. But certain lines remain memorable a day later.

For one skit the theme specified by the audience was “Catholic schoolgirl.” The cast had ten seconds to ponder this theme and then the skit began. BRRRING! went the phone. “Hello?” the Catholic schoolgirl answered. A voice at the other end: “Hey, wanna come over to Atheist School later?”

For another skit the audience’s suggestion was “astronauts,” and suddenly a woman in training was getting bawled out by a NASA staffer for being out of shape and overweight. A supervising physician strolled in. “In space, this will not be a problem,” he observed. “She’ll be weightless.”

My favorite skit was one billed as so serious that any actor causing the audience to laugh would be replaced. The audience suggested “eagles” as a theme, causing a couple to appear mid-hike, birdwatching. The husband started getting philosophical: “After 15 years of marriage, I wanted to bring you out here because –” “SSSHHHHHHHH!” the wife hissed. Soon the eagles got a bit too close, scaring them. “Sometimes I think of our marriage as being like a bird,” the husband offered, eliciting laughter and being forced to leave the stage. Not missing a beat, his replacement continued, “…It’s best when it’s far away.”

Not a perfectly crafted analogy, but awfully funny as a spontaneous musing.

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