Monday, January 5, 2009

January Player of the Month: Mel B!

Player Since: Feb 2003 (Off and on, since I was at grad school in Philly for a few years in there.)
Day Job: Speech-Language Pathologist, part time instructor in Theatre Dept. at BYU
Hometown: San Juan, PR (Believe it or not, I'm actually a quarter Puerto Rican.)
Favorite thing about CSz: The boyz and the laughs. I'm adding years to my life by the week.
When no one is looking you like to: Lick the bowl
Biggest influences: Miss Piggy, cuz she never gives up...c'mere, Kermie... Oh. And my mom.
Best Advice for People Who want to learn improv: Don't try to be funny. Focus on good improv skills like listening, responding, adding, etc. The funny'll come.
When did you first know you wanted to be involved with the theater?
I can remember saying in 2nd grade that when I grew up I wanted to be a famous singer or actress. Now I'm both!
You're a speech pathologist. Do any attributes of improv help you with your job and vice versa?
Oh, man, totally. I actually truly dislike planning, so it's really nice that doing things on the fly comes pretty easily. And in reality with a caseload of 85 kiddies and at least that many reports a week to write, who has time to plan? Occasionally, I'll also whip out an improv warm up like Zip Zap Zop to get my students' chops goin' and they love it.
Do you enjoy doing long form improv (like the Yellow #2 show) or short form (ComedySportz Main event) more? Why?
Oooh. Is this a trick question? Well, okay. You caught me. I came to CSz for the long form shows. I love 'em. Yum. Yum. I love building a story or just really sinking my teeth into a scene that could go for who knows how long. I love the patience and the creating and the who knows what's going to happen next. I also love the moments when we just all seem to be on the same wavelength, we listen, we follow, we give, we take, and brilliance occurs. It's truly delightful. I have to add, though, short form is awesome too. I think I was just intimidated by it in the beginning--the pressure to be funny FAST! But the truth is, if you just listen and respond by adding information, the funny just comes. I've never really considered myself a funny person.
In fact, I originally started doing improv 10 years ago because it was an audition I didn't have to prepare for* (see earlier comment re: distaste for preparation), not because I thought I was funny. I had no expectation of getting into the group*, which I did, but I had promised myself I'd go to any audition that came up to get more experience. It was way out of my comfort zone and my realm of thinking as an actor in training, but it worked. They picked me. Yay! And I LOVE doin' it.
*Sketch/Improv group called The Garrens at BYU
For every women improver at CSz there are seven men. What are the pro's and con's of usually being the only woman on stage?
Pro: The kisses. Con: The kisses. Pro: Less emotional who-ha (ladies, why are we so dramatic?). Con: Um...let me think for a min. Pro: A safe walk to my car after the show. Con: Well, I really can't think of any more cons, except maybe that since I rarely play with girls, when I do it's almost weird. Really, the boyz are great and I just love hangin' with them in and out of ComedySportz. They are delightfully talented people who know how to find the humor in life and share it with others. (The girls do too, I just don't get to see them as often!)
What is your favorite game and why? many to choose from... I think I'd have to say Acronym Panel. I just love character games and this one has the added challenge of finding acronyms that match that character. Yummy. It's like eating a juicy peach without a napkin--challenging, and you might drip a little on your shirt, but it sure does taste good.
Anything else you'd like to say?
Thanks for the love! Keep laughing and keep coming. Oh, and iphones are awesome. I just caught up with an old friend AND listened to an episode of This American Life without having to take my gloves off, while shoveling my driveway, with only the simple touch of one button. Beautiful.
Thanks, Mel B.