If you have ever talked with any of us in Automatic Improv, you know that improv can teach a lot of valuable life skills. I mean, come on. Amy speaks an entire new language! The valuable life lesson I have learned? How to talk to strangers.
(Don’t tell my mother.)
I was taught from a very early age not to talk to strangers. Stranger Danger is totally a thing. As a child, I learned that the only reason someone you don’t know would talk to you is because they are trying to steal you. I had a very safe childhood so it made sense to carry this practice into adulthood. Unfortunately, as an adult, you occasionally have to talk to strangers (see: buying things at stores, interviewing for a job, making friends). Fortunately, through the therapy of improv classes, I learned it is okay to talk to people I don’t know. After all, sometimes you need things.
This skill was put to the ultimate test last weekend. Two of my dear friends, Andrew and Robert (Automatic’s musical improvisor!), got married in Los Angeles. They kicked off their celebration weekend with a bachelor(ette) party featuring a scavenger hunt that ran us all over the city. We competed in teams (I was on Team Robert) to see who could get the most points by doing absurd things like: leading a subway car in the ‘YMCA,’ putting the entire team in a tree, or getting strangers to kiss the lucky groom-to-be. This was where my improv skills came in handy. Turns out, I am now super good at asking strangers to kiss my friends (Thanks, Automatic Improv!). Or maybe (and probably) Robert is inherently kissable. Either way, it seemed to work for all of these people.
I thank improv for helping us win the competition that night. I assume Team Robert won. At the end of the night we didn’t tally everything because “everyone was a winner.” I don’t believe in that sort of thing though, so I’m saying we won. The winners, really, were Andrew and Robert. A lifetime of happiness does seem like the ultimate prize.
If you see either of these lovely gentlemen, please congratulate them on their new marriage and honeymoon tans. For my part: Thank you, Andrew and Robert, for letting me be a part of your special day (and then share it with the world through the guise of this improv blog!)