As the host of “Zip Zap Zoom” dims the lamp behind them to simulate the start of an actual semi-comedy show, you stop and take stock of how exactly you let yourself get here.
Your co-worker started taking improv classes three years ago, and you’d gotten so good at dodging their shows. But as if the pandemic hasn’t already taken enough from you, it’s now taken what matters most, believable excuses for why you can’t go to their shows. There’s just nowhere you can claim to be anymore. You can only use your cat’s depression as an excuse to miss the show so many times, and now it’s time to pay the piper. It’s time to watch some improv.
The host smiles, but his eyes scream out for help. You peek through the Zoom room and see that there are actually a lot of people here, about 35 or so from the looks of it. Okay. Maybe there’s something you don’t know. You know, if they have this many fans, there must be something to this. You take a celebratory sip of your wine and tuck in for what you hope will be an, at minimum, endurable hour.
“Ladies, babies, and gentlepeeps! Thanks so much for joining us tonight. Everything you are about to see is made up on the spot by our improvisers. We will be asking the audience for suggestions, so don’t be too shy to shout out an answer. Now, with no further adieu, please make it loud, for IMPROVee of the Month!”
You start clapping and give a little hoot, but nobody else does. They all just smile enthusiastically and nod or wave. Oh no…. oh no, this can’t be happening. Every other person on this Zoom call is part of the troupe. You reach for the box of wine you had not intended to finish tonight. But your plans are out the window. Now, you are the only audience member at an online improv show.
You think back wistfully to just a couple of weeks ago when you were miserably watching the presidential debates. You really didn’t know how good you had it. Oh how young and naive you were. How the time flies.
“Alright folks, to get started, we’re going to need an animal. Any animal, just shout one out.”
There’s an uncomfortable silence as they all stare at you.
“Horse! Great suggestion! Now a city.”
“And finally, an item you’d find in a bathroom.”
Maybe you’ll die before the hour is up. Maybe. Hopefully. Fingers crossed. Bottoms up to 2020.