The year was 2012. I had just watched my friends' band play at Liquid Lounge or Curtain Club or somewhere in Deep Ellum. I did that a lot: support my friends and their artistic endeavors. I wasn't sure how I wanted to wring out my own artistic point of view yet. After their show, we walked over to Buzz Brew's to get some late night grub. On our way out, I grabbed a little rack card for a Black Friday sale at Dallas Comedy House. I had never heard of the place. I put the card in my purse and carried on.
I took that card out of my purse at some point. I remember researching DCH. Trying to read reviews and find out as much as I could. I've been a big comedy fan for a long time. I had this goal of wanting to be a comedy writer. I owned an Assssscat DVD. Watching comedy and doing bits with my friends was as close as I had gotten to working toward my comedy writing goal though. At the time, I was looking up Dallas Comedy House, the Sketch Writing program required a pre-requisite of Level 1 Improv (it now requires through Level 3). I'll be honest. I didn't want to do improv. I was scared. I was scared I'd be too shy to do it. I was scared of interacting with strangers. I was scared it would be a cheesy Whose Line Is It Anyway? wannabe. I was scared of trying something new.
I decided to sign up. I saved $50 and bought myself a Christmas gift, a Level 1 Improv class in Dallas.
I remember that first day of class. I was nervous out of my mind. But I remember feeling like I was where I was supposed to be. That's a crazy, rare feeling. At least it is for me, it is. To just feel it in your bones that you are making a good choice. I told my friends about it that night. I tried to make them play the improv games I learned that day. I was giddy. Still nervous for a long time, but giddy.
Taking that first class changed my life. It brought so many people into my life. People that are my family now. People that want to do comedy, and some that don't. People that still live here, and some that have moved away. These people changed my life.
Comedy gave me the outlet for me to wring out my own creativity. I'm slightly less shy these days. I have a cooler job. I got to perform in New York City. I've had more fun experiences than I can count. I met my fella.
But the most important way that comedy (specifically improv) changed my life is that I'm not afraid to fail anymore. I take chances on and off the stage. I make choices knowing that I'll be okay without a full plan. I live bigger. And better.
Ashley Bright is a teacher of sketch and improv comedy at Dallas Comedy House. She plays regularly with Primary Colours, .f.a.c.e., the Rift, and Genie. She has no pets or children.