There’s a very good possibility that you have seen me in a show at Dallas Comedy House. Not always on stage, but usually right there in the audience. I was probably downing a glass of rosé, laughing out loud, and snapping a photo with my phone. Why yes, I did graduate last year and am in quite a few troupes. So why do I watch so many other people’s shows? Let me explain through a good old top 3 list.
1. To learn.
Level 1, Day 1 of classes I was told one of the best ways to get better at improv was to watch shows. So, I would go see shows after class. On Saturdays I would go see shows after my intern shift ended. I would see shows that my teachers were in. I would see shows that I heard them talk about. I got to see improv masters such as, David & Terry, Roadside Couch, Local Honey, and F.A.C.E. Watching these improvisers helped new concepts click easier as I learned them in class. I also got to see new (at the time) troupes such as, Duck Duck Pants, Pinot Memoir, and Sunglow. Seeing these people perform helped me gain confidence and experience fresh perspectives. Watching shows as a student helped me engage in class more. Continuing to watch shows has helped me keep growing as an improviser.
2. To support.
I’ve joined troupes because I trust the other improvisers in the group and want to create some comedy with them. Many shows I see are my fellow troupe mates’ other troupes, sketch shows, stand up sets, or other experimental stuff they’ve thought up. I see being an audience member as an extension of the side support I offer up on stage. There is a mutual energy exchange between the performer and the audience. The performers are either going to create a reaction or invoke silence through their choices. Your giggles, chortles, guffaws, gasps, groans, etc. are helping build momentum or release tension in the show, while your silence can dampen the mood. I love seeing the people I care about create, so I watch their shows to support a positive energy in the audience. I can’t be in all the troupes I would like to be in. So I watch the shows of performers I admire and respect to get inspired and offer some side support as a person in the audience.
3. To laugh.
This last reason is the most simple of them all. I got involved with improv because I love comedy. I like to laugh and see what makes other people laugh. So I go see shows.
If this all sounded fun, that’s because it is. It’s fun to sit in the audience and witness people create comedy. So go see some shows. I’ll save you a seat.
Kate graduated from the improv program at Dallas Comedy in 2016. She performs with Friends University, Serious Robots, All In, Queso Queens, and Samurai Drunk. She spends her days promoting all kinds of literacies at the library.