Comedy Life

The Culture of No by Evey McKellar

The Culture of No by Evey McKellar

NO.

Such a terribly unpleasant word to any improviser.

Even worse, when the no isn’t said, but it is felt.

Ghosted.

Laughed at.

Interrupted.

Criticized.

Mansplained.

Ignored.

Silenced.

Denied.

(CRUCIAL NOTE: I am not speaking in the context of the powerful and necessary ‘no’ that sets good and healthy boundaries. I am speaking about the ‘no’ that judges, discriminates, and cuts off some people from others and opportunities.)

You Are Welcome Here by Evey McKellar

You Are Welcome Here by Evey McKellar

I’m so nervous.

It’s my first Student Lottery. The lights come up after our suggestion of Popsicle; I hesitate. My mind is a complete blank for any initiation ideas. I freeze. I have nothing to offer.

Do you remember your middle school cafeteria?

Lunch in hand, I stand for a moment looking out across the tables. This moment may last seconds, but it feels like eternity. Why does it feel so awkward to look out across a room and find a place to sit?

Create and Release

Create and Release

“I heard ‘pineapple,’ when the lights come up!”

Pineapple reminds me of Spongebob Squarepants and Spongebob reminds me of washing dishes with sponges. I imagine a scene where I’m frustrated as I’m loading the dishwasher at home. I could initiate with, “Son, I’m so tired of scrubbing your dishes after you have all your friends over!”

I walk out on stage to begin my dish-washing space work, but my scene partner beats me to the initiating-punch, holding her jaw and appearing to be in pain: “Sister, thanks for coming with me to the dentist. I’m still really scared from last time.”