One evening a few months ago, I was sitting on the couch by myself, watching yet another bad reality TV show, when my life took a change for the better. No, it wasn’t an infomercial spouting some life-altering advice, but rather a comedy special. As I sat watching (and laughing!), I had a thought.
Yes. I want to do this.
I immediately got online and started searching for comedy classes in my area. I found a few options and read some reviews. I saw that an eight-week session on improv comedy was beginning at a highly-reviewed comedy club as soon as the following week. I decided it was fate; I had to take this class. After a brief discussion with my husband—working out logistics with regard to the cost of the class, as well as switching up our daughter’s daycare pickup routine one night a week—I signed up.
It turns out that signing up—in essence saying yes to something completely foreign and truthfully kind of scary—was one of the best decisions I’d made in a long time. Improv classes were a blast and a welcome change from spending my evenings on the couch. Two hours a week, I’d drive downtown, hang out with perfect strangers, all of us acting silly, and none of being (overly) embarrassed of our antics. It was fun. Really fun.
Little did I know when I signed up for my first class, but saying yes is the key to improv. Many have undoubtedly heard the improv rule, “Yes, and...” What this boils down to is agreeing with your scene partner and building upon what they’ve said. The minute you say no, you shut the scene down and it becomes unfunny—both for the people on stage and for the audience watching.
Saying yes to taking that first class, although I didn’t know it at the time, was the first step in my agreeing to and building upon a more happy and fulfilling life. A few months later, I would say a very enthusiastic “Yes!” to being part of a developmental improv team that performs shows once a week. Saying “Yes” has taught me that anything is possible. Not only that, but the doors opened by yes are infinitely more fun, exciting, and interesting than simply keeping the door closed by saying no.