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Kit's Alter Ego
November 23, 2003, 10:36 AM
GOLDEN MOMENTS: INSIDE IMPROV
NOVEMBER 22nd, 2003
Host: Tim Coynesmith
Groups Performing:
:arrow: The Incubators LANDMARK FIRST SHOW!!!
........Coach: Thomas Whittington
........Asst. Coach: CeCe Garcia
:arrow: Tony's Pony


From Tim Coynesmith:

Tim Coynesmith: Do you have movies you watched as a kid that you watched so much that you could quote them word-for-word?..."Footloose" was one of those movies for me.


From The Incubators:

(a little girl, talking to her uncle, a salesman selling rubber ducks, duck soap, and various other duck-related merchandise)
Diana Chang, little girl, to her nearby father: Daddy, I was taking a bath with my rubber rooster and my rubber goose and I need something to make it a complete family.
Chris T., her uncle: Well, I've got the perfect thing:...here's a duck with a hook for your recliner and you can put your remote on it.

Diana Chang: You know, I get this all the time from you patron...people. You know...parents.

Diana Chang: You see this candy corn dish? We don't need candy corn in it; we can put a much more exquisite candy in it.
Dave Siegel: Yes; GOLD MARBLES!

Matt Crook: Is that rocks?
Diana Chang: It's scientific: it's got magic.

Thomas Whittington: Players, are you ready?
Simultaneously:
Matt Crook: Ho!
Diana Chang: Born ready!
Chris T.: Ready!
Immediately followed by:
Matt Crook: Yuh!

Matt Crook, Dating Game bachelor: I'm actually an astronaut. I just came back down on Columbia.
Dave Siegel, Dating Game host: Happy you made it back in one piece!

Diana Chang, Dating Game player: Tell me I'm not moving too fast, but howmanykidswouldyouwantustohave?
Matt Crook, astronaut bachelor: No, you're not moving too fast, and my answer is nine. For the planets.

Diana Chang, Dating Game player: If you could equate your life to a novel, which would you choose?
Josh Evans, Italian stereotype who works in a fish market: Well-a, I don't read, but I would-a equate it to a video game and that-a would be-a Mario Brothers! I congratulate that game for-a its-a accurate portrayal of-a my people and-a our large-a mustaches.


From Tony's Pony:

Diana Chang: Oh, right. Babies can't handle chemicals.
Pete O'Bryan: Yeaaahhhh...babies can be a...pain.

Pete O'Bryan: What is it [about my voice that frightens you]? Is it the PITCH? The AMplitude? The moduLATion?

Dave Siegel: My dad always said I was no good at sports. He's dead now...but I'm glad to finally be able to prove him wrong.
Diana Chang: Well, in the land of the Underworld--at least, according to my beliefs--In the Land of Satan, I'm sure he's very proud of you.

Diana Chang: I know, Pastor, that you haven't seen me in church on Sundays lately.
Pete O'Bryan: Luanne, that's exactly what I haven't seen!

Pete O'Bryan, man of the cloth: Luanne, I've been pastoring you since you were three years old.

Dave Siegel: Well, "final" is an in'tresting bit of, uh, nomenclature.

Diana Chang: Oh, those kids really love our Salisbury steak!
Dave Siegel: Oh, they were running like they were on the Pixie Stix or something!

Diana Chang: Yes, little Jimmy, you can have some soup. And you can also know that when a man says he'll call you on Tuesday, he sleeping...with another woman.

Dave Siegel: Well, you know. I'm not gonna miss your roast-burnin' ass.

Pete O'Bryan: I don't normally drink so many many beers, but I enjoy...so many beers.

--Kit

PS: While a great number of people commented on my hat [1], and a surprising number remembered why I was wearing it, I received distressingly few applications to join the few, the proud, the Canadian Mounted Police. This probably explains the 'few' part, huh?


[1]Guy beside me: Heh. have you ever heard of this comic who has this thing about Smokey the Frog? "Yeah, it should be Smokey the Frogs because frogs aren't dangerous!" Heh heh.

_________________
Entire Audience, Chanting: We. Want. Tim. We. Want. Tim. (20x)
Tim Coynesmith, hopping onto the stage: I love when people chant my name.
Scott Jennings, Chanting: Ne. Ver. Mind. Ne. Ver. Mind.

PT
November 23, 2003, 10:43 AM
I really liked the part where Pete stripped, I mean, yeah when he stripped, that was awesome.

Peter O'Bryan
November 23, 2003, 03:35 PM
So, the utterance of the N-word.

1. White guys should not be permitted to say it. The white guys who have used it for the past few hundred years have firmly established it as more-than-just-a-fucking-word. Think about it.

2. Blaxploitation is not a film genre, but a label which movie critics have applied to cinema which draws heavily on racial stereotypes as a shortcut to depicting the urban African American experience of the late 70's.

3. When thrust into a scene of the so-called "Blaxploitation" genre, a white liberal-minded collegiate young man, who could, in a heart-beat, write an earnest well-crafted essay on the historical, cultural, and rudimentary ettiquette reasons for his refraining from ever using the N-word, may find himself at a loss for a clear definition of that so-called genre, and, possessed by a full commitment to the scene, may grasp at the one token that epitomizes the exploitation implied in that so-called genre name.

4. If you accept the genre suggestion of G.G. Alin stageshow, you will be compelled to take a poop on the stage. Similarly it's tough to successfully pull of a "watersports porn" suggestion without pulling it out and spraying your scene partners. The lesson is this: consider the requirements inherent in the suggestion before accepting it.

Kit's Alter Ego
November 23, 2003, 06:20 PM
However, some of the onus is on the player as well.
To quote Dave Barry:
"It is not enough merely to know a lot of great jokes. You also have to be able to tell them properly. Here are some tips: 1) When you tell vicious racist jokes, you should first announce you were liberal back when it was legal to be one" (Barry 3).

--Kit

PS: Barry, Dave. Dave Barry's Greatest Hits. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1988. 1-3.

Tom McCudden
November 23, 2003, 06:39 PM
As Nancy Reagan used to say, "Just Say Negro."

She tended to drink in the afternoons....

EthanK
November 23, 2003, 11:53 PM
When I said Blaxploitation I wasn't referring to the historical precedent set by film scholars to define a genre of movies. Blaxploitation is a film category just as much as musical, western and kung-fu is. If you don't believe me, look at West Coast video and Suncoast - both of them list Blaxploitation as a genre to buy or rent and neither of them include dramas that deal with the black experience or comedies of the same. It's a style that has been thoroughly looked over and ridiculed as much as any other ("I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," "Pootie Tang," etc). To suggest it to an improv troupe is nothing out of the ordinary, although it might make a group think a little harder.

That being said, the way it was portrayed on-stage was absolutely nothing like the genre suggested and I'm embarrassed that it turned out that way. From the first word said I could tell that they knew nothing about the film genre and focused on the wrong parts of everything. We all hoped it could be turned around but it had progressed too far. I'm sorry I gave the suggestion, I hope everyone accepts my apology for it. I thought it would be a good suggestion to play with, had the performers known what they were doing with it a little better, but as it stood the whole thing was just a mess.

I think that any situation could be made entertaining, even a GG Allin performance piece. The trick would be to take the positive elements out of the suggestion and run with those. Just sitting here I can think of a good bit coming from a GG Allin suggestion that does not involve defecation, eating said defecation or throwing said defecation. Just because the book's called Moby Dick doesn't mean it's all about the whale. That's something up to the performers, how to steer it into the waters of a well-crafted scene and not wreck it into the easy shoal of base jokes.

I was not offended as much as I was disappointed. And yes, white people saying the N-word is still stupid.

ilaughatme
November 24, 2003, 01:11 AM
In regards to the performers "not knowing what they were doing," I give you the following information.

I'd like you to know that Chris was thinking of not coming in after he was forced to do that scene because he thought he heard people booing him. I would also like you to know that Thomas picked the suggestion. Chris went balls out as an improvisor is taught to do. The improvisor doesn't need to know the genre as long as he/she can go balls out with what he thinks it is. And what the two words "black exploitation" say is what he did. So to blame it on the kids, two of who were on stage for the first time EVER, is to make an experience worse for them that was already scary and incredibly embarrassing after the fact. They don't have to be film experts; they just have to be able to commit to what they think the suggestion means to them.

And from someone studying film history, if you want to sound artsy about your film choices, how about Italian neorealism? Or French new wave? Godard? Edison? Lee? Documentary? Propagandist?

Not to mention the regulars: action, musical, drama, slapstick, political drama, social comedy, romantic comedy, conspiracy, Western, sci-fi, and, oh, how we love to get film noir over and over and over again.

Don't blame the way the style was performed completely on Chris. Blame him for saying the n-word but don't blame him for "not doing it correctly." Whatever that means in improv.

Jeff Sconce
November 24, 2003, 02:09 AM
This makes me think a lot.
It's not okay to protray racial stereotypes on stage.
I can't count how many times I've seen gay stereotypes on stage that could be construed as very hurtful. I guess we get what we deserve, what with all the interior decorating and lisping.
It's okay to make fun of Christianity. It isn't okay to make fun of Islam.
In one 101 class, I portrayed a character, and I said terrible things. But everyone laughed. It's funny when a white guy says "cracker". It's even funnier when he theatens to "stab a cracker in the face". Was that character a negative portrayal of a colored person? Maybe that's up to the audience to decide...I never specified a skin color, I just portrayed a character. However, afterwards, I felt quite disgusted with myself. Why did I choose to be that character? I was very, very upset with it afterwards. When I got back to my dorm room, I couldn't look my room mate in the eyes. I couldn't help but wonder...where do my actual ideals end and these characters begin? How much of this creation is me? Is there this terrible rotten pit in the center of me that secretly hates innocent people?
I don't think I'm a racist. I don't think the fact that Chris said that word makes him a racist. I don't think anyone here is suggesting that.
I think he was portraying what he expected someone wrapped up in the disgusting bigotry of the '70s blaxploitation subgenre to be forced to say, how someone in that situation would be forced to act. I don't think it reflects, in any way, shape, or form, what actually goes on in his head.
In other words, what we see on that stage is more a reflection of our culture. Don't like what you see? That's the world we live in, with all of its hypocrisy, double-standards, and dark perversions of the human spirit. It's a part of life, and if improv is to appropriately capture life, it has to capture the shit too. Don't kill the messenger, no matter how bad the message is. He didn't write it.

CoreyBrown
November 24, 2003, 07:26 AM
I just want ONE rib.....

EthanK
November 24, 2003, 08:37 AM
Nothing was wrong with the scene, CeCe, or the way they played in the scene. If you read what I posted I had nothing bad to say about the players or the scenework, just the portrayal of a suggestion. In fact it was a great example of making choices for something you don't know anything about and supporting those choices. There should be no blame cast. If they felt they had a bad show because of an off-color bit, I say get back on the stage because the more you do the better off you are. It's hard when you think the audience is against you, but no one was permanently turned-off. I wouldn't fault him for using the N-word in this context either, since it was indeed in context. I guess I suggested something but expected to see something else.

Kit's Alter Ego
November 24, 2003, 10:36 AM
I personally don't fault Chris at all for saying nizzle. It's a word that gets used a lot with a non-racist connotation, has a selective group arbitrarily specified who "are allowed" to use it and--considering the initial character choices made by the players--fit perfectly with the scene.

I realize, of course, that there are many who take offense when nizzle is said by--for the most part--caucasians, especially as they see the use of the word to be racist. This realization is supported simply by reading DSI members' online journals.

However, there are people who use the phrase shizzle nizzle often as a normal phrase in casual conversation. I know because I passed two such people in Carrboro last night. So a character portraying that type of person would, reasonably say such a thing; if an improviser gets up on stage and is being Louie Anderson in a scene, you expect that improviser to at least try to sound like Louie Anderson. Once the improviser does, he/she is no longer The Improviser; he is Louie Anderson.

That being said, at the last DSIF, two performers--no names, no names--actually apologized to the audience after a negative/shocked reaction resulted from scene choices that could conceivably be spun as racist (in the sense that one used a racial slur and the other involved a play on the words 'black lab'). Neither scene was dangerously skirting the lines of decorum; however, the apologies actually made the audience relax and, possibly, enjoy the show more. After all, everybody likes to at least hear that the performers at least have a similar outlook on decorum to that of the audience.

This is beginning to get dangerously close to sounding like I advocate appeasing the gods of Audience over improvising for the hell of it. This is not what I'm saying. What I am saying is that there are times the player suddenly feels uncomfortable, having provoked a cold-shoulder-shocked-and-or-offended reaction from a significant portion of the audience. At times like these, for the sake of the player's peace of mind and for the sake of revving the audience back up, a disclaimer--even a belated one--is sometimes advisable.

--Kit

PS: I apologize to all appropriate parties for stealing the words "shizzle" and "nizzle" and using them in place of other forms of expression. I just hate typing "the s-word" and "the n-word;" it makes me feel like I'm a ten-year-old tattling on his older brother.

Lisa P
November 24, 2003, 11:41 AM
Art, at its best, should inspire self examination and thoughtful discussion. It is good that our community is engaging in this discourse, and we will be better for it.

My other two cents... great, now I have no cents.
This is beginning to get dangerously close to sounding like I advocate appeasing the gods of Audience over improvising for the hell of it.While we hope to avoid sacrificing quality improv in order to please the audience by going for the cheap laughs, the audience is still an important part of every improv performance. They share their energy with us and we with them. That's why it has to be experienced live, and that's why it is so exciting for us to perform. We must respect our audience. That usually means not playing down to them with gags and jokey stuff, but it also means that if we cross a line, we should acknowledge it in some way, though not necessarily with an apology.

Look, I found a couple of pennies at the bottom of my purse...
If we have also inspired an audience to self-examination and thoughtful discussion, we have done a good thing.

PT
November 24, 2003, 12:07 PM
Mostly what I think about scenes like that, is that it's enivatble for something like that to happen. Yet in my opinion it would always be best not to take that suggestion. And mostly it's always a shocker if you've never handled a scene like that before. It was good though I agree, yet the "N" could of most deff been avoided. So in conclusion I must say that it was still a great night, and I think we all had fun and nobody was seriously injured. If so then call 1-800-doctorlove, don't worry, he's local. hehe :wink:

EthanK
November 24, 2003, 02:56 PM
I'd like to post to Jeff's comments about gay stereotypes.

They come up often on stage and usually find broad acceptance even though they're generally as off and offensive as, say, Mickey Rooney's portrayal of the Japanese landlord in Breakfast at Tiffany's. The stereotype is appearing in films and television with increasing regularity with shows like Queer Eye for the straight Guy, Will and Grace and that one-season Emmy-winning Normal, Ohio. On one hand, yes, Jeff, the gay community does provide a basis for the stereotype with all the interior design and the lisps that even gay performers re-enforce. On the other, the stereotype does not accurately portray the group as a whole (what stereotypes do?) and one's sexuality does not determine the career you pick or the way you speak and act. Not all Jews sound and act like Elliot Gould, not all black people sound and act like Christ Tucker, not all Asian people sound and act like Data from the Goonies.

But this influx of gay acceptance is no different than other minority groups edging themselves into the mainstream. Jewish theater really came into popular view during the vaudeville days but not as high theater. Usually Jews would play to stereotypes or non-Jews would as well. In fact one of the earliest regular uses of Jews on stage were the genre of "Straight Man and the Jew" where two Gentiles would portray a Jewish fellow and a man setting up jokes about Jewish life and customs. As Hollywood became more and more about profit and larger markets, the Jews came into prominence - it doesn't matter what God you believe in as long as you're funny (Marx Brothers, Three Stooges, et al).

You can trace the black experience in entertainment the same way. For decades the black entertainment white people were watching was minstrel shows (see the movie Bamboozled for Spike Lee's take on them) which emphasized stereotypes and buffoonery over cultural nuance and substance. Steps were made in the early studio days with prominent black entertainers but the respect wasn't there (the use of blackface through the 40's) until later.

Asians in movies as well. Charlie Chan and Fu Manchu weren't even played by Asian actors.

The point I'm making is that accurate gay portrayal won't happen overnight because we're still in the stage of "let's point out and then make fun of our differences." You can either look at the steps the gay community has taken or look at the steps they have yet to take, it's your view. It's still too new, still too hip, still to popular to change, but with the proper time to grow and develop it will change to some sort of accurate normalcy.

Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Zack Bly
November 25, 2003, 01:40 AM
....Yet in my opinion it would always be best not to take that suggestion....

Eh....I'm not so much in accordance. speaking personally here (from the cool detached viewpoint of having not been to the show that night), if that was the first suggestion that i heard i would have taken it. i would have trusted the players to come up with something good for any given suggestion short of "peeing in someone's mouth." besides, if we start screening the audience suggestions for something that sounds "acceptable" or "funny" we are drastically limiting the potential of our scenes. if we never play anything outside our range of expertise, we can't grow, and stay inside the same miserable boundaries of "film noir," "romance," and "western." i should know. last year i wound up skipping some suggestions that might have yielded awesome scenes. but ultimately, making stuff up is what we do. if we're not prepared to take the audience's suggestions and play them to the height of our intelligence then we might as well just not invite them.

Jennings
November 25, 2003, 02:26 AM
I'm quoting Craig Cackowski from an IRC post from 2/2001 on a thread concerning similar issues:


I also think you have to earn the right to "go there"; you can't just come out screaming about niggers and ass rapes and expect the audience to go along with you. I remember a performance of Trio where Rich Talarico was playing a conservative politician running for state senator in the early '60s. His speeches were loaded with statements about family values and keeping the streets safe. Later in the piece, he was hitchhiking and Bob Dassie picked him up. Bob asked if he could turn on the radio, and Rich said "You're not gonna play any nigger music, are you?". Huge laugh (with a few disapproving glances from PC folks who think it's always wrong to use the N-word), because the audience knew the character's public persona and were shocked, but not at all surprised, to see another side of him in private.


I think that about sums up my feelings on the issue. The key is the difference between character and caricature, something nuanced and something stereotypical. Perhaps it is not the fault of the audience member who offered the call, the host who accepted it, or the player who logically heightened the stereotypes already out there -- perhaps we should question the format of a game that practically demands these caricatures and robs players of the chance to earn anything truthful. Or perhaps that's just a personal bias.

CoreyBrown
November 25, 2003, 07:39 AM
I know everyone is just on the edge of their seats waiting for my reply to this...RIGHT???

I agree with Jenning's quote about earning the right to say certain words instead of blurting out at the top of the scene. This is very much true in the black community when a white boy gets in the scene. After a while (it's wierd but true) he is slowly adopted in and becomes one of their "niggahs" and they can call each other that as they please. But that same white guy wouldn't go to a new black neighborhood and call the men and women that until he earned it.

When I saw that scene my initial thought was to laugh, because I thought that the guy really put himself out there on a limb. It took balls to do that. I would like that word to lose it's "racist" meaning in time, and become just another stereotypical word that black people use. The best way for this to happen is not to come down on the people who happen to use it. And where best to use it but in comedy? (Still not at the top).

Growing up in a world where the word is so lightly stepped around is wierd. There are places to say it and there are places not to say it. Even in the black community they RARELY ever call each other nigger, and if they do it is a put down, no different then when Edward Norten was saying it as a white supremist. Even the mock word Nizzy doesn't mean that, it means "niggah" which is more like saying 'muh boy.'

I thought the timing was a bad place for it, but if done right could have been a big laugh later in the scene. It's ok for me to play a white character and talk about data processing and magic the gathering, but not ok for people playing a black character to say "niggah"? I think that is wrong and right. I think it is wrong because it should not be that way, but right since that is the way it is, and everyone respects that.

I think the Incubators did a great job just putting themselves out there. And if this world is ever going to change then we all need to learn to laugh about it.

Just remember errrr is mean like a tiger. uhhhh is as friendly as a Corky.

Corey

"Could you pour it in my hand for a nickle??"

CoreyBrown
November 25, 2003, 08:39 AM
Rumsfeld agrees with me.

http://binrock.net/cowgod/crap/boards/newnew/rummy-homey.gif

Thats wiggity wack.

EthanK
November 25, 2003, 09:17 AM
Looks like Rumsfeld's playing a little casio keyboard as well. Doot doot de doooooooooooooot!

Kit's Alter Ego
November 25, 2003, 09:33 AM
http://chessy.novusopiate.com/bartleby.gif

This concludes the Serious Discussion portion of our thread.

--Kit

PS: Corey did it. Stupid cracker.

PPS: Speaking of segues... (http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2003-11-18-family-guy_x.htm) This is why I support the arts.

PT
November 25, 2003, 05:03 PM
If they do bring back Family Guy, Ill be there, who can't ge enough of that wonderful duff! I mean, uh, I like Family Guy.

thor
November 26, 2003, 11:27 AM
I would like to formally apologize for my repeated use of the word buttocks in my monologue. That being said, I want to once again congratulate the Incubators for what I thought was an excellent show, even more excellent being that it was their first performance. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing them perform again.