I mentioned I’m not an actor, right? Good. Because that should explain a few things about the date later on.
Really, all I want right now is a good medium rare steak and garlic cheesy mashed potatoes, but instead I’m stuck onstage with a group of people that may or may not be insane, and Bob my date and knight in shining pink is trying to get me to play some random game called “Yes And” with everyone else, and I have no idea what the hell he’s attempting to do. The audience is kind of laughing, but it’s usually when I say something that is neither “yes” nor “and,” and Bob is looking fairly grumpy at this point. I wonder if this means I’m not getting dessert.
Finally, at some point, I just crack. You can’t just put a girl on stage when she has NO IDEA what’s going on and she hasn’t been fed for almost two hours. You just don’t do those kinds of things.
Bob turns to me, after having what seemed to the audience a particularly hilarious scene with another actor about bargaining for the price of tomatoes, and says, “You have a third leg!”
Now, at this point, my brain kind of splits into two, one of which slightly remembers the very complicated rules of “Yes And”, which means I am supposed to reply, “Yes, I DO have a third leg, and…” and then insert whatever cleverness pops into my head.
But the other part of my brain, the part that is hungry and tired of being hungry and the fact that I almost got lost coming here but didn’t really get lost because it turned out to be the right place but I still went through the STRESS of feeling like I was lost, doesn’t really care about Bob or the audience or the rest of the improv group or my invisible third leg.
I calmly turn to Bob and say, “No, I don’t.”
Silence. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy in tight bright pink spandex look more like he was going to faint.
The crowd kind of gasps, too, and there’s a stirring among them, which makes me wonder if I’m going to end up on the evening news tomorrow under the headline AMATEUR ACTOR GETS LYNCHED BY AUDIENCE and someone whispers on stage, in one of those loud whispers that people in CHINA could hear, “She said NO.”
Bob looks stricken, but recovers quickly. “Yes, I can see that you don’t have a third leg, AND I can tell that you’re my long-lost sister!”
“No, I’m not. We’re not related, Bob.”
This is the point where the entire room sort of exhales one long horrified breath, and Bob whispers, almost to himself, “She broke character…” Like I even know what that means.
So I’m just standing there, on stage, and Bob’s just standing there, on stage, and we’re facing each other, and no one really knows what to say or do. The audience just waits, Bob waits, everyone else waits to see what I will do, and all I’m doing is trying to figure out how to steal food from the audience members.
After a couple uncomfortable seconds of neither of us doing anything, Bob catches me staring longingly at a cheese platter being passed around the back row, and suddenly, history is made.
“Jody,” he says, “Do you want to eat something?”
And I look at him, like, well duh, you idiot, why else would I be on a date with you, when it occurs to me what he’s doing. I straighten up and give him my best smile.
“Yes, I do want to eat something. And I want to eat something NOW.”
For whatever reason, the entire audience goes crazy, clapping and cheering, so Bob hops down off the stage and asks someone to volunteer their plate of food. Lo and behold, more than one person eagerly offers up their plate, which is awesome, because I wasn’t looking forward to having to choose between the chicken and the steak, and then Bob is back on stage and holding food in front of me in mere seconds.
“Do you want the chicken?” he asks, and by now I’m a pro.
“Yes, I want the chicken, AND I want the steak. And French fries. With ranch dressing. And rice pilaf. Also with ranch dressing.”
Again, the crowd laughs and claps, and Bob finds me a corner of the stage, puts the food in front of me, and gestures to the audience to cheer me on as a I polish off both plates of food. I’m an improvisational GENIUS.
Long after the show is over and I’ve had seconds and two slices of chocolate mud pie for dessert, all in front of a very supportive audience, the Gettin Crazy With the Cheeeze Whiz members try to talk me into joining the group.
“Jody,” says the other straight guy, “you don’t realize how awesome you were. The crowd loved you!”
I try to tell them as politely as possible that I’m not an actor, but they all say I’m a natural, it doesn’t matter, the audience loved me.
At this point, I’m totally confused, so I ask exactly WHAT Gettin Crazy with the Cheeeze Whiz has in mind for me to do.
And here’s where I strike gold, my friends: Bob the biker knight leans forward and says excitedly, “We can incorporate you eating into every show!”
At which point even I had to admit the brilliance of it all. So I’m in an improv group now. And Bob and I decided it’s better for the professionalism of the group if we’re just friends.
Although according to everything I’ve heard about actors, that last sentence makes no sense.