A night at an improv comedy show reminds me how hard improv is. A brave survivor of sexual harassment speaks out. And a few thoughts on the compelling baseball playoffs

improvcomedy-ucb

And a Happy Day of Atonement to all of my fellow Members of the Tribe; if you’re reading this before 6 p.m. Wednesday, I’m probably hungry. So if you wouldn’t mind sending a pastrami on rye through the InterTubes here for me to scarf down, I’d appreciate it…

On the list of “Things that Look Easy but are Actually Quite Difficult,” let me submit:
— Keeping a straight face when GOP leaders are speaking these days.
— Not saying any curse words for 24 hours (I tried it once, it was freaking really hard)
— Being good at Improv Comedy

The last one is the one I’m discussing here. Lots of people are funny, but put them on a stage and make them think on their feet instantly and make it hilarious, and nearly everyone would shrivel up.

That’s why I love improv comedy, and always like seeing improv shows, even more so after seeing the great movie “Don’t Think Twice” with Mike Birbiglia over the summer.

So Saturday night the wife and I went to the Yankee Stadium of improv, the Upright Citizens Brigade club in NYC (there are actually 4 of ’em). UCB has produced dozens of famous comedians, including Amy Poehler and Rob Corddry.

Tickets were $10, the show lasted an hour, and it was terrific. The theme of the show was love and relationships, and one of the trio of performers simply asked the audience for a volunteer to tell a relationship story.

After a truly bizarre tale involving a gay man sleeping with his current boyfriend’s uncle and then the uncle asking him to find out if the nephew is gay (it was much funnier on stage), the two male and one female performer went to work.

They were … dazzling. They must’ve riffed off each other for 40 straight minutes, taking one tiny bit of one sketch and morphing it into another. It was all funny, it was all so fast, and it was incredibly hard to do. The chemistry needed for improv is immense, and these three looked like they’d been working together forever.

Such a joy to watch. Definitely check out an improv show near you if you get the chance.

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**Next up today, thanks to the 2005 videotape Cheetos Jesus and Billy Bush released last week, there has been a lot of talk about how bragging about sexual assault and the like is “locker room talk.” That is beyond offensive to everyone, but most of all to women who have suffered actual sexual assault. It is a horrible, disgusting crime that millions of women have had to endure, and it takes great courage to speak out about it.

One of those who’s been victimized is a journalist friend of my buddy Jeff Pearlman, and after talking about it with him, she agreed to anonymously talk about her experiences, for the first time, in a blog post on his site.

It is about a boss she once had, and multiple examples of awful sexual behavior he perpetrated. An excerpt:

I decided to tell my story today because I know there are thousands, if not millions of other women who have been treated this way. I’m proud to say I don’t let that part of my life define me anymore, but it was a long, hard road to get here …

Sexual harassment and assault is not a laughing matter. It is absolutely soul-crushing, and I wouldn’t wish it on the bitchiest bitch. I was terrified of taking my case to court out of fear of what the other side would do to shame me and ruin my life and career…

I do not hate men.

I just want to be treated with respect.

Really powerful stuff. Read the whole essay here.

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**Finally today, We’re a week into the Major League Baseball playoffs, and damn if they haven’t been pretty compelling so far. I watch very little baseball all year, then get sucked in. A few scattered thoughts after the two American League Division Series get wrapped up quick, while the National League contains the drama.

—  Well that was one hell of a finish for the Cubs last night, huh? I had to rewrite this entire paragraph at midnight, because at 5-2 after eight innings I had this whole thing being about Cubs fans’ sphincters being really tight today, since the Cubs had blown a 2-0 lead and now had to win a Game 5 on Friday, and a few jokes about 1908, yada yada yada.

Except the Cubbies stunningly rallied for four runs in the 9th, won the game 6-5, won the series, and are now in the NLCS against either the Nationals or Dodgers. Wow, wow, wow. Definitely a different kind of Cubs team. Man I so hope we get to see them in the World Series.

— So that was a really strange farewell to David Ortiz at Fenway Park. The Red Sox had a rally going in the bottom of the 9th against Cleveland, the rally ended, and Big Papi just walked back into the clubhouse. The fans chanted “Thank you Papi!” but he never came back out. (Update: I was just informed by friend and Red Sox fan Dave that Papi did come back out and acknowledge the crowd. My bad.) As much as I loathed him, dude was an incredible, incredible player. And I know he’s been a DH for his whole career, but I think I’d vote him into the Hall of Fame.

— When did baseball players start growing playoff beards like hockey guys do? So many guys on the San Francisco Giants have beards I’m not convinced they’re not the San Jose Sharks.

— So if the Indians go on to win the World Series, a few months after the Cavaliers won the NBA title, does the city of Cleveland go from “lovable losers who’ve had unbelievably bad luck?” to “Screw those winners?” Has any city ever gone from loved to hated that fast?

— I hate Harold Reynolds. He is as bad as Joe Morgan ever was as a broadcaster. He never, ever shuts up, and nothing he says is ever helpful. He’s the Jon Gruden of baseball.

 

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2 responses to “A night at an improv comedy show reminds me how hard improv is. A brave survivor of sexual harassment speaks out. And a few thoughts on the compelling baseball playoffs

  1. sanford sklansky

    As Harry Carey said, you can’t beat fun at the old ball yard.

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