How Improv Changed my Life - Anubis Improv

How Improv Changed my Life

I signed up for my first improv class in 2013 on the recommendation of a coworker. I was curious if the love I had for performing as a kid was still alive in adulthood, and hoped that the class would act as a springboard to inspire me to pursue acting again. I had no idea that it would change my perspective on life and create an entirely new career path along with it.

I didn’t consider myself a funny person; in fact, I was mostly serious and oftentimes even a little intense. It served me well in my first career as a stage and tour manager, but seemed like it might hinder me in an improv class. I didn’t know how well I would fit in. I expected that at best I would be the Dean Martin to someone else’s Jerry Lewis, or the straight to someone’s absurd, as I would later learn. As it turns out, if you apply the principles of improv correctly, anyone can be funny–even me! The joy, camaraderie, and support built in to the fundamentals of improv filled me in a way nothing else had. I had committed to things in the past (learning drums, playing rugby), but improv class taught me the true meaning of what it is to be passionate about something, to never be able to get enough. I was soon taking three classes a week, doing back-to-back week-long intensives, and sitting in on classes when I wasn’t taking them. I was insatiable. Thankfully, the effort didn’t go unnoticed, and I was asked to try my hand at teaching.

With a new direction for my love for improv, I was able to dig into the pedagogy (unnecessarily fancy word for teaching method), and the math and structure behind seemingly magical improv performances. I quickly found that I had a knack for explaining the sometimes unexplainable humor of improv, and loved teaching nearly as much as I loved learning. I was soon teaching three classes a week, leading back-to-back week-long intensives, and coaching troupes when I wasn’t teaching classes. I was insatiable. Again. Improv helped everything!

Through improv, I did find my passion for performing again, and found a brand new career. I truly believe that improv is a powerful force for good in the world, and can help strengthen personal and professional skills in listening, confidence, and mindfulness. Most of all, I think it can bring some joy back to our adult lives. And that is invaluable.

David James Hamilton
Founder, Anubis Improv