Improv is life: My journey from “Yes but… “ to “Yes and…”

FCI Student Spotlight Jennifer MasonWhen people find out that I do improv and standup, they often say something about my incredibly big ovaries. Or that they’d be too scared to even think about getting on stage. And that I am a badass.

This is funny to me because I signed up for improv in order to be bolder. I was looking for a way to find my voice and to get comfortable with the risk of not knowing what to say and feeling like I might be making a mistake. 

It was hard to show up for the first day of class. I was afraid that I’d be surrounded by seasoned comedians and I’d be the shy one. At least half of the people were just like me without any theater experience and just wanting to round out their lives. 

Improv is a great for imposter syndrome—the feeling that you don’t really know what you’re doing and people are going to find out. 

Because growing my business requires boldness and badassery, I made this year the year that I rushed willingly into the chance to make mistakes or make a fool of myself. The “yes and” philosophy as well as the “all mistakes are gifts” mantra were my gym.

In Level 4, we were told to ask ourselves onstage “Who am I? What do I want? What is my relationship  to the other person?” and then maybe “Find the funny.”  

It’s my goal to be able to answer these in my life every moment. And to not always have the same answers in every scene. 

After a few months of going on stage with my class, I had a vision of myself doing standup on my 50th birthday, and that happened. FCI was the first big stage that I did my set, and the support was amazing and phenomenal.  

Improvisers are the funnest, funniest, bravest, most supportive people I’ve ever met and I’m so glad I’m one of them. Thank you for accepting me into your pack even as I struggle to answer the big questions.


DECEMBER 6, 2018

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