Funny Women- improv lesson and satire discussion

Sometimes I do something and it uplifts my default negative emotional state. It makes me wish I could do it forever. Yet it always has to end so soon.

This time was Improvisation, in a class run by Funny Women at Fringe Central. Funny Women is an organisation dedicated to helping female comedians, of which there are many talented ones (yet so few of those are visible).

Improv, it turns out, is basically just acting out the game called “Yes And,” which is one of the first we played in the session. Sat in a circle you turn to the person on your left and compliment them or something similar. They then go “Yes, and…” followed by a follow-up to your statement. Depending on what kind of effect you’re going for the statement may be required to be negative or may be positive.

So now I know- in improv, the rule is always to say yes to all suggestions by other performers and the audience. This knowledge came in helpful later in the day at Boris and Sergey’s puppet show.

The people at the event really made it for me. Such a good mix, except of course this was a Funny Women event so there were only two boys including me! Sure made me feel appreciated when a lady, tasked with playing my mother for a short sketch, gave me a hug and said “any excuse really!”

A more serious note…

After this I attended the panel event about political satire’s place in the current system.

Several important comedians/politicians/both were in attendance just feet away from where I was sitting in the front row- including the leader of the Scottish labour party, Kezia Dugdale!

We talked about similar issues to those discussed at JOMEC’s Cultural Politics of Comedy module. One man asked what happened to That Was The Week That Was and I was able to fill him in (according to the book That Was Satire That Was, it was killed off by the BBC for impartiality reasons ahead of the 1964 general election). He may also have been an organiser for the free Fringe, not sure.

Anyway it was a remarkable session, so great to hear people from all over Scottish and American politics discuss the position of comedians in politics, and increasingly with people like Obama politicians in comedy.