Cont’d from the introduction
Speaking of Trump, recently President Barack Obama called him an “improvisational” candidate. This was interesting to me because I thought the same thing during the election campaign. Trump’s comedy and improv skills are quite good. He has done some excellent physical comedy and object work (the Rubio water moment for instance). He often speaks off the cuff. He is able to morph himself to a situation like an improviser (or an Art of War student adapting to circumstances). I have heard his followers roar with laughter at his insults. There is genuine comedic ability there. So what we are now seeing is what happens when an improviser becomes President. And it does not surprise me at all that the improviser is a fascist with a loyal group of followers.
Recently a study released pointed out that people involved in comedy tend to have mental disorders. Depression, anxiety are two big ones. But there is a third from my experience and that is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”. So when you enter into a situation that teaches improv you are really entering into an arena of narcissists. It can be confusing because people with this disorder can be very charming and have a lot of charisma (Trump). This is the reason people follow them. In improv you should imagine that 90% of the people you are working with have this disorder and they are all climbing on top of each other to be the one in control. They are all trying to get everyone to work towards their ends and not anyone else’s. It is confusing because they will smile at you and you will think they are your friend. But trust me, if you cross them you will find out who they really are. People are climbing ladders and you should be aware!
Let me begin by telling you how I started. At the time I remember feeling rather lonely. I was out of college and felt I needed to meet some new people. I think a great many of us start in improv because of this. In a sense you are lost when you enter an improv school – just like any other lost person who walks into a cult. The improv school seems to have the answers. There is a built in world of instant friends and laughter. Who doesn’t want friends and laughter? Sure you have to pay a lot of money to be there but you are learning to get up on stage and think on your feet. This is similar to the early courses of Scientology that promote good living and life improvement. And these courses are actually somewhat useful.
In Scientology they have a ladder of courses that is supposed to lead you to some kind of enlightenment. But it is a shell game because they often add new ladders or say that they discovered the earlier courses were flawed so you have to start over at the beginning again. When I first went to “SC” Training Center there was Level A to E and then a Master Class. Somewhere along the line they added a whole other ladder which they called the Conservatory which was 1 to 5. After that there is the next ladder (if you get hired) which starts with the Education Company – which supposedly leads to the Touring company – and if you are really lucky you can make it to the “Main Stage”. The only part of this ladder that actually pays a salary that a human being can live on is the “Main Stage” and therefore is a very coveted position. But keep in mind this is a very short lived job for the very few who get to this point.
Another similarity to Scientology is that celebrities (and the careers of those celebrities) are inextricably linked to the organization. Most newcomers to “SC” or “UCB” are star struck by the amount of celebrities that come from there. And they often believe that they are on the path to Saturday Night Live. I have heard this numerous times from students and I myself was one of those people. This is the selling point: that if you start paying them thousands of dollars for their courses then you may actually be on the way to SNL fame and fortune. Trust me, if you want fortune you have been fooled. SNL has virtually nothing to do with these companies anyway. For instance, the last time Toronto’s “SC” had a cast member that made it to Saturday Night Live it was the eighties. But you can be damn sure they have that performer’s face plastered all over the place. Schwing!
This is exactly what Scientology does. We are all aware that John Travolta and Tom Cruise are Scientologists. It can be good for your career in Hollywood to be connected to that organization. Or at least this is what they want you to believe…
COMING NEXT WEEK: PART 2 of IMPROV IS A CULT:
YES AND…DO NOT DISAGREE. DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS!