Continued from Part 3…
There is a uniformity in thought in improv. Therefore I guess it should not be surprising that improv suffers from acute racism and sexism. This issue is a touchy one. Most people involved in Improv will say they are against these things and they will hold symposiums where they pretend that they care about the issue, often putting the perpetrators into positions where they are expected to speak as authorities on the subject. The truth is that improv historically has been dominated by white males. Often the only visible minority that can make it in the game is someone who is somehow able to tolerate the inevitable racism that comes out of unfiltered mouths.
One of the first games I ever played in improv was a word association game. A word would be said and then without thinking you have to say the first thing that comes into your mind. Not surprisingly there is a lot of poo and pee subject matter that gets thrown around. The object of this game is to stop you from thinking and just say whatever comes into your head. You are getting rid of your societal filters so to speak. So if improv has been historically dominated by white males then you can just imagine what comes out of mouths unfiltered when five white people are on stage with one visible minority. I know of one visible minority who is routinely asked to leave the stage because she is black. I have witnessed this three times myself. Often the white performers think this is some sort of joke and never even apologize for it. Are we all expected to “yes and..” this behavior and not question this racism? When am I allowed to say “NO!”
Instead what the improv community does is often blame the minority performer themselves because they couldn’t handle it. Then they will have events with names like “Diverse-City” which is intended to make the organization look better in this area. Similarly Scientology tells their followers that they are helping third world countries and helping people get off of drugs in order to make it look like they are actually a compassionate organization. “SC” often has fundraisers for charitable causes. This, of course, makes it more difficult to criticize them and this is the intention. They often tout the cause of mental illness, for instance, but never help the alumni who are suffering because of how badly they were treated by the very same organization. It is similar to what Donald Trump does with his so called “charities”.
The point I am making here is that improv is often hypocritical in its values and will disguise its problems by pretending to be solving them (just like a cult).
Next week on Improv is a cult: CASE STUDIES!