Today is Say Day: a day when improvisers can share how grateful we are to know and work with our fellow improvisers.
My father died when I was 18. We were (and are) a loving family, but I still vowed to make sure those I love knew how much they meant to me during my life. I'm on vacation this week and missing the celebrations in Pittsburgh. So while I believe the idea is to say these words in person, I am acknowledging some people here instead.
There is not enough Internet to acknowledge everyone who has had an impact on my improv life. Even if you are not specifically called out here, if you are reading this, you are definitely an important person to me, so thank you!
Greg Gillotti: You are a constant source of inspiration to me. You are so dedicated to teaching and performing improv for all the right reasons, and you are pure joy on stage. I count myself continually lucky that you choose to play with me in so many groups and for so many years. I wish we had more time to sit and talk, so I could learn more about everything you do.
Nilesh Shah: You were the first person to tell me that the amount of effort I put into running a team was unusual and appreciated, and I needed to hear that. I am always thankful when you are on stage with me because you play in a way I am incapable of.
Irony City casts past and present (Ben, Amy, Anna, Jocelyn, Adam, Scott and Scott): You are the reason I am here, my friends and extended family during my twenties. You showed me that improv could be more than yuck-em-ups, that we could have fun and create something fantastic on stage, and you gave me a lot of sandbox to play in. And now that we have evolved to a much more collaborative team, you are the team I feel most at home with on stage.
Justin Zell and Kasey Daley: You catalyzed the growth of the Pittsburgh improv community, gave me my first classroom with students who came back week after week, cast the first Pittsburgh house teams, and encouraged drinks at Park House. For this, I will always thank you.
Ayne Terceria: There are many projects I see and wish I had thought of or want to do myself–Uncumber shows are so beyond anything I could do myself that I just admire and enjoy them. You have an incredible and creative mind, and I am honored to call you my friend. And I love the rare occasions we have to improvise together: you are fearless and push me to play on the cliff's edge.
Tessa Karel: When I grow up, I want to be Tessa Karel. A lot of my admiration for you is non-improv and I'll suffice to say you have a kind heart. On stage, you so consistently find your fun in a way that seems so true to your personality rather than folding to anyone else's ideal. That is, at its core, all I strive to do.
Asaf Ronen: You epitomize for me the kindness and humility of improv celebrities. From the few hours you spent with me on the phone helping after reading your book to feedback you gave me on my workshop one sheet over coffee, you have been so generous to someone who at the time was just a stranger. I am thankful to consider you a friend and mentor.
Woody Drennan: You have a strong sense of what good improv means to you and how to teach it, and long conversations with you have contributed to a complete transformation in my coaching and teaching style compared to a couple years ago. You ask me to be in projects without caveat, and I admire your self-confidence and your no bullshit attitude.
Arcade Founders (Jethro, Kristy, Mike, Abby, Randy): You are juggling the needs of a business and a community, and in doing so guided by good hearts and a desire to make the comedy community in Pittsburgh a better and more fruitful place for artists. I am honored to have my face on your wall and a place at your theater.
The Pittsburgh improv community: Ah, like any community you have been a source of joy and pain. But both are important ingredients to a life well lived. You have provided me some of my dearest friends, my fondest memories, support for my most ambitious projects, and the teams that have shaped my passion for an art for which I care quite deeply.
Looking forward to the next 10 years!