In a recent article for the Second City Network, Liz Lekas Kozak outlined what you need to know about dating male improvisers. As a male improviser myself, I found many of the details both untrue and unfair. Here’s my rebuttal.
Baby I Was Born This Way
The author claims male improvisers aren’t “hot” and that hot guys aren’t funny. With our community so up in arms over the prospect of the Voting Rights Act being overturned– a benchmark in preventing discrimination– it’s interesting that Liz feels so comfortable making such a blanket assessment of hot guys.
Despite the nature vs. nurture debate, I believe you’re born hot. Or at the very least cute, which often develops into hot. I’m proud to call myself both a “hot guy” and a “male improviser.” Generalizations like Liz’s are exactly why it’s so difficult for hot guys to break through the mirrored ceiling of improv. You’re not alone in thinking hot guys aren’t funny. It’s as prominent of a stereotype as when someone sees an ugly woman and thinks, “She must be hilarious!” This must end.
Papa Don’t Preach
The article implies that your improv boyfriend’s parents will have paid for his college. This is way off. The few improvisers who do come from families with means are well known– and resented for it. A more typical college experience for your improv boyfriend is one semester at a city college of Chicago before dropping out and spending his student loan money on props for his stage version of Patrick Swayze’s “Roadhouse,” followed by defaulting on said loan.
Liz also states that male improvisers have daddy issues, always trying to prove something to their father. Sure, any dad is going to be concerned with the progress of his son’s career, but you can easily hold him off every few months by just showing him that picture of you and Jack McBrayer at Cochran’s Irish Pub. Mom will be supportive, too. Sure, she may not be a fan of the scene you do with Chris Witaske where you both play baristas who keep 69-ing each other, but she understands that’s all part of the process.
He Works Hard For The Funny
Liz says your improv boyfriend will bring his work home with him, riffing bits on every occasion. This is true, but you won’t be complaining when all that homework leads to a free week in the Bahamas, where you’ll be forced to watch your boyfriend improvise for 600 Germans on a cruise ship.
Commenting that all improvisers are sweaty may be crass, but it’s partially true. A younger improviser’s anxieties tend to lead to excessive perspiration. An experienced improviser learns not to sweat. For example, you’ll never see sweating at a TJ & Dave show. These masters of long form only sweat when the scene or moment call for it.
Someone To Watch Over Me
Liz implies that your improv boyfriend can’t even contain his “look at me” bits, even at the doctor’s office, potentially awaiting bad news. Two excuses for that. One: He doesn’t know to act in that in environment due to a lack of health insurance. Two: It’s nervous energy, as he’s scared shitless you’re pregnant, forcing him to quit his man-child existence.
And yes, he will be depressed after bad shows, but it will stop after he passes the blame for the awful show to everyone else in his group.
Liz claims if you’re lucky enough to date the one improv hot guy, he already has a girlfriend, he’ll only text between 2-4:30AM, and one day you’ll see him in a Budweiser commercial. Unfortunately, all true. Except the commercial will be non-union.
We Belong Together
I must say, as an improviser, I love dating other improvisers. They have the same understanding of– and love of– this odd thing we do, but without the four roommates and an alley couch riddled with bed bugs. They will watch Portlandia with you, but also pay for two out of three meals. They’re not weird about dating you, even though you used to date former castmate, because she used to date your current castmate. And if some asshole at a bar tries to put her down and be clever, she’ll rip him a new asshole. You won’t even have to stop your game of pinball.
Michael Lehrer works at The Second City e.t.c. and iO Chicago. Past work includes: Paid Programming (New York Television Festival), Andy Kaufman Award (2010 Semi-Finalist) Big Ten Network (Co-Host), Chicago Tribune, Chicago Underground Comedy, and the TBS Just for Laughs. michaellehreronline.com