Now That The Theater Has Miraculously Survived, We Have No Choice But To Address Your Garbage Improv Skills

Tim Sniffen
3 min readJul 21, 2021
Soon we’ll be back onstage! Okay, not all of us.

I thought this moment would never come. When we closed our doors, I wondered how we could ever survive: hell, our good months were spent on the verge of financial ruin. After a while, the idea of doing a show here again seemed unthinkable… who could have guessed a massive arts funding grant would arrive just when we needed it? And tonight, against all odds, we’re opening back up to offer crowds the joy of improv comedy. It’s a miracle.

Which means I have no option but to talk to you about the mudslide of turds you were leaving on this stage until we closed.

Look, I had hoped to avoid this conversation. The night the theater shut down, I was working up the nerve to pull you aside after you joined every scene as “Junkyard Santa” with the bathroom garbage bin on your head. Your teammates were begging you to stop — but we know listening isn’t really your thing. The stage manager even pulled the lights, but by then you had started keeping a flashlight in your show pants. I was coming backstage when the governor’s office called.

In that regard, COVID bought you some time.

I’m not saying I was relieved at the arrival of a worldwide pandemic. But I suppose even the greatest public disaster has its silver linings, like fourteen months of safety from your Bitchy Confederate Ghost who can’t seem to stay out of freeze tag.

This might come as a surprise, and that’s on us. I realize you’ve skated by on the same eldritch mix of word of mouth and shoddy record keeping that serves as the HR department of most improv theaters, but did you really have no clue? You’ve been shuffled between a dozen different teams; during that month you only played Skiddles The Mafia Baby, half the bar staff resigned.

What about when you weren’t in any of those farewell-to-dignity Zoom shows? You didn’t see any disparity between our saying “We have certain standards to maintain” and letting Jen host the improv jam from her parents’ garden shed, holding a dog bowl of white wine? No discrepancy there?

Well, we’re out of the pandemic now — KNOCK WOOD, HA HA! — and things are going to change. No more weekend shows for you. No more…

Tim Sniffen

Writing: Work In Progress on Showtime, The New Yorker, NPR’s Live From Here, Hello From The Magic Tavern, McSweeney’s, Jackbox Games | Twitter @MisterSniffen