That simple statement is a founding tenet of improv comedy, says Jaime Moyer, who hopes more people discover the power of those two words.
“So much good has come to me for opening myself up to ‘yes, and,'” Moyer says. “I highly recommend it.”
Moyer, an experienced sketch comedy and improv actor and television actor, also teaches improv and will be in Asheville this weekend with her comedy and acting partner Maribeth Monroe for a series of shows and workshops. (See below for details.) The event is hosted by Asheville Improv Collective, with the shows held at Habitat Tavern and Commons and The Magnetic Theatre.
Moyer, born and raised in Detroit, says she was born to be an actor and comedian. Both her parents were theater actors, she says, and she went on to train in improv and sketch comedy with the famed Second City troupe. The group’s touring company hired her, and she continues to work for them and teach for them in Hollywood. She’s parlayed her training into guest-starring roles on popular television shows such as Parks and Recreation and Modern Family.
Those are great gigs, Moyer says, but her first love is improv and comedy. Moyer says she most enjoys teaching beginning improv, which she’ll be doing in Asheville, because she loves watching people come out of their shells.
“I think when you’re in a room and people are improvising, the show is magical,” she says, noting that it starts with a connection between actors and audience and builds from there.
While stand-up or sketch comedy has been workshopped and practiced, improv lives in the moment. That offers “a margin of error that sometimes has given us a bad rap,” says Moyer. The key to is to stick with it and “catch the wave.” An improv show can’t be duplicated and can be heard to describe, which all adds to the specialness, she adds.
The appeal of improv goes way beyond the stage for Moyer, who says everyone from lawyers to chefs to hotel concierges take her workshops to learn how to better think on their feet. The lessons are simple, Moyer says. It’s all about listening, staying in the moment and saying yes.
“If I’m trying to write one perfect joke, I’ll be saying no to myself and rejecting idea after idea. But if I try to write 100 jokes, there will be good stuff, and we narrow from there,” she says.
“So it’s about saying yes.”
The Asheville Improv Collective is bringing comedy/sketch comedy actors and television actors Maribeth Monroe and Jaime Moyer to Asheville Friday and Saturday for a series of shows and workshops. Here are the details:
-The two women will be performing three shows at Habitat Tavern and Commons; one at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 18 and two shows (7 p.m. and 9 p.m.) on Saturday, May 19.
-The opener for Friday’s show is the local troupe You, Me & Them. Following the show, both women will be doing a talkback Q&A with the audience.
-The opener for the openers for the 7 p.m. Saturday show will be the local troupe The Cardigan Club. The opener for the 9 p.m. show will be Family Dinner, Asheville’s only all-female improv troupe.
-They’ll be running two workshops on improvising, “Ladies Love Improv” and “Exploring Two Person Improv,” during the day on Saturday at Habitat Tavern and Commons.
-Maribeth Monroe will be giving an interactive lecture on being a working actress in Hollywood from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at The Magnetic Theatre on May 19.
Tickets: $35 May 18 show; $25 for both May 19th shows.