Matt Folliott is an improviser with the Impatient Theatre Co., Standards & Practices, and has improvised across North America performing in the Out of Bounds comedy festival in Austin TX, The Vancouver International Improv Festival & The Del Close Marathon to name a few. Matt teaches at Second City and is also a regular instructor with Impatient Theatre. He’d like to thank his dad for making him silly.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 5 years as an improviser it’s to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches. You never know what this big beast know as IMPROV is going to throw your way, and believe me I’ve had some unexpected things happen on and off the stage.
One thing I always tell my students is if you’re going to be a part of this improv thing, prepare to meet and fall head over heels in friendship with people you would have thought you’d never know or like. I’ve made lifelong friendships with improvisers from the USA and people from all different parts of this Canada. I’m friends with IT guys, mothers & fathers, successful business men, repair men, university students, the young and the old all because we share the same love for that rush that comes from playing and performing in the moment. The unexpected takes many forms when you immerse yourself in this work.
On stage I’ve had the pleasure of being directed by the one and only Charna Halpern who helped Del Close create the highly influential improv form the “Harold”, I’ve performed with TV’s Kevin Sorbo (Hercules himself), I’ve been elbowed in the face, punched in the crotch, had unruly audience members join me on stage to “correct” my scenes, and have been everywhere (inside a worm) and everyone (twin robots from the future) possible all because of improv. When you chase the moment and embrace the results the possibilities are endless, and that doesn’t just apply to the stage and performing. Improv can have unexpected results in your real life. After all, your whole life is improvised.
I’ve smoked joints with Tim Meadows (SNL Alumni & the Ladies Man) in the green room at IO theatre in Chicago after showing up for a show without knowing who or what would be on stage that night. I’ve been asked to do product naming sessions for huge corporations. They wanted a name for a slimming pill for women. I come up with Slimderella (they didn’t use it).
I’ve traveled to Austin, Texas and played mini-putt, I’ve been to Vancouver and watched whales swim and frolic in the deep blue and to Montreal where a group of improvisers and myself watched a couple have sex in their car outside the Montreal Improv Theatre. All because of the religion I subscribe to: Improv. So get into to it! Dive, dunk, and smash into improv comedy. It’ll change your life, it’ll make you a better person and it will have immediate, spontaneous, unexpected results.
One of my favourite quotes goes a bit like this “I had the game all wrong, I was busy trying to figure out who I was suppose to be, instead of finding out who I already am.” Improv can show you who you already are, a creative, talented, supportive human begin on a journey like the rest of us, to live, learn and love. Enjoy the ride, and I’ll see you when you get there!